Lyota Machida and Shotokan Karate
Whenever UFC and karate come up in the same discussion, its also certain that someone will mention how “very Shotokan” Lyoto Machida is. I’ll start by saying that Machida is one of my favourite UFC competitors, but a pure Shotokan fighter, he is not.
The only thing “Shotokan” about Machida (and please keep in mind that even he calls it Machida Karate) is his strategy in avoiding attacks from his opponents. His punches, kicks, blocks (or lack thereof) are the same as many others in UFC and other MMA leagues. Freeze-frame a few techniques and you’ll see that they aren’t “pure” Shotokan at all. In fact, if you didn’t know he was a Shotokan practitioner, you wouldn’t say most techniques were characteristically Shotokan.
His strategy of shifting away from an attack, something he does better than anyone else in UFC (NSFW), is about the only trace of “pure” Shotokan that exists in his fights.
So why do so many Shotokan folks hail Machida as the primary evidence of Shotokan Karate’s effectiveness? People rally behind him and say “SEE? This is why Shotokan works!” or “You can defend yourself too! Just look at Lyoto Machida”. Try to compare yourself to him. Lyoto Machida:
- studies several types of martial arts,
- spends several hours a day, 5-6 days a week training,
- engages in weight lifting and plyometric training,
- has several personal coachs,
- operates and trains in a club, and
- fights against some of the best UFC fighters available on a regular basis
… among other activities (probably eats right). If you, or anyone you know, do 3 or more of these things then you might stand a chance to be as proficient as he is. Otherwise, venerating a false god could be dangerous. Just go back to your semi-weekly classes and unquestioning faith in what is taught and you’ll be better off.