We see this happen all too well in the sport of mixed martial arts when our two combatants venture to the ground only to receive a barrage of boos from the crowd. What makes fans that come to see a show immediately turn from cheers to boos? Is it simply because MMA is a budding sport that is still attracting new fans that are uneducated?
Is it simply those fans do not consider Ju-Jitsu to be an exciting form of fighting and would prefer a striking war on the feet? I ask myself this question often during MMA events when the crowd turns hostile when a good fight switches gears to a grappling battle.
One thing that MMA fans need to understand about the sport can simply be answered by breaking down the most common acronym used in the sport. MMA stands for mixed martial arts and the name is very self explanatory, using a combination of striking, wrestling and grappling methods which can all be used to control or defeat your opponent. If the grappling and Ju-Jitsu element s were to be subtracted from MMA it would cease to be mixed martial arts.
To uneducated fans it can seem like aimless rolling around on the ground or a way to stall out and regain the energy to stand up and bang.
There are many resources to educate yourself about the beauties of the ground game. Several MMA stars have a very dynamic ground game and have finished many game opponents by way of submission.
Some stars to keep an eye out for are Demian Maia, BJ Penn, Shinya Aoki, Kazushi Sakuraba, and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Early UFC tournament s are also a great source of Ju-Jitsu knowledge since Ju-Jitsu was the dominant style in those tournaments by the legendary Royce Gracie.
When an MMA fan becomes to understand and appreciate the Ju-Jitsu game it is very entertaining to watch and analyze any of the ADCC tournaments seeing as the best grapplers in the world compete there. The last and most rewarding experience is by taking Ju-Jitsu classes yourself.
I’ve heard it myself a thousand times “I love fighting but not all of that rolling around mess.” I have put the challenge to several naysayers who are now dedicated Ju-Jitsu practitioners after being totally shut down by men half their size.
The best advice is to not boo things that you do not fully understand. MMA is a great sport because of its great diversity and expression. For those who continue to boo the grappling and cheer for the brawls be careful because your favorite fighter may soon be tapping to a skinny Japanese man who wears rainbow pants to the cage.