Can Shotokan Karate Ever Stand Up To “Ground-And-Pound” Styles Within The Octagon?

The early days of mixed martial arts saw a number of different styles pitted against one another in what can only be called a brawl-like sense of variety. In fact, many opponents actually preferred facing off in this manner as opposed to strategically falling to the ground. Although styles such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu were not taken seriously at first, the advent of names including Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock began to change the very notion of MMA. This brings up an important question. Would more traditional styles such as Shotokan ever stand a chance against the fluid nature of mixed martial arts as a whole? Let’s take a closer look.

Appreciating Each Style for Its Own Merits

We first need to point out that every martial art has its own benefits. In terms of Shotokan, this style boasts a linear strength when performing straight forward movements such as a front kick or a lung punch. However, Shotokan practitioners generally have little to no knowledge of ground fighting. This is why they prefer to remain on their feet.

As we all know, ground-related styles such as Jiu Jitsu are designed to avoid headlong confrontations. This is why masters such as Royce Gracie always prefer to head to the ground as soon as possible. Indeed, it is not likely that even the most seasoned of Jiu Jitsu practitioners would be able to withstand the hard-hitting techniques of Shotokan for very long.

Might Shotokan be Too Traditional?

The other question which needs to be asked involves the relatively inflexible nature associated with Shotokan training. To be sure, there are numerous techniques and applications to learn within this style. The main issue is that practitioners tend to frown upon incorporating movements from different schools of thought (particularly if they happen to be training within a more traditional environment).

Just as physical sports are being supplicated by online alternatives such as virtual leagues and real-time news feeds, Shotokan may need to adapt if it hopes to enjoy a continued presence within the octagon. Unfortunately, it is rare to witness such changes happen overnight when dealing with a decidedly traditional style.

Adopting the Best of Both Worlds

One of the ways in which traditionalists can excel is to learn to adopt different techniques from different styles. This is one of the traits which made icons such as Ken Shamrock and Bas Rutten so dangerous in their heyday. In fact, both fighters have admitted that they were not suited for the ground-and-pound style when they first began training. They required a bit of mental flexibility in order to further vary their skill sets.

This malleable approach is now what serves to define the mixed martial arts community (hence the name). This is also why we are now beginning to witness a more diverse group of fighters than in the past. Fans will remain entertained for hours at a time and the warriors themselves can look forward to a training regimen with no limits. So, there is no doubt that the world of MMA is here to stay.