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Responding to the MMA Video

Responding to the MMA Video


Hi, my name’s Father Mike Schmitz
and this is Ascension Presents. So I’ve never done this before.
I’ve never had a follow-up video to a previous video. So I thought you know what? Last week, that
video on mixed martial arts as entertainment, had a lot of feedback. I should offer
feedback to the feedback, because I don’t know,
there was some really good things people said. Here’s one of the things that I took away
from the whole last week of getting— I don’t want to say bombarded by messages but how do I say? Inundated?— by messages and that was this: I really like the people who watch these videos. Like, really.
That sounds like I’m pandering, but I really like the people
who watch these videos because there were so many people
who disagreed with me who were— I felt honored that they disagree with me and that they
thought enough to write to me. But it’s interesting because they were kind of five
key areas of disagreement. One is, I guess, less than respectful but whatever.
What do I care? It was someone who wrote in—
people, many, a few, whatever— who wrote and said basically,
“You’re dumb. You’re stupid. You’re an idiot,” which is fine because I already
knew all of those things. I (laughs) just didn’t
know what they were referencing, which dumbness of my part,
which idiocy that I am or have. What stupidity were they referencing in that case?
I wasn’t sure. So that’s kind of like,
“OK. Well, that’s that.” But the second kind of people who wrote
back and like, “OK, fine but I still like it. I still like mixed martial arts as entertainment
and I don’t see what’s wrong with it.” Even then, I blame myself because the point of the video
was to explain the reason why and if I didn’t, then that’s on me. Like if I didn’t do a good enough job,
then that’s my fault. The third were the “But what about”s. The “but what about”s are the “But what about football?”
“But what about boxing?” “What about other sports?” I’d say, “OK, those are all great questions.” but I would say the main—I guess—I don’t want to say rebuttal—but response that I would have is that’s someone trying to
extend the line further. All that last video was
trying to do was propose that there IS a line, right? So maybe the line goes to boxing. People wrote to me and said, “More people died boxing than doing MMA.” Like, “OK.” Or “More people get serious brain damage
playing professional football than MMA.” Like, I don’t know. I wasn’t trying to establish
how far the line went. All I was trying to offer was
that there IS a line somewhere. So “But what about all these other things?” I don’t know.
That’s a great question. I think we should look into it. The fourth was one of my favorites. The fourth is people
who absolutely disagreed. “But Father, here’s what you
might not know about mixed martial arts—” And it was great.
It was so informative and so educational. People were saying, “Well, what you might not know is what my experience is I was on a road that was going nowhere and
I got involved with mixed martial arts and now my life is changed.
I have discipline. I have friends. I have a brotherhood. I have a mentorship that’s happening.
I get to mentor others.” Like all these good things. And I’m like, “That’s awesome.” Others will say, “Well Father,
what you might not know is that a lot of these guys
are actually friends outside the ring.” That “You might look at them
as tough guys who have these tats and they seem like
they want to just kill everybody but they don’t, they save it to the ring
and outside the ring, they’re very kind.” And that’s awesome too. I didn’t think that
they were bloodthirsty guys outside the ring, but that was great that they told me. Others say, “What you might not know about the sport of mixed martial arts is that there are certain restrictions that
prohibit certain kind of violence in the ring.” Like, “Great.” And those are all really good things, things I might not have known
about mixed martial arts. Now, a lot of them
I did know about mixed martial arts because the question
I will come back with is this: It’s not “Is there discipline there?”
I said there was. It’s not, “Is there nobility there?”
I think I at least alluded to the fact that I think that there’s so much nobility in speed and strength and skill and even in areas of fighting. The question is: Is this rooted in violence? Like, is the core,
the essence of mixed martial arts on TV, violent? I haven’t heard anyone
who says that’s NOT the case, that it’s NOT violent. Secondly,
Is it violence as entertainment? Because that’s a key distinction. A couple guys who actually compete
in mixed martial arts wrote to me and I’m really grateful for them. Other people did as well. And they said, “Well, think about this. Have you thought about the idea that if you’re involved in it—” Because I advocated being involved in martial arts or even mixed martial arts to be able to train yourself, to have a strength, to be able to not be a victim,
but to defend yourself and those you love. So they said, “What about those who compete on their own who want to look at the pros to see how those who are most excellent
do the thing I want to do?” So for them, they said,
it’s not so much entertainment as it is education. I thought, “That’s a great point.” Things change a little bit, don’t they?
I mean, obviously, it’s still violent and yet, at the same time,
it’s to a greater purpose, not simply my entertainment. Now, I’m not saying that carte blanche
if your motivation is different, if your motivation is OK,
then everything’s OK, I’m not saying that at all but what I am is saying is this whole thing comes
down to this idea of human beings have dignity. Violence strips a human being of dignity. Violence as entertainment
has no place in the life of the Christian. So this isn’t actually about
mixed martial arts. In this video right now,
it’s not just a follow up in the sense of like, “I’m going to defend myself.”
“Quit picking on me.” What do I care? I care what you think but I care more about
what we choose as Christians. Here’s what I mean. There’s this principle called the
Law of Exposure. The Law of Exposure is
“What I expose myself to, I become.” So the images that I bring into my brain
are the images that are in my mind. The language that I take in
usually becomes the language that I use. The worldview that I expose myself to
often becomes the worldview that I embrace, whether
consciously or unconsciously. Our choice of entertainment
is incredibly important. The stories we tell ourselves and
the stories you pass on to others is incredibly important So the question all of us have to ask
not about mixed martial arts. That’s one question
but it might not pertain to you at all. It might not pertain to me at all. The main question we all have to ask is Does my relationship with Jesus inform
my choice of entertainment or not? “I really like Game of Thrones.”
OK, that could be problematic. Why? Because it has a certain worldview
that’s not commensurate with the Christian worldview. “It’s not that, it’s Family Guy.” OK. Again, Family Guy has a certain worldview that’s not commensurate, it doesn’t coincide, that we can’t embrace as Christians. And so that sense
of being able to say, “There’s some areas in my life, in my entertainment,
when I expose myself to them, that’s how I begin thinking.” But as Christians, we know this, right? We’re not called to put on the mind of the world.
We’re called to put on the mind of Christ. We’re not called to embrace the spirit of the world .
We’re called to embrace the spirit of Christ. We’re not called to be guided by the spirit of this world
or the mentality of this world. We’re called to be guided by
the mentality of Jesus. And the question we can ask
in so many ways is Does this entertainment that I’m choosing to form my mind and form my heart with— because what I expose myself to not only do I think about, I learn to love. Does the entertainment that I choose
help me to think like Jesus, to live like Jesus and
to love like Jesus? Or does the entertainment I choose
become an obstacle to me to do all those things? I think it’s a question every one of us can ask,
regardless of what we think about MMA. At least that’s what I think. Anyways,
from all of us here at Ascension Presents, my name is Father Mike. God bless. (gulp) (wuh!) Sorry.

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100 thoughts on “Responding to the MMA Video

  1. I just absolutely love you so much, I've never listened to anyone that's been able to explain everything so perfectly, like the words are coming directly from Jesus. I hope you don't let the negative comments get to you, because these videos have helped me so much with understanding things I didn't before. I can only imagine the impact they've had on so many other people. Love you Fr Mike!! 💞

  2. Father Mike, Sadly most of those really upset represent the stereotypical Trump supporter. They absolutely love Jesus and your channel, BUT if you happen to diss MMA, Nascar, or Fox News you are in deep trouble!

  3. I love to hear another person push for this line that got erased through the modernist and nihilist movement, which always existed. Well, maybe not in the times of gladiator games.
    But I would go further. Approaching anything as entertainment is wrong, because everything we read, see, practice, every story or movie or game informs our worldview, teaches us something. The passivity implied by the word entertainment just makes it easier to implant wrong, unchristian ideas.

  4. #askfrmike Are you a member of Opus Dei, and do you routinely lie in order to gain wealth and power for this personal prelature.

  5. I am in no way attacking, but where do we draw the line? As pointed out you can pull some good things out in each one of those entertainment. I don't think you are advocating for only EWTN being on the TV, so were is that line and how it relates to each person, because I would imagine it varies person to person.

  6. Your videos are great teaching aids, as a catachist I recommend our teenagers and RCIA to watch you to get some great teaching. Just watched your comments on MMA. Would this idea of objectifying violence for entertainment also apply to other aggressive contact sports such as NFL football, Ice Hockey, Boxing, Rugby even? Sometimes I think an ice hockey match can be bloodier than MMA Surely if we encourage human beings to be actively aggressive to each other in sport we are denying the dignity of man and not recognising that man is made in God's image . What would be the teaching?

  7. father mike like always love al ur videos great teaching and I understand where u were going with this. not easy for people to understand. but well done.

  8. I can't believe we have MA shows on TV when I had foster kids I blocked that and R and I don't know I probably allowed PG because they were older teens and I blocked BET tv because it was all about sex and not as in a committed relationship to your marital partner.

  9. I have been really convicted lately about my love of . GoT. I knew the show was NOT lining with my Catholic values and no amount of good plots, acting or downright entertaining aspects could justify that reality. It’s So HArd to walk this path and be true to how Christ calls us to live in this day and age. Especially with the lukewarm faith being promoted. Mainstream Christianity tells us that it’s ok to watch GoT or listen to vulgar songs etc but Christ teachings are clear on these things. Thanks for calling my soul out Father!
    Chai! That MMA discussion was my moral Trojan horse! Can’t believe you just came in and sprung the GoT call out on my soul 😫😂

  10. Hey Father Mike! Just came across your videos I like most of them and respectfully disagree with others like this one to a certain degree. I've been an MMA fan for years now. I've always liked the art but never practiced unfortunately. I think the issue has to do with perception for a lot of people. Your video certainly changed mine a bit and I do agree with you somewhat. But I think perception is the right word because with some people, the fighters included, the sport is rooted in art, not violence which I'm sure you knew. MMA is, I believe, the highest level of competition a human being can compete in and we both agree that that's good for human beings to grapple with (pun intended). There's no doubt some people watch it for the violent bloodlust entertainment but even the fighters want it to be entertaining to others. I can see your point and can definitely meet you halfway but I think perception is key because I'd love to hear your thoughts but I don't think that all forms of violence really strips human beings of they're dignity. MMA, football, boxing, wrestling, roughhousing with your friends or dad are all violent but all don't strip human beings of they're dignity. Or rather at least we agree they don't strip the participants of the sport of they're dignity. So I think as long as the viewers perspective is one of true gratitude and appreciation for the participants and what they contribute to the art, and the wonder of what the possibilities of man can be, then I think the sport is perfectly fine to watch. Thanks if you read all that!!! I'm a struggling Christian raised Catholic trying to learn more about my faith recently. GOD BLESS!

  11. ONE PHRASE….. SPECIAL PLEADING FALLACY………. All of what you said could be applied to many aspects of Christian life. The scourging of Jesus, was that not violent? What about the many violent and graphic texts in the old testament? Lets look at Ezekiel 23:20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
    So because theres so much sexuality and violence should we not read the bible? Simply saying because theres violence in MMA there for its not moral is illogical and falls into the special pleading fallacy because you are not willing to apply the same rules to the bible? CONTEXT.

  12. Fr Mike, so would you say that it's best for a Catholic to not listen to music with cuss words and messages about praising money, drugs, and women?

  13. I do agree, but personally under the same the pretenses the majority of what we do or watch for entertainment could be considered drawing us from Jesus if you really look hard enough. Personally I think we just need to have a strong enough faith to see the difference between the real world and how God is calling us to live in it and fake ideals that are purely there just to entertain us. Like for instance I really enjoy the Dan Brown and JK Rowling Harry Potter books. Does that mean I believe in witchcraft and all the goofy things Dan Brown says about Jesus, our church, and otherwise? Absolutely not. But he writes very well and his novels are very entertaining. Same with Rowling. Now there's a difference with books/movies like "50 shades of grey" and ones that entertain with just lust and violence only, clearly. But personally I believe entertainment that doesn't totally follow the teachings of Jesus but is only being used as entertainment, isn't too bad a thing as long as we don't let it in the way of what really matters. But hey, you're the one who is the priest here so I'm totally all ears haha. But anyways just wanted to say thanks Father Mike for doing these videos. You've really helped me in a lot of ways spiritually with these. Can I request you possibly do a video on the brown scapular and the apparition of Mary at Mt Carmel? I saw the scapular put on a Mary statue at our church during adoration last week and it really has been on my mind lately and would love to learn more about it. Thanks Father and peace 🙂

  14. Years ago, I read a doctoral dissertation (CUA) titled "The Morality of Prizefighting" by Fr. George Bernard, CSC. His work equally applies to MMA.

  15. I’m binge watching on Fr. Mike’s teachings. Guess what? I’m being drawn closer to Jesus and his teachings. 2 thumbs up!

  16. What about violence in fiction? There is whoopass in Lord of the Rings, and I love it. I also love some crazy violent movies, especially those with a righteous hero.

  17. I always had a personal issue with 2 guys beating each other for entertainment, but never taught it was unchristian since both men do it consensual. I guess, I was looking at as the fighter, but not as the audience! Father Mike makes a good point!

  18. Good job, Fr. Mike, telling the truth, as you see it, without fear, and with directness, but politely. It's important to be true, but also peaceful.

  19. Any suggestions for finding good entertainment? Many TV series have mixed messages containing good and bad influences.

  20. It is not violence as entertainment, at least to me personally. When I watch I fight I don’t want to go watch some violence I want to see these high level athletes compete and see who’s the best at the art. To me it’s one of the most intelligent and skill full things to watch. I do not watch for violence

  21. Hi father schmitz, I'd just like to say I think you're great and you've helped me a lot, however I do disagree with some ideas you shared, because to me and many others, I am entertained by mma, but not because they are spilling blood or breaking bones, but I enjoy the technique and physical endurance they perform. And I'd like to believe that many other mma fans do aswell, I'm not saying that about every fan as some may want to see the spill of blood and breaking of bones, I think you understand my point. Anyway thank you for the content, I really enjoy your videos

  22. Let me start by saying Thank You❣I had no hope, no religion, and no way to help my self. Through YOU…our Lord Jesus has answered questions, and addressed feelings no other soul new I was asking, or feeling. Thank you for all that you do, for all of your sacrifices, and for the love you share . I understand now that this is possible because of your love and devotion to GOD.

  23. There is a huge amount of dignity and respect for someone willing to suffer that much pain in training and the ring. Sure it’s a level of violence for entertainment but so is football and rugby.

  24. Thank you very much, Fr. Mike, for all your videos!
    I am trying to study english by your channel and all I find here is amazing.
    God bless your mission!

  25. Dear Father Mike, thank you for all your videos. I love the clarity that you give in most subjects on a Christian world view. Could you please make a video about the topic of exposure that you mentioned in this video? Many thanks again. God bless your work and life.

  26. I went to a Christian brothers school in Bristol UK where boxing and most particularly rugby were highly regarded. The brothers were fanatical rugby fans and believed that boys are by nature aggressive and rugby and boxing channeled that aggressive. I loved both sports and met a number of professional boxers all but one have been gentlemen outside of the sport. But I no longer enjoy watching people hurt each other but boxing has been a route out of poverty and crime for so many deprived boys as it teaches discipline and boxers will happily walk away from Street violence. While I no longer enjoy violent sport it is the lesser of two evils. I think the church would do well to reintroduce boxing clubs linked to parish churches in deprived areas to attract kids who will otherwise hang about the streets and be anti social. With the head and body protection now available lasting damage can be avoided. Boys will be boys and they will fight far better for them to release that aggression in a controlled environment. I am a close friend of a former light heavyweight world champion and he hasn't had a street fight in over 40 years since starting boxing at a Catholic run youth club. I fear he may have acquired some neourological damage but head protection would of stopped this.

  27. Fr. Mike, all humankind are born with passions, it is in our nature, in our being; violence is a way to express our self-existence, sometimes because we are defending ourselves, because we suffered an injustice, or simply for "competition"; the challenge is to discern when this "violence" is "righteous" and when it is not. Personally, I am against violence. I do not see anything wrong with "competition", but the "borderline" to lose my dignity as a child of God is much greater when I expose myself to events which I intuit will dehumanize me and put me at risk to stop seeing the other as a brother in Jesus Christ. The golden-rule is: "Love God above everything and your neighbor as yourself". When I "kill" my brother, I kill myself.

  28. You are an amazing Priest and also an amazing person. GOD Bless you and may you be canonized as a Saint Father Mike. You're a True inspiration and also you're among the funniest Priests I've ever seen.

  29. I gave up tv, ps3, but mma God pls forgive me, stipe is champ and im croatian its only flash and blood of this world, they all respect eachother spirits

  30. I thought in the initial moments that I couldn’t possibly have interest in this video, much less have a comment. Lol— wrong! So thoughtful, Fr. Mike, so thoughtful. On the one hand, those who wrote of the educational value of MMA, and the transformative value in their life have such a cogent point. On the other hand, the idea of a Christian view of entertainment, and a possibly pernicious negative influence if we disregard such a view, also, such a very cogent point. How to weigh the two, how to balance or decide a certain way. Something to think through. Once again, I am reminded of the riches in a conundrum or a dilemma, the spiritual gift.

  31. Dignity yes! Or treat your body to the disregard and disrespect that God gave us. Our physical bodies are temples of God, or do your free will thing. I choose respect. Thank you Fr. Mike, always.

  32. What I can't understand are people who love football, watch it all the time, and watch player after player get injured (many times getting carried physically off the field because they are so severely injured) and at the same time these exact same people are appalled when one man gives another man a single punch in the cage and then say MMA is immoral. These people see football as a good family sport and even encourage their children to get involved in it (despite the many injuries that occur even on the high school level — even sending high school boys to the hospital with broken bones and concussions!). At the same time they call MMA evil and too violent. Such people are not thinking clearly. The roots of MMA go back to Pankration (a sport dating back 2,000 years). MMAs roots are not so much rooted in violence per se as they are rooted in the very first sports — namely one-on-one grappling and wrestling. MMA is much better than Pankration however because Pankration had hardly any rules at all, whereas MMA has very stringent rules. And, in terms of what we take in is what we become….quite frankly, and I am very serious about this, I really think taking in what Donald Trump says is far far more dangerous than watching MMA. How people can be so against MMA and at the same time support a president who has said so many hateful things is beyond me. My relationship with Jesus informs my choice of entertainment and also informs my choices in terms of which news sources I watch and which news sources I ignore. My relationship with Jesus also informs my choice of candidates when it comes time to vote in an election. I know many MMA fighters (some of them personally) who put Jesus first and foremost in their lives. The ones I know personally go to church on a regular basis and lead good lives. One of the reasons I watch and enjoy MMA and why I feel comfortable doing so is knowing the faith lives of those in the cage. Not all of them are saints, but so many of them are good people. I love MMA. I love Jesus much more of course. But I do enjoy watching MMA. And I see no problem with that. Knowing MMA fighters personally and supporting them helps my Christian faith life.

  33. In addition to my comment below, I have a question, Fr. Mike. Would you be willing to put the Star Wars films under the same scrutiny? Let's think about it — not only does Star Wars condone violence, it uses violence as entertainment. It also holds a philosophical view of existence completely at odds with the Catholic Church. It also holds spiritual views which are dubious at best and downright dangerous at worst — very much from an Eastern point of view and not at all in harmony with Trinitarian or sacramental theology. MMA is violent but it doesn't really preach anything — Star Wars preaches erroneous spirituality almost continuously. If we are going to be critical of MMA, shouldn't we be much more critical and even condemnatory of Star Wars films?

  34. It seems like most forms of entertainment have some element of domination in them. They stroke the ego. They uplift pride and arrogance. They make you feel powerful and valuable. They make you feel like a winner (and to be a winner, you also need a loser).

    Whether it’s professional sports, pornography, action movies, or most forms of entertainment, they uplift us, rather than humble us and cause us to want to reconcile with God and with others.

  35. If u stop watching or doing something because this guy says so you’re in a cult not religion, make your own decisions people. Your religion has killed billions, but I guess it’s ok when gods says so

  36. Father Mike, the only reason people need to disagree, is because of self justification. We always want to try and defend things that are questionable, and generally, as you know, it's very difficult for us as humans to have to accept that perhaps something we are partaking in, is actually stripping our human dignity. We can train ourselves for greatness without bringing harm on to others purposely. You are a voice of total truth, and your points are very straightforward and clear. There are many people who become consumed by this world, I was one of them, we've all been guilty of it. But the only way for true transformation, is not only hearing truth, but opening our hearts to recognizing that we need to be changed by it. Thank you for these videos, I really appreciate them.

  37. Thank you! I've been struggling a little with this and God is so good, here you are with the answer I've been searching for. God bless you and keep you always Father!<3

  38. Fr. Mike, thank you for sharing your insight, and inspiring me to be a better Christian. You are truly brilliant and have a way of connecting with people of all ages. God bless you

  39. i would love for you to do a video on music choices! Alot of people listen to top 40 music, alot of it being against a Catholic worldview. i would love to hear your thoughts on whether we should be selective of what we listen to. 🙂

  40. I don't believe I disagree with you in any of your points Fr Mike & don't know if I missed what could be the answer (in the video) to a question I had on it. I have a younger sister whom I've advised to go into martial arts for self-defence. Personally, my family doesn't watch it at all but I thought it'd be beneficial and maybe even essential for her future safety & wellbeing. She can't carry/use a small gun as an equaliser due to guns not being allowed here & the rate of rape and sexual assault has risen considerably in the past few years.

  41. I'm a catholic too Father, and I agree if watch fighting entertainment like UFC is destroy human dignity, because they make the athlete "topless", use ring girl, minimal protection in equipment, and many more. But the case gonna be different if we come to Mixed Martial Arts. Let's say that MMA is no diifferent with other martial arts like karate, judo, kick boxing, etc. Like the other martial arts sport, MMA can be made to be a good sport. International Mixed Martial Arts federation, the international organization of MMA uses different mechanism in competition rules. The athlete uses glove with more protection, use leg protector like in Karate, they uses T-shirt when compete (not topless), and no something like Ring girl. The conclusion of my argument is that isn't the MMA that rip human dignity, but how the sport is being held.

  42. Great video…thank you. I watch pornography a couple times a week & something about the message you've shared has caused me to seriously reconsider my interest in that sort of media. Thanks. yall are really helping people

  43. Hey, there’s actually an episode of Family Guy where Brian wanted to commit suicide, but Stue(I don’t know how to spell his name) doesn’t want to commit suicide because he loves him. That’s one of the only good moments from Family Guy. There’s also some good moments from the older seasons of Family Guy too. But, I don’t like Family Guy anyway, especially the new seasons. But, I have to point that out. I understand that you didn’t see that, because you just saw the bad things.

  44. and this is when religion becomes absolutist and totalitarian, shaming people all the way home to their own TV screens- yuck

  45. Good points Father, I'm Catholic and am a fan of mma. I don't know what the statistics are regarding percentage of fight stoppages via submissions or KO's/TKO's but submitting an opponent in mma I'm guessing you would consider a lot less violent. I enjoy watching different fighters using different techniques or disciplines such as wrestling/ji jitsu/combat sambo etc to out think or outmanoeuvre their opponents, almost like a physical game of chess.
    I can say that I don't wish to see any fighter sustain any serious injury, but if I am honest there are some fighters who I didn't like that I wanted to see get hurt. Generally though I watch mma or boxing and other competitive sports because I enjoy seeing people using different techniques to beat their opponents. There is a large percentage of people who watch competitive fighting because they do wish to see people get hurt or injured, so I can totally see where you are coming from.
    I'm guessing though that you wouldn't have an issue regarding wrestling tournaments or ji jitsu tournaments etc because those types of sports aren't really geared towards causing your opponent an injury?

  46. The only comment on the first video that completely disagreed with was your view that everybody should be trained in how to use guns, but that is probably more indicative of our different cultures.

  47. So anyway. I cant change St. John Vianney anymore then his sister,St. Prisilla can. Father, you would weven fear for your lifwe from me if you understood what St. John Vianney has become after DAther Strassner got done with shutting him up about his child Abuse.

  48. Yes. Marial Arrs. Aside from his 5,000,000 pushups a day St. John Vianney learned how to do from boredom and ridicule,and abuse in some of our biggest prisons like Tou can find out. He called himself Tom Vianney when I knew him in Philadelphia. But his name boils down to Tom Falco born in New York city whose family moved to Allentown when he was little. His dad is Ytalian american from Italy to here in the 1930's. His dad was a very hArd worker. He painted houses. Tom scared me to death two yeArs agoi when he told me all of what he became. So St. agustine just sAys,"Lenore, he is abusive. You have to be careful."

  49. People involved in MMA should realize violence should not be entertainment.I agree with Fr.Mike.It's not bad to know the arts but should be used only for self defense when needed.It is also noble and a skill.

  50. I only know that I'd be very interested in hearing what defenders of professional MMA/kickboxing/boxing would have to say about injuries that result from weight cutting. In terms of the point at which the body is no longer being treated as a temple of the Holy Spirit, how about severe injury or death resulting from trying to cut down to a weight the Lord never intended for you to reach? And with greed vice personal fulfillment or love of country being your main motivator?

  51. Thank you for this, Fr Mike. It helped me as my son has this interest and I was not comfortable with the violence.

  52. Nacho Libre! Perhaps this short movie clip will explain. 😆
    https://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/nacho-libre/blessed-in-battle

  53. Can you get hurt doing Martial Arts? Yes.
    Can you get hurt doing most sports? Yes.
    So the sin is not that you get hurt.

    Is the pain you receive in Martial Arts expected? Yes.
    Is the pain in most other sports expected? Yes.
    The sin is also not that you expect to get hurt but do it, nevertheless.

    Is it OK to watch superhero movies, where people fake getting hurt for your entertainment?
    Is it OK to delight in watching a superhero take down a villain?
    I will admit, there is a play on justice to be thought upon regarding this topic, specifically, so it is a slight false equivalency, but the point still stands: you didn't have to see that movie; you didn't have to watch the injustice.

    What about a movie where the good guys don't win? Would it be morally wrong to watch that?

    Martial Arts are just that: art. There is a beauty to it all. There is a beauty in fighting. The way I see it, it's strategy, it's elegance, it's intelligence, it's a wonderful display of competitiveness, strength, and power. It is pure dominance, and that can be a magnificent and glorious thing.
    There's a terrible problem in the phrasing. In the first video, you asked:
    "Do I think that Mixed Martial Arts as entertainment is a good thing?"
    It depends what you mean by "good." Is it, itself, a morally good thing? I think the answer to this question is the same as the answer to any sport. Is fencing itself a morally good thing? Is soccer itself a morally good thing? No. Are they morally bad? Are they nocent? No.

    The goal of Martial Arts is not violence. There is no "goal," no one reason, every Martial Artist does Martial Arts. If, however, we were to assume the goal is violence, would you say bodybuilding is a sin? If we are to assume the purpose of Martial Arts is violence, could we not just as readily assume the purpose of bodybuilding is pride? Pride, here defined, as being proud of oneself. I'm not talking about vanity, which is excessive pride. How, then, could it possibly be OK? Isn't pride, in any of its moods, but especially in that of extent, inherently evil? The answer is, "That depends on what you take pride in." If you want to take pride in what God has made possible for you, great! Be the most proud person out there! If you want to take pride in what you've accomplished, so long as you don't excise God from the equation, have a little pride! Anyone reading this who thinks you disagree: No, you don't. You simply give to that small amount of pride a different name, and that name is "Confidence," and there's nothing wrong with having that, is there? Is it not possible, then, that, even if I were (hypothetically; as it is, I don't) to surrender to the all-too-common (not to say it's what most people think, but that, if even one person were to believe this, that would be too many) idea that the totality of Martial Arts is just a means for all people to be violent, that violence, itself, if not brought to an extreme, is not a bad thing? Has anyone else put themselves through pain? Of course! Have you beaten your body into submission in the literal sense so that you can better yourself in an area of your life? so that you can compete in a sport? I'd bet so! Even mental exertion, when done for too long, is a form of violence, but no one thinks about that, because we give that a different name, as well. We'll say we're fatigued after we've just taken violence against our own minds, to try to stretch it, to try to expand it, to try to train it. Is there anything wrong with this? No! It's a good thing. What, then, is the problem with Martial Arts? Is there not some delight to be taken in some "violence," no matter what you call it?

    The main idea is this: if we had tied a different idea to it, or if we were tied to it with a different string, we would be fine saying there's nothing wrong with recreational violence. We have been desensitized to violence, I agree. But we've also become too attached to the word attributed to the goal of Martial Arts, and not to the idea which that faultily-chosen word should represent. If I were to call it "competition" or "tournament," no one would have a problem with it.

    The second-biggest problem is that most of the people who say Martial Arts are immoral can't even make a fist and throw a jab.

  54. Big ups for mentioning Family Guy…unfortunately, my sense of humor has long been one of my greater openings to vice.

  55. Right the issue is dignity… and there is no space for violence in christians' body, mind, heart, words and acts. Love is dignity, where is love there is God. Entertainment needs a review in society… at least in my life. Thank you!

  56. My Dad have told me since I don't know when that what we eat is what we are, same with all senses. Need to listen more to my Dad.

  57. It is so nice to hear a Priest tell people that life is black and white. I've been trying to tell my grandchildren this for some time now. These two MMA videos have given me a different direction to help explain my point. Thank you so much and God bless you.

  58. Again Father… thank you. You force me to rethink a lot specially about my way to entertain. I love the way you put things in consideration with no judgment and yet it's very deep. I needed to hear such a point of view. I can't say I suscribe to all yet (I need more time to proceed) but it definitely makes a lot of sense. Specially if I take in account some neuroscience studies. Sure our choice of entertainment has an impact on our brains.

  59. Violence and violence as entertainment is football, boxing, etc. MMA is about a human chess match. I should also point out that sparring is part of all forms of martial arts. There is also a form of mixed martial arts called systema that was established by Russian Orthodox Christians.

    I genuinely think that you demolished a strawman with your comments about MMA and you should have done more research before commenting on this subject.

  60. UFC and MMA is a SPORT…it's regulated, it's HEALTHY as opposed to people fighting on the streets…which THEY DO among other illegal and dangerous things. ….I know more than a few fighters who are training as well ..it's more about skills and health outlets rather than wars and death and what people are doing on the streets. .it's ancient energy training and it also heals ….just throwing it out there.

  61. My nephew was involved in that for a while. He thought it would help channel his anger because he was having issues with that. But he wasn’t very good at it and lost almost all the time.

    He kept asking me to go watch one of his matches. I kept telling him no. I said “You’re my nephew and I love you. I don’t want to watch someone hurting you.” My sister, his mother, said the same thing to him. She did end up going once.

    He ended up getting counseling and his anger issues improved. He doesn’t do MMA anymore.

    I never really understood how he was able to do it in the first place because he is kind, generous, and loving. He has a big heart and loves to help people.

    I’m glad he’s no longer doing it because, like I said, I don’t like the idea of him getting hurt.

  62. I think it's a great point that we need to consider what we're allowing into our lives and I fully take that on board. It's part of the reason I've left behind a teenage love of horror movies. The misery of them and the dwelling on suffering is not something I feel comfortable with in my 30s. I think an argument can be made that watching media that challenges us is healthy, but, as with your MMA argument, it's helpful to draw a line and to question what it is we're getting out of these kinds of media. I've just found your videos, but I'm enjoying them, thank you.

  63. @5:51 I've exposed myself to DUBBED martial arts movies…therefore I'm ninja Bruce Lee now? lol Catching flies with chop sticks / wax on, wax off

  64. Father Mike, please take the time to read and respond.

    I have not believed in Jesus in many years(don't worry I am not here to disrespect or villify). I do deny any faith, I simply maintain that I do not know innately the way you seem to in regards to any faith.

    I come from a boxing family(which I have competed in as a young adult, and did fairly well), I wrestled in highschool. Currently I've been taking Muay Thai classes for 2 years, and will soon be taking BJJ. I have no intention of ever competing. For me and my study of Martial Arts, there is a level of pacifism that comes with training. I don't want to cause pain to anyone, "good" or "bad". That being said, I agree that MMA as an entertainment on surface value isn't something a decent person should embrace. I will however say that as someone who has practiced for many years now, there is a ceiling for you skill level without direct and real conflict. That is what MMA is to me(feel free to completely disagree), a way for men and women who have reached that ceiling, to further their study.
    A slight arguement for the entertainment aspect. Most martial arts aren't designed as strictly fighting tactics and techniques. There is a great deal of theology in more classic arts such as Wing Chun, codes of behavior, personal discipline. While I agree that people supporting the harm of other people is foul, the money from that foul thing allows these few to sustain their study… That part I have problems condemning, similar to yourself. As a priest, you have the financial means to further your study, even if money tied to religion hasn't always been used for the best of reasons. I am still very glad that people like you have that available to them; to broaden their minds, to further their knowledge, and guide those who need it.

    If this came of as disrespectful, disparaging or condecending, you have my humblist apologies. It was not intentional, I have nothing but respect for you and other followers of your faith. I look forward to hearing from you and/or your viewers and seeing future videos.

  65. Wow! The second video is even more ignorant than the first one. There are different types of violence. I would even argue that violence by definition is not consensual. Since the MMA fights are consensual I would argue that the fights are not violent, but aggressive. Even if you say that are violent, it's not a hateful violence. The funny part is that people don't even realize how superficial you are on this subject lol. It's easy to talk when you don't have a deeper understanding. And is really easy to be impressed by Fr. Mike when you have no idea about the subject

  66. Full disclosure: I'm a Gracie Jiu Jitsu instructor, Police Officer of 17 years, UFC fan and have studied Just use of force.

    First off you video made me think, which is always good. A Catholic should never fear the truth.

    Second, your primary assertion is spot on: is my entertainment For the Greater Glory of God.

    Third, 'violence' is abhorrent. We should never condone violence, do violence or use violence as entertainment.

    Where we might have a fruitful discussion is in the definition of violence. I believe there has been a lack of study from theologians on the topic.

    The following is my humble opinion but I think it's backed.

    There is an infinite difference between violence and force.

    Force is physical contact to overcome another's ability to resist that contact.

    Violence is force that robs an innocent person of peace.

    Peacemaking would then be force that stops violence or that restores peace.

    Because of your videos I think there might be a third term which is force in ruled competitions. But that would take much more thought to flesh out.

    I have witnessed many good churchmen conflate violence and peacemaking. There is an eternal difference between the two.

    Let me be very bold: as a police officer, father and husband it is my "grave duty" to protect others. CCC 2267 (ish). That includes up to the taking of a life if necessary to preserve life. That is a Holy act if intent is correct.

    This comes together in the specific topic of the MMA. You touched on some of this. Yes, many people watch the UFC because they believe they're watching violence and want to be entertained by violence. That is sinful.
    Some participate in MMA style training / matches to do violence. That is sinful.

    Some watch UFC, as you stated, for education. That's different. Some watch UFC to see two highly trained humans compete to see who wins. That is also different. Why? Because just because two humans are using force against each other doesn't mean it's violence.

    There's also the question of free will / permission.
    Now, if it really was gladiator style where one or both participants are forced, then objectively it is violence.

    But where both parties willingly participate and they abide by a set of rules meant to keep each other safe, it's not so objective.

    Let me add another angle. The Gracies, who started the UFC, specifically started it to prove that a skillful practitioner of Gracie Jiu Jitsu can overcome brute force with skill.

    When you listen to the Gracies' explanation of why they started the UFC, you don't hear propagation of violence as one of the reasons.

    Helio Gracie (founder of Gracie Jiu Jitsu) was a Catholic – I don't presume his standing at his death – and his style of self-defense are inundated with Catholic ideas: "I learn Jiu Jitsu so I don't have to use it." e.g.

    Bottom line: with the above definitions I don't think we can sweepingly condemn or condone MMA, as Catholics. I think it's a prudential judgement where one must examine themselves, their motives and the fruit watching MMS has on their lives.

    There is much more I could say, nuances I could give but I think this is too long anyway…. I hope I was able to express my thoughts well enough to follow.

    God bless you!

  67. Oh, one last thing: Patrick Coffin did a great interview with MMA fighter, and devout Catholic, Bas Ruten. I'd be interested in your thoughts.

  68. Father, with respect, there isn't anything wrong with violence in principle. It seems to me that violence needn't strip the human being of dignity. Cannibalism, for example, is wrong not because it represents an intrinsic evil (it very obviously does not), but because cannibalism under all ordinary and natural circumstances profoundly undermines human exceptionalism. Does violence undermine human exceptionalism? It seems to me that it does not. Indeed, the Catholic Church couldn't maintain her teaching on Just War with propriety if she were also committed to the view that violence undermines human dignity. Hell itself, which is a form of violence, couldn't be thought to come from God, for God can absolutely not be thought to act so as to undermine human dignity. There are so many serious theological heresies and philosophical conundrums in which you are now putting yourself (or, what is much, much more likely, others) in the near occasion of falling into that it requires a stern but loving response. I share your sentiment about MMA on an emotional level (or, certainly, I did before I started learning more about it as a sport – some, but not all, of the residue of that sentiment remains). I cannot share it with you as a point of philosophical theology. It would seem to entail that it is wrong to train yourself to kill a man, but at times it is morally imperative, right, good, and holy, to train yourself to kill a man. It isn't even clear to me that MMA's teleological cause is to kill a man; it seems, rather, that its teleological cause is to subdue or overpower and aggressor. In point of fact, it seems to me that paintball as a sport is much better training for somebody whose intention is to kill than MMA, but paintball is also a sport to which the Catholic cannot object in principle on the grounds that it is an intrinsic evil. Violence and killing cannot be thought to be wrong in principle.

    Furthermore, violence which is exercised as a regulated sport is more than mere entertainment (though, admittedly, it is that as well). Without the practice of martial arts, developments in those arts would be lost over time. Well regulated opportunities to practice a martial art with a consenting opponent is the primary mechanism human beings have historically used for retaining and improving upon martial arts. It seems to me that there can be nothing about this which is inherently wrong from a Catholic point of view, given that violence is not inherently wrong from a Catholic point of view. Now, the only step remaining to establish the case for MMA's legitimacy is to examine whether we can treat well-regulated opportunities for consenting adults (within the same weight class) to practice martial arts together as a form of entertainment. I can think of no argument at all why those of us interested in seeing martial arts being practiced should not be morally permitted to enjoy it unless we are participants, but I've already shown that there's nothing wrong with participating, so it seems that there isn't anything inherently wrong with spectating.

    You are right about Game of Thrones (what a terrible program). You are right about Family Guy. You are wrong about MMA – learning how to kill a man in no way essentially compromises the love of neighbour as though love of self. MMA presents not one thing I can think of which is contrary to Catholicism as a worldview. Indeed, even killing a man would not essentially compromise the love of neighbour as though of oneself (otherwise, the Catholic Church could not so easily condone joining the military, being a police officer, et cetera).

    Now, if it is not possible for you to spectate martial arts without feeling that it undermines, for you, the dignity of the human person, then it seems right and good that you stay away, just as an alcoholic may have to stay away from alcohol (and treat doing so as though it were a moral imperative in its own right). To make the stronger claim, however, that enjoying MMA as entertainment is incompatible with a sober clear-eyed and earnest affirmation of the Catholic faith (both as a religion and as a theology), seems to me to be a profound and dangerous overstatement which may lead people into numerous errors each of which are much graver even than the error of watching MMA as entertainment (on the supposition, for the sake of argument, that it is an error).

  69. Hmmm… Fathers words remind me of when I took a liking to "sons of anarchy" I watched the entire first season and began the second season. After a episode or two of the second I really began to wonder if the show had any positive message at all. It seemed just to be glorifying a bad lifestyle and violence. So I went on ahead and looked up how the show ends, some of the major plots in the story and I realized that there was no redeeming quality to the show. The main character kills his own mother and commits suicide at the end… he did not grow and change his lifestyle, did not repent (His family was Catholic, although not practicing) and as entertaining as the show was, I could not justify sitting through all the glorification of crime, violence and sex. The other thing was the explicit sex scenes. I stopped watching. It is uncomfortable when there is a challenge to stop watching something we find very entertaining but it is exactly what we need sometimes.

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