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(en) Britain, Freedom* October - DEFENDING A FINE ART – ANARCHISM AND MMA

Date Wed, 14 Dec 2011 09:07:40 +0200

Anarchist groups in this country have traditionally had a strange attitude towards the martial arts. This is in part been due to the inherent hierarchies and replications of macho/homophobic behaviour that are assumed to exist in gyms. ---- In terms of anarchism there is a clash when rejecting hierarchy in political life and accepting the sometimes oppressive relationship between coach and student. A relationship some are happy to accept when wrapped up as an “exotic” non western and non gendered partnership such as in the traditional martial arts of bujikan and Capoira. Both are not only physically highly unrealistic for the average person to successfully practice but also operate under a strict gendered hierarchy. ---- The revolution against the more traditionalist (or impractical) martial arts kicked its way into the main stream in the early 70s through the writings and practice of Bruce Lee, who advocated a free style of fighting based on what worked best rather than what was historically practiced.

This new philosophy, free of the social constructed limitations on practice allowed more people to begin practicing martial arts. This trend was also beginning in Brazil where jujitsu was being developed outside of Japan by the Gracie family.

We see the current practice of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) as part of this development in martial arts, a move away from the rigid hierarchies developed under feudalism to a more practical understanding of how the human body works. We see MMA as achieving this through different styles co-operating (judo with boxing or wrestling with kick boxing).

In that last year we as a collective of likeminded people, not only from an anarchist background, decided to start a martial arts group. We have no head coach, but rather a collective of people with experience helping train others for free; mutual aid was the main idea. The collective has grown in many different ways, with people young and old, male and female, LGBT training together. The training is split into three. The first hour for people with who had never trained with us, the second hour people who have trained together for a period of time and feel comfortable with hitting each other a bit harder, and the last hour is a sparing class. This does not appeal all, but we found people with and without previous experience of martial arts are happy to try as our only motto is “no winners, no egos, no fascists”.

Lucky for us we have a place like the London Action Resource Centre to train…. feel free to come down and train. All welcome

For people interested in getting involved in the martial arts group contact Freedom: copy@freedompress.org.uk and we will pass on your details.

* Anarchist journal
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