Early MMA Match

An old article has recently been unearthed and translated describing what could be stated as an early Mixed Martial Arts competition. What’s special about this match up is that it features no less than Choki Motobu, karate master who shared the same sensei as Gichin Funakoshi, namely AnkĊ Itosu.

motobu

motobu

The article states that Motobu entered the competition with no knowledge of the rules or the martial arts involved, he just wanted to fight. This runs very much true to Motobu’s hard man reputation which was earned due to his willingness to engage in street fights at every opportunity.

The image that accompanies the article (shown above) is curious though. Although the background would indicate it is one complete image, the rendering of the Russian opponent looks distinctly hand drawn, while the representation of Motobu looks more like a photograph. Also, the article describes a fight in which Motobu raised his hands to his cheeks, and this is indeed what the image shows, indicating the first move from Hiean Yondan, however by all accounts, Motobu limited his kata practice to the Tekki kata, so it would seem unlikely he would attempt to utitlse moves from a different kata. It would seem reasonable to conclude this image is merely an artists representation of how the fight could have looked to spectators back in the early 1920s when it occurred.

You can view the full article by clicking in the following images.

motobu article

motobu article

motobu article

motobu article

An english translation of the article can be viewed here. What do you make of this MMA match up from days of old? Leave your comments below!

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