Is Karate Effective in MMA? | Explained

In this page we will cover if Karate is effective in MMA, along with examples of fighters who have trained in Karate prior to their MMA careers.

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Is Karate Effective in MMA?

Many fighters who have practiced Karate have become UFC World Champions including George St-Pierre, Lyoto Machida, Robert Whittaker, Stephen Thompson and Chuck Liddell.




Karate can be a great base, as it is a traditional martial art that focuses on stand up striking primarily with the hands and feet.

It also prioritizes proper footwork and an understanding of range. This combination allows students to learn how to enter the range of their opponent and land strikes, and then leaving the range to avoid being hit.

Karate also uses a unique stance, as fighters will fight side-ways, rather than the stances that most fans are used to seeing. The sideways stance allows fighters to throw strikes from all different angles, as well as making them extremely unpredictable.

Additionally, most Karatekas are bouncing while using the sideways stance, that allows them to move side to side, and/or forward or backwards. This creates massive unpredictability for their opponent.

Karate Tournaments

Karate tournaments use a point scoring system that rewards the first person to land a strike. Due to this, Karate fighters have a quick, 'snappy' strike as they are trying to land a hit, without being hit back in order to earn points.

Karate With Other Martial Arts

It's important to know that Karate by itself in Mixed Martial Arts will not be very effective. It must be complemented with another martial art such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.



The reason for this is simple, if a fighter is only good at Karate, other fighters will easily exploit this by either taking them down, or getting in the clinch where their kicks will be ineffective.

Fighters such as George St-Pierre and Robert Whittaker added wrestling to their game to become well-round and elite fighters.

GSP in particular would use his newfound wrestling skills in order to take other fighters to the ground, and maul them.

On the other hand, Robert Whittaker would primarily use his wrestling skills in order to keep the fight standing, so that he is able to capitalize on his striking skills.

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