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.
It’s a mystical business we’re in. As you know, the martial arts were born from Asian mystics and passed on to a select few remarkable individuals. Mastery over the arts will grant you superhuman powers of telepathy, iron body, and no touch techniques.
Or so we’re told on occasion.
A lot of people are surprised at the level of flimflam that is around today, and are shocked that people buy into such “astounding” feats (like this one and this one). But if you think martial arts chicanery is new, think again. Consider the 70’s and 80’s when martial arts were just starting to reach levels of high national exposure. Bruce Lee had come and gone and left a tumultuous blend of eclectic “masters” in his wake.
One of those wannabe’s was a man named James Hydrick, or “Sum Chai” as he liked to be called.
Hydrick began his rise to fame in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he started his first martial arts studio. Therein he taught students how to control and enhance their mental abilities. Through a series of impressive physical stunts (like jump kicking a basketball net) and mental demonstrations (like making heavy bags sway without touching them), Hydrick became a local phenomenon.
In 1981 Hydrick’s true star was born when he appeared on a show called “That’s Incredible”. On the show he demonstrated his best techniques and astonished audiences worldwide:
Hydrick’s combination of physical fitness, Bruce Lee persona, and mental abilities caused him to become a sensation. It didn’t stop there though:
“The tabloid newspaper The Star quickly ran an article on Hydrick labeling him “The World’s Top Psychic.” The glowing account labeled Hydrick’s powers as “incredible and staggering.” Other newspapers revealed that Hydrick could cure headaches and colds with a touch and answer questions before they were asked. A scientist and electrical engineer from the University of Utah after much testing also concluded that Hydrick’s psychic powers were indeed authentic.” – Unexplainable.net
Here was a man that seemed to bridge the gap between the real and unreal. University-proven and publicly displayed, what was there to doubt about Sum Chai’s powers?
Unfortunately there was one man floating around who kept a close watch on claims of this nature. His name was (and still is) James Randi. Aka the Amazing Randi. A professional magician turned seeker-of-facts, Randi routinely busted metaphysical hustlers, faith healers, and mentalists. He went so far as to create a $10,000 dollar prize for anyone who could demonstrate supernatural powers under controlled circumstances. (Later Randi would up the ante to 1 million dollars and establish his own educational foundation).
Taking note of Hydrick’s dramatic rise in popularity, Randi requested a demonstration on the “That’s My Line” television program wherein Hydrick could first demonstrate his abilities, and then try to recreate those results once Randi put down some simple scientific parameters. Watch what happens, and do take note of the host whom you might recognize:
Unseen in this clip are a few more details. First, Randi offered an alternative solution to the packing peanuts, in case they were indeed somehow ruining the psychic connection; he asked Hydrick to where an ordinary medical mask over his mouth and nose. Hydrick flat out refused. Furthermore, Randi had in place a sensitive microphone that was aimed at Hydrick’s mouth during a rehearsal the day before. During the test, Randi was able to detect strong gusts of air coming from Hydrick, even though they were visually undetectable.
Certainly Randi was no fool and had no concern about losing his money that day. He also went on to explain his theory as to how Hydrick operated: “Hydrick was simply blowing the page over, and he spun the pencil around by the same means. Not immediately evident are these facts, however: First, the blast of air from a half-open mouth takes time to get to the props, and Hydrick made sure he turned his head away from the pencil and the page after giving a sharp puff of air, so that he was facing away when the action occurred. Second, one blows not directly at the prop but at the table surface” – James Randi
The rolling dowel trick as seen in the “That’s Incredible” clip was also easily explained. The wood on which the dowel moved was slightly concave. As the dowel would reach the far end from the initial roll, it would slow down, allowing Hydrick to mentally “stop” it. Then he could draw it back since the dowel was naturally inclined to roll backward. The concavity was so slight however that the friction of the wood would allow it to stop at the close end without settling back into the middle.
Seemingly foiled, Hydrick began to realize his time was limited and that he had to make one last effort to regain his fame. A few month’s after “That’s My Line” he agreed to another test, this time with magician and investigator Danny Korem. It was during this interview that footage of Hydrick’s martial arts operation and personal physical prowess became available. It was also the last straw for his credibility:
In a move that is actually quite surprising for con-men, Hydrick fessed up to the ruse. He explained his system and his personal background.
As many manipulators and con-artists do, Hydrick came from an imperfect childhood wherein he was starved for attention. he also fell into crime and used his abilities to preserve his own safety in jail. It was this combination of want and reward that led him to create Sum Chai.
Currently Hydrick is serving jail time as a registered sex offender in possible connection with his kung fu students.
Certainly James Hydrick can serve as an excellent study in the mystery of the unknown and the willingness of people to believe. Furthermore, we should take this incident as a stern warning when studying the arts to question what we see and attempt to understand why we do what we do (and how we do it). Lastly, we should be very careful as to what claims we make, as James Randi is still alive and ready to make us prove it.
As a sword practitioner, I feel it is my duty to bring you the epic samurai failings of the internet. If you’re looking for good, quality content – today is not your day. But, if you enjoy watching cringe-worthy videos about swords, you’ve come to the right place.
This first video comes courtesy of failblog.org. In many sword arts, there is a concept called tameshigiri. Tameshigiri is the process of practice cutting through rolled up tatami mats or other artificial substitutes for the human body. In most instances, things go well and the viewing audience is impressed. Unfortunately this is not like most times…
You gotta believe that sword is razor sharp, which makes this all the more “holy crap!” worthy. I’m assuming everyone is ok as it didn’t seem to stick into anything (here’s hoping).
The next video is a lesson in getting what you pay for. If you’ve ever watched Home Shopping Network, you know that they sometimes come out with crazy deals like 600 knives for $79.95. They also sell curiously cheap katanas for right around the $40 mark. Why so cheap?
Ahhh. The only person truly shocked is the guy who got poked. This is also why live TV is so great – you never really know what’s going to happen. If you have one of these swords in your home (I do), make sure never to use it or even touch it.
The final video I think I showed once before, but it bares repeating for this particular post topic. A “master 9th dan” gets it into his head that he wants to do some cutting demos at a tournament. What his assistant doesn’t know is that the master needed a little more practice…
You gotta hand it to them for keeping composure though. It’s almost like accidents have happened before to these guys…
You may think that this post is purely for sick amusement, but you’d be wrong! In fact I am trying to communicate a very important message of not toying around with weapons, especially katanas. You kids out there – if you are thinking about running around, cutting off tree branches and stuff with a katana you bought at an anime convention, do not do it! I don’t want to have to make a fail post for you too.