Karate, One of the M and A’s in MMA
Karate and MMA share a lot in common, and more than just the ‘martial art’ portion of the latter’s acronym. Both disciplines offer real fights for their fans, whether it’s via an MMA fighter or a full-contact karate combatant in the Karate Combat fighting league. There is nothing scripted. It could be argued that Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, first began when Bruce Lee created Jeet Kune Do, whereby he combined all of the best real fighting techniques into one discipline. Dana White, President of the UFC, arguably the world’s largest MMA organization today, has called Lee, The Father of MMA. Bruce Lee started combining physical disciplines early on. He began as a Kung Fu practitioner in his native Hong Kong, and this followed his 1958 achievement as a Cha-Cha dance champion! Fighters of many styles revere Bruce Lee as an inspiration as he raised the profile of martial arts greatly to mass audiences. And he did it with such precision, strength and beauty. Who can forget the iconic fight scene from Return of the Dragon between Bruce Lee and karate legend, Chuck Norris? If it’s not the first, perhaps it’s one of the best cinematic match-ups between Karate vs. MMA. But who would win in a real bout between the two? Norris answers this question with a quote from Bruce.
Empty Hand History
Modern Karate was birthed in Okinawa (former Ryukyuan Empire of China) which was annexed by Japan in the 17th Century. The exact history before this time is unknown, though it is believed to have originated a thousand years ago from India from a Buddhist monk from China. During an age when the Chinese Samurai forbade weapons, the people came up with a way to defend themselves. Masters and students trained in secret dojos, turned their bodies into powerful, deadly instruments. In Japanese, Karate means “empty hand”.
Gichin Funakoshi is considered the Father of Modern Karate, and was the first master to introduce karate to mainland Japan. After WWII, U.S. servicemen often stationed in Japan brought back the popular art. The first U.S. dojo opened in 1945. Karate made its way to the UK in the 1950s and to the Soviet Union in the 1960s, though it was banned there a few times over the next 3 decades.
Karate ‘went Hollywood’ and became even more well-known via the popular martial arts films of the 1960s and 70s. These movies inspired millions of people around the world to learn and practice the art of karate for fitness and self-defense.
A short history of modern MMA via the UFC
MMA essentially began with the Ultimate Fighting Championship which debuted in 1993 with their tagline, There Are No Rules. In the early years there were a few but only: no fish hooking, groin shots, head butts or eye gouges. They also had no official athletic sanctioning, no weight classes and every fighting style was welcome. Cable companies soon banned carriage of their pay per view events.
In 2001, Zuffa purchased the league and made it into a proper sport with official sanctioning, a ruleset, and weight classes. However, they continued to allow all combat fighting styles: boxing, wrestling, karate, judo, Muay Thai and Kickboxing and a style that became quite dominant, Brazilian Jujitsu. With the regulatory changes, the UFC were allowed back on cable PPV and further expanded their audience with a reality series called The Ultimate Fighter in 2005. The weekly TV series served as a farm team to introduce and build new stars.
In 2013, the UFC did something they said they’d never do initially and promoted a female fight with Ronda Rousey. Ronda had fought in Strikeforce and other leagues but became a superstar in the UFC. This dramatically enhanced their brand. 25 years after their start, the league is going strong with global shows, big sponsors, and media deals from Fox to ESPN. Endeavor purchased the UFC in 2018 for $4 billion dollars.
The MMA sector has further expanded with dozens of competitors such as Bellator and One Championship, all using a mixture of combat styles. MMA has matured as a sport and shows precision, strength and beauty.
The Birth of Karate Combat
Karate has continued to enjoy a worldwide participation rate with dojos, practitioners, and many Olympics team hopefuls for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games. Yet, karate has never truly entered the professional sports mainstream nor showcased its highest achieving combatants as sports entertainment. Until now.
Karate Combat is a brand-new sport that is bringing karate into the 21st century, combining the style and interactivity of video games with the user interactivity of e-sports, real-time biometric data, and qualifiers held in a high tech virtual arena. Check out our last event, Karate Combat: Hollywood. After viewing this event, MMAFighting.com wrote: ”We’re sorry everyone. MMA is dead. Long live Karate Combat.”
Karate Combat has assembled Olympic-level athletes from more than 30 countries, real humans with real skills, fiercely competitive in the Pit, brothers and sisters of karate-do outside. Fans will be able to interact with them, follow their training, and be truly invested in their careers via cutting edge technology. Karate Combat is committed to elevating this martial art with precision, strength and beauty.
Main events will be held in stunning, exotic locations around the world, and Karate Combat will be known as a marquee, prestige sporting league. We hope you’ll join us on this journey. Osu!