The Fight Nerd

June 10, 2014

WSOF 11 to be NBC’s first televised MMA event, with Gaethje VS Newell for lightweight title

Just last week, World Series of Fighting made headlines when promotion officials announced a major partnership renewal with NBC that will see the organization air live events on the major network twice this year – and many more times in years to follow. The promotion’s inaugural NBC-broadcast event, “World Series of Fighting 11: Gaethje vs. Newell” now takes place July 5 at Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Fla.

World Series of Fighting 11 is headlined by a lightweight championship bout with the exciting Justin Gaethje (11-0) putting his belt on the line against the extremely tough and talented “Notorious” Nick Newell (11-0). Also on the card, a highly anticipated welterweight rubber match takes place as we see Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Jon Fitch (25-6-1, 1 NC) take on Josh “The People’s Warrior” Burkman (27-10). Both Fitch and Burkman boast a win over each other, so this bout is for bragging rights.

Additionally, newly signed lightweight Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard (31-13-2) debuts against Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante (18-7-1) and Cody “Bam Bam” Bollinger (15-2, 1 NC) faces a dangerous 14-year veteran in Pablo Alfonso (9-5) in an intriguing bantamweight contest.

“We’ve been talking about it for some time now, and we’re thrilled to see all of the pieces falling perfectly into place for our first show on NBC,” said World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo. “With World Series of Fighting 11 taking place over the holiday weekend in Daytona, the world’s most famous beach, we are anticipating fireworks from the Fourth to continue in the cage. I know that it will be another great night of fights for all of our fans.”

Lightweight champion Justin Gaethje is a member of Colorado’s Grudge Training Center and has already earned World Series of Fighting wins over Rich Patishnock, Dan Lauzon, Brian Cobb and Gesias Cavalcante. Fighting professionally since 2011, the 25-year-old is undefeated in his first 11 career fights, and 10 of those have ended via stoppage, including nine by knockout.

“Notorious” Nick Newell will be challenging Gaethje for his lightweight championship when the cage doors close. The inspirational Newell, who shares an identical record (11-0) with his opponent, last defeated Sabah Fadai at World Series of Fighting 7. It was his second submission victory in as many fights under the World Series of Fighting banner, having previously dispatched of Keon Caldwell at World Series of Fighting 4 with a modified guillotine choke that earned him a top play on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

When Jon Fitch (25-6-1, 1 NC) and Josh Burkman (27-10) met for the second time in their careers at World Series of Fighting 3 event Las Vegas, Burkman was determined to return the favor from when Fitch submitted him with a rear-naked choke seven years earlier. Despite being the underdog going into the fight, Burkman succeeded in a victory that earned him a “Submission of the Year” nomination at the World MMA Awards. Both fighters have earned victories since World Series of Fighting 3, with Burkman scoring an impressive first-round knockout over Tyler Stinson on March 9 and Fitch beating Marcelo Alfaya at World Series of Fighting 6.

Melvin Guillard is well-known as one of the most explosive and dangerous knockout artists in all of combat sports. Fighting professionally since he was just a teenager, Guillard is one of the most athletically gifted strikers in the sport today and is capable of ending any fight in a single punch. Meanwhile, Gesias Cavalcante is a well-respected veteran of the sport who has fought previously for Strikeforce and DREAM and now competes for the fourth time under the World Series of Fighting banner. The 31-year-old Brazilian is 2-1 with the promotion with stoppage victories over T.J. O’Brien and Tyson Griffin, and his only loss in that span came due to a cut against current champ Gaethje.

Bollinger made his promotional debut at World Series of Fighting 8 in January and took a unanimous decision against Tyson Nam, giving him back-to-back wins. Alfonso brings a three-fight winning streak to the bout, including a first-round submission of former WEC champ Miguel Torres at World Series of Fighting 6 this past October.

“When Tae Kwon Do Strikes” Movie Review

Filed under: Movie Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 9:24 AM

Angela Mao Ying was one of the first women signed to Golden Harvest when the company was formed, and had an enormously successful film career. If the name Golden Harvest sounds familiar, it’s because they were the powerhouse production company in Hong Kong that churned out films with Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, and Bolo Yeung to name a few. Female martial arts movies were popular, but not necessarily as financially successful as their male counterparts. However, Angela Mao garnered a huge following, and was even in Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon” (playing his movie sister). Shout Factory has released an epic three-disc DVD set called “The Angela Mao Ying Collection
“, which includes six of her best films in it, and today we look at one of them.

From 1973, “When Tae Kwon Do Strikes” co-starred Jhoon Rhee, who is considered the father of American Tae Kwon Do and was a good friend of Bruce Lee. The film also stars Carter Huang (or Wong depending on how you see it), who was a huge star in his own right in the 70′s in martial arts movies, and many American fans would know him from “Big Trouble in Little China”, when he was Thunder. It also has appearances by Sammo Hung and Yuein Biao, so you know you are getting something incredible just from reading the cast list.

Directed by Huang Feng, the film takes place in Korea around the time of WW II, when the country was under Japanese rule. Carter Huang’s character, Jin, is chased by a group of Japanese Karate students who claim he was on their territory. He is chased into a French-operated Church where he is rescued by Uncle Li (Jhoon Rhee) and the Priest’s daughter, Mary (Anne Winton in her only movie appearance), however the Priest inside does not approve of this, especially not Li teaching his daughter Tae Kwon Do. The Koreans want to leave and hide, but the Priest refuses to do so. As the group flees, more Japanese come and torture the priest (led by Sammo Hung playing a Japanese man) who refuses to reveal anything. Uncle Li makes the save and flees with Mary and Jin to a camp with his TKD students, but unbeknownst to them, the Priest has been taken prisoner and is being tortured for information.

Li heads to a Chinese restaurant, where Angela Mao (as Wan Ling Ching) is a waitress who grew up in Seoul and offers amnesty to Li. He sends her to the church, where she fights off a horde of Japanese and discovers the truth about the Priest’s whereabouts. Now that she is on this, the Japanese target her and go so far as to kill her mother, while Mary goes to investigate her father directly with the Japanese that have him. Li goes to the Japanese karate school to get back the Priest, who is murdered, and despite fighting off most of the school, Li himself now becomes a prisoner of the Japanese. With the Japanese harassing more innocent bystanders and causing more problems in town, Ling, Anne, and Jin storm the Japanese and have an all-out battle with the winners to take all!

It takes 24 minutes for her to appear in the film, but once she does, Angela Mao gets some great fight scenes. From her battle in the church to her sword fight in the restaurant, Mao gets to show off a variety of her fighting abilities with and without weapons. Mao has several fight scenes with Sammo Hung, which are definitely the highlight of the movie, but every one of the actors does an excellent job. Despite this being his first and only movie, Jhoon Rhee as well does exceptionally well, both in acting and in performing the fight sequences. It’s also a pity that Anne Winton did not do more movies since she was pretty good as well for a first timer.

If you have never seen an Angela Mao movie, “When Tae Kwon Do Strikes” is a great place to start. Loaded with some of the best martial artists at the time and many who would go on to do bigger things in the near future, this movie delivers a different plot with great fight choreography and smart action sequences. Many Hong Kong action movies had Chinese nationalist themes to them, but this movie has Korean nationalist themes that adds a welcome change to how the plot progresses and how the viewer feels for the characters. Often times, the nationalist theme is shoved down our throats, but this one is more about the characters and their relationship to their homeland, rather than them being the defenders of their country. It’s a story we have seen before but done in a much more creative way. Furthermore, this is a Shout Factory re-release, and the company has masterfully restored the picture and audio in this movie, making their copy the best way to see it. I highly recommend giving this movie a watch.

Good news for you, since you can get this and five other Angela Mao movies with The Angela Mao Ying Collection from Shout Factory, and I definitely recommend getting this set today for some very high-quality martial arts action.

June 9, 2014

“In The Blood” Movie Review

Filed under: Movie Reviews — Tags: , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 9:22 AM

Gina Carano’s name has been popping up again in the MMA world, with rumors of her interest to return to fighting. Convenient when you consider that her latest movie, “In the Blood”, has been doing its best to hype her up as being relevant in the sport and getting her name back in the mainstream once more. After Gina left MMA following her loss to Cris Cyborg, she virtually disappeared from the fight game, other than her film career that let her beat up some dudes. Fast forward to today, when we have her latest flick which I can genuinely say is one of the best things that she has done so far.

Carano plays Ava, a girl with a dark past in drugs and a scary abusive father that taught her how to be a survivalist (which mostly meant attacking and stabbing her with sharp objects), who has just wed the love of her life Derek (Cam Gigandet of “The Twilight Saga”). When they go to their honeymoon in the Caribbean, Ava messes with the wrong people at a nightclub, resulting in Derek having a terrible accident and being kidnapped. A conspiracy involving the police and the entire island is uncovered as Ava does her best Liam Neeson impersonation to uncover the truth, since she has a very particular set of skills that make her a nightmare to people like Luis Guzman and Amaury Nolasco.

It really is like Gina Carano’s verison of “Taken”, and I am totally okay with that. Carano has improved greatly as an actress, although she still has plenty of room for improvement. Her way to convey happiness is just the most fake-looking smile, occasionally paired with a lower lip bite, and her line readings often fall flat, especially when her lines are very short (which happens a lot in the beginning of the film). Once her husband gets kidnapped, Gina gets to let loose and becomes much more natural and the direction of John Stockwell really helps her out in that regard.

Stockwell does a great job of creating authentic tension in a lot of scenes, including a great one where she holds a guy hostage on the middle of a zipline and another where she is stabbing another repeatedly with a pen. If it was shot any other way, it would have felt hokey, but Stockwell knows how to make the viewer really squirm and make Gina’s character feel completely unpredictable. His resume is also one that has used a lot of tropical locales, so he makes great use of Puerto Rico not just as a backdrop, but involving locals to make everything feel more legit and to immerse the viewer into the craziness that is happening on the island.

The supporting cast does a great job too, especially our main baddies in Luis Guzman and Amaury Nolasco. Guzman was a superb casting choice as the chief of police on the island, and Amaury plays the big baddie who has some pretty solid motivation for kidnapping Ava’s beau. Lest we forget Danny Trejo, who gets front package billing but only appears for two or three minutes total in a movie that is 108 minutes long.

The most MMA action we get in the movie is a flying armbar type attack in the nightclub fight early in the film, and after that, Gina mostly delivers low kicks, elbows, and knees. Ben Bray, who also appears as a cop who gets beat up a few times in the movie, coordinated the fights, along with input from Carano, and they are action-packed sequences that come off more realistic compared to her fights in other movies, but it’s nothing super impressive or jaw dropping. However, in the context of the movie, it works very well and once again, the direction of the scenes suck you in and make you feel like you are part of the fights. There are plenty of other great stunts in the movie and a big shoot out, but telling you what those are would be spoilers.

I don’t want to say that I was surprised by how much I liked “In The Blood”, since that comes off insulting to everyone who worked on this movie. I had low expectations from Gina’s past films, but this one is definitely one of the best she has done and was very watchable. Being nearly two hours long makes it drag a bit, especially in the early parts of the movie, but once it gets going, it’s paced well and is pretty exciting to watch. I actually liked a Gina Carano movie! What is the world coming to?

You can order “In the Blood” from Amazon.com, and it’s actually worth checking out, whether you are a Gina fan or not. I am actually excited to see what else Gina is working on next, even though this is not the best fight flick ever, but it’s still a very solid movie that is a lot of fun and will remind you of all the good times we used to have back in the days of Elite XC.

June 3, 2014

FIRST 8-MAN TOURNAMENT MATCH-UP ANNOUNCED FOR “GLORY: LAST MAN STANDING”

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 10:34 AM

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GLORY, the world’s premier kickboxing league, today announced the first match-up in the one-night, 8-man tournament for its inaugural Pay-Per-View (PPV) event, GLORY: LAST MAN STANDING, to air live from The Forum, Presented by Chase, in Inglewood, California on Saturday, June 21st.

Power puncher Melvin ‘No Mercy’ Manhoef (47-11-0, 37 KO) makes his GLORY debut when he takes on technician Filip ‘The Belgian Bull’ Verlinden (42-11-1, 16 KO) in the tournament’s opening round. The winner will advance to the semi-final round and remain in contention to be crowned GLORY Middleweight World Champion.

The following video is a pre-fight interview with Melvin Manhoef, previewing the event.

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Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef is one of the most exciting names in combat sports, from kickboxing to MMA and back. Melvin trains with the legendary Mike Passenier, and he’s promised his friends and family that he will be the Last Man Standing in Los Angeles.

His opponent, Filip Verlinden’s pre-fight interview can be found below.

Filip “The Belgian Bull” Verlinden is the only fighter in GLORY to have competed in Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, and now Middleweight. Filip is a very technical, intelligent fighter, and he’s hung with some of the most powerful men in the fight game.

June 2, 2014

Randy Couture & Frank Shamrock team up for Spike TV’s “Gym Rescue”

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 4:31 PM

Spike TV is getting in shape for summer with “Gym Rescue” hosted by MMA legends Randy Couture and Frank Shamrock. The 3-episode series premieres Sunday, August 10 at 9:00pm ET/PT. 
 
More and more Americans every year are joining gyms to stay in shape and live healthier and more productive lives. However, running a successful gym is fraught with economic peril as many end up closing due to grievous mismanagement.
 
MMA legends Randy Couture and Frank Shamrock use their years of expertise in the business of mixed martial arts to help turn struggling gyms into thriving enterprises.  Couture currently owns a successful chain of gyms, Xtreme Couture MMA while Shamrock runs the acclaimed Shamrock MMA.  Together this dynamic duo has the know-how and track record to help take a failing gym on the ropes and turn it into a champion. 
 
From traditional gyms to military-style boot-camps to yoga studios, Couture and Shamrock will do whatever it takes to whip the failing gyms into shape. From re-defining the gym’s identity, to renovating the outdated workout equipment to revising their marketing strategies, no problem is too big for this team of heavyweights. The hosts will also confront the gym owners with their assessment and plan of attack. No detail will go unnoticed as they scour the facility’s procedures from top to bottom. At the end of every episode, the new gym is revealed and it’s determined if the once failing gym has become a winning success.
 
The series was shot on location in Florida and Colorado.
 
“Gym Rescue” is produced by Kinetic Content with Chris Coelen, Couture and Samuel Spira as Executive Producers.
 

UFC Fight Night 42: Henderson VS Khabilov Breakdown

Filed under: Features — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 2:26 PM

BY RICH MILLER

Benson Henderson can be a frustrating fighter to follow. On the one hand he holds a career record of 20-3 and has held lightweight championship titles in two different promotions, most recently UFC. On the other hand, he hasn’t been nearly as convincing in the ring as his record or potential suggest he should, often leaving decisions in the hands of the judges (sometimes with controversial results) instead of leaving no doubt against opponents many feel he is clearly superior to.

Still, he has earned his place at the top of UFC’s Lightweight division, where he currently sits as the number one contender for Austin Pettis’s title. The fact that Pettis has beaten Henderson twice (with a championship on the line both times) and given Henderson his only UFC loss adds a certain aspect to Henderson’s next bout with the intriguing Rustam Khabilov.

The two meet this weekend at UFC Fight Night 42 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the first time UFC is holding an event in the state. Albuquerque is also the adopted hometown of the Russian-born Khabilov, who could become a serious contender in the lightweight division if he is able to upset Henderson.

Khabilov has many around the sport wondering just how good he can be, and this fight is a prime opportunity to figure that out. He holds a career 17-1 record, including 3-0 in UFC, and his one career loss came via split decision in 2010. His first two fights after signing with UFC were impressive victories over Vinc Pichel and Yancy Medeiros. In those fights he dominated while displaying a flair for suplexing his opponents that is rarely seen in MMA. While his most recent fight in November against Jorge Masvidal wasn’t quite as dominant, he still secured a unanimous decision victory and his overall body of work has solidified him as a fringe contender for the top spot in his weight class.

Henderson, however, is anything but a fringe contender. Since losing the Lightweight title to Pettis in August he has won his only fight while limiting his risk in order to properly to stay in the championship picture. To that end, Khabilov could be dangerous if Henderson looks past him to a time when the currently-injured Pettis is accepting fights again.

Henderson, for his part, seems to know what he is getting in to. He recently called Khabilov a “tough kid,” while displaying an impressive knowledge of Khabilov’s fight style. That dedication to scouting combined with Henderson’s talent and past performance are the reason he is the big favorite heading in to the fight, with almost every sportsbook on www.gambling.com installing him as a 2/5 favorite less than a week away from the fight.

While Khabilov is fighting for respect and will have the hometown advantage, it might be just a little too early in his promising career to expect a victory over one of the division’s top names. Add Henderson’s desire and focus to avenge his previous losses to Pettis and the blow a loss would deal to his contendership, and Henderson seems like a solid bet.

No matter what, the June 7 fight should pit the Lightweight Division’s present against one of the more promising faces of it’s future.

 

June 1, 2014

“Bruce Lee: The Celebrated Life of the Golden Dragon” Book Review

Filed under: Product Reviews — Tags: , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 11:39 AM

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This June marks the 41st anniversary of the passing of Bruce Lee, the martial arts legend that many students of the arts were inspired to train by from watching his films. Lee was a pioneer in martial arts, one who we have discussed in great lengths previously on this site, and there is plenty to learn still from this man who gave so much of himself to combat endeavors. There is an enormous amount of merchandise to look at about Bruce, and we have reviewed plenty of it in the past as well, and the chances are high that this is something that will never truly exhaust itself.

Released by Tuttle Publishing, “Bruce Lee: The Celebrated Life of the Golden Dragon” is another part of Tuttle’s Bruce Lee library, which encompasses nearly every aspect of Bruce’s life in the martial arts and beyond. This hardcover book by John Little, which weighs in at around 180 pages, is the companion piece to the authors documentary, “Bruce Lee: In His Own Words”, which you can find in most DVD copies of “Enter the Dragon” as a special feature. Little was the driving force over the past few decades in continuing to spread Bruce Lee’s legacy, paving the way for newer experts such as Paul Bowman to leave their mark. Many of Tuttle’s books on Bruce Lee were written by Little, and are all brimming with information on every aspect of how Lee lived his life.

This particular book is a photo essay that combines the interviews that Little had done for his documentary, along with many never before seen photos from Lee and anecdotes from the man himself. A full color book (when applicable, since many photos are in black & white since that is how they were shot), nearly every page is a gorgeous photo of Bruce Lee in all his glory.

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Ranging from old family photos of Bruce growing up, including rare pics of his family, to his time coming to America and slowly working his way up to becoming the star that we remember him as today, this book is hero worshipping at its finest. The action junkies can get their fix with images of Bruce fighting Chuck Norris, training with Daniel Inosanto, or beating up Bob Wall and Bolo Yeung. More sentimental fans will enjoy seeing the vulnerable human side of Bruce, posing candidly with his children and wife.

In terms of substance, there is not a ton, but just enough. This is a glorified coffee table book that is not a biography of Bruce or a treatise on his training methods, although Tuttle has those books for you as well if you are interested, but is a photo gallery of the man’s life accompanied by quotes and pieces of his writing. The book is assembled in a mostly chronological order, so you can still tell the story of his life from it, just not as well as in other books. It’s almost a motivational book the way it is structured, especially since Lee was very interested in psychology. You will find it hard not to feel like doing something physical after flipping through this book.

The big sell point for this book is the huge color photos that just look so great. Without getting knee deep in a discussion on film vs digital photography, there truly is something special about older photographs that resonate and have weight. When your subject is Bruce Lee, you are guaranteed something dynamic, stoic, expressive, and an emotional experience.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this book is worth millions of words. As long as you remember this is not a detailed biography, even though there are biographical elements to it, and you enjoy the photo essay, then this book is a must have if you are a fan of Bruce Lee and martial arts in general. It’s one thing to see a few Bruce photos on the internet, it’s another to hold them in your hand and see them in a larger scale, something that I appreciate a great deal.

You can order “Bruce Lee: The Celebrated Life of the Golden Dragon” from Amazon.com for around $15, and is worth getting if you are a fan of Bruce Lee, and really, who isn’t?

May 28, 2014

Old School MMA Review: UFC 10 – The Tournament

The Old School MMA Review returns, as the ultimate test of skill vs will, of style and guile, of high-flyin’ limousine ridin’… oh wait, I am channeling Ric Flair again. Welcome back to another episode of OSMMA, where The Fight Nerd and Zane Simon ramble about some classic mixed martial arts action.

This time, we head to Birmingham, Alabama to check out UFC 10 from July 1996, which brings back the eight-man one-night tournament format, and features the return of defending tournament champion Don Frye, runner-up Gary Goodridge, and the highly anticipated debut of “The Hammer” Mark Coleman. Plus, Tank Abbott and Dan Severn attack the commentary booth as “The Beast” tries to defend his performance at UFC 9 against Ken Shamrock, and Brian Johnston leaves an impression, along with John Campatella and Mark Hall. All this, and The Fight Nerd constantly making pro wrestling references with Zane shaking his head in disgust.

This review is broken up into two parts, with part one focused on the first half of the event and the first round of fights, and part two all about the semi-finals and final fights of UFC 10! Make sure to watch part two below:

If you want to see UFC 10 for yourself, you can pick up the official DVD of this event from Amazon at this link here.

May 23, 2014

“The Illustrated Ninja Handbook” Review

Filed under: Product Reviews — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 11:20 AM

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The ninja is both mysterious and a Hollywood icon. Despite being a silent assassin that lurks in the shadows, it also appears prominently in every other action movie, comic, and cartoon ever made. Just as much as it appears in pop culture, the ninja has also infiltrated the romantic minds of actual martial artists, leading to some legit schools that teach the form of Ninjitsu, and others that just fake it. Trying to find a legit instructional for the home student can also be a very arduous task, as there are a ton of fraudulent products on the market with little evidence of being legit. But, sometimes you luck out, and “The Illustrated Ninja Handbook” seems to be my lucky draw.

Written by Remigiusz Borda and Marian Winiecki, this 216 page book released by Tuttle Publishing gives you the authentic knowledge that is not just repurposed karate moves with a guy wearing black parachute pants. Borda is a student of the Bujinkan Ninjitsu school, and his martial arts history leads his style back to the 34th Grandmaster of family head of the Togakure-ryu Ninjitsu lineage. Does that mean much to the average reader? Nah, but it sounds impressive.

Before the book jumps into techniques, there is an excellent history lesson on the various ninjitsu schools and lineage, as well as some info on the Bujinkan and general ninja awesomeness. Concise explanations are given about a wide variety of topics like how the female ninja operated, using nature as a weapon or hiding place, disguises, armor, utilizing plants as medicine and “magic”, mudras, and more.

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The book has a wide variety of techniques, ranging from strikes, counters, throws, and takedowns, to techniques using weapons and disarming them. This includes short sections on stopping a samurai sword from being drawn, using your own sword, and attacking with shurikens, the jutte, bo staff, and kyoketsu (a type of noose-like rope) and the manriki chain.

Much like the newer Tuttle books, this instructional is filled with hundreds of full-color photos arranged in dynamic presentations to show every little nuance of the technique being demonstrated. Too many people just look right at the pictures, so it makes sense to just cater for that audience off the bat, and combined with concise supporting text to help with those pictures, it really changes the formula for how to make an effective instructional book for the modern reader. With a style like ninjitsu, this works especially well, and the photos often come from different angles so that you can see what the entire body is doing as each move is executed.

Unless you are a student of Ninjitsu, there is little practice advice for the average fighter, especially anyone interested in the MMA world. The techniques presented in this book offer a look back at classic and traditional ninjitsu moves that are impractical in the 21st century, since how often is a samurai going to come up to you and charge at you with his katana? With that said, while this is an instructional book, I consider it more of a historical guide to ninjitsu and the moves that ninjas may have employed during their era. These weapons are outdated and archaic by todays standards, and the most relatable techniques in the book would be the hand-to-hand self defense moves, which I can recommend as they are very practical and look useful. In fact, a lot of them are excellent, so if you do want defensive maneuvers that you can use in real life, the book is great for that. Once it gets to the weapons, however, treat the way I am – as a textbook on how these ancient objects were used a few hundred years ago to fight.

There are plenty of more thorough books on the history of ninjas, but this book is less a textbook and more an interactive history book. You get a good deal of historical info, along with self-defense and some sweet weapons moves. It is definitely a good read on ninjitsu for a number of reasons, and I think it is a very solid entry point into the world of ninjitsu, easily better than other books on the market that do not give you this much hands-on info. You can order The Illustrated Ninja Handbook: Hidden Techniques of Ninjutsu from Amazon.com for under $15. While it might not be the most ideal self defense book or instructional for an MMA enthusiast, if you like ninjas, action movies, and learning about Japanese history and culture, then I highly recommend it since it delivers on all fronts.

May 15, 2014

“Bar-Jutsu: The American Art of Bar Fighting” Book Review

Filed under: Product Reviews — Tags: , — The Fight Nerd @ 11:10 AM

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Ah, bar fights! Nothing is more fun than going on some viral video site and watching two people who might be part of the Darwin Awards drunkenly slapping each other around to our amusement. In reality, not all bar fights end in hilarious fashion, or with Roger Huerta knocking you out, and some can get very dangerous, very fast. This led to James Porco, a certified ninjitsu instructor and former professional wrestler who also bounced in many bars and nightclubs for over 16 years, to write his own instructional on self-defense in these settings. Together with Tuttle Publishing, “Bar-Jutsu: The American Art of Bar Fighting” was born into a 120 page softcover book that teaches you, the average bar-hound, how to handle any volatile situation in one of these seedy environments.

Full disclosure – this book is not as ludicrous as it sounds, even though it clearly does not take itself too seriously. Porco is light-hearted and talks to you like he has known you for years, right from the very first sentence of this book. It might be hard to take this book seriously, especially with how the tone is set from the get-go, but I can assure you that this is more serious than your initial response. Even the names of the chapters seem like jokes and do not often reveal what to expect when you read them, but a quick flip through the pages will show you that this book essentially gives you an insurance policy in the form of easily applicable defense techniques to both drunk and sober attackers in closed-quarters and tight space environments.

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The book covers what to do when you initially pushed or grabbed by an attacker, put up against a wall or are fighting in a very small space, defenses against strikes, and disarming an opponent. There is nothing too fancy about anything in this book, everything is extremely practical and easy to execute. With Porco’s background in Ninjitsu, the goal is often to quickly incapacitate and control your opponent without doing unnecessary damage (although as a Ninja, I feel like he might throw in a kill-shot or two in real life, but who knows).

Beyond the physical part of fighting, “Bar-Jutsu” also goes in detail on how to diffuse a fight before it happens, by not antagonizing someone, knowing how to talk your way out of a situation safely, and even just saying “Sorry”, which surprisingly can end a lot of potential conflicts before they even get started. All of this is exposited in a succinct 120 pages that makes for an easy and enjoyable read. Combined with the witty remarks and color photos makes for a fun experience that does not require the reader to know any martial arts whatsoever. No takedowns, no guard passes, just blocks, simple escapes, and simple grapple or control holds. The beauty is in the simplicity, and to me, that is a big positive sell point for this book.

Often times, I review very technical manuals on martial arts, and I love reading those. But that kind of book is not good for every situation, and this particular product is not intended just for the budding fighter or martial artist. You can get this for anyone, and it should work for anyone since it is nearly a fool-proof system of easy to do (and easy to remember) techniques. The book does suggest you practice, and you should, but it does not necessarily require dumping tons of time into taking BJJ or Muay Thai classes. This is where things do become complicated for a potential buyer.

An experienced martial artist would not really need “Bar-Jutsu”, but someone who has not done too much of that before should get a lot more mileage out of it. Unfortunately, a lot of customers might see the moves and think they are not flashy enough, but I think combined with the levity of the writing, readers should be able to get into the book and absorb the info the way it was meant to be.

You can order Bar-jutsu: The American Art of Bar Fighting on Amazon.com for around $10, and I say it is worth getting for someone. Even though it may appear at first glance to be a frivolous novelty book, it is far from it. The best comparision I can make is an obvious one – if you enjoyed Bas Rutten’s Lethal Streetfighting DVD, or the snippets of it that are on Youtube, you will love the tone of this book. If you are already a serious martial artist, you might not have as much use out of it as a beginner or an average joe, but on that level, you can enjoy it purely for the humor and the practical advice & techniques. It is a tough sell in a small marketplace, so mileage may vary, but I liked this book and if you give it a chance, you might find it useful too.

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