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  • Writer's pictureGrace Dabir

Traditional vs. Creative Martial Arts:

In the association that I compete in, we have another category of competition called creative and extreme martial arts, or XMA for short. While most think of traditional martial arts when thinking of the sport, a whole new category has emerged to bring a new, and dynamic dimension to the sport.

So let's start with the basics.

Trad vs. XMA

Traditional martial arts includes the competition aspects of Traditional Forms, Traditional Weapons, Sparring, and Combat Sparring.

Traditional Forms is a choreographed set of movements based on your belt level. The form that is performed varies in difficulty depending on the level of your belt. For example, the white belt form has 18 basic moves/kicks, while the 3rd degree black belt form is 83 moves with more dynamic, and complex hand and kick movements.

Traditional Weapons is also a choreographed form based on certain weapons such as sword, nunchucks, kamas, bostaff, and etc.

Sparring and Combat sparring are not choreographed, but are points based live fighting competitions.

A white dobok (or uniform) is also typically worn for traditional competition.

XMA martial arts takes a bit of a different approach.

Most people who perform an XMA routine typically do with a musical aspect. Meaning, they create their own form based on their knowledge of martial arts, and gymnastic movement, and present it with music. This creates a more theatrical, and entertaining performance. XMA performances also tend to be faster paced with movements that sync up to the music.

XMA forms combine traditional martial arts movements with either gymnastic movement such as flips, or multiple spin kick combos - also known as "tricking." What you see in an XMA performance is probably what you would see in a stunt scene in a movie in relativity to the moves performed.

For XMA, a black dobok is typically worn.

Overall both styles are very fun to watch, and compete in. XMA is only another extension of traditional martial arts, and continues to grow into a more popular category.

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