Fighting games draw on martial arts techniques, but videogames can also inspire real life martial artists.
The success of Street Fighter in 1987 was the birth of the modern fighting game. The many different martial arts styles utilized by the different characters could arguably be what inspired the first Mixed Martial Arts organization to form in 1993, the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Other games pushed the envelope further by incorporating lesser known fighting styles like Eddy Curry's Capoeira and Dragunov's Commando Sambo in the Tekken series. Videogames have introduced these styles to new fans, some of whom have taken their interest to real dojos and learned the craft. A student of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu himself, Marshal D. Carper talks to several martial artists about what videogames have done for the sport:
"The average Joe - someone who doesn't really have a vested interest in martial arts, someone who isn't the über fan - [still doesn't] know what Sambo is or have a clear picture of it," Stephen Koepfer, the President and Co-Founder of the American Sambo Association, says. "So the fact that there is a character that does Sambo in [Tekken] ... it's pretty cool just for spreading the word, the fact that Sambo even exists - spreading the word to a population of people that are younger. And it's the younger people that are going to keep martial arts alive."
Many kids flocked to karate dojos after seeing The Karate Kid in the 80s, wanting to be like Daniel-san. But now, remakes notwithstanding, the same effect occurs through videogames like Street Fighter 4 and UFC Undisputed 2010. Read the rest of Step In The Ring to find out just far the relationship between real fighting and fighting games go.