Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why Grappling > Striking

Four fighters in last night's UFC on Fox co-main event. Two end up with broken bones from striking.
It looks like headliner Josh Thomson wasn't the only one to suffer a hand injury Saturday night. "Napao" posted a video showing extreme swelling on his right hand.
I'm not sure a broken hand cost Gonzaga the fight. But there's a very good argument that a Josh Thompson with ten fully-functioning digits takes the decision over Ben "Smooth" Henderson.

I've always wondered what would be the grappling equivalent of being able to fight with protected fists. There was a day when wrestlers would risk heel hooks in favor of wrestling shoes, and Shinya Aoki has made grappling spats a popular option for grapplers in organizations that allow them. But short of a return to RINGS-era rules, I can't imagine a practical way of giving grapplers the same kind of advantage that padded gloves give strikers.

And that's why every time someone breaks his/her hand or thumb in a mixed martial arts contest, I'm reminded not just how impractical striking can be as the basis for a martial art, but also how problematic the habit of punching can be in martial sports, as well.