Monthly Archives: September 2016

Martial Arts or Magic?

I know I have touched on this subject before but I love it. People that are like me grew up feeling like Martial Arts Movies weren’t exactly real, but the Martial Artists in them were something more than human. They did amazing things. It had me constantly trying to do the things they did. I started taking Martial Arts at a young age just to build my skillset, but I also secretly wanted those super powers that the guys in the movies seemed to really have. I couldn’t imagine Bruce Lee losing a fight to anyone because of how readily he handled a whole dojo full of black belts then beat up their master like he was a 3-year-old. I researched Martial Artists who have unexplained abilities and will try to see whether they are fact or fiction. There are a whole bunch but for the sake of this blog, I will probably use a few. If it is interesting enough, I’ll continue it into next week.

Ho Eng Hui has “hand of stone,” the ability to harden his hands (and fingers) to break boards, bricks, or anything else you might put in front of him. He is Malaysian and has taken this discipline to a whole new level. He focused his weapon into the index finger on his right hand and is so good with it that Hui can pop a hole through a coconut with it. Have you ever tried to crack open a wild coconut? Hui can do it with a single finger. So, is this magic? I heard through further research that you can bring him a coconut and he will pop through it. He does charge a fee which is honorable in my opinion.

My opinion on this one is that it is completely legit and he is not super human, but super practiced.

I think this one can be taught and perfected by anyone with the fortitude and practice to get there. He can probably pop a hole in someone’s head or sternum if he had the chance. They should put him on that show where they test weapons of certain martial arts and see exactly how much damage they do. I’m curious. I’ll keep researching this guy to satisfy my own cravings for knowledge.

I’ve actually seen this one done as a serious skill as well as a huge pool of jokes about Martial Arts. A gentleman by the name of Zhou Chengli can take a direct shot to the, well, testicles without being phased one bit. Mr. “balls of steel,” Zhou Chengli’s is a 70-year-old retiree has been practicing Martiial Arts his entire life which he claims has left his groin virtually immune to pain.

Known as the Tie Dang Gong, this technique was advertised to make users completely unbeatable on the field of battle by toughening up a man’s most vulnerable point.

Chengli takes to the streets to practice his skills in public, battering his poor gonads with hammers and bricks to inspire other people to follow his path in pain ignorance. I’m good with this one. I don’t know how this is medically possible. You see, actually, medically it is possible but he has to have ruptured both testicle a very long time ago. That type of injury requires surgery. I don’t want to see it, but I’d be interested in hearing from a doctor that inspected his man-parts and gave a synopsis of what is going on down there. This one doesn’t seem like magic, just years of ignoring pain and probably long-term damage to his genitalia.

Kanazawa is the Crocodile Dundee of Japan. Now, I may have just dated myself on Crocodile Dundee but if you don’t know who he is, he is an Australian Crocodile Hunter that had the power to put large animals to sleep just by staring at them and making a weird humming sound. Oh, I forgot to mention, it was a movie so it isn’t real. Or did the writer of the movie see Kanazawa in action and was inspired to add this ability to Crocodile Dundee’s arsenal? Chicken or the egg… Kanazawa claims that he can focus his internal energy to make animals fall asleep. It’s a strange boast, but there’s quite a lot of footage out there of him applying his trade to great effect. He claims to “exchange energy” with the animals, lending his inner peace to their wild souls to make them drowsy. Kanazawa has been observed doing his technique on ostriches, buffalo, cows, and even elephants. He’s also capable of inducing speedy healing in animals under his influence. Is this one real? Does it work on any animal? Is he confident enough to try this with a live wild lion? This one seems kind of weird. I want to research and see if he knows these animals personally and if he is some type of animal trainer. Animals can be trained to bring in the mail, so “playing dead” is not a stretch. Research on this one to determine. He does claim it is through his Martial Arts that he can do this, so hopefully if it doesn’t work on a crazy animal, he can defend himself.

Pro Wresting is not a Martial Arts Style

So do you think that an untrained hip hop dancer could win a ball room dancing contest under their rules? No way, the two are completely different. Why did CM Punk think he could win a fight, not to mention a pro fight, double-not-to-mention that it was in the pinnacle of Mixed Martial Arts promotion? Well, he didn’t. He lasted a whole minute longer than I thought he would. He looked like the new guys in class that try in vain to throw hard punches against a far more experienced fighter. I was discussing this with someone the other day and I asserted that not only do guys in the UFC have way more than 2 years of MMA experience, they usually have a lifetime of martial arts experience.

What else could be said. Others might say that Brock Lesnar did it. I have some counters to that also. First of all, Brock Lesnar was a legitimate collegiate wrestler way before he slipped on the speedo and oiled up to wrestle other buffians in front of a mainstream crowd. Not only that, Brock is a heavyweight, not just a heavyweight, but the biggest heavyweight around.

Everyone knows that a heavyweight will most likely knock your head 36 rows back with a well timed punch, but the skill level and athleticism is not at the same level as the lighter weight classes.

With that combination, you see why Brock has a semi-successful career as a UFC fighter, and CM Punk never stood a chance.

Let’s talk about his payday. CM Punk earned a cool $500k for that rotten debut. His opponent Mickey Gall cashed in a cool $30k. Tell me that’s fair. Well, fair isn’t what it is about in the UFC or in MMA at all. Everyone that asks me about MMA for their kids is quickly told that if they want their child to end up possibly having a career in MMA then they might as well get them boxing early. Boxing offers a far more lucrative option than MMA. Kids and MMA careers aren’t really related, but some parents are psychos. Nobody knows this more than a guy like me who has experience in all of the above.

Aside from Punk, five other fighters on the card hit the six-figure mark in earnings, including heavyweight headliners Stipe Miocic and Alistair Overeem. Miocic cashed a $600k check for his first-round knockout victory over Overeem ($800k) to successfully defend his UFC heavyweight title for the first time in front of his hometown Cleveland crowd. These are good paydays but if you think about the fighters making six figures in relation to how many fighters are professionals, you would see a huge, lob-sided figure. MMA isn’t a realistic career for most people. It is hard on your body, and unless you make it to the elite and get to that main event among the elite, you are not going to make a great living.

Martial Arts should be studied for several reasons that I go over almost every time I blog but money, fame, success, and likeability should not be those reasons.

It takes a rare and special breed to make it to the top of the MMA game and even when you make it, how long can your career possibly last?

A Story That Is a Lifetime in the Making

Since Wrestling is certainly a Martial Arts style, I wanted to touch base about something that happened a couple weeks back. It is an amazing story about a young female wrestler that shocked the world at the recent Rio Olympic games. The American wrestler defeated Japan’s Saori Yoshida 4-1 in the 53-kilogram freestyle final to win the first-ever gold medal for a United States women’s wrestler and crush Yoshida’s attempt for a fourth straight gold. It reminded me of American wrestler Rulon Gardner’s victory over three-time gold medalist Aleksandr Karelin at the 2000 Olympics. I felt a similar feeling when I saw both victories because I knew the odds were against both champions when they walked on the mat for those fated matches.

After the match, Maroulis said “At the end of it, I was like, ‘Really, I just did this?” she said. “Like, oh my gosh!'” Yoshida was trying to become the second woman to ever win four Olympic gold medals in a single event across four Summer Games, and the second wrestler to win four Olympic golds. Yoshida’s teammate, Kaori Icho, accomplished the feats Wednesday by winning the 58 kilogram gold. Yoshida hadn’t lost in a major tournament in a lot of years, but she had been less dominant in recent tournaments, and Maroulis was on a two-year win streak so it wouldn’t have seemed so hard to accomplish. The fact remained that Maroulis had wrestled Yoshida in the past and been wildly unsuccessful in coming close to a victory. The humble Olympic gold medalist went on to say,

“It’s an honor to wrestle Yoshida, for someone to win three gold medals and come back and risk that and accept that challenge to win a fourth – that’s another four years of work, dedication, of giving your life to the sport.” ~ Helen Maroulis, USA Olympic Gold Medalist

In true sportmaship like Martial Art behavior, Yoshida made no excuses after the match when asked why she lost. “Just that the opponent is stronger than me,” she said. “I should have attacked sooner and faster, but the opponent was stronger than me.” Maroulis said her coach, Valentin Kalika, played a key role in the victory. But even with the game plan in place, she became a bit tense before the start. “I’m like, stepping on the mat, and I’m thinking, ‘I don’t even know how this is going to get done. I don’t know. I’m just going to trust, and I just want to give my all,'” Maroulis said. To add to the drama, Maroulis fell behind 1-0, but a takedown early in the second period gave her the lead for good. “I’ve dreamed of this my whole life,” Maroulis said. “I put it on this pedestal.” Sounds to me like she knew her objective and tried her hardest to accomplish it.

For Maroulis, things went much deeper than a single match. I read some interesting things about the back story that help me respect the work ethic and attention to detail of this young wrestler. Maroulis prepared in every way possible, she even learned as much Japanese as possible to be able to understand Yoshida’s coaches when they were yelling instructions. Maroulis had to overcome that voice in the back of her head that was telling her that she was going to wrestle not only the best wrestler in the world but a wrestler who had beaten her at every attempt in the past. Maroulis was also ranked number one in the world, but at a different weight class, when she was asked why she wanted to wrestle in a different weight class, she simply said, ”
That’s Yosida’s weight class.” There it is there. Her winning attitude in a fearless nutshell.

Maroulis start in wrestling is storied and noble. She was a training partner for her brother because he didnt’ have anyone else to practice with at times, she then expressed her interest to wrestle. Her dad told her yes, but only under the condition that she could only continue to wrestle if she won her first match. She did just that, however after that initial victory, she went on to lose the next 30 or so matches she wrestled. She persevered through that to become one of the most prolific wrestlers in the history of the united states. She is a trailblazer. At her young age, she certainly has more World and Olympic titles to go after, but being the first female American wrestler to win gold in the Olympics is something nobody can ever take away from her. Congrats and I’m proud you represented my country in those games.

Jessica Alba, a Child Martial Arts Expert?

The fact that any actress, who really has no idea what is involved, would make such an unfounded and idiotic comment usually wouldn’t warrant a response from me, but Jessica Alba struck a nerve. I can’t say I was ever a fan, but I never really disliked her either. She was neither here nor there. Now Jessica Alba is the latest actress to go public with her disdain of “violence,” claiming that her daughters, ages 8 and 5, aren’t allowed to watch violent movies, even the ones with her in it. The question isn’t why would anyone let their kids watch R-rated movies, but rather why would they allow them to and not explain the issues as a responsible parent, or have them cover their eyes at the seedy parts? This comment was not the problem however. This was more of a personal choice she makes when it comes to the rearing of her own children.

She didn’t leave well enough alone at that point, Alba then said that she won’t even let her kids see her train Krav Maga. It is proven that women especially benefit from this kind of training so they are less likely to be victims of assault. It also brings balance through fitness and exercise. A reasonably educated person, especially a martial artist, would think Alba would see the benefit of teaching girls self defense. It isn’t necessary, but highly encouraged for all women to have self-defense training, because it is great exercise which keeps you healthy, strong, and confident. What’s bad about modeling that to children?

My son has been in BJJ, wrestling, and Pankration since he was 4. If any kid on the playground should make the mistake of trying to beat down my ten-year-old, he could end that attack and diffuse the situation within seconds with nice takedown and reasonably applied choke. My son has been in a gym literally since he was weeks old. He has sat by my side to watch live Muay Thai fights, countless Pro and Amateur MMA fights, and every other type of competition you can think of. He has trained and competed in several styles including Pankration and wrestling since he was very young.

Guess what, he is the most non-confrontational and least violent kid you will ever meet.

He has actually been punched in the head after beating a very competitive kid in a wrestling match and laughed it off.

I don’t think someone who is as detached from the real world, like a wildly famous Hollywood actress has any idea what the benefits of martial arts training can do for children. Just because you are the type of person who emulates others for a living, doesn’t mean that children are going to make the wrong decision and become violent or traumatized. As a matter of fact, Martial Arts will teach them the opposite. Before someone makes comments like hers, they should be informed and do their research. Hopefully those children are not bullied or encounter a situation later in life in order for Jessica Alba to learn a painful lesson on why Martial Arts helps children, not hurts them. Jessica needs to get a clue.