246: Stepping Into the Ring

Stepping Into the Ring

It's easy to see how martial arts have affected videogames - games like Street Fighter and Tekken have mined the sport for inspiration for years. But you may not have realized how much videogames have given back to martial arts. Marshal Carper examines the symbiotic relationship between real-world and videogame fighting.

Read Full Article

Well, Exposure through games is still exposure isn't it?

Great article Marshal, here's hoping we see more from you.

I find it interesting that MMA has moved away from "style versus style" but videogames are still stuck in that rut. I guess when you are building a charecter a style is something you can anchor him/her too.

I've enjoyed fighting games since playing barbarian on my Amstrad in the 80s and I'm still not bored of them. I enjoyed the UFC titles since the Dreamcast and find it a shame that its the only game that treats grappling as any more than a multithrow or combo. It was just a shame that the submissions became a like a track and field event, there is a lot more technique than strength in a good sub. Im hoping they remedy this in the upcoming 2010.

I believe anything that gets more people involved in martial arts is a good thing, Its kept me out of trouble for over a decade.

Here's hoping that natal will bring with it K1 on the 360. I doubt it though as there aren't many people who can throw head kicks. It's about the only game that would get me to buy natal.

A very nice read, and rather surprising at that!

I have been a practitioner of traditional Okinawan shoryn-ryu shidokan karate-do for ten years, which is a relatively long time for Americans, but rather short for Okinawans, and I have to say that the views expressed in this article are quite different from the views I have heard at my dojo and from the Okinawan masters that visit from time to time. They look down on things such as the view of entertainment in the martial arts. It is a rather conservative view, and one that I do not share. I believe that it is vital to any tradition to receive attention, so that it may grow and become something better, something more.

Many masters, however, would rather it remain a private affair with a small following. But the martial arts is so beneficial to the human life. Discipline, honor, strength. These are needed in the world and I grew up on these values because of it. I can most certainly say I would not be the man I am today if it were not for my Teachers and mentors. The more Martial Arts spread, the better for the world, I say.

Here's a little known fact for you. In my aforementioned style, there are ten degrees of black-belt, the last being the 'Red Belt'. It takes around 60 years of serious practice to obtain the red belt, I myself only obtained the second degree of black belt. My master was almost not allowed tog get 7th degree, simply because he was not of Okinawan decent. Seems rather backwards thinking? I thought so.

TL:DR Karate Rocks, do it!

Deofuta:
A very nice read, and rather surprising at that!

I have been a practitioner of traditional Okinawan shoryn-ryu shidokan karate-do for ten years, which is a relatively long time for Americans, but rather short for Okinawans, and I have to say that the views expressed in this article are quite different from the views I have heard at my dojo and from the Okinawan masters that visit from time to time. They look down on things such as the view of entertainment in the martial arts. It is a rather conservative view, and one that I do not share. I believe that it is vital to any tradition to receive attention, so that it may grow and become something better, something more.

Many masters, however, would rather it remain a private affair with a small following. But the martial arts is so beneficial to the human life. Discipline, honor, strength. These are needed in the world and I grew up on these values because of it. I can most certainly say I would not be the man I am today if it were not for my Teachers and mentors. The more Martial Arts spread, the better for the world, I say.

Here's a little known fact for you. In my aforementioned style, there are ten degrees of black-belt, the last being the 'Red Belt'. It takes around 60 years of serious practice to obtain the red belt, I myself only obtained the second degree of black belt. My master was almost not allowed tog get 7th degree, simply because he was not of Okinawan decent. Seems rather backwards thinking? I thought so.

TL:DR Karate Rocks, do it!

It's been my experience that the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean styles of martial arts are the most steeped in tradition, which has it's pros and cons. The most clearest con is the on that you pointed out, an unwillingness to evolve, to adapt, to learn and incorporate new things into their style.

Mcarper:

Deofuta:
A very nice read, and rather surprising at that!

I have been a practitioner of traditional Okinawan shoryn-ryu shidokan karate-do for ten years, which is a relatively long time for Americans, but rather short for Okinawans, and I have to say that the views expressed in this article are quite different from the views I have heard at my dojo and from the Okinawan masters that visit from time to time. They look down on things such as the view of entertainment in the martial arts. It is a rather conservative view, and one that I do not share. I believe that it is vital to any tradition to receive attention, so that it may grow and become something better, something more.

Many masters, however, would rather it remain a private affair with a small following. But the martial arts is so beneficial to the human life. Discipline, honor, strength. These are needed in the world and I grew up on these values because of it. I can most certainly say I would not be the man I am today if it were not for my Teachers and mentors. The more Martial Arts spread, the better for the world, I say.

Here's a little known fact for you. In my aforementioned style, there are ten degrees of black-belt, the last being the 'Red Belt'. It takes around 60 years of serious practice to obtain the red belt, I myself only obtained the second degree of black belt. My master was almost not allowed tog get 7th degree, simply because he was not of Okinawan decent. Seems rather backwards thinking? I thought so.

TL:DR Karate Rocks, do it!

It's been my experience that the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean styles of martial arts are the most steeped in tradition, which has it's pros and cons. The most clearest con is the on that you pointed out, an unwillingness to evolve, to adapt, to learn and incorporate new things into their style.

With the pro being, of course, that these styles rarely need adaptation, as far as technique is concerned. A good martial artist knows his limitations and can find a way around them without thinking he needs to "expand" or "improve" the style itself. I'll grant that Deofuta's master not being allowed to progress because of his heritage is silly and those sorts of traditions ought to be done away with. However, a true martial artist doesn't seek to correct weaknesses in the style as a whole, but the weaknesses in himself.

I suppose I should point out that I say this as a third-dan black belt and 18 year veteran of traditional Taekwondo.

Lord_Awesome:
[quote="Mcarper" post="6.182760.5438389"]With the pro being, of course, that these styles rarely need adaptation, as far as technique is concerned. A good martial artist knows his limitations and can find a way around them without thinking he needs to "expand" or "improve" the style itself. I'll grant that Deofuta's master not being allowed to progress because of his heritage is silly and those sorts of traditions ought to be done away with. However, a true martial artist doesn't seek to correct weaknesses in the style as a whole, but the weaknesses in himself.

I suppose I should point out that I say this as a third-dan black belt and 18 year veteran of traditional Taekwondo.

Perhaps this is a difference in thinking associated with styles. Mixed martial artists and grapplers are always looking for new ways to do things because the sport is evolving so quickly. I've heard my instructors say on multiple occasions that the blue belts of today are light years ahead of where the blue belts were at their time.

As far as the weakness in styles, I have no problem admitting that my striking isn't where it should be, and that I could benefit from training in a striking oriented style. Couldn't the same be said of Taekwondo's ground game?

Mcarper:
Perhaps this is a difference in thinking associated with styles. Mixed martial artists and grapplers are always looking for new ways to do things because the sport is evolving so quickly. I've heard my instructors say on multiple occasions that the blue belts of today are light years ahead of where the blue belts were at their time.

As far as the weakness in styles, I have no problem admitting that my striking isn't where it should be, and that I could benefit from training in a striking oriented style. Couldn't the same be said of Taekwondo's ground game?

You have a solid point there. I, however, am of the opinion that the solution is not to mix and match techniques from different styles, but rather seek to understand how your own style can transcend its supposed limitations. As you point out, Taekwondo is a striking style and as such I am a weak grappler. But rather than try to play catch-up on my ground fighting, I prefer to work on my already strong footwork and kicking to help ensure I never go to the ground.

But as you said, that's the primary difference in the philosophy between traditional and mixed martial arts. We may have to agree to disagree on this point.

The anecdote of snapping a dude's arm 'like a sapling' in your first match made me wince. ;( Eeeh I'm still recovering. It's terrible for both parties really :(

Incidentally: don't you feel judo has been underrepresented in video games? :P I haven't seen a single judoka in fighting games ever (except Blaze from Streets of Rage 1, but the only two moves I can really discern are the supplex and her other throw, and both other characters use the supplex as well). That said: I do admit that, being a child of the eighties, video games actually were a big inspiration for me to start dabbling in martial arts, and it's always a joy to see fighting styles back in games. Eskrima is a big up-and-comer, being featured both in Soul Calibur as well as a recent Mortal Kombat game.

This kinda makes me wonder. Do you reckon I haven't seen judo yet because it's already so prevalent in real life? And do more obscure martial arts like Eskrima and Silat get better represented exactly because they're so obscure (and hence mysterious)? If so, martial arts in video games will continue to represent a broad scale of new and exciting fighting styles. That's good news ^^

Incidentally, video games aren't the only medium where more obscure martial arts get a place in the spotlight, as your article correctly states. Have you guys ever seen Fight Quest? A must-see for every martial arts enthousiast! It's on the Discovery channel.

Spacelord:
The anecdote of snapping a dude's arm 'like a sapling' in your first match made me wince. ;( Eeeh I'm still recovering. It's terrible for both parties really :(

Incidentally: don't you feel judo has been underrepresented in video games? :P I haven't seen a single judoka in fighting games ever (except Blaze from Streets of Rage 1, but the only two moves I can really discern are the supplex and her other throw, and both other characters use the supplex as well). That said: I do admit that, being a child of the eighties, video games actually were a big inspiration for me to start dabbling in martial arts, and it's always a joy to see fighting styles back in games. Eskrima is a big up-and-comer, being featured both in Soul Calibur as well as a recent Mortal Kombat game.

This kinda makes me wonder. Do you reckon I haven't seen judo yet because it's already so prevalent in real life? And do more obscure martial arts like Eskrima and Silat get better represented exactly because they're so obscure (and hence mysterious)? If so, martial arts in video games will continue to represent a broad scale of new and exciting fighting styles. That's good news ^^

Incidentally, video games aren't the only medium where more obscure martial arts get a place in the spotlight, as your article correctly states. Have you guys ever seen Fight Quest? A must-see for every martial arts enthousiast! It's on the Discovery channel.

I'd say that grappling arts in general are underrepresented in video games. As for why that I may be, I can't say for sure, but I can speculate:

For one, striking arts are much more accessible to a non-martial arts savvy audience than grappling arts. Every person seems to have some primitive idea of how to throw a punch, a kick, or swing a weapon. On top of that, they understand that landing a punch is good, and taking a punch is bad.

The intricacies of grappling aren't so accessible. Someone that doesn't do Judo wouldn't understand why gripping the collar is stronger than gripping a sleeve. Furthermore, grappling isn't as straightforward as striking. There may be a lot of grip fighting and battles for position before there's a conclusive winner or loser. You and I both know that it can sometime take a lot of little shifts in position to set up that throw or that submission.

Two, I think that grappling is harder to program. The sheer complexity of grappling arts, the thousands of set-ups, transitions, counters, and recounters is immensely difficult to translate to a game with limited buttons. For a grappler, the difference between being pinned and escaping can come down to whether or not your opponent's elbow is an inch out of place, and that sort of detail is hell for designers. And that's not even considering the graphical challenges of clipping and the challenge of designing an engine that does grappling leverage justice.

Lord_Awesome:

Mcarper:
Perhaps this is a difference in thinking associated with styles. Mixed martial artists and grapplers are always looking for new ways to do things because the sport is evolving so quickly. I've heard my instructors say on multiple occasions that the blue belts of today are light years ahead of where the blue belts were at their time.

As far as the weakness in styles, I have no problem admitting that my striking isn't where it should be, and that I could benefit from training in a striking oriented style. Couldn't the same be said of Taekwondo's ground game?

You have a solid point there. I, however, am of the opinion that the solution is not to mix and match techniques from different styles, but rather seek to understand how your own style can transcend its supposed limitations. As you point out, Taekwondo is a striking style and as such I am a weak grappler. But rather than try to play catch-up on my ground fighting, I prefer to work on my already strong footwork and kicking to help ensure I never go to the ground.

But as you said, that's the primary difference in the philosophy between traditional and mixed martial arts. We may have to agree to disagree on this point.

The problem with that is since knockouts are pretty unpredictable/unreliable and that knee to the face takedown defense we all learn is actually pretty hard to get (since it's hard to practice; nobody's going to let you knee him in the face for real while he shoots for a double or single leg for real a couple thousand times til you get it right) it's not the better striker who decides whether the fight goes to the ground, but the better grappler. Learning "just enough grappling to stay on your feet" almost always turns into full-fledged cross-training in short order.

It's not doing your art a disservice to admit it has shortcomings. Denying or ignoring them is far less respectful of your own training. Remember all those karate guys who suddenly "found" grappling moves in their kata after 1993 when UFC started? It was pitiful.

Spacelord:
Incidentally: don't you feel judo has been underrepresented in video games? :P I haven't seen a single judoka in fighting games ever (except Blaze from Streets of Rage 1, but the only two moves I can really discern are the supplex and her other throw, and both other characters use the supplex as well).

you mean like paul from tekken or goh from virtua fighter?

judo was my first martial art, followed by muay thai an most recently ju jitsu.
although probably more influenced by movies than games.

As a huge fighting game fan, I completely agree with and love this article. When I was a kid, I was kinda skinny, unathletic. But I played games alot, especially Street Fighter and Tekken. When Tekken 3 dropped, I discovered the fighting style of Tae Kwon Do through Hwarang, and from that moment I knew thats what I wanted to do.

I started my first class at 13 years old. A month after turning 17 I had my black belt, and two first place trophies for Sparring and Forms from my one and only tournamet. Around that same time I also discovered MMA. I've been practicing martial arts such as Muay Thai, wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on and off ever sense (now is one of those off times) through various trainers. That was three or so years ago.

What's also funny is that, due to Hwarang, Bruce, and other characters, I favor a more stylistic, leg-using style of both striking and grappling, and I've taught myself to use flying techniques in a realistic sense (against people who would normally laugh off a flying/jumping attack).

Fighting with some flair and style is definetly just as fun in real life.

I don't have much to add, just wanted to comment that it was a good article and enjoyed reading it.

bjj hero:

Here's hoping that natal will bring with it K1 on the 360. I doubt it though as there aren't many people who can throw head kicks. It's about the only game that would get me to buy natal.

Yes I too want a K1 game with Natal... though thinking of things... couldn't this work with any fighting game?. I mean Natal being what it's proposed to be, wouldn't it be able to insert your moves into, let say, Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter?. I mean if it's advanced as it's supposed to be then why not. Though I guess the biggest problem would be recognising power and such or knowing the difference between a kick from the shin and a kick from the foot. I was hoping for a UFC game for Natal though I think grappling would be too complex for any current software to read, along with the fact that with-out force feedback... you wouldn't exactly be moved into submission.

Though speaking of the article... I've actually learned some moves that have been put into practice (during sparring) from video games. Not over the top Dragon Punches but moves from existing MA's that I haven't trained... some worked well, some didn't but it's interesting to note that you can in-theory learn martial arts from video games. Not to the point of mastery, nor will playing video games make you be able to preform a head kick (it takes stretching, many, many months or hard stretching) but emulating the moves is still possible. Back to the K1 quote... thinking on things I think it would be good for those who cannot yet preform high kicks or even practice martial arts, playing the game may encourage them to work out more so they can preform one.

Thank you so much for this article.

Personally, MMA and video games are my two greatest passions in life, but I continually find it hard to marry both communities. It feels like the people I know who enjoy games and give them as much importance as I do, see MMA and it's practitioners as muscle head jocks and see MMA fans as alpha male ignorants who only watch Spike TV (I'm looking at you Movie Bob).

This article shows there is a lot of common ground between MMA and video games, and the fans of both activities. I really hope this is the first of more articles to cover the confluence of these two amazing entertainments.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here