A Positive and Negative of MMA’s Accessibility

About anyone with a computer has seen a combat sports article at one point in time. Be that about wrestlers in the recent summer Olympic games, boxing stars squabbling over drug testing and weight agreements, or the occasional MMA piece highlighting a championship fight to come. And everyone has at one point thought to themselves, "Interesting. Now what’s up with the celebrity news on the next tab over?"

That’s fine. It’s certainly a more widely consumed product, and people are going to naturally gravitate towards a more interesting personality rather than individual sports figures and their athletic endeavor of choice.

But every fan that has stopped to read the articles that float to the surface of the news feed are of a certain mold. They generally understand the sacrifices that the athletes are making, the physical toll it is taking on their bodies, and the patience it takes to master the skills.

But with Mixed Martial Arts, the average Joe or keyboard warrior can think, "Hey. I can do that," which is both a good and a bad thing. I’ll explain.

With the widespread availability of one size fits all Mixed Martial Arts gyms replacing karate schools (or having already done so), the opportunity to learn a martial art for sport sake over self-defense has been nigh overwhelming. Plus, there’s the internet. Youtube is host to hundreds of tutorials from a whole host of qualified martial arts instructors, from Gracie’s and their jiu-jitsu to the affable Bas Rutten and throwing a decent punch. Keyboard warriors can literally be keyboard warriors.

The downside to this free flow of information is that the pompous douchebags behind the trolling feel they are legitimately in the right. Simply because they saw and have practiced a move, they feel like they can talk down to a professional athlete who perfects those very techniques for a living and to provide for his family. That’s ridiculous.

However, it is also a lesson in humility for those who appreciate the intricacy and physical know how of what is being performed. Personal anecdote: I was scrolling through the fight history of one Dustin Hazelett (former UFC welterweight and lightweight) and I saw "Reverse Armbar" as a method of victory. I decided to take to the internet to investigate.

I found a video of a Japanese jiu-jitsu player demonstrating a reverse armbar from an omoplata transition on a hapless accomplice. After watching the video, I enlisted the assistance of my girlfriend to willingly put her body on the line for my curious mind. After promising her that I would not hurt her, I slowly worked my way through the moves. Apart from a total lack of flexibility on my part (supplemented by grabbing my foot and pulling off a painful omoplata), I had completed the move.

There was no way I was ever going to do the move as smoothly as the Japanese ground wizard I had seen on the ole inter-tubes. Not without some serious training and practice, and as good a sport as my girlfriend was, I don’t think she’d put up with too much more of chokes and joint locks.

My point is this: with mixed martial arts being as wide spread and accessible as it is, the people who were the high school jocks, the would-be-state-champions, the "Uncle Ricos," the keyboard warrior douchebags are going to amplify their bark. The people who have an understanding as to what skill and athletic ability is required to compete a professional level are going to sit back, and watch the haters sip that hater-aid.

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