Tag Archives: MMA

A Review of the Underground Backyard MMA Show: World Fight Club Live

by DJ Morrissey

On Saturday, August 14th WFC put on their 10th Anniversary show.  The generically titled show, “The Main Event,” had most of us at Shootafairone.com skeptical to say the least.  Shootafairone.com heard about this underground show and had to come see what the fuss was all about.  Most of Shootafairone.com contributors believed, after viewing WFC’s youtube clips, that WFC was probably fake or, at least, embellishing real martial arts.  The brand of entertainment, basically mma with the over-the-top flare of professional wrestling turned out to be much more worth-while than we had expected. 

The show was held in a backyard – by invitation only at an otherwise undisclosed location – where there was a live dj, beverages, food, t-shirts for sale and a real show, scripted and entertaining.  The highlight of the show, though not to undermine the actual bouts, was the host, Laffity.  He did his job like a professional with an apropos tone and jokes that could put Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan out of work.  The show’s twist is that the combatants engage in actual combat, but they each had character angles and personas like you would see in professional wrestling.  The fighters all train in numerous disciplines and seem to put their hearts in it.  It was like watching actors off-Broadway or in Washington Square Park, brave enough to do what you would never dare do: make a fool of yourself in front of a large crowd.  But WFC guys were actually good. 

On “the Main Event” card, there were only 3 fights –two submission matches and a kickboxing match. The first match pitted Rico against a stocky linebacker-looking The Black Mountain. Rico put a feisty effort in against his opponent, but his size eventually proved to be too much for him.  Wix then defended his Submission Championship against a newcomer, filling in for an injured fighter, and who chose the name Cheesecake.  The two fighters engaged each other and several submission maneuvers were attempted and blocked by each competitor in a display of their jui jitsu.  Eventually, Wix locked in an arm bar which sounded the end of the night for his opponent.  Just before that, however, Wix used Cheesecake’s socks to choke him out – indeed, a professional wrestling stunt, but entertaining none-the-less.  The third match of the evening had Andromania (Andro) defending his Open Weight Championship against The G.O.A.T.  The two fighters battled for 3 one-sided rounds.  The more skilled Andro deserved to lose his belt according to most onlookers, as the G.O.A.T. was just too tall.  On a level of skill, the G.O.A.T. didn’t look seasoned, but he has the show and the size to become a WFC occult star.  The theatrics continued when Andro was “jumped” in a humorous finale of broken tables and painful stunts reminiscent of the NWO days.  All in all it was a fun day.  You wouldn’t think it was WWE or the UFC if you had a chance to watch it, but rather somewhere in the middle.  Above all, it was what it was meant to be, entertaining and fun.  And remember, they could be considered the originators if this kind of show ever gets popular, as they have been around for over 10 years.  WFC gets a big nod from me and my friends at Shootafairone.com.  If you want to look into this further, check these guys out at WFClive.com

Fear Training – The Essential Aspect of Training in Martial Arts

By Al Alvir

Some of these issues have been addressed in “The Problem with Bruce Lee’s JKD,” but it is discussed here in more depth as this has been an on-going discussion with several of our readers.

Martial Arts schools are typically “business above all things,” so every potential martial artist/fighter must look at everything honestly.  First of all, all belt systems that I have ever come across are arbitrary. They’re just selling points to appease people who need to be patted on the back.  Whether it’s t-shirts systems, or patch systems, dojos and schools have arbitrary ways of monitoring people’s improvement. They’re so arbitrary in their methods that the rewards are also so arbitrary, needing to be made tangible.  Meaning, knowing you beat the next guy in some competitive face-off is usually not enough.  Some academies, as they tend to be named, use levels and phases with no definitive measure for passing people to the next promotion. If they feel like it, you will be promoted. 

I implore you to really think about why you got that last promotion.  What relevance does the testing have to ability?  Talent?  Pity?  Just showing up?  Who says the criteria maker, the black belted business owner, has the best say just because he has the last say?

This coddling of the martial artist is the heart of the problem.

Schools view its members as being sissy-pants (the choice term), so what people need to improve is seldom practiced.  That need is fear.  While most schools’ only practice is trying to keep its members and getting new ones in, the best boxing gyms (the ones that produced the toughest everyday fighters), for example, used to do the opposite.  They tried to keep out weekend wannabe’s and they discouraged people who couldn’t do it.  That old-school gym is not as omnipresent nowadays, but the balance continues to be needed outside of boxing.  Martial arts schools need to apply fear to its curriculum when it comes to all lower-rung students. 

Fear is, perhaps, the most important aspect of fighting to control. So, simulation is hardly simulation without the aspect of fear – whether it’s fear of pain, injury, or humiliation. Humiliation can manifest in many ways in the mind – how will I react, how will I perform, how will I be perceived.  “What will I do when everything in my body tells me to quit?” “What will I do when being a coward is the easiest decision?” “How will it look if I lose?” People are forced to face these fears only when they are in real battles, so the simulation that many gyms practice is more like pretend simulation. People may say they want to do martial arts, but they just want to delude themselves.  People may say they want to be in a controlled environment that simulates the street corner without the probability of serious injury or robbery, but they really just want to pretend.  Because being on the street corner in a situation is dangerous and the ONLY thing you can be sure of is that you will be afraid.  Training, therefore, should teach you how to control that feeling above all things, skill-wise or otherwise.

In regards to self-defense situations, one question that the self-defense based mind-set would generally answer easily is: “What will I do when being a coward is the safest decision?” If it’s safe, they would probably go with that.  But think about all the fights you have had in your life. In retrospect, “self-defense” is probably a poor euphemism for upholding your dignity (in law enforcement there is an exception).  You can probably go through life safe and healthy without ever getting into a fight. In elementary school, you could have absorbed the minor humiliations and ignored whatever semblance of pride you may have had. As an adult in a compromising situation, you could just be peaceful and brand yourself a coward.  And as a potential victim of a crime, as anyone always ever advises, just hand over your wallets.  And if you really have to defend your life, I always encourage a surprising strike to the groin to get the job done sans any costly martial arts education.  That, only after trying to run.  And still, more forethought and savvy could have probably kept you out of that situation as a whole, and if it ever were a potential threat again, self-defense would only be your back-up for stupidity.  Like the anecdote of the girl walking into a dark alley, my advice for self-defense is to not walk down that alley if it seems dangerous, duh.  Most similar situations practically spell-out the signals: “DARK ALLEY. Choose something else.” 

Martial arts is simply for people deluded into a concept of self-defense and that they’ll have to protect their families, or it’s for people who want to know how to fight for every other reason. No matter what any martial artist or boxer may chalk his passion up to, it is insecurity that usually drives anyone to put effort into such a competitive pursuit, as any.  And in fighting, it is surely insecurity that drives people into wanting to practice harming anyone who may try to harm them – by definition, but the Freudian debate is for another time. In any case, at the core of combat training, fear is the only thing that must be simulated–or it is not at all simulation. 

The fact is that most average people fear not being in control of a situation, not being in control of what the other person does. What could happen if I had to use my weapons (strikes, holds, or actual weapons) in a given situation?  In boxing gyms, fear is the inevitable fact because boxers have to face real danger in sparring.  Karate dojos do not offer as much on a macro scale — point systems, touch sparring, and slow-motion reenactment simply aren’t as scary (because they are not anywhere near as dangerous or damaging) and are not as likely to cause the fight or flight dilemma well experienced fighters have been through.  People tend to be comfortable in how they want to see themselves and how they want others to see them, so they don’t want the challenge of being afraid.  This is why most people are comfortable with traditional martial arts over mma, and it may be a valid reason for the trend of mma popularity over boxing.

So, for whatever skills you are motioning through, and whatever drills are mimicking real speed conflict, if the practitioner does not experience the closest thing to the real thing, the training is far less useful than it seems.  Many other people fight so much in the gym that any fear is numbed by, at least, knowing exactly how they act in dangerous situations of real pain and real reactions, and they are learned in what happens in real physical contact.  They know themselves and are in control.

Practitioners in all martial arts, however, must be very careful in how they approach real physical contact for training.  Again, it’s a must that they stay honest in how ‘scary’ training or simulation drills may be.  I, personally, have never witnessed any pad-less sparring that would create the same situation of fear or urgent realism as being in a boxing ring with gloves, a cup, and headgear.  They either go too light or they don’t hit to the face when there are no pads.  Conversely, I’ve sparred in situations of wearing full riot gear – either both my opponent and me, or just on my opponent – and it, too, is not as realistic as being in a boxing/kickboxing sparring match.  Riot-gear requires the men in the gear to “act” hurt, and it never really rings true to what happens in the street.  Perhaps, it’s different at your gym or dojo, but be honest to how realistic your work-out is.  And if you are not numb to danger, realize that the butterflies should linger.  If not, you should step-up your training. And be afraid.  Be very afraid.

The Inherent Cowardice of Ground-fighting

 

(This is a follow-up to Garrett Morris’s “What Makes MMA Gay?”  I preface this commentary by making it known that I am a full supporter of mma and want the sport to grow.  I want people to see that mma can be so much better so that fighters from all disciplines may follow mma in the future.)

Grappling (Greco-Roman wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, etc.) is just not satisfying for many fighters, no matter how effective it is in MMA competition.  Aesthetically, it isn’t pleasing to the worldly viewer or to many a fighter.  Even in real life situations, as in avenging a wrongdoing, wouldn’t it behoove one to do damage to one’s enemy by taking that person’s dignity through beating him on equal ground? – equal ground meaning “equal leverage.”  By equal leverage I refer to a free standing position in which there is no intrinsic safe ground, as in clinching positioning or grappling.  Isn’t this why we fight instead of shoot guns?

Consider this:  Two uniformed lawmen get into an argument about their schedule.  One guy smacks the other in the face.  The other reacts by tackling him.  They wrestle until one officer manages to gain dominant positioning, and he puts handcuffs on the other cop.  Then, he lies on top of him and starts beating the downed officer.  And maybe he puts the helpless guy into a knee-bar.  What is so cavalier of any of that? What does it prove on the playing field of fighting? What fighting need does it satisfy?

This is subjective, and it could vary from opinion to opinion, but the above situation would probably warrant a rematch by the logic of fighting principles.  The guy who was handcuffed would probably think it was unfair (perhaps he would never use his handcuffs in a supposed fair fight with a fellow officer), and he’d want to fight again.  Fighting, beyond the visceral anger and self-defense notions, is about satisfying a curiosity, “who would win on fair ground?”  It is about damaging an opponent while an opponent can damage you (not after gaining unfair positioning), and it’s about making the statement that you are worthy.  Borrowing from Rocky Balboa, fighting is about saying, “I am.”  Even when someone’s intent is to humiliate another person, he chooses to do so through fighting because it satisfies his personal duty to earn it.  There is honor in fighting.  And if it were only about self-defense, one should walk in droves, carry a gun, or just be a sissy.  That old cop-out of “self-defense” is virtual nonsense.  Fighting is almost always a choice.

Many grapplers choose to tumble and toss on the ground, perhaps, to satisfy some desire; they like to fight that way.  This is precisely the root to why people talk about mma sport with the tongue-in-cheek reference of it being “gay,” or homoerotic.  They want to be close, in tactile quarters.  Of course most fighters probably have no homosexual thoughts when they are wrestling.  The same goes for any sport with head-to-toe bodily contact, like football; “it’s only gay if they make it gay,” as the saying goes.  The question so many people pose against mma is: “Do they make it gay?”  Surely, there must be more gay people drawn to grappling arts than stand-up arts because of the nature of grappling.  Its latent and suggestive intimacy is almost distinct.  Why do guys wrestle their girlfriends and their children?  There is a closeness stimulated by the fun and varied positions of dominance in wrestling, even without the sexual innuendo.  On top of that, it’s safer; you can practice wrestling without getting hurt.  Wrestling is akin to play-fighting, so why would anyone choose to turn real fighting’s intense emotions (although it’s better to be calm) into a wrestling fight?  If two friends were wrestling as a joke and it became serious, they wouldn’t continue to wrestle-fight.  They would probably stand-up and square-off.  This is the notion of eroticism that wrestling toils with: when a couple wrestles, rubbing bodies, it may get hot and heavy.  So, two men wrestling just seems inappropriate.  Whatever the case, many guys like to roll around twisting and contorting with other men because it’s more accentuated to those guys’ senses – gay or not.  Is that why so many kids seek contact sports?  But they should remember, however, that more surface area bodily contact does not connote more impact.

Stand-up fighting has never been about jockeying for such positioning in which one fighter gains unfair advantage then proceeds to hit his opponent.  Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is awesome in that respect—it is all about leverage—but this is exactly what also makes it a yellowbelly game.  Boxing and kick-boxing have always been about the use of fine idiosyncratic skills encompassed in a moment, or on the opposite of the spectrum, the ever exciting “free-for-all” – standing in front of a foe and brawling, shot for shot.  But stand up arts have always maintained a grave element of danger that is less prominent in grappling arts.  For the majority of the public, wrestling seems more strategic than boxing because it holds true for people who don’t know anything about fighting.  If you get two guys who never boxed or wrestled, they are going to be more strategic in wrestling each other.  They wouldn’t know the angles, defense, set-ups and traps that are part of standing up, but they could probably improvise with some holding maneuvers however technically incorrect they may be. And every guy thinks he can wrestle – even if the last time he wrestled was in elementary school.  Not too many guys think they can box unless they proved it to themselves with some correlating experience – stand-up is simply much scarier of a pursuit.  There are many smaller guys who may rather wrestle Brock Lesnar than stand up with him because he’s so intimidating, and Brock Lesnar was an All-American wrestler.

A guy can roll at the gym for hours without damaging himself.  Imagine light sparring for an hour.  It would surely be much more afflictive.  Millions of people with my sentiments of boxing and kickboxing don’t understand the appeal of men rolling on the ground together.  Rolling by itself, the part of training important for fighting in mma, may be more frolicsome (gay) than any and all aspects of martial arts.  I, personally, have no understanding what joy guys get out of it.  I’m not homophobic, but the close wrestling is not for me.  When I did BJJ, I was uncomfortable to the point when I wondered if the guys I was rolling with were ‘getting off’ on the grappling – they fancied the heavy contact, but I did it just because it was an aspect I wanted to know in case someone took me down.  I understand that everyone has different boundaries of discomfort.  And that is exactly it – it is what it is on its surface – discomfort.

Grappling is unsatisfying and sort of tasteless to viewers who want to see competition, not dominance (or worse, tumbling that appears to be more consonance than competition).  It lacks the bravado and valiant aspect of stand-up fighting.  One fighter said, “There’s much more skimble-skamble in MMA.  If you can’t stand you can get on the floor.  There is an anticipation of so many possibilities.”  Those possibilities tend to overshadow the bore of it all and it is a lie to many new viewers of mma who see fighters either stand up and box poorly or get on the floor.  They don’t see a true assortment of mixed martial arts.  The grapplers grapple and the stand up guys stand.  The freestylers flail until they fall.  And when they each clash it turns into a stupid stalemate until the usual grappling match or the skill-less stand-up.  In boxing, it can be argued that there is more talent needed and more discipline – a chess match of offense and defense, skill versus skill.  In mma, one could figure out how to gain advantage by not matching his skill to the other fighter’s skill, and rather by “playing a different game.”  Grappling itself is about maneuvering positioning to a safe and unequal ground.  Wrestlers are, perhaps, drawn to mma because of this dynamic.  If your hands are really good, the other guy can try managing to wrestle with you, or vice versa.  In boxing, you can’t get away from danger by taking someone to play Scrabble instead of chess if your chess game is weak.  Corollary to this, any big guy could be thrown into mma and he could roll around or punch and possibly survive for a long time.  This is much less likely to be done in boxing without the guy getting mauled and humiliated.  And in mma, it’s easier to give up; you can tap before any damage has incurred or you can lay in a fetal position covering any significant blows from landing while the referee hurries to halt the fight.  No one will notice your “no mas” in mma.

Grappling is a tedious game of maneuvering that usually takes much too long to produce excitement, if any.  Many grapplers even express that it is more gratifying to win on their feet by KO.  Conversely, it is often a greater blow to fighters’ dignity when they’ve been KO’d.  One mma spectator said that getting on the ground always seemed like hitting or being hit in the balls – “a B.S. fight, a cheat,” if you will.  “Whether someone wins or loses on the ground, it always seems to be a jip.”  Even after a hundred mma events, the ground and pound and even the submission have lacked the valiant factor—how much blood and guts and determination did it take.  One bit of pressure on a joint and you tap.  And once you’re in a dominant position, it’s academic.  “If that’s what a good fight comes down to,” a friend suggested, “may as well get a gun instead of fight like these guys and forget these corny martial arts.”

What is it about choking someone out that appeals to some people?  I somewhat see the value in clutching someone into a helpless position and feeling his body go limp.  It is an exhibition of domination.  But this tells me that the person who would rather choke-out someone hasn’t learned how to hit, hasn’t ever cracked someone hard, or can’t hit that hard. One Muay-Thai boxer who converted to mma said to me, “When you’ve felt the exhilaration of hitting someone in the face for real, you will never want to tackle or take-down another man again – unless that’s your thing (sarcasm).” The thing about grappling is that any man can choke-out someone in the right position.  Knocking-out someone is so much more difficult—it’s arguably a truer display of skill and power than outwrestling someone with weight or muscle.  I’m not saying that knocking-out a 16 year old boy is more impressive than choking-out a Gracie, but knocking-out a Gracie could cause so much more damage to a Gracie than choking him out.  It may even be more demeaning.  Knocking-out someone is just so much more electrifying and to the point.  It’s sudden and quick.  And for those who say, “In the street, working submissions, if you choke someone out you kill him, or you can break his arm,” how often is that going to happen?  Really, what bar brawl or real self-defense situation is anyone going to be granted such an opportunity without being pulled-off the opponent, stomped-out, or imprisoned?  How practical is it even in its most primal, non-cowardly application away from any organized competition?  And don’t responsible martial arts practitioners always preach for people to just give up their valuables in any real situation such as robbery?

Fighting on almost every level is about pride and bravado.  Skill versus skill.  Man to man.  Except for the rare self-defense, life or death situation, there are unwritten rules to fighting.  There are actually morals.  Whether in a neighborhood beef or stepping outside a bar, a fight is almost always about respect, not survival.  One can walk away in tact, unharmed and with all his possessions in most encounters even if he may end up looking like a “sucker.”  So fighting is not just to exist; if you fight, it’s out of dignity.  And nothing gets respect like standing up and “fighting like a man.”  Consider that if someone bites (unless he is crazed and out of his mind), grabs testicles, or lays and waits for someone to break it up, he is arguably the coward of a fair fight.

Then is it so ridiculous to have an unexpressed agreement on how to fight a streetfight?  If not, then you can incorporate weapons or cheating.  Fighting, anyway, is not the fighting we imagine without an absolute isolation of weapons, whichever those weapons may be (no use of garment or inanimate objects, no spitting, no fish-hooking, no clawing, no biting, no jumping-in, no ear-tearing, etc.).  Because when you allow some weapons in certain positions and prohibit those weapons in other positions, only then, do you have an utter farce.  When speaking of three types of fighting (mma, street, and self-defense), mma grappling and street-fight grappling each exude this contradiction.  I once watched a barfight in which one guy laid in some amateur side control-like position and began vomiting uncontrollably on his foe’s face, much of which went into the supine guy’s mouth, seemingly accidentally.  It was the most hysterical and appalling sight, especially as the man seemed to use his throw-up to blind his opponent while he viciously beat him bloody.  My friends and I walked away shocked, but we also realized there was a moral to the story, aside from any jokes:  The outcome of the fight was inequitable, empty; it was just plain “unfair” or it was a fluky way to good self-defense.  At that moment, I knew that any grappling could only be completely rule-less in order to be an appraisable martial art.  No one could know its value unless it was used in no-holds barred, life-or-death situations (like JKD, this would be almost impossible to test).  In other words, grappling should only be used for complete self-defense, as even grappling in mma does not incorporate the most effective possibilities (“cheats” as I call it) that could be so useful in any life-or-death setting:  biting, heat-butting, eye-gouging, crotch striking, ear-tearing, etc.  And, I guess, vomiting.  It is arguable that the new mma is just a diluted sport with displaced skills, displaced strategy, and the restriction of bodily weapons.  Basically, grappling in mma, or in a civil street-fight, is just a bad representation of fair-fighting.  Stand-up fighting is simply not close-range enough to exude any of the contradictions I speak of.

There is cowardice inherent in grappling, even with the use of extreme self-defense tactics (“cheats”).  Because one would have to “cheat” to make it efficient and without the “cheating” the danger is limited.  Furthermore, people who don’t like the idea of being hit in the face and standing on fair ground would rather be in positions they think they can squirm out of.  They want to smother the danger that they conceive and jockey for position, jockey for a mismatch.  Even if two skilled wrestlers battled, it would come down to one of them finding some convenient advantage—but they often fight a boring match made up of defense, no openings, and no risks.  Wrestling combatants use the ground as a weapon, and even if they both have the weapon at their disposal, they are only sort of “trying to use the weapon first.”  It’s almost like they are not purely matching skills; one guy gets a hold, by chance more often than one may think, and then the other guy is left at a disadvantage until some other slip-up.  In wrestling, strength and size accounts for too much to be considered a supreme skill-set.  For people in a fight who are pinned and pounded, what then?  It may not even prove anything but dominant size.  If a stand-up fighter is choked-out, he may even say, “What could I do?  He beat me, but he didn’t want to match his skills against mine.”  This is the culturally opposing outlooks on the two styles of fighting; of course a wrestler is going to want to take a stand-up guy to the ground, but to stand-up guys it just seems like the sissy way to fight.  It’s like a “bitch-fight” in which two girls are trying to control the other person in order to beat-up the other one – the only difference is that girls pull hair.  In stand-up fighting, fighters don’t care about controlling, manipulating, or dominating the other person.  The sentiment of stand-up guys seems to be “do whatever the hell you want, you ain’t worth my time but to knock your ass out without having to lay-down with you.”  Most people tend to grapple because they know that anyone, to some extent, has the possibility to wrestle to a stalemate in a given situation, avoiding jeopardy (even if only for a minute).  Many guys have been known to hold-on for the duration in mma contests.  People who don’t know anything about fighting will wrestle if they fight.  And the stronger, bigger guy is almost always the one who wants to grapple.  If that’s not a big red flag indicator of cowardice, you must have missed the object of what fighting is about: fairness and honor.

And so, when applied to mma, while I do recognize the greatness and importance of ground fighting in self-defense and overall martial arts, I personally second the old notion and applaud it: “I’d rather die on my feet, than live on my knees.”

* …It is common opinion in the fight game that there is nothing sweeter than knocking out someone who is trying to knock you out.  Such is the reason why “the Manly Art” has been better known as “the Sweet Science.”

Know What You’re Getting Into Pt. II – What You Get From Traditional Martial Arts

Editorial

 Know What You’re Getting Into Pt. II

 What You Get From Traditional Martial Arts

The importance of traditional martial arts (TMA) often gets muted in discussions about contact fighting and actual self-defense, but it serves its purpose.  Depending on what an individual wants to take from combat arts, he will know what route is best for him.

I had mentioned in Part I of Know What You’re Getting Into that ‘fighting better’ should be the goal for all martial artists, but because anything like pushups and sit-ups can help someone fight better, I need to expound.  Every connoisseur of combat should have his ultimate goal, however wordy, to be: “Fighting better quicker, by which it entails learning in the most direct and lasting way and for the individual to be in perpetual readiness for progress towards being his best.”  Bruce Lee called it “the truth.”  In other words, if a fighter knows a combative skill to near perfection, he will not have to fix it for as long as he remembers it; it works, it is the truth.  Fighters should never have to unlearn whole techniques and systems.  They could learn new and different ways to do things only.  When someone has to unlearn some aspect of fighting that was learned, it proves he has not been perpetually progressing in the art of combat.  Simply put, he learned it wrong, or learned the wrong thing.  The learned technique, therefore, was a disservice to the individual.  Combat art is about progressions and building, not building only to tear down in order to build again.  Don’t confuse the process of “unlearning” that I’m referring to here with the sort of thing applied to “forgetting” and “getting out of shape” and “a bad habit.”  That process is called “getting off your ass.”  But unlearning major styles of fighting is back-tracking, and it would be the most difficult, time consuming course, and does not come from the foundation of “fighting better quicker.”  Beware of TMA, because there is a good chance you will have to unlearn it if you choose one day to explore other arts.

I always urge people not to be fooled, because there are indeed wrong things and better things in combat arts.  It’s not simply “whatever works for you.”  That is true in its spiritual core, but it tends to imbue nihilists and JKD maniacs into thinking there is no choice way.  So why train?  Why try to master if perfection is irrelevant?  Why work-out if attributes are the only arbitrator?  So, with that being clarified, why take up TMA if it doesn’t allow for the best path to fighting better quicker?

Common sense tells us that learning how to speak another language and blurting out ancient facts verbatim has little correlation to fighting better quicker.  But if it’s discipline someone is trying to achieve, TMA indeed offers it through such methods.  The argument that discipline necessarily begets fighting better quicker, however, creates a false analogy.  Just because you “need discipline to learn to fight,” it does not mean that “with discipline, you will learn how to fight.”  But the “tear you down, build you up,” quasi-military practice of TMA could be a usable foundation for people who need some demonstrative humiliation before they learn anything.  It is, historically, the most sure-fire way to produce a mass following and instill mindless allegiance.  But remember, even in the Marines, strict instructions means learning to “get by quicker,” and to blindly trust the chain of command.  For children, it teaches a fear of doing the wrong things from what the authority says.  But I’ve known many soldiers, and the misconception is that they know how to fight without the artillery and without their army’s back-up.

Culture is the greatest benefit of TMA.  It opens people’s minds to a different way of learning.  People can get their first tastes of tolerance in a dojo.  Putting on a uniform and tying a belt properly shows people different ways of life while embedding discipline and routine.  Some people believe they need the high-handedness that TMA offers, and many parents prefer it for their kids.  TMA will introduce foreign language and historical reference to every beautiful maneuver.  TMA will teach some really interesting, highly complicated techniques that may or may not have any real world applications (it may not work in a fight, period).  So don’t think learning TMA will teach anyone the best way to be in the art of combat until he experiences it for real.  Eventually, a TMA practitioner may learn how to fight, but the question remains: Did he learn to fight better quicker?

How To Take a Punch – The Interpretation of Taking Blows

Soft Chins, Hard Temples: The Interpretation of Taking Blows

by Al Alvir

Absorbing shots to the face and body is often a matter of interpretation.  I call it “interpreting force.”  Some shots, of course, have the impact beyond the realm of interpreting; fighters just get layed-out.  But the great majority of hits in a fight are not going to be KO worthy.  And everyone gets hit.  So what does one do when he gets hit one of those times hard?  Does it depend on how sturdy his chin is?  Can his chin get sturdier?

Interpreting force is not some spiritual idea.  One doesn’t have to reach an inner Chi to start taking good shots.  It’s not a psyched-up state of mind, necessarily, either.  Interpreting force is a matter of experience.  One will only know how to interpret the force of blows depending on two simple things: 1) Having seen it coming and felt it in the past, and 2) Not having seen it coming and felt it (being blind-sided) in the past.  The two criteria must be met in order to really know one’s capabilities to further one’s fight education.  And it’s very important that all interpretations in a fight should be positive.  That way, a fighter can just tell himself, “I’ve been hit like that a million times before, and it does nothing.”  If a fighter interprets a good shot saying, “Uh-oh, I’ve been rocked with shots like that before, if I get hit again, I might get knocked-out,” it means his fighting spirit might need a re-evaluation before his chin does.  At the threshold, however, some point in one’s experience of taking the most damaging shots, a fighter will know what his body can and can’t take.  Even body blows and other kinds of force can be prepared for to a shorter extent.  Fighters often wilt and stay down from a great shot to the body because it’s debilitating – if it happens, it may only happen once in a fighter’s career.  But other fighters have been known for getting up only for the reason that they’ve felt the pain at least once before.  It is arguable that Oscar De La Hoya may have gotten up if he had already felt the same exact pain of Bernard Hopkins’s knockout punch to the liver.  Knowing the threshold of pain is why experienced fighters sometimes know when their opponents simply cannot knock them out after feeling the other fighter’s power.  And experienced fighters are only “tried and true” when they have been down and have had to feel how it was at that threshold of trying to survive.  This is why trainers often dwell on a fighter “never being down before” or “never going deep in a fight.”  Fighting has enough overwhelming pressure by just being alone in combat that one needs experience, as much as civilly possible, to be productive.

Generally, chins and temples are a genetic grace, but once a fighter has the experience of knowing what it feels like to be hit, he can start “interpreting” the force (again, as long it’s not knocking him out).  What does it mean that it hurt so much?  How much abuse can be sustained?  So much of a fighter’s ability to interpret force depends on him seeing it.  The saying goes, “It’s the one you don’t see that knocks you out.” Seeing shots coming is so important because it provides a fighter with another source of information – he saw it and felt it, then he processes it.  When a fighter sees a shot coming, he can prepare if he has experienced it before.  He knows he can take it and he eats it, or absorbs it.  “Eating” a shot is like having a “prepared relaxation,” no tensing up, per se, and no allowing the shot to topple the fighter over.  Some trainers wrongly encourage fighters to roll their heads with shots like Shannon Briggs does, but that can only get a fighter knocked-out with another punch he doesn’t see, and it looks to judges like punches are really snapping the head.  Plus, if a fighter keeps his eyes on his opponent and the punches, maybe next time he can defend it or counter it.  Taking blows and “doing something with it” is part of the chess game of boxing. 

But how does a fighter interpret getting hit with a hard shot when he doesn’t see it coming?  He has to use it as a wake up call and treat it like it can’t hurt him, he’s felt it before.  And then he needs to know what he did to be put in that position, because it shouldn’t happen too often in a fight.  If he can’t adjust, he might have to be woken up off the canvas.  And the problem is that knock-outs blows are never a force that can be interpreted.

12 More Reasons You Should Hate MMA, Too

rogan2by A O’Toole

In summary, you should hate MMA because of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). So the list goes:

  1. Joe Rogan.  He just has no good criticisms.  Who would have anything worth saying with a mouth full of meat and bung-hole?
  2. BS Scoring.  I’ve been in a bunch of brawls and one on ones, and if a guy was leaning on someone’s hip against a fence it didn’t mean he was winning.  Cage control and ground control is moot when nobody’s submitting and nobody is getting pummeled.
  3. Bruce Buffer.  What a hack, underachieving half-brother desperately chasing the shadow of Micheal Buffer, a real announcer.  The snapping, exaggerated, trying too hard, circus introductions are so apropos for this WWE showcase.
  4. The best fighter in the world is in Strikeforce.  Fedor is the boss.
  5. The limiting rules.  It used to be the limited rules, but that’s when the UFC was realistic.
  6. The lies. The UFC is a hype machine fooling millions of people that these guys are really elite.  It’s not refined enough yet, so there are plenty of bums among the good guys.  The UFC promotes for idiot fans and a lot of punks.  The cheap heavy metal music is proof enough.   The mediocre is sold as spectacular.  Roy Jones wouldn’t have been fooled that Forrest Griffin was a main event fighter.  Even most of the bums Roy fought had proven records, not 16-6.
  7. Dana White.  What a jerk.  He is like a Nazi.  He cares nothing about the growth of mma.  He matches up guys against their best interest and he makes judgments to ban people for mishaps that are irrelevant to fighting.  That’s business, but it doesn’t actually help the sport.  His tyranny allows him to criticize Anderson Silva for not being exciting – Silva’s job, as a legitimate sportsman, is to win and that is it.  He’ll whine and pout like a spoiled, bratty college kid who didn’t get to max-out mommy’s credit card.  And fighters have to prove themselves to him?  Check the TUF series in which he asks for fighters to sacrifice their dignity and to “beg the best” for a shot.  White needs checks and balances to offset his idiocy.  Fighters need personal representation and not to sign their potential careers away to a circus act that is the UFC.
  8. Joe Rogan. Did I mention that he is a cheerleading groupie who sucks-off all the fighters?
  9. The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).  What a bunch of coddled, upper-middle class hicks who think they’re tough because their high schools each had 500 or so kids who they were tougher than.  Anyone could try out for TUF, get lucky, and show up on the UFC.  Where is the humility that is born from really being a fighter and knowing that there is always someone tougher than you are?
  10. Football-like paint on the face hyped ring walks.  Any fighter knows to stay calmer than these psyched up morons.  You don’t have to psyche yourself up, you’re in a fight.
  11. There is only one Anderson Silva. It’s not his fault crap competition is making him think he could box Roy Jones.
  12. Soft chins. Wow, I don’t want to hear the small glove argument.  When you have guys getting knocked out with jabs, a la Kimbo Slice, you know there is a huge problem with the weeding out of chumps in mma.  When a boxer realizes his chin is as weak as some mma guys, he doesn’t even turn amateur.

* The ideas expressed in submitted articles are not necessarily the views of ShootaFairOne.com

The Problem With Bruce Lee’s JKD – Afterword

Faith Based Training

JKD has adopted the deficiencies of traditional martial arts (TMA): faith based martial arts training, as I call it. Without questioning all facets of martial arts through the process of simulation training and mere skepticism, all TMA falls short of reality. And JKD is a peripheral victim. The fact is that martial arts training involves pain and frustration and randomness, and it’s not for everyone. It is not glorious at all in all the suffering that goes with it, yet it is a passion like anything else. Even disciplines that are proven through sports must be proven to each successive practitioner. For example, no matter how convinced we are that an arm-bar works, we cannot even trust a Royce Gracie without trying it for ourselves. We cannot know viscerally—not just theoretically—how to do it to an opponent until we actually do it.

Faith based training is what has become of martial arts. Coaches don’t tell why and students don’t ask why. Their training itself doesn’t answer why. Even mma gyms seem to have allowance for quasi-practitioners who just go to classes, do partial-contact drills, but don’t do the free sparring with minimal protection. Minimal protection is important, because you must be free to release genuine force and also process the pain. JKD men often put full gear on (shin protectors, head-gear with mask, and even stomach protectors); this allows fighters to release force upon one another, but it does not allow fighters to process the pain and react to it. Conversely, “gear-less sparring” generally does not allow fighters to release real force on one another, and then there’s nothing to process. No pain, it’s like play-fighting.

The adoption of instructor titles and monikers is another indirect perpetuation of faith based training. It causes students to become followers who don’t question. It’s like religion of martial arts. A coach’s ability to communicate a way of thinking about fighting is better than any coach brainwashing. Anything that lends to brainwashing—as in “believe this because I’m saying so, trust me”—should be extinguished from martial arts. Such things like Sifus and masters and Professors have zero effect on improving martial arts. In the army they break you down to nothing, and on so many levels they brainwash you. Martial arts is not like the military in which you are taught to sacrifice yourself completely to your military’s cause. In martial arts, you sacrifice completely to and for yourself. A hierarchy on almost every level of martial arts stunts the only thing that matters: fighting ability. And respect, in combat arts, is inherent, if not earned on an individual basis. The point is that everyone is equal in martial arts and should question every skill, as fighting is a never ending evolutionary process among the vast array of disciplines.

In JKD, their three main aspects—efficiency, directness, and simplicity—is misleading. It seems inherently correct, but once you put it as a numbered aspect of a way (be it ‘of no way’ or whatever), you make it a “rule.” I would rather sacrifice efficiency, directness, and simplicity for something that simply works for me. Plus the 3 aspects are subjective. It can be argued that boxing is the least simple of martial arts, as it may be the most rigorously strategic. I question, for example, the effectiveness of trapping ala Wing Chun. JKD men all over the world are convinced that this stuff works. It seems efficient, direct, and simple enough, but how do we know? No one has ever used it in full contact combat with any bit of exclusivity. There is no known use of it in combat, period. Paul Vunak, a JKD man who was known for his excellent trapping skills, had plenty of instructional videos exhibiting the trapping range in what I call “contractual sparring.” By that, I speak of sparring in which one guy is limited from using at least one technique that his opponent is not limited from using, or one man’s goal is different from the other man’s goal. Something like this is really just a drill. The truth is that a fighter cannot trust any technique for himself because somebody says it works. A fighter cannot even trust a technique for himself even if he has seen it in action; he must practice it himself and ask the questions in every way he can. Mainly, “how and why would this work for me?” So how can the masses trust a technique they have never seen in use and have never tried themselves? And I don’t know about some of those Brazilian Jujitsu moves either; they don’t seem too simple, direct, or even efficient, but they sure as hell worked for other people. They just don’t seem as cockamamie as, let’s say, Ninjutsu. But hey, maybe that deserves some inquiries of its own.

Only an individual can answer what is best for him in combat, but he should be honest and realistic. If a technique works, is it the best move for a fight? Is there a set-up, follow-up, and counter? Is it a one time move like a Superman punch (meaning you can’t do it over and over because you give the move away)? What does it “working” mean? What if it worked 75% of the time before, but it’s completely failing this time? Do you have the proper tools to solve the problem? What if your technique doesn’t offset another fighter even one-bit? What if the move does the intended physical damage, but the guy keeps coming? Then what?

Question everything…Even what you are reading right now…1…2……3. You are cured.

I thought religion was “the opiate of the masses.”