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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.”

Black Belt Bull

By Al Alvir

If I met a guy who had a black belt in any form I wasn’t familiar with, I’d bet he’d show me some momentous stuff I didn’t know.  Big whoopee!  A yellow belt is liable to do the same.  Because I would not know much of the art anyway.  A black belt hardly means a thing unless the person who wears it stands above everyone else through competition and he faces relinquishing his belt.

What does it mean to be, or own, a black belt?  Does it mean the owner stands alone as the best?  With the most knowledge?  The best in Kata?  Fighter?  Is he the best instructor?  Is he the chosen one for improving the given art?  And how many other black belts are there?  Does it mean he went to the same dojo 5 days a week for a couple of years, or did he go there on and off, perhaps once a week, for several years?  What discretionary test did he have to pass—did the Master Sensei just make up a challenge that has no checks and balances?

My hunch is that black belts are like master’s degrees—many a halfwit can pain (or pay) his way for one.  I’m a boxer recognized in small circles to be highly knowledgeable about boxing.  I’d fancy myself a black belt at boxing if there were such a thing, but I don’t want to toot my own horn so I’d settle for the lowly title of “expert.”  I’ve even schooled some talented guys one on one.  Compared to Lennox Lewis, I’m going to guess that I know more, but I’m quite confident that he’d edge me on points.  Okay, he’d knock me the hell out, but I still think I’d have a higher degree black belt.

Black belts have no real design.  There is no standard to represent what a black belt precisely connotes—even in the best of the “belted arts.”  A black belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu guy could roll with me and make me tap from every angle.  I’d probably be impressed, never knowing for sure what he actually achieved to receive his belt.  He could know his stuff without even having a belt, or he could be lying.  Is there not one single purple or brown belt that can beat this guy?  How does he compare with the other black belts?  If he bangs his head on someone’s kicks a little too much in practice and gets amnesia of jiu-jitsu, I think he should be liable to lose his black belt.  I don’t mean to be coy, but the process is that laughable to me.  All belts should be burned, but people need them to fill their voids and match their insecurities.  Of course black belts often have an expertise earned from dedication and many years of hard work, but because there is no defining characteristic to a black belt, any belt is never enough on its own.  Thus, black belts should be dated and have renewals and expirations since they tend to fool people so much.  And there should only be one black belt per art or maybe per weight class, just like the combat sports that take precedence over all these belts, stripes, bells and whistles.

Ultimately, belts give people a fallacious definition of mastery.  Fighting, however, is perpetually evolving and unable to be mastered.  Belts cause people to be followers ignoring the chance to develop their unique styles, the most imposing of all masteries.  As belts may be an adolescent hallmark for discipline and persistence, what adult needs to have a black belt for anything other than profit?  Black belts make people stop wanting to learn; they are a placebo for truth.  They are achievements devoid of competition.  The process of gaining a black belt is almost always without having to fight a way to the top.  Obtaining a black belt is a nice thing in lieu of winning a fight against the best.  For the rare person to whom a belt of any sort means little, success is only personal, or it is for all the public to share through competition.  It is triumph or defeat that matters to him, not the trophy.  In belt promotion, it is only the trophy that matters.

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My nephew had his first black belt when he was 13 years old.  He has always been pretty awesome at whatever he does, but trust that he’ll find out one day that his black belt had meant little to nothing outside of himself, his own worth from someone else’s perspective.  If that’s what belts signify, then I’d tell any son of mine, “have your favorite color, grow up and become your own person.”

The Difference of Realities—Bar Brawls, Being Jumped, and One on Ones

re-post from 22 January 2008

The Difference of Realities—Bar Brawls, Being Jumped, and One on Ones

By Al Alvir 

Most “head-up” fair fights end up on the ground.  Lack of striking skills, fear, or one’s superior grappling ability, are each reasons that a fight does not stay on the feet.  According to collected incident reports in Queens and Brooklyn precincts in 2007, 84% of fights consisted of multiple participants.  Those numbers don’t include domestic incidents, except for 41 incidents involving brothers.  20 of those 41 incidents were ultimately excluded from the study due to weapons.  Out of the 84% of multiple assailant fights, approximately 60% (50.4% of all fights) were at a bar or nightclub.  There were thousands (estimated due to unclear reports) of incidents of gang fights (empty hands, as no weapons were indicated).  The rest were robberies and felony assaults.  These numbers, according to Compstat and Uniformed Crime Reports, are consistent with the rest of the country.

 Taking into account that 84% of thousands of fights in Brooklyn and Queens Do NOT consist of one on one fighting, striking arts must take priority in a self-defense repertoire.  Going into a hand to hand fight against 4 thugs, who would you want to bring with you?  If you could only take one fighter, who would you take?  If you could take 3 fighters, who would you take?

 In a reconsideration of fighting and who you’d want to rumble along with, surely Sean Sherk and Randy Couture should not be at the top of the list.  Lumbering size could arguably be considered useless (more useless than before)—see Tim Sylvia.  Conversely, when considering street brawls, size and strength gains the validity it lost from years of Royce Gracie triumphs.  The likes of Mark Coleman and Tank Abbott may be fit for Multiple Adversary/Ally Mixed Martial Arts (MAMMA).  The skills of out-flanking, lethal striking, footwork, cooperation, and speed, become more pertinent as well.  One may consider some professional fighters who could make up great teams.  Mike Tyson and other boxers could fare more than well in MAMMA. Mirko Fedorowich and Mark Hunt may be the most valuable fighters for their finishing ability, but kicks can be a liability in closed spaced brawls like in a small bar.  Fedor Emelianenko and Frank Shamrock maintain their favored regard due to being so well rounded.  Judo experts such as Hidehiko Yoshido can play into their strengths in MAMMA.  Dark horses fill the spectrum (e.g. Bob Sapp, Phil Baroni).  But it could make you look at fighting in a different way.

 Ultimately, the abilities of shooting and submitting may become nonfunctional.  In the urban population especially, MMA lacks the realistic nature of hand to hand incidents.  Stand-up is more relevant to what actually happens outside the ring or cage:  Punching and running or being punched until the cops come. 

 Some people think that MAMMA is just chaos and unreflective of a fighter’s abilities.  Whatever it may be considered, MAMMA takes conditioning, braveness, speed, urgency, and intelligence.  MAMMA fighting is simply the closest reality.

Know What You’re Getting Into Pt. I

Know What You’re Getting Into by Al Alvir

Boxing, like all combative arts, is not beneficial to just anyone who takes it up.  And it’s only because the majority of people waste their time just to quit.  I’ve seen hundreds of people take up martial arts – from boxing Police Athletic Leagues to traditional dojos – yet never learn any of the simple functions of the given arts.  It’s no wonder that the general population can’t fight a lick and don’t know what a “slip” is, but they can recite pro-ball statistics like idiot savants.  I’d bet that 1 out of 15 people can really defend himself/herself in a fight.  What’s that ratio for the people who pursue learning how to fight?

On the surface, fighting evokes a sense of rebellion.  Some kids want to be looked at as fighters.  They want to make the statement, “I’m tougher than you are.”  But there’s a reason society isn’t made up of fighters.  The training is difficult and it takes dedication.  Anyone could have fun punching people in their faces, but it isn’t so fun to take punches.  In Rocky Balboa, Rocky makes a profound (some may say corny) statement about fighting: “It’s not about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you get hit and keep on coming.”  That sums up fighting to me, even in all the trickiness of the Sweet Science.  So there comes a point when all combat students realize that a day’s training is not mindless fun practice like shooting 500 lay-ups on the basketball court.  Fight training is actually mentally draining, physically torturous, and often downright boring.

Of the small section of the population that pursues combative arts, the majority take up traditional arts like Kung-Fu, Taekwondo, and Karate.  A great number of those traditional schools offer instant gratification, as most instructors coddle their high paying clients.  The schools offer step by step “cookie cutter” instruction, and the sense of belonging of brainwashing cults.  The problem, if it’s not so obvious, is that it does nothing to make anyone fight better.  The ego-stroking of receiving belts, the applause from a Kata exhibition, and the explicit respect from fellow students don’t equal anything necessarily related to ‘fighting better.’  For the traditional gyms that do ensure the proper fighters’ rights of passage, they too see the efflux of non-committed “wastes of time” I call temporary members.  And if you are not taking up martial arts for the greater purpose of fighting better, you have to be honest with yourself: maybe martial arts is not the way to go.

People quit gyms and dojos at a higher rate today than ever.  And it’s not the recession dictating people’s choices – that’s the excuse quitters make while they spend their money on easier habits, be it food or drugs, or whatever.  The out-of-shape men learn that they would rather slack at a fitness club.  Women stick to whatever they want to, but for the most part they just want the most fun, new work-out they could get anywhere; not too hard, not too easy.  Young men watch the UFC and fool themselves into thinking they could do it within their average 2 month span before they dedicate themselves to chasing women.  In my day, desire, or “hunger” as they called it, was what made people stick to fighting.  It was believed that only people who grew up poor became champions (in boxing, it remains the consensus).  Today, boys ultimately figure they would rather be on their computers when they’re not making mockeries of other sports.  Because mockery is the luxury of other sports: you don’t get beat up and you get to enjoy them even if you play them wrong.  In combat, luxury is a sin, and fundamentals are the foundation of a minimal function, survival – even on the lowest amateur level.  There is no frivolity in training, as fighters will spend years committed to honing basics if they have to.

Paying dues is not a fool proof prerequisite even inside the fight gym, however, because many trainees want to learn things like ‘uppercuts’ before they know how to step properly.  Or they just want to B.S., and the goal of “fighting better” is lost.  With the involution of MMA, people want to do everything without putting the necessary repetitive work of mastering anything.  MMA is getting more people in gyms, but the same number end up quitting.  People are just soft nowadays, the age of excess and depthlessness, as they want to try everything just a bit and excel only at the fantasy of possibilities.  But unlike the possibility of becoming the president of the United States because you read page one of the New York Times, sticking to combative arts will be the hardest pursuit of your life, and one of the most fruitful, especially because you could have quit any time.  The easy bet is that you will, like everyone else.