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Creating the Ultimate Martial Arts Style

Ultimate Martial Arts Style Bruce Lee
Black Belt Plus

Creating the ultimate martial art style for self-defense and fighting is a profound endeavor, as it involves a careful consideration of the myriad styles, each bearing unique strengths and weaknesses. We asked experts spanning generations, posing the thought-provoking question: "If tasked with creating the ultimate martial art, which styles would you combine?" 

Prepare to be enlightened by their responses.

Mike Stone 
Muay Thai  and JiuJitSu
Ultimate Martial Arts Style Mike Stone

The foremost principle, though not inherently tied to martial arts, is mastering proper breathing techniques. Understanding the essence of breath, perhaps through Eastern philosophies, takes precedence. Breath control, particularly during exertion or moments of stress, holds paramount importance. There is no "normal" breathing; each breath carries significance, especially amidst fear or intense situations and that style can best be learned in arts like yoga. 

Regarding the amalgamation of martial arts styles, unquestionably, Muay Thai encompasses a wide array of techniques and is unparalleled in its arsenal. When coupled with the ground expertise of Jiu-Jitsu, a formidable self-defense system emerges.

Kathy Long 
Kung Fu San Soo, Muay Thai & Catch Wrestling 
Ultimate Martial Arts Style Kathy Long

Kung Fu San Soo focuses on striking vital targets, (if possible) without missing anything else. Knowing how the body reacts away from pain one can create a collision course of strikes. There are many small joint locks, throws, and sweeps in this art also...

Adding a solid striking art like Muay Thai which also utilizes some elbows, knees, punches, and kicks, thirdly. 

Catch Wrestling is a very tough and rough martial art that emphasizes the “pain”  made while in the transition of move which is very effective. 

Jim Arvanitis
Boxing, Muay Thai, and BJJ  
Ultimate Martial Arts Style

Historically, ancient Greek pankration was the first documented combat sport to combine striking and grappling for both standup and ground fighting. It extracted elements from the earlier combat sports of wrestling (pale) and boxing (pygmachia),

and added kicking techniques. 

This dates back 2500 years ago to the 33rd Olympic Games of 648 B.C. My reconstruction of pankration circa 1969 preserved this concept by integrating artistic remnants of ancient Greek palaesma (techniques) with my ongoing studies of boxing, muay-Thai, Greco-Roman and Catch wrestling, kosen judo, and boxe Francaise savate. 

These arts offered me personally the best solutions for addressing all possible angles and ranges of both standup and ground fighting in the pankration tradition. There was also an efficient flow to this unique mix resulting in many seamless transitions.

In MMA today, I can conclude from my analysis of the competitors that the best

the combination tends to be boxing, Muay Thai, and BJJ (which evolved from kosen judo).

In my many years of proactively training in various arts these tend to complement each

other in a total combat setting under a limited-rules format.

Ron Van Clief 
Karate, Kung Fu, Muay Thai, Judo and BJJ
Ultimate Martial Arts Style Ron Van Clief

At 51 years old Ron Van Clief holds the record for being the oldest person ever to enter the Octagon to fight in the UFC.  But even at 51 he took away learning experiences that would change his study of martial arts and today at 80, he is still learning and has a lesson for us all.

In a question about what is the best martial arts to combine his answer was personal and profound. “To be a complete/balanced martial artist striking and grappling must be sophisticated for optimum results,” said Van Cleif  “I learned this at UFC 4 realizing my lack of ground fighting was self-evident.”  To be complete, Karate, Kung Fu, Muay Thai (stand up), and Jiu Jitsu/Judo (ground/grappling). 

From my personal experience, all stand-up arts must include ground/grappling. 13 years ago I started studying Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.  Now at 80 years old, I received my brown belt.  It has been an amazing journey. I now have an understanding of the basics of groundwork.

Harinder Singh
FMA/Muay Thai/Wing Chun
Ultimate Martial Arts Style  Harinder Singh

The ultimate style of martial arts would have to address striking, clinching, trapping, ground

fighting, edged weapons, blunt weapons, and multiple opponent scenarios. I would learn the 5

angles of attack and the U-Drill from Filipino Martial Arts. 

Learn the eye jab, cross, palm hook, uppercut, and overhand for empty hands. Learn how to kick the groin, and the leg, and intercept the knee with a stomp kick. Learn Muay Thai Clinch and Wrestler’s Pummel. 

A slapping and pulling hand from Wing Chun to clear barriers. Takedown defense and pull guard vs a shoot is essential. 

Learn to escape mount, side control, and a back take. Learn how to breathe, relax under pressure, and read your opponent so you can intercept, deceive, and seamlessly transition between all of the skills above. The ultimate style is the style of no style, which allows the martial artist to take any shape and adapt to any situation or circumstance.

Joe Corley 
American Karate/Tae Kwon Do + Warrior Krav Maga
Ultimate Martial Arts Style Joe Corley

From my personal experience and perspective, I believe that the combination of realistic “American Karate and Tae Kwon Do” training, combined with “Warrior Krav Maga”

training provides the greatest applications in Self Defense.

In the “American Karate and Tae Kwon Do,“ training, we learn the importance of distance and timing, explosive speed, and focused power in our strikes; and in the Warrior Krav Maga, we apply those elements of timing, distance, and focused power with very pragmatic and simple uses of those techniques, combined with specific skills from BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) and Kali knife principles for use in defense against knives and counter attacks with knives and empty hand counters. The distance and timing elements from the American Karate and American Tae Kwon Do styles blend very nicely with the   pragmatic uses of the skills from Warrior Krav Maga

Tom Callos 
Boxing / Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Ultimate Martial Arts Style Tom Callos

If the teachers are experienced, seasoned veterans of their respective arts. Arts that allow for live, unrehearsed training with a partner, like boxing and jiu-jitsu, introduce practitioners to something akin to resistance/reality in combat —or as close as one can get and still train safely.  “Classical” arts that promote exacting form in technique have their uses and value, but they are not usually fast tracks to pragmatic fight/defense strategy, in my opinion. 

That being said, the name of any given style does not automatically contain or dispense the skills, attitude, or effectiveness of an “art.” The actual usefulness and/or manifestation of skill originates with the knowledge and experience of the person teaching.  All arts and styles are only as good, useful, and pragmatic as the knowledge/experience of the coach.

Dan Anderson

Hard-contact Karate, Judo, Jiu-jitsu, and Wrestling

Ultimate Martial Arts Style Dan Anderson

From my perspective, I would say any kind of karate that was based on strong sparring and any ground sport.  I don’t choose specialties such as Gojuryu karate and Japanese Jiu-jitsu.  I think any kind of karate that will allow you hard contact free-fighting and any ground game (Judo, Jiu-jitsu, wrestling, etc.) are a good combination.

I grew up in an era where you had to throw techniques hard enough to hurt your partner if you decided to follow through with them.  It was not “touch and tag” back then. I remember that in 1977 I got tired of being “second punched” after the call of break. I spent the entire year dropping my opponents to cure them of that comedy. I bring up this memory because that is how we were taught back then – to be able to hit hard as needed.

I wrestled for a short while in high school.  I wasn’t any good but I did have one very good takeaway.  I was familiar with being on my back on the ground. I knew enough to scramble back up to my feet.  Later I learned a couple of Ju-jitsu Houdini moves from Coach Jeff Burger so that I could effect escapes from the current vogue ground and pound tactics.

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