Karate practitioners are effective in combat sports like MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). The common training methods and techniques of these fighters are used in our training.
MMA fighters with a karate background that became UFC champions are Lyoto Machida, Chuck Liddell, George St-Pierre, and Bas Rutten. Other strong MMA fighters with a karate background are Katsunori Kikuno, Seth Petruzelli, John Makdessi, Ryo Chonan, and Stephen Thompson. The latter even holds a 63 wins – 0 losses kickboxing record. On a side note, kickboxing was developed in the 1950s under influence of Tatsuo Yamada to use karate techniques in a ring. Semmy Shilt and Andy Hug are karate fighters who took the K-1 title, a competition deciding who is the best stand-up fighter in the world.
Grappling in karate?
The grappling aspect in class is kept simple and with self-defense in mind. Namely, getting back to your feet or finishing the fight quickly on the ground if the opportunity is given.
Okinawan karate contains grappling moves, which we can be find in old, often still un-translated books. I reconstruct them with grapplers in Kudo and Brazilian Jujutsu to pressure test their effectiveness. My studies in Japanology at the KULeuven University in Belgium, the International Budo University in Japan, and Sydney University in Australia on karate history in the Japanese language have brought up insights in the neglected aspect of grappling in karate.