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?