Combat Sports—The Art of Fighting

To me, combat sports are the pinnacle of all sports, yet somehow the IOC decided to remove wrestling from the Olympics.

In some sports, like basketball and soccer, you will sometimes see players blaming judges when they lose.  One thing that irritates me to the core is constant complaining, whether it is in the sports world or in the real world, and people who refuse to take accountability for their outcomes.  With combat sports, there is no flopping nor does one have anybody to blame for their performance.  When I watch how basketball and soccer players react to the tiniest amount of “contact” I find myself wondering if I am watching a soap opera or sporting event.  I would be worried if any of those athletes tried to transition into full contact sports like football, not to mention combat sports.

The art of fighting, of combat sports, can be traced back to the ancient world including Egypt, Greece, India, China and Japan.  Artifacts exist that date back to these ancient societies where the hieroglyphs resemble what appears to be boxing and wrestling, and it was one of the earliest sports in the Olympics.  The term used for combat sports these days is Mixed Martial Arts, and it refers to a wide variety of fighting styles that incorporate striking and grappling.

The next time you go to the shopping mall, make sure to look at the people around you, because people from all walks of life sign up to learn combat disciplines.  If you ever get a chance to visit a fight-training gym, of any discipline, expect to see people of all shapes, sizes, and color.  The common message you will find in these gyms is that it is a home for everyone.  The are various reasons why people decide to commit themselves and they can range from exercise and better conditioning to helping increasing self-esteem.

While training boxing, jiu-jitsu or wrestling does help people get in better shape, the biggest benefactors of combat disciplines are children.  While some children are signed up by their parents’ self-desires, others are typically signed up by parents after they find out they are being bullied.  Everyone knows that bullies typically psychologically intimidate those they pick on, something that is likely a coping mechanism for their own troubles because bullies tend to get bullied themselves.

The effects of getting bullied have the biggest impact on a child’s confidence and self-esteem, due to the feeling of being helpless.  Teaching children how to defend themselves from an early age helps them feel more confident in confronting bullies, and bullies will often pick individuals who “accept” being bullied.  Even in the later years, research indicates that learning how to fight for the purpose of self-defence increases confidence and self-esteem (Vertonghen, 2010).

One quote that I have implemented as a philosophy while competing is from MMA great Burt Watson, whose quote is also popular among UFC fighters, “Don’t leave it to the judges, they’re going to make you cry.” If you live by this philosophy and put 100% effort into everything you do, you will not leave anything for the “judges”, and you will therefore never cry.

Poliakoff, M.  (2018).  Ancient Combat Sports – Combat At The Ancient Olympics.  Retrieved from
Poliakoff, M.  (2003).  Combat Sports in the Ancient World: Competition, Violence, and Culture.  Yale University Press.
Vertonghen, J.  (2010).  The Social-Psychological Outcomes of Martial Arts Practise Among Youth: A Review.  Retrieved from
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