Monday, June 21, 2004

A Guilty Pleasure:

I just purchased a copy of Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC 44, As Real as it Gets. I must confess that I enjoy watching “no holds barred” mixed martial arts. This sport has an interesting and controversial history. It plays almost like “what if those WWE wrestlers were to fight for real?” The original goal was to get a bunch of expert fighters together, each specializing in a different discipline, let them fight it out with no rules, and see who wins (like a real street fight). Who really would win in a fight, a boxer or a wrestler, a black belt in Kung-Fu or one in Judo? The original rules were only 2: no biting and no eye-gouging. Everything else goes. And boy did it go. Viewing the early matches you would often see the fighters take advantage of things like groin strikes and hair pulling (those are no longer allowed). (This is why I sometimes feel guilty about watching—a little bit like I am in Ancient Rome….)

Much has changed in the UFC in the past decade since it debuted. Originally, the only way to end the fight was by 1) submission, 2) knock-out, and 3) your side throwing in the towel. Now the referee (Big John McCarthy) has the power to stop the fight once one side is being beaten and not adequately defending himself, and he often does.

Also, it has evolved into a “sport,”—no longer with the goal of getting together fighters of different disciplines to see which is superior in a “no-rules” circumstance. The reason why is we quickly found the answer: The two disciplines that emerged as “superior” to all the others were 1) Brazilian Jujitsu—a grappling style that often involves defeating your opponent while lying on one’s back, and 2) Wrestling—no not “fake” stuff, but the real sport that they do in colleges and the Olympics (in fact, many UFC Champs were former college and Olympic champs as well).

What we learned by watching the early UFC events was that many of these “pure” disciplines had huge weaknesses. The main weakness was lack of ground training. After watching a few of these mixed style matches, we could make one easy prediction: If a fight involved a “grappler” v. a “striker” who had no ground training, the grappler would always win. It really puts to rest all of those Karate movies as pure fiction. If Bruce Lee could complete in the UFC, it would only be because he could handle himself on the ground (and I think knew submission—still most of the UFC Champions probably could take him in within a few seconds). The expert strikers—those who were multi-degree black belts and/or champions in Karate, Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, and Jeet Kun Do (Bruce Lee’s style), Boxing, and Kickboxing—literally would be taken out within seconds by a Wrestler or a Jujitsu fighter (or submission fighter—a generic name for those who learn jujitsu moves without all of the ritualistic crap of studying under a sensei, etc.). Fighting almost always turns into grappling (police reports in fact, bear this out)—thus if you are not lucky enough to take someone out with a quick strike, you will be on the ground in a few seconds.

To stress the point again—real martial arts fighting neither looks nor functions like it does in the Van Damm or even Bruce Lee movies.

A couple other things learned while watching these events: Size and strength do mean something. “The bigger they are the harder they fall” is a myth. Oh size and strength aren’t everything. Ultimately, the discipline is most important. And there were plenty of examples of smaller guys beating the larger. But if someone knows how to use their size and strength, these are of the most important tools to work with. This is why boxing and wrestling institute, and why the UFC eventually instituted, weight classes (originally there were none).

But to illustrate how size and strength are important but not the be-all end-all, in UFC 4, 6’2, 260 Greco-Roman wrestler Dan “The Beast” Severn plowed through the competition of boxers and black belts in various styles only to be defeated by 180 lb jujitsu master, Royce Gracie. Brazilian jujitsu is the one style that gives a fighter who is significantly smaller & weaker the best chances of defeating a larger opponent. For the 15 minutes of the match Severn tossed Gracie around like a rag doll. People feared for Gracie’s safety. Eventually Gracie, on his back, used his legs to choke Severn out. That was Wrestling’s one big weakness: not knowing how to defend against submissions. Wrestling is one of those sports where size and strength especially matter—wrestling involves getting your opponent into a “submissive” position. Wresting doesn’t teach how to finish the job. Thus, the wrestler usually closes by either “choking” the opponent out, or pounding him into submission, often with head butts (many wrestlers have utilized and beaten the best of ‘em with the “ground and pound” strategy). Many big wrestlers would ground & pound their way through every other style only to be defeated by a smaller jujitsu or submission fighter.

After watching the UFC, if I wanted to learn to defend myself, I wouldn’t take Karate, Kung Fu, or Tai Kwon Doe, but rather Brazilian Jujitsu. If I were larger (I’m 5’11, 158lbs), I might take wrestling lessons. But since I’m not, jujitsu gives the best chance of defeating a larger foe in a close-contact/grappling circumstance.

A couple notable changes have occurred in the past 10 years. 1) Governments began to use their heavy hands to try to crush the UFCmainly because of the efforts of one Senator John McCain. McCain actually ordered one of their “pay-per-view” events. He was shocked and disgusted by what he saw and tried to shut it down. And he almost succeeded. So the UFC decided to change its rules, “go legit,” so to speak to get the state off its back. It instituted weight classes and rounds. All fighters are required to wear small gloves. The ref, exercising great prudence, stops the match and award victory to the other side before things got too bloody (no more, “I’ll weight till I submit or my side throws in the towel”) and a whole plethora of moves besides biting & eye-gouging were outlawed—hair pulling, groin strikes, head butts, kicking someone when they are on the ground and you are not….

The biggest change however, was instituted by the fighters themselves. Because they realized that many “pure” disciplines had weaknesses, everybody began to cross train. Now practically every fighter, no matter what his background, trains in 1) Wrestling, 2) Jujitsu/submission, and 3) Striking. UFC 14 featured a match that signified this change: Undefeated Champion Mark Coleman, who had a Wrestling (NCAA & Olympic champ.) background, seemed unstoppable. He fought champion kick-boxer Maurice Smith. Coleman was bigger & stronger and he was a grappler. Everyone expected him to win. The match proceeded as expected. Coleman quickly got Smith to the ground and began to dominate him. But unexpectedly, Coleman didn’t quickly win. Smith knew how to defend himself on the ground. He was in a jujitsu “guard position” (the position where a fighter defends himself on his back; it also functions as an “offensive” position, where a fighter has a plethora of “clinching” moves that can be utilized). Smith had studied the wrestler and learned how to hold him off. He also studied Coleman’s biggest weakness: stamina. Coleman always beat his opponents early. If someone could learn to last about 15 minutes with him, Coleman would get winded. And that’s exactly what happened. After dominating Smith for that time, Coleman became winded, the two fighters soon got to their feat, and then Smith could use his kickboxing skills on Coleman who was too tired to defend himself. Smith the striker handed Coleman the grappler his first defeat. Eventually other fighters learned to exploit Coleman’s weakness and he suffered a string of defeats. Then Coleman made a comeback, but he only could do so by working on his biggest weakness, his stamina. And he did.

Eventually all serious fighters began to implement this “chess-match” strategy: Strikers had to learn the ground, Wrestlers had to learn to defend against submissions, submission fighters had to adapt to Wrestlers and Strikers who had “figured out what made them (the jujitsu fighters) tick.” Everyone pretty much has the same “cross-trained” style now. Personally, I think the earlier events, before the cross-training took effect, were more interesting.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

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And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)

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Anonymous said...

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1. If you have a job that involves sitting at a desk all day or staring at a computer screen, take five minutes to stand up or lean back, close your eyes and stretch, especially in your shoulder and leg areas. Being seated all the time can make your whole body feel stiff and sleepy. A good stretch session helps limber up your body and gets the blood flowing again.

2. Avoid the tempting lure of caffeine or sugar-laden foods such as coffee, tea or chocolate. Caffeine may perk up your energy levels temporarily, but it also has a bad habit of leaving you sluggish after the effect has worn off. Instead, choose whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables to give your body the fuel it really wants! Eating healthier will boost your mood, elevate your alertness, change anxiety medicine and make you feel better all day long.

3. Along with healthier foods, take a quick 10-15 minute walk during your lunch break. Just a few minutes will give you a burst of energy that refreshes you and makes you feel more alert – while burning off your lunch calories in the process!

4. Sometimes, afternoon slumps can be your body’s way of telling you that it needs something. You may be feeling tired if your blood sugar is low (which happens especially after the effect of those caffeine and high sugar foods has worn off!). Packing a low calorie snack like graham crackers, granola, fruit or vegetable slices can give your body a boost and keep you from feeling hungry in the late afternoon and caving in to the urge to devour the entire contents of the vending machine after work!

5. Drowsiness is often a sign that you’re not getting enough water. Drinking more water throughout the day not only helps keep you awake, but also keeps you from feeling those hunger pangs that inevitably creep up in mid-morning. Taking a large sports bottle that you can drink from throughout the day is a great way to get your recommended eight glasses a day as well!

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If you follow these tips on a regular basis, you’ll not only make it through the afternoon blahs, but you’ll also feel better physically and mentally, sleep better at night, and wake up rejuvenated and re-energized the next morning. Make it a GREAT day! anxiety medicine

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Anonymous said...

Everyone has days when they are down, worn out, social anxiety disorder symptom and just not feeling all that happy.

That's OK, you need to have days like this, otherwise how would you know when you are happy. You need to have something to contrast your happiness with. What is black without white?

Even though you know that sadness (social anxiety disorder symptom) is a part of life, let's try to make it a small part of life.

With that said, here are a few tips to help you feel better when you are feeling down in the dumps. They are easy to do, easy to practice every day and they work!

1. Stand up straight, sit up straight. When your body is in alignment your energy can flow and when your energy is flowing freely, you can flow.

2. Smile! Yes, just smile. Easy to do and effective.

3. Repeat positive affirmations. Things like "I feel good", "Positive energy flows through my body", "I see the good in all".

4. Listen to some music that you like. It doesn't have to be anything specific, just something you enjoy. Certain types of music work better than others, but experiment and see what works for you. Studies have shown that Classical music and new age music work best.

5. Take some time out for yourself, relax and read a book, do something for yourself.

6. Meditate. Meditation is an excellent habit to develop. It will serve you in all that you do. If you are one who has a hard time sitting still, then try some special meditation CDs that coax your brain into the meditative state. Just search for "Meditation music" on Google or Yahoo and explore.

Our outside work is simply a reflection of our inside world. Remember there is no reality just your perception of it. Use this truth to your advantage. Whenever you are sad, realize that it is all in your mind and you do have the power to change your perception.

These tips will lift you up when you are down, but don't just use them when you are sad or social anxiety disorder symptom . Try and practice them everyday, make them a habit. You will be surprised at how these simple exercises will keep the rainy days away.

On a final note, if you are in a deep depression that you can't seem to shake, please go see a doctor. This is your life and don't take any chances. social anxiety disorder symptom

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Can you recommend something in case you know where to order?

Thanks!
Karl