Michael Paige pioneering point fighting in MMA


Mixed martial arts was born in 1993, with the intention of proving that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu worked well in a real fight against other martial arts.

It worked real well.

In fact, it worked so well that for a while, little else was deemed to work at all. But then Dan Severn and Mark Coleman proved that wrestlng could be a formidable base in MMA. And for a while, people thought that the grappling arts were all that worked.

Then Maurice Smith kicked a few people including Mark Coleman in the face, and having a base in kickboxing was a proven path to MMA success.

Since then, a number of pioneers have widened the number of martial arts that can be used as a base in MMA.

Tank Abbott showed that street fighting could be formidable, especially if you could bench 600 pounds.

Fedor Emelianenko showed that Combat Sambo was not just a good base, it could be used to beat everyone on the planet.

Lyoto Machida famously said "Karate is back," and took the UFC lighheavyweight title without losing a round, using as his base Shotokan karate.

There are also a variety of martial arts, some of them among the world's most popular, that have no exponents of note in MMA. This is not to say that no notable MMA fighter has done for example Aikido; rather there is not a single notable fighter in MMA using Aikido as a base.

The same thing is true of the world's most popular martial art - Tae Kwon Do. There are a number of fighters, likely thousands, whose kicking is influenced by TKD, but there is not a single fighter in the top 20 in any weight division who uses TKD as his or her base.

This is not to disparage Taekwondo, which has admirably provided conditioning, discipline, and confidence to countless millions of people worldwide. It is not even to dispute that, as Fred Simmons opined "Tae Kwon Do.. is also a deadly serious killing system."

That is a different discussion.

It is frequently said that the style of martial art is not important, it is the person using it that matters. This isn't true. The style of martial art you practice, and whether or not you practice whatever it is against active resistance, has very practical consequences. Bleeding a lot, for example.

The most popular martial art in the USA is probably sport or "point" karate, sometimes referred to derively as "What's the Point?" karate. A cross between kickboxing and fencing, Players wear foam hand, foot, and headgear, and try to land a controlled, clean shot on one another, without being hit in return. When a clean blow is thought to land, the action is stopped, and judges simultaneously vote on whether or the punch or kick in fact landed.

After 20 years, point fighting appears to have an exponent who could break through into the upper ranks of the world's fastest growing sport.

Now competing out of London Shootfighters, 23-year-old Michael "Venom" Paige uses the stance, footwork, techniques, and strategy of point fighting to thus far dramatic effect in MMA. The Englishman stays on the outside, well out even of lunging range, and use remarkable speed and timing to land a dsitinctively executed clean shot.

His speed is such that during his Bellator fight with Bangor, ME fighter Ryan Sanders, people thought something fishy was going on.

As can be seen in the below gif from bloodyelbow, the shot landed cleanly.


In the video below, Paige explains a little more about his approach.

 What do you think UG? Pretty cool striker and I hope more come along, or terrific athlete who would be better off punching and kicking like everyone else?


tags: Bellator   Michael Paige   

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Recent Comments »

armbarseverywhere site profile image  

3/23/13 11:01 PM by armbarseverywhere

You have to hit the other guy first right?And there's also the use of the feint which can create openings.Karate was originally invented for the purposes of war. All you have to do is hit the guy really hard in the right spot and he drops. KO's happen. All that's missing is the sword and staff which actually can deliver a killing blow. Karate is a holistic type of style and in order to use it you must become strong and wise as well as imaginative.

ajl416az site profile image  

3/23/13 4:46 PM by ajl416az

this makes no sensehow is point fighting about fighting for the kill?and how do you deal with guys that are good strikers?when you jump in and out, and you don't fight in the pocket, how can you surprise anyone good?because a good striker isnt surprised by leaping combinations from the outside.a good striker won't let you take an angle on him, or blindly commit to a punch you can easily counter, and against a runner he will patiently walk you down and waits for them to commit because he knows theyu want to counter him.

sankakujimmy site profile image  

3/23/13 4:27 PM by sankakujimmy

Despite being a great athlete,Pages skill level and fighting style are by no means unique. MVP comes from a long line of great fighters from the Lau Gar Kung fu tradition headed by master Jeremy Yau. Despite being a relatively obscure style (compared to Wing Chun, Hung Gar etc) Lau gar went on to become THE major style in the british semi contact and point fighting circuit and even had quite a lot of success in full contact kickboxing. These fighters took elements of their traditional kung fu style, added a high level of athleticism and applied it to kickboxing to create an extremely effective fighting style, becoming legends of the UK point fighting scene in the process. Fighters to google include Clive Parkinson, Alvin Mighty, Kevin Brewerton, the great Alfie Lewis (5x WAKO World Champion) and Michael's own father Master Curtis Page, all of them multiple world champions. There are numerous other world champion produced by this style, but I'm sure you catch my drift. The fighter who started this fighting revolution from the 70's to the 80's was the mythical Steve Babbs, considered by the above fighters to be head and shoulders above them all. It would have been interesing to have seen what the "Genius" would have been capable of in MMA. Hopefully Pages success will continue and help to herald a new era of fighters with more flair and variety of technique, which can only enrich our sport and continue its evolution.

Bisping KOd by CHRIST site profile image  

3/23/13 11:58 AM by Bisping KOd by CHRIST

You heard it here first...... =( . Can't wait for his next fight!

hubris site profile image  

3/23/13 11:55 AM by hubris

MVP vs AndersonMVP vs Lyotolet's see it

hubris site profile image  

3/23/13 11:42 AM by hubris

damn this guy is good

liquidrob site profile image  

3/23/13 8:59 AM by liquidrob


Chiron site profile image  

3/23/13 5:26 AM by Chiron

Paige has done a fantastic job using it in MMA. I hope he keeps it up. In MMA, calling someone a pointfighter is a term for a fighter focused on winning rounds and decisions rather than heavily threatening and finishing opponents. I find it funny that a "pointfighter" has come into MMA and done a great job of finishing opponents. Hopefully he has a bright future in the sport.

Chiron site profile image  

3/23/13 5:17 AM by Chiron

I'd agree, it's not by itself. I took TKD before switching to muay thai and, though I wouldn't go back to using TKD, it helped out a lot in any kind of kicking, distance and movement. I think it's helped out the game of guys like Benson and Pettis more than it's being given credit for.

Chiron site profile image  

3/23/13 5:13 AM by Chiron

That was a great finish by Paige. As far as the "there are no fighters that use TKD as a base", weren't Bas Rutten, Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis all TKD BBs? Pretty sure they were, and it seems they've all, especially Bendo and Pettis, used a good chunk of it in their MMA style's base. It's not like they're going for takedowns and top control or trying to work a sub most often or stick to a boxing or muay thai stance.