Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dana White and the Myth of the Fighter

Watching fights on tv has become a bit tedious. All I see is kickboxing with takedowns (not many good takedowns at that) - but mostly kickboxing. I would rather watch a K-1 type show for that.
Why is this happening?
Entertainment for the masses, that's why. Most people don't know that much about fighting, and what they do know comes from watching the guys on tv and listening to the commentary. Sadly, what they learn is the Dana White version of what it means to be a fighter.
He puts on a good show, but the aim has more to do with entertainment than fighting well.

I knew it was over when the ref pulled Jeremy Horn off of Frank Shamrock all those years ago, using the excuse that he wasn't getting the job done fast enough. Mount used to mean something in the fight game. Now it's just another place to throw punches from. The clinch used to be a place to transition to the ground, or to reorganize the fight if someone was a good striker and you didn't want to trade with them. Now it's a place to "stay busy" (translation: throw punches or haphazardly attempt to take the guy down even if it's not the right time to try that, so the ref doesn't give your striking friend a free restart).
Striking, striking, striking.
Strike from the guard, strike from the mount, strike from side control (the geniuses on tv call it "side mount"), strike from the back (but never behind the ear line, you might hurt someone). Maybe he wouldn't have turned his back so easily if he could get hurt.

The only innovation I see is when they find another way to strike when they should be grappling. It is amazing to see what happens when you change the rules of real fighting for the sake of the guy in the 20th row who's too far away to see anything but strikes, or to make blood thirsty fans of the big knock out happy. When I see a guy walk to the mike and say he wants to "put on a good show", I feel sad. When I see guys say "I want to thank the fans, you are the important ones, none of this would happen without you", I feel disgusted.
Newsflash: there have been Warriors of all types on the path for thousands of years without the help of "the fans". The fans should feel honored to watch two men struggle in combat, they should watch with humility. The fighters should try to win.
That is all.
If the fans are entertained, so be it. If not, so what.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jiu-Jitsu Lifestyle is here

Hello world,

My name is Dartanian Bagby. I teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts in North Hollywood, CA. As a Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt, I am always interested in the latest in the MMA world. As a fighter, striking has always been part of my life - I started with boxing at age 2 with my father as my guide, then started judo at age 3. Practicing these two arts gave me my first glimpse into the complexity of combat. I never played baseball, soccer or any of the normal sports; it was all Martial Arts for me. As a teenager I became a blackbelt in Karate. I still trained in Judo and while my high school friends went to wrestling meets, I went to judo tournaments.

In my late teens, I discovered Jiu-Jitsu, which would change my life forever. Learning there was more to the ground game than holding your opponent down for 25 sec. to get the win (as in judo) was an amazing discovery for me. Before Jiu-Jitsu, I never thought much about the wrestling tech my friends would use during our constant battles in the living room or back yard. Sometimes they would take me down, sometimes I'd throw them. The throws were more exciting for me, so although I picked up tech from them, I never used it much. Jiu-Jitsu showed me a different picture. The closer proximity of takedowns started to make more sense to me as I learned the the transitions of groundwork in Jiu-Jitsu.

When I went to college I joined the wresting team, which was another eye opening experience. I learned to hate the sound of a coach's whistle, and never did so many sprints in my life (while throwing up). I learned what all wrestlers know; hard work is the name of the game. Go hard or go home in shame.

Now as an MMA/BJJ Instructor I enjoy the blending of the various skill's I've acquired over the years. As I explore the common themes in the different forms of combat, as well as the differences, I feel that my knowledge of each becomes greater. I love to share my knowledge with my students and I'm hoping to further share my insights with the rest of the Martial Arts Community through this blog. I hope Jiu-Jitsu Lifestyle can help bring people closer to my world.

Thank you for reading,