Above, Ray Longo, who coaches Matt Serra, talks about Serra's upcoming UFC 98 fight with Matt Hughes. But the more interesting part of the video comes when Longo -- who has been in the martial arts business for decades -- talks about the way martial arts training has changed through the years.
The big difference between martial arts today and martial arts 20 years ago is that now people who study martial arts are actually learning practical applications -- not just how to punch and kick air, but how to fight a real, live opponent.
"Hitting a pair of focus mitts at one time was considered huge -- you have to do it today, it's an ordinary thing," Longo said. "What was considered really special back then is every day now. Even blending the arts -- if you were a traditional karate guy you weren't hitting focus mitts, you were doing forms. You weren't hitting Thai pads, you didn't even know what Thai pads were. That really, I think, is another huge, huge thing. Just the use of training equipment, with video tapes and the use of the internet, being able to see how people train all over the world is a huge thing. ... From a fighting standpoint you have to know all ranges of fighting, and you have to stick with the arts that have been proven to be efficient in all ranges."
It's amazing to think about this now, but before UFC 1 in 1993, the vast majority of people who studied martial arts had absolutely no clue whether the martial arts they were studying would have any practical applications in a real fight. I've heard Joe Rogan say that martial arts have advanced more in the 16 years since the first UFC than they had in the thousands of years before the first UFC, and I think he's right. It's one of the great things about MMA.
Video from Bloody Elbow, via The Fight Nerd.
And as long as we're posting videos from The Fight Nerd, here's a bonus: Tank Abbott on Friends: