I am planning on doing MMA. Previously I have done taekwondo for 2 years.

I choose MMA because I felt that taekwondo is less powerful with punches and grappling techniques, but when you do a sport like taekwondo or boxing you will be an expert in kicking or punching.

On the other hand when you learn MMA you will learn muay thai, boxing, BJJ, wrestling, so we have to focus on more techniques. I feel that by doing MMA we can grasp only little parts of other sports, so I fear that I cannot be an expert.

Should I go to a MMA class or should I go to different classes for different sports like one class for boxing, one class for muay thai, one class for BJJ?

What is the most efficient way? I am totaly confused.

  • Is there a specific gym with specifically MMA classes near you? Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 9:00
  • Yes I have a MMA gym near by , currently i live in singapore :) Commented Nov 29, 2014 at 7:26
  • A lot of times it comes down to what are you realistically able to fit into your schedule. How far the gyms are away from you plays a significant factor. Start by trying each class, then assessing which ones you like and could reasonably attend given your lifestyle. You are in Singapore, so maybe distance isn't that huge a deal, but I'm thinking of other people reading this question as well. Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 12:48

2 Answers 2


The question asks which is more effective: Doing MMA or doing multiple different martial arts.

There are a couple of different interpretations about what is meant by "effective" in this context, however. First, it can refer to how well all the different styles of martial arts are integrated into a cohesive system whereby all the techniques work together and can easily and quickly be switched from one to the other. Alternatively, it can refer to how good it is for either sport or self-defense.

As for going out and learning multiple styles and integrating them into a cohesive whole, the problem you're going to encounter with that approach is that all the individual, "pure" martial arts don't combine and work together very well without doing a lot of adaptation.

For example, if you want to combine western boxing with judo, you're going to find out through trial and error that the boxing stance is all wrong for an MMA or street scenario. You're too upright in a pure boxing stance, and that means you're more easily taken down by someone who shoots in on you. It also means you'll have to take more time if you want to shoot in on your opponent, telegraphing your moves as you crouch down and lean forward to shoot. So you'll want to modify your boxing stance by sinking down a bit in your legs, spreading your feet out some more, and leaning forward slightly so that you can quickly sprawl against your opponent if they decide to shoot in on you. In boxing, shooting in on someone is against the rules. They don't have to worry about that happening. And so they have optimized their stance so that they can have an advantage in a pure boxing match. For real-life or MMA, it doesn't work well. You'll have to modify it.

Form dictates function, and vice versa. The rules of each martial art, and the assumptions about what those arts are going to be used for, cause those martial arts to look the way they do. If you alter the rules to allow for a wider range of techniques, those martial arts may have to change more or less everything about what they do and how they do it.

This approach is very interesting and cerebral. It will take a very long time, lots of trial and effort, and lots of analysis and research. But ultimately, you'll probably end up with something that looks basically the same as MMA. So, why not just do MMA instead? The people who teach MMA have already done all of this analysis for you. And they didn't do it alone. There are thousands of others that came before them. The most time efficient and practical thing is to just go directly into MMA instead of trying to reinvent it yourself.

But there is a little twist here. Self-defense and MMA do not have the same rules, goals, and strategies. Training only in MMA (from sport-based MMA schools) will probably give you bad habits that will be dangerous in self-defense situations. If self-defense is your primary goal, I recommend learning Gracie Jiujitsu first and/or seeking out an MMA school whose primary interest is in self-defense. They're much more rare, but they are out there. You just have to ask around.

Gracie Jiujitsu is primarily focused on self-defense. They don't optimize for sport until much later on, after blue belt. Their foundational skills that they build at the white belt level allow them to recognize later on when a technique is dangerous for street fighting. And Gracie Jiujitsu is a kind of MMA. They begin at white belt with defense against punches, kicks, and so on. But later on, they actually teach you how to punch and kick. They've integrated it into their style nicely, and it continues to evolve today. They even have small circle joint manipulation and self-defense drills like you see in classical Japanese jujitsu.

Then later on, you can decide to add MMA to your Gracie Jiujitsu training. Or you can go and do MMA entirely. It's up to you. The stuff you learn in Gracie Jiujitsu will make you better in MMA, even if you only care about sport and not self-defense. And that's how most people approach it nowadays.

Many people take Muay Thai classes, also. But in my opinion, you'll get most of what you need of Muay Thai by taking MMA classes instead. Same with western boxing. But Jiujitsu is a different thing. Jiujitsu is much more technical and intricate, which is why I recommend taking it all by itself.

Hope that helps.


It all depends on what you want to achieve. Want to become a boxing champion? Go do boxing. Want to be TKD pro? Go practice TKD.

If you just want to be able to fight off some bullies practice (almost) any martial art, most of them are good and bullies/hooligans normally do not have a rich background of martial arts.

Also, it heavily depends on the teacher. You can spend years learning boxing and still have worse punching technique than a person who does karate(for example) for a couple of years.

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