“After UFC 103, Vitor Belfort gave credit to karate (and Jesus– a natural pairing) for his immaculate victory over former UFC champ, Rich Franklin. No surprise there, since “The Phenom” has been training in karate for years and has close ties with Lyoto Machida, the mixed martial arts Messiah of karate.” – Dom Velando
A couple of months ago I wrote a post about Lyoto Machida, wherein I explained my fanhood for him, and how it wasn’t just me – Machida’s popularity has been consistently growing over the past 8-9 months. One of the main reasons why is Machida’s karate-inspired fighting style. His traditional background (along with a black belt in BJJ) is making big waves throughout the MMA community. How could it not – the guy has yet to lose a round.
These days it seems that karate is branching out, and the latest person to do the branching is Vitor Belfort. Belfort is a recently returned UFC fighter who has been studying karate for years. Many analysts are remarking at Belfort’s excellent control of distance and timing, and how he seems to have a natural sense of space. People are also commenting on the speed and directness of his counterattacks after making other fighters waffle and miss.
This may all sound familiar to UFC fans because those are the exact qualities that are granting Machida so much success.
To watch the Belfort fight (it only lasts one round), click here or below:
Due to his impressive win, Belfort is slated to fight Anderson Silva, aka, the guy so good that he makes champions look like raw beginners. Although UFC fans are pining for a Machida-v-Silva matchup, it looks like Belfort is going to have to do instead (both Machida and Silva have declared friendship with one another and a strong desire not to fight).
The most interesting thing to come out of these recent events is a raised eyebrow about karate from MMA fans and fighters. We’ve all been so overexposed by crappy, watered-down karate that seeing good karate in action is both intriguing and confusing. Fighters like Machida and Belfort are also doing karateka a service because they are showing the value of arts like BJJ, and how it isn’t a sin to be well-rounded and open to outside concepts.
Very interesting developments! Pay attention everyone because these are the things that slowly shape the martial arts realm right underneath our noses.
Please pardon my pun – but that’s exactly how it went down. Anderson Silva tagged UFC Vet Forrest Griffin so hard and so consistently in the head and grillpiece that Griffin couldn’t stand toe-to-toe with the Brazilian for much longer than 3 minutes.
For those long time readers out there, you’ll know that I am a big fanboy for two UFC fighters – Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva. This last fight, which took place at UFC 101 in Philadelphia, was another stunner that left me wondering how Anderson Silva performs at such a high level.
Silva’s last two victories over Patrick Cote and Thales Leites were widely regarded as underwhelming. There was a lot of controversy as to whether or not Silva was losing his touch, or if he was just getting bored. It turns out he wasn’t losing his touch.
Forrest Griffin, a UFC pro and highly regarded competitor, tried to stand up with Silva but had no success. In fact, Silva made Griffin look like a tentative rookie (which he is far from being). After a minute or so of gauging each other, Griffin tried to establish a rhythm on Silva by throwing out half-paced punches and kicks. Silva calmly slid away from those attacks, and carefully picked his opportunities to explode into Griffin.
Everytime Griffin attempted to push the pace, Silva slipped the attack and punished Griffin in return. The result was a fight so lopsided that some people are wondering if Griffin threw the fight, or if he was sick/drugged during the match.
One thing I can guarantee is that there was no throwing of the fight – Griffin is renounded for his big heart and taking a dive would never enter into is realm of possibility. Furthermore, there are no reports (as of yet) confirming illness or injury on the part of Griffin. What we are left to conclude is that Silva was simply operating at a level that nullified Griffin in every way.
Silva is a little guilty of antics during the fight – dropping his hands and urging Griffin to come and fight. That stemmed from the stream of bad press he had been getting from his last two fights, and the accusations that he was not putting out any energy or effort. It is also important to note that both fighters showed each other full respect throughout the match, which is a big differentiating factor when observing antics vs mockery.
I’d also like to point out that when Silva dropped his hands it was because he was in such dominant control of distancing and timing that that was the only way to get Griffin to come and fight. Silva saw the opportunity to use such a tactic to win, so he took it. He further demonstrated his command by knocking out Griffin in an almost casual fashion.
Call this match what you will – weird, unusual, astounding, intriguing…for me, I can confidently say that it was definitely worth watching.
Former boxing champion Vernon Forrest was shot and killed in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday July 25th. The incident occured at a local gas station where Forrest was robbed at gun point and killed a few minutes later when in pursuit of the robber.
This is an extremely unfortunate event; one that every martial artist and fighter should take note of.
Forrest, 38, is best known as the first man to defeat Shane Mosley (an extremely dominant force in the boxing world). Forrest was also a member of the 1992 Olympic boxing team alongside Oscar De La Hoya. Achieving a professional record of 41-3, Forrest was able to attain the ranks of welterweight and junior-middleweight champion.
On Saturday the 25th Forrest stopped at an Atlanta gas station to refill the air in his tires. His 11-year-old son was in tow, whom Forrest allowed to enter the gas station itself. While refilling, Forrest was approached by a gun-wielding assailant and was robbed of his Rolex and championship ring.
As the robber made his escape, Forrest retrieved a firearm from his vehicle and began pursuit. The chase went on for roughly 3 blocks where the assailant was able to slip away. Forrest, still in close pursuit, encountered another individual, according to police lieutenant Keith Meadows:
“Forrest comes around the corner and he encounters another individual who we believe has a gun in his hand,” Meadows said, adding that Forrest and the second person “exchange words” before Forrest “realizes that this is not the individual who actually robbed him.
“So he turns to walk away and it was at that point the subject shot Mr. Forrest a number of times in the back,” Meadows said. – Yahoo Sports
Here we have a sports fighting phenom – strong, fast, confident, and effective. On top of that, he was reportedly a great father and humanitarian outside the ring. Yet despite all that he still fell victim to a classic case of street violence.
No matter how much ground-n-pound, kyusho, or sparring we do, we can never be sure how things will unfold on the street. Furthermore, if we let our anger and self-confidence take ahold of us, we might exacerbate an escapable situation.
No one can be blamed for Forrest’s death besides the assailants. However, it is becoming more evident that Forrest made questionable decisions in dealing with his situation. The first of which was making the choice to stop. Trainer Emanuel Steward had this to say:
“I always preach to my boxers to never stop for gas late at night when you don’t know your surroundings,” Steward said. “Vernon did, and his natural instinct as an athlete was to go after his assailant. He’s going to fight back. The problem is everyone, it seems, has a gun.” – Freep.com
Awareness and proper planning are very underrated tools for self defense. No matter how skilled or well armed you are, Steward is right – it seems like everyone has a gun.
The second issue was Forrest’s decision to chase after his possessions. I can only imagine what kind of sentimental value the championship ring must have had, but it was replaceable. As that robber ran off so did the immediate danger to Forrest and his son. Unfortunately, street justice wouldn’t have been served, and Forrest seemed like the kind of man who wanted to punish wrong doing.
Who can say they haven’t felt the same way at some point?
We need to take stock in our training and realize the importance of the mental side of body, mind, spirit. We need to be able to quickly choose when fighting is necessary and utterly required to protect ourselves and others. This is extremely difficult, especially when combined with the quick chaotic nature of true violence.
The third issue was Forrest’s disengagement from his eventual killer. When Forrest lost site of his robber, he encountered another individual who was allegedly wielding a firearm. The two exchanged words, and Forrest realized that this wasn’t the guy who robbed him. After that, he turned his back to walk away, and was shot repeatedly.
I don’t know what was said, but there is absolutely no reason to trust this random, armed individual enough to turn your back or drop your guard even for a moment.
When it comes to violent events, hindsight is easy. We can do shoulda-woulda all day, but the fact is those split second decisions determine the final outcome of the event. Perhaps we can store Forrest’s untimely death in the back our minds so that we might learn from it.