Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pro Fighters Use Qi Too!

If you’ve ever been to sites like Bullshido or, really, any other MMA forum you will get the impression that all MMA fighters (and all combat athletes for that matter) completely dismiss the idea of a universal energy (like Qi) and other related topics such as meditation, yoga, and qigong as being useful in the quest for improved fighting ability. Those who actively participate in the discussion at sites like Bullshido openly mock internal martial artists, qigong/yoga practitioners, and traditional martial artists alike. But do all combat athletes REALLY dismiss “esoteric” practices like yoga or qigong?

Surprisingly, the answer is: No. In fact, a few famous names in MMA are actually quite fond of practices which those at Bullshido consider, well, bullshit.

Lyoto Machida – This guy is, by far, my favorite Mixed Martial Artist. He also happens to be an avid practitioner of various form of meditation (1). Machida’s father even attributes much of his son’s success in and out of the ring to the more spiritual side of his training (1).

Rickson Gracie – Here is a BJJ guy who is really into meditation/breath control, yoga, and developing and maintaining a strong connection with nature (especially water) (2). I’ve seen some videos of this guy working out and it is clear he has fantastic tan tien control (2).

Cung Le – Le is one of the best strikers in the world and recently made the move to MMA from the San Shou circuit. Le has a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as part of his training/coaching team and attributes much of his success to the Medical Qigong sessions he and his TCM doctor work through(3).

So, I guess what is important to take away from this post is that, despite what certain promoters of “bullshit” want everyone to think, the relationship between real combat athletes and more metaphysical or “esoteric” practices (like meditation, Yoga, and Qigong) isn’t exactly always one of animosity or derision. Perhaps what we should learn from these elite level fighters is that we should all be looking for ways to further enhance our martial skills even if it means taking up practices that aren’t exactly mainstream.

Train Hard,
Josh Skinner

Works Cited:

1. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/josh_gross/05/22/machida.dad/index.html

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB_KRHXU1BA

3. http://morningcrane.com/clients/

Fa Jing and the Secrets of Explosive Power
Chen Style Tai Chi Progressive Silk Reeling, Series III

True Strength Yang
Explosive Body Toughening - 2-DVD set

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