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The Art of War

Editorial by Wayne Kerr


Mixed Martial Arts has been one of the fastest growing sports in the last decade.  The amateur has grown ten fold, fight organisations have launched, some crashing and burning along the way, in every continent.  As its legitimacy has grown, the call for MMA to join the Olympics has gotten louder, it is only a matter of time before we gain our next Olympic Champion.


Notice I said next, and not first.  A form of MMA existed hundreds of years ago in the Ancient Olympics in Greece.  Pankration was the earliest ancestor of combat sports that we know today.  It had no gloves, two rules - no biting and no gouging, a terrifying amount of nudity.  The fights would continue onto the ground, where there is documented evidence of combatants playing possum, which arguably, may have been a forefather of Brazilian Ji-Jitsu.  


It sounds savage, however it was possible to submit before too much damage was taken.  In probably the most famous story of Pankration, Arrichion, whilst being strangled managed to dislocate his opponent’s foot, causing his opponent to surrender.  Sadly for Arrichion, he died before his hand was raised in victory, becoming the first Pankration competitor to be awarded a victor posthumously.


The fact is, even in 480BC there were prize fighters, one of the most famous, Theagenes won the boxing at the 75th Olympiad, and the Pankration at the 76th.  He used to tour around the mediterranean looking for fights and incredibly amassed over 1400 victories.  And Conor McGregor thinks he is the greatest of all time?


The truth is that combat sports have existed as long as man has walked the earth.  The desire to compete, to test yourself, to experience the thrill of adrenaline, and to overcome the debilitating fear that has pushed men beyond their limits for thousands of years.  The truth is that we are mammals, no more, no less.  And as long as we exist, we will continue to compete with each other, because the thrill of victory, tastes so much sweeter than the bitterness of defeat.


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