What style is best?

I had an old friend write to me recently and asked about a video circulating that shows a Tai Chi master losing, pretty brutally, to an MMA fighter. The friend asked my thoughts on the matter. This type of discussion comes up frequently, the old "what's the best style," question. So here's my reply:

There are as many martial arts, there may be more types of martial arts than there are types of fine arts. Theater, painting, film making, the many different types of dance, prose, sculpture, pottery, leather working, glass blowing, blacksmithing, photography, etc. Each serves a different outlet of expression. Some serve a very practical purpose other than just an expression, some not, yet all attempt to express the inner soul of the creator or artist.

Tai chi is an internal art designed to help us center and maintain our body's balance of flexibility, strength, mental soundness and is spiritual in a sense. MMA is not so much an art as a science of physics applied to anatomy, a sport, if you will. It will win in a pinch, but it is doubtful that it will help you find a spiritual awakening like other martial arts attempt to do.

The thing those of us who have won some fights and lost many will tell you, "Any fighter can beat any other fighter on any given day." I could beat Colin McGregor if I happen to catch him with a case of the flu.

Winning a fight proves the same thing winning a footrace does, that today, in this moment you found the right combination of skill and luck and their lack of skill and luck. Neither the footrace or the fight prove who is a better person.

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