Some Sumo Size Shenanigans

Yokozuna, which is the top rank of sumo (think “black belt”) comes with a lot of responsibility. You can’t just be awesome at wearing giant g-strings and slapping fat guys in the face.

You’ve got to be a fine, upstanding citizen, must always talk in a low grunt, and must never, ever act in a way unbecoming of your rank.

Hakuho and Asashoryu are currently the only yokozuna in sumo, and they are also not Japanese. They are dirty foreigners, Mongolians to be exact. Which probably explains this dirty business!

The two of them have an interesting dynamic. Asashoryu is the fiery Mongolian warlord, Hakuho is the quiet Mongolian warrior… and they are both sitting on the top of the pile of Japanese sumo at the moment. (Quite the image, that…)

NB If you don’t live in Japan or give a shit about sumo this article might be completely irrelevant in which case click here.

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BJJ 25th May

Taught a class on Sunday, and it went pretty good despite having to hop everywhere.

I chose the bow and arrow choke because I have been using it a lot lately and find that I’m able to work it from just about any position.

It ended up going really well, I taught it from the back, from side control, from the turtle, and even from guard.

I did a little boning up before I went courtesy of Lockflow and Aesopian.

One other blue belt came who is my sempai, has been there longer and is generally better than me. I offered for him to teach the techniques but he stood back and waved his hands, and I learnt a small lesson then, that the teacher doesn’t necessarily have to be the best guy in the room but he does have to be willing to stand up in front of everyone and take responsibility for things.

The guys sparred pretty hard.

Here is pro-Shooto fighter Sugi-pro playing possum with one of our other resident gaijins, Kevin.

And here he is slapping on a reverse triangle in a pro shooto match.

Tomokazu Yuasa (blue trunks) vs. Toshihiko Sugimoto
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TUF Shit, series 7 episode 8.19b banana

TUF productions are pulling out all the stops with this season and have completely revamped the intro again.

Fade up from black to pink as a guitar wails hard. Some tinkly piano music can be heard as well as the sound of a tin of beans being slopped on an old bed. Suddenly “Livin’ on a Prayer” starts chunking out of your speakers HARD and there is a closeup of a foot with a cowboy boot tapping to the rythm. Zoom out to reveal Dana White in a cowboy outfit and a stars and stripes ten gallon hat. He has a large red white and blue saxaphone in his arms. Cut to a close up of his face. He winks twice then begins rocking out HARD on the sax. Suddenly the screen explodes and you see Rampage Jackson driving a hummer over the ocean. Water sprays up behind him. Zoom in on his face and he smiles and you see his teeth are gold. The words “Coach Quinton Rampage Jackson” slam and fizzle onto the screen in big purple letters.

Wipe to Forrest Griffin swinging from tree to tree like Tarzan. He is wearing a bear skin. Zoom in on his face and he smiles and you can see his teeth are just made from normal teeth. “Coach Forrest Griffin” dribbles onto  the screen with a fizzling noise. Bon Jovi appears on the screen and high-fives Griffin.

Random montage of whales splashing through the ocean, submarines crashing into each other and exploding, a monkey stuffing onions in a blender, a tank rolling over a supermarket, two helicopters firing missiles at a donkey which explodes, and a man in suspenders eating a cigar.

THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER writes itself onto the screen as if being sprayed on with aerosol. Fade down to black.

A recap of last week’s fights are shown. Cale Yarborough defeated Patrick Schultz by snapping off the Bostonians frosted hair and stabbing him in the eyes with it. Referee Steve Mazaggatti’s moustache had become aroused during the bout and swelled to five times its normal size, obscuring the pint-sized official’s vision, thus allowing the young fighter to get away with the flagrant bending of the rules.

Griffin and Rampage, no doubt spurred on by panicking producers, get really pumped and start yelling and breaking stuff. Like a bunch of college students whose drinks have been spiked with Viagra, everybody walks around being really pumped and not really knowing why or who to punch. The coaches decide to settle their differences with a game of hide and seek but unfortunately Rampage has to pull out halfway through when he steps on a banana skin, slips up, somersaults in the air and lands on a home barbecue set covered in delicious marinade.

Back at the house, a sunglass wearing competition is in full effect. The game remains tied for a few hours with participants frantically wearing the sunglasses as hard as they can. Eventually the game is abandoned as no winner can be decided but everyone agrees Jesse is the loser because he dipped his glasses in ketchup and ate them with a confused look on his face.

Dana White arrives in a private jet which lands on the roof of the TUF house, crushing the east wing and slaughtering a cast member known only as Bill, but he was quiet and had not received any air time yet so it’s all cool. Dana White backflips from the cockpit and fires a machine gun into the air. He produces a megaphone and simply yells “Fuck” really loud a few times. In the ensuing silence, somebody from the cast yells “WARRIOR” and everybody cheers.

A helicopter appears out of nowhere. David Letterman wearing nothing but a tattered pair of overalls and a baseball hat abseils down and grabs Dana White around the waist then the two of them fly off into the sunset.

Fade to sparkling green as “Take my Breath Away” begins playing.

BJJ Class, May 24, 2008

So I hobbled along to BJJ last night to cover for my instructor who is in Tokyo getting his ass whupped in preparation for the Mundials.

I did get a few strange looks when I came into the dojo on crutches with my gi pants on and a cast sticking out of the bottom of them, but that was to be expected.

Friday nights for BJJ have been pretty quiet lately, so I just sat there and watched the Shooto guys go through a really intense exercise session. Then a couple of people rolled up for BJJ including my buddy Sam, which was cool. I really didn’t do anything other than keep an eye on the timing and lead the warmup. I did some pressups, situps and later chinups, but I realised I have to be careful not to work up much of a sweat otherwise my cast will get majorly funkalicious.

It was great to be back in the dojo, that’s for sure, and I quite enjoyed just sitting on the sidelines and watching, analaysing, yelling out the odd bit of advice in Japanese. I think I was yelling “Grab his lapel with your right hand” but I might have been saying “Your mother sucks donkey balls in hell, stupid-head”… we’ll never know.

That class was over and then a couple of drifters came in for the 10pm class, including one blue belt who is very tough. (But has no stamina… I remember him completely killerising me a few weeks ago, then five spars later, he had nothing left…) He was kind of teaching a few moves to a white belt so I just let him get on with it. The class was very relaxed, we messed around with some rubber guard stuff, I got some pointers on the triangle from the blue belt, and then I watched them spar.

I am really, really looking forward to when my foot heals and I can train again. It was quite frustrating to be there, in my uniform, watching people spar, and not be able to join in.

I had a good opportunity to watch how people roll though and I think this break will ultimately help my game. I could see so many times when people were just doing completely the wrong movements. Wrestling and fighting for some grip or some position when all they had to do was change direction or switch some minor thing and they could have got a sweep or a submission with half the effort.

I am going to try to make my game much more efficient. I don’t mean that in a crappy kung fu way, I mean in a smart way. See the openings and do the techniques that require the least grunting and shoving and gurning. Be like water flowing down a river… when it reaches a boulder too big to go over, it simply flows around it… okay maybe in a vaguely crappy kung fu way.

I did manage to bone up on my BJJ reading, and got through the whole of Mitsuyoshi Hayakawa’s Basic BJJ and Alberto Crane’s Advanced BJJ books. I have rolled with Hayakawa-san when he came to visit our dojo, the man is wickedy-awesome-bo-diggety-wizard. The only thing I know about Alberto Crane is that his legs are bendy and he gets his face punched pretty hard in the UFC.

My verdict? I loved the simpleness and the large clear pictures of the Hayakawa book. Alberto Crane’s book was full of moves with ridiculous names (“Reverse flying omoplata to spinning heelhook armbar counter with extra fries”) and tiny, badly exposed pictures. Still, there was a DVD which might have been more clear.

Osu!

One more thing from Fighters Only

Jeez, are we in the future or what?

Personally I’m waiting until the magazine can be directly downloaded into my eyeballs but if you can’t wait that long, Fighters Only is now available online with all kinds of Web 2.0 integrated goodness.

Perhaps best of all you can download an entire issue of the magazine (Issue 34 to be exact) FOR NONE OF YOUR ENGLISH PENNIES… that means for free.

I think this link will take you there.

It’s a great issue, I got it sent to me from England. It’s got BJ Penn, Dana White, a training travel guide, and a whole bunch of other stuff in it. What are you waiting for? Quality online MMA journalism with pretty pictures and lots of things to click on! Go! Go!

The official blurb:

Fighters Only, The World’s Leading Mixed Martial Arts and Lifestyle Magazine, launches a digital version of it’s magazine, expanding it’s already massive coverage and giving it a larger international reach than any other publication in it’s sector.

Fighters Only, which is now in its forth year as a publication, has grown from being a UK publication to being on sale in 13 countries worldwide including the USA and Australia. The launch of a digital edition now means that wherever you can get online in the world, you can get Fighters Only.

Using leading technology the full magazine is reproduced with relevant video added to enhance the experience for readers. Other features include the ability to search text for key words, click through to links, both within the magazine and on the internet, and the access to an online library of the readers back issues which can be accessed at the click of a button.

Fighters Only Managing Director Rob Hewitt:

“Fighters Only has always embodied the pioneering spirit – we were the first monthly Mixed Martial Arts magazine in the world, we are the first to launch fan led awards with the World Mixed Martial Arts Awards and are now the first Mixed Martial Arts publisher to offer this digital version of the magazine to our readers sending Fighters Only truly World Wide.”

“The growth of Mixed Martial Arts has been an international phenomenon. To fulfil the global need for high quality features, interviews, coverage and insight as well as supplementing existing readers enjoyment of our magazine we felt that the digital edition was ideal. The digital format allows us to reach readers all over the world instantly, allowing them to enjoy the new issue as soon as it’s available in the stores in the UK.”

Fighters Only are also offering affiliate schemes to online retailers who wish to sell the publication to their customers. A sample edition of Fighters Only Issue 34 is online for people to try out the software at:  https://www.magtank.com/secure/sites/fightersonly/

World MMA Awards

Headed up by Martial Farts commentator (important title, that) Hywel Teague, Fighters Only Magazine is pretty much the coolest MMA magazine I’ve ever read. And I’m not just saying that because they have published two of my articles.

They have organised something that every MMA fan should check out…

The World MMA Awards.

In their words:

Fighters Only announce first World MMA Awards

Fighters Only, The UK’s Only Mixed Martial Arts and Lifestyle Magazine, is proud to announce plans for the first World Mixed Martial Arts Awards.

In a move that reflects the development and growth of the Sport and the Magazine, Fighters Only will organise and host an event that acknowledges outstanding achievements and efforts in MMA worldwide. Fighters, promoters and industry individuals will be eligible to win in a variety of categories that reflect their accomplishments in the sport.

The first World MMA Awards will be held in December 2008 with winners being nominated and chosen by fans throughout the year online. Using state of the art software Fighters Only will accept open nominations from May 2008 and the top 5 nominations in each category will be short listed for fans to choose from when nominations end on 31st July 2008. Fans who nominated will then be asked to vote for their winner from the shortlist.

Fighters Only Managing Director Rob Hewitt:

“The last 12 months have seen huge developments in MMA on a global level. We feel that now is the right time to launch an annual award ceremony which focuses on all that is great in this sport. Fighters Only have been innovators in terms of the feature and coverage that we provide to our readers, traditionally in our magazine and now on our website, and it is only natural that we should continue to blaze a trail by organising what is another first in the industry.”

“MMA fans are the best in the world and we feel that these Awards will give those fans a voice in the industry by allowing them to directly show their appreciation for the men and women who make this sport the best in the world.”

The World Mixed Martial Arts Awards website can be found at:

http://www.onlineawards.co.uk/fightersonly/home.asp

For further information contact:

Jim Burman

(+44) 7970 868333

Jb.i2media@gmail.com

Fighters Only Website:

www.fightersonlymag.com

Now that’s something I can get behind.

Get out there and vote, snotfaces…

The Ultimate Fighter Intro: Redux

With an unexpected afternoon off work and a new musical discovery (Dead Can Dance), I boshed together my own take on the TUF intro.

It is nothing special, I did no fancy editing, I just wanted to give it a different flavour. I tried to do it “Pride style” if you will, with the “epic, earth-shattering consequences” feeling that Sato Daisuke somehow managed to capture in all his videos.

Enjoy!

Tell me what you think. Would you like a TUF that was presented in a more dramatic way, or does it not fit? Do you prefer the nu-metal soundtrack, the locker-room samurai feel?