The Fight Nerd

June 2, 2014

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 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.

May 12, 2014

GSP and WWE’s Batista to star in remake of JCVD’s “Kickboxer”

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 3:14 PM

Brian O’Shea, CEO of The Exchange, has announced a deal to sell the big budget reboot of the 1989 classic KICKBOXER. The Exchange will begin selling this action packed remake at this year Cannes market.

KICKBOXER will be directed by Chinese phenomenon Stephen Fung (TAI CHI ZERO, TAI CHI HERO) and produced hit maker Ted Field of Radar Pictures (RIDDICK Series, THE LAST SAMURAI). KICKBOXER will star UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER), and WWE superstar Dave Bautista (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.) The film will also be introducing Alain Moussi as its lead. Mr. Moussi is a world-renowned stunt man / martial artists, performing in such films as X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, IMMORTALS, PACIFIC RIM, and WHITEHOUSE DOWN.”Alain is a star and will be an amazing leading man,” said Filed “Like Vin in RIDDICK, Alain will make this movie very special and this KICKBOXER reboot will be the start of an amazing franchise”.

Additional cast will be announced shortly.

David and Kurt Sloan are the descendants of a well-known Venice, California dynasty of champions. Both are top-notch fighters and athletes in the prime of their lives. When David wins the Karate World Championship, a promoter lures him to Hong Kong despite Kurt’s protests that the man is a crook. Not soon after, Kurt receives a letter from David and heads to Thailand to meet him. When he arrives, he discovers his brother is dead. The man responsible is the viscous Tong Po. Desperate to seek revenge, Kurt turns to Xian Chow, his brother’s former mentor. To defeat the man who killed his brother, Kurt must look within himself to find the strength and courage of a champion.

The film is also produced by Dimitri Logothetis and Nick Celozzi. Mike Weber and Peter Meyer will executive produce as well as Brian O’Shea, Jeff Bowler and Nat McCormick for the Exchange.

“I am very excited about KICKBOXER being in Cannes” said O’Shea, “we have a visionary director, a strong Hollywood producer, great cast and an action packed script based on a well known property – what more can you ask for?”

May 11, 2014

Eddie Alvarez Removed From Bellator PPV due to concussion, but the show must go on

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Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez has suffered a head injury before his scheduled May 17th Lightweight Title fight with Michael Chandler and has been removed from the fight card. In his place, Lightweight Tournament winner Will Brooks will now face Chandler for the Interim Lightweight World Title. The nights headlined by the Light Heavyweight Tournament Final between MMA icon Rampage Jackson and King Mo, along with Tito Ortiz battling Middleweight World Champion Alexander Shlemenko, all on Pay-Per-View.

“Injuries are part of MMA, but so are great opportunities, as we move forward with an incredible, must see night of fights this Saturday on Pay-Per-View,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “This is a great card for MMA fans with huge value highlighted as Rampage Jackson is finally getting the opportunity to battle King Mo for a shot at the World Title, one of the most exciting young phenoms in MMA, Will Brooks getting a title shot against Michael Chandler, and of course Tito Ortiz in a crazy fight against Alexander Shlemenko. I can’t wait for this night of fights on May 17th.”

“This has been a crazy few days with a wide range of emotion, but with Will now in the picture, I know we are going to have fireworks on May 17th,” Chandler said. “I wish Eddie the best, and I’m looking forward to finishing our trilogy, but now I’m focused on the task at hand.”

“I’ve always said I’m ready to fight anyone with hesitation, and now this is my chance to back that up,” Brooks said. “I want that belt around my waist more than anyone, and I’m ready. This is just a great opportunity that I’m ready for. I’m ready to jump into the fire.”

The full fight card for the Bellator Pay-Per-View on May 17th is below:

Bellator Pay-Per-View Fight Card:

Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament Final: Rampage Jackson (34-11) vs. King Mo (12-3)

Bellator Interim Lightweight World Title Fight: Michael Chandler (12-1) vs. Will Brooks (13-1)
Bellator Light Heavyweight Fight: Alexander Shlemenko (50-7) vs. Tito Ortiz (16-11-1)
Bellator Heavyweight Tournament Final: Blagoi Ivanov (11-0) vs. Alexander Volkov (20-4)

Bellator Welterweight Fight: Rickey Rainey (7-2) vs. Michael Page (5-0)

Bellator Spike TV Fight Card:

Bellator Heavyweight Fight: Cheick Kongo (20-9) vs. Eric Smith (6-1-1)
Bellator Featherweight Fight: Shahbulat Shamhalaev (12-2) vs. Fabricio Guerreiro (19-3)
Bellator Featherweight Fight: Goiti Yamauchi (16-2) vs. Mike Richman (16-4)

Bellator Spike.com Fight Card:

Bellator Featherweight Fight: Zach Underwood (12-5) vs. Austin Lyons (10-3)

Bellator Heavyweight Fight: Justin Frazier (6-1) vs. Mike Wessel (13-7)

Bellator Welterweight Fight: Ben Brewer (6-1) vs. Andy Uhrich (8-4)

Bellator Welterweight Fight: Anthony Lemon (2-3) vs. Codie Shuffield (4-0)

Bellator Bantamweight Fight: Cortez Phelia (2-0) vs. Brain Hall (7-2)

May 6, 2014

Alexandre Paiva’s “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu” Book Review

Filed under: Product Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 11:48 AM

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There are a ton of books on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and it can be hard to figure out what to buy and who to trust. The simply-named “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu” instructional book by Alexandre Paiva is one of those books that seems to have gotten lost in the mix. Released by Tuttle Publishing, this book weighs in at a very dense 188 pages, filled with full-color images and tons of techniques, and turned out to be a true grappler’s BJJ book.

First, here is a quick history lesson on the author of this book. Paiva, whose nickname in the BJJ circle is “Gigi”, began training in 1983 in Rio de Janeiro with Romero Cavalvanti, a black belt under Rolls Gracie. Since then, he has won many esteemed titles in the sport, including the World Championship in 1999 and winning the bronze medal in 1997, Pan Am champ in 1996, and most recently, a five-time International Master & Senior champion. Alexandre is also one of the founding members of the Alliance Jiu-Jitsu Academy, and since then has gone on to coach many other champs and been referred to as one of the most technical competitors and coaches in BJJ.

The book itself does not give us much of a history lesson on Paiva like other instructionals typically do (a two-page acknowledgement and a concise three page summary of his origin and growth in BJJ), and goes right into techniques, which this book is plentiful with. Readers will get an even amount of both gi and no-gi moves, including takedowns, submissions & transitions, guard passes, and much more. The book also covers the turtle position, half-guard, X-Guard and Butterfly guard, and is quite thorough in giving a good variety of moves within many different positions.

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One of the best parts about this book is the sheer amount of photos to help illustrate every technique. This instructional boasts over 1,000 full-color photos that are arranged in gorgeous dynamic designs. It almost feels like you are watching a video with the way the images are arranged, and you can see every tiny nuance of the technique as it is executed. If a technique has six photos with it, that is on the low end, as many of them have upwards of nine to eleven. There is typically less text as the photos are what do most of the teaching, a change as opposed to other technique books that will include much more text than a few sentences. Does this work? I know far too many people that purchase these books and only look at the photos, so it’s an interesting change, and thankfully the pictures do a great job in this book, but I would not have minded some more descriptive text to accompany the photos. The best analogy I can make about this is that it was like going to a Kosher delicatessen to get a Pastrami sandwich – when you order a sandwich, you get meat with a side of bread.

The selection of techniques ranges from beginner to intermediate and advanced. Paiva’s reputation for being a technician are proven here with a high amount of detail given to even the most basic attacks. This proves very useful when you are dealing with a more difficult technique, since it gives you a ton of info to work the moves.

While Alexandre Paiva might not be well-known to the average MMA fan, and maybe even many newer BJJ students (I did not know who Paiva was either until I read this book, but I have never really followed sport BJJ much), this is a great book. The hard sell with it is mainly that name factor that Paiva does not carry, and in a marketplace filled with books by UFC fighters, it’s an extremely competitive niche marketplace.

Overall, I really liked this book a ton and wish I knew about it sooner. You can order Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: The Ultimate Guide to Dominating Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Combat from Amazon.com for about $16. I can recommend it for students of all levels, especially those that practice in the gi and without. If you are a student of one or the other, I would pass on it, but for someone that cross-trains in different styles, this is a very useful resource. Paiva is a name that you might not have heard of before, but you will be telling all your friends about after reading his BJJ instructional.

May 2, 2014

Diamond MMA Compression Jock Shorts & Cup System Review

Filed under: Product Reviews — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 1:37 PM

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We here at TheFightNerd.com have done a lot of wild things in the name of science, especially when it comes to protection. The important kind of protection – your junk. We have reviewed a few different groin cups before, including one named The Nutty Buddy where we dropped a kettlebell on it. However, this might be the first time where we have reviewed a groin cup that might inflict damage on the poor sap who makes the mistake of kicking it! Diamond MMA was founded by Craig Diamond, with the idea of offering the best solution to untimely nut kicks in high-impact sports, including baseball and soccer. Their cups are worn by guys like Chael Sonnen, Anthony Pettis, Michael Chandler, and Cain Velasquez to just name a few, so this might be the real deal – only one way to find out for sure!

The Diamond MMA Compression Jock Shorts & Cup System is their lead product, and can be fit to waist sizes as small as 28″ all the way up to a 44″ waist. Made from 82% nylon and 18% elastane, these shorts were designed to last. The elastane material has better tear resistance and durability compared to rubber and other flexible fabrics, and a tension capacity two or three times greater, at a third of the weight. Elastane is typically used in tights and athletic gear (especially swimming), and much like memory foam, it always reverts to its original shape while conforming to the wearer when in use.

The shorts feature a drawstring around the waist, although you will likely not need it since the shorts do fit nicely without even using it. The cup fits into a pouch on the front, along with two leg straps that you can slide into. This compression system negates the need for compression shorts AND a jock strap, since it is both in one convenient pair of pants (which come in three colors if you want to look stylish while wearing this).

The cup itself is made out of a solid and sturdy plastic, with a hard rubber coating on the outside to make it more comfortable to wear. Despite being hard, the cup does not feel brittle, but instead feels thick and strong. The cup is one solid piece, as opposed to a Shock Doctor that is normally a few pieces attached to each other, but features a unique shape that makes this piece of protection stand out from the rest. The cup gets its name from the diamond shape that the plastic is in, although the tip is thankfully flattened.

Most cups are curved anyway, but this one adds some lines to the curve that add to the function as much as the form, meaning that mid-point on the cup adds some stopping power if you get a knee in the groin. People will definitely think twice about intentional fouls, or even just trying to put a leg between you to pass guard when they feel that cup dig into their own body. It’s ultra-comfortable for the wearer, and painful for the poor guy that tries to knee your naughty bits!

Overall, I really liked this groin cup, and it is one of the best cups you can get, especially if you plan on going pro. You can order the Diamond MMA Compression Jock Shorts & Cup System from the Diamond MMA website for $90. It’s comfortable enough that you may not even want to wear shorts over it and just treat it like vale tudo shorts, and it goes above and beyond when it comes to protecting the most valuable treasure you have – your family jewels. When I looked up more info on this product, I came across a ton of very positive and complimentary reviews about not just the product, but the customer service. I dealt with Craig directly for a bit about the product, and he was super helpful. Turns out he treats everyone the same way, polite and ready to answer any and all questions you may have so that you can be fitted to the proper size. Plus, my package came with a coupon for $5 off my next purchase, so Diamond MMA is truly building some brand loyalty on all fronts, and I hope that the company branches off into some other products so we can see what else they are capable of.

April 28, 2014

Team USA takes on the world at “Beat the Streets 2014″ Times Square Wrestling Meet

Filed under: News — Tags: , — The Fight Nerd @ 2:28 PM

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In what has become a rite of spring in New York, Beat the Streets Wrestling, Inc. and USA Wrestling today announced details of this year’s international competition, which returns to Times Square on Wednesday, May 7, this time at a new location, between 42nd and 43rd Streets in Manhattan. Competitors for Team USA and a World All-Star team featuring select wrestlers from across the world will be announced shortly.

“We are excited to be back in Times Square, the center of the universe,” said Jim Fallis, Executive Director of Beat the Streets. “We are very excited about the concept of the USA vs. the World. We are pleased that many of the best wrestlers in the world will be coming to face our American team. Where else should it be than in Times Square?”

Top Beat the Streets wrestlers will showcase their skills in exhibition matches beginning at 4 p.m. Then it’s Team USA vs. the World at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Beat the Streets Award Gala at 7:30 p.m. at Best Buy Theater (1515 Broadway).

The USA vs. the World dual requires a ticket for reserved seating in Times Square, but is an outdoor event. Pedestrians and non-ticket holders are encouraged to watch. Admission tickets may be bought in advance at www.btsny.org or 212.245.6570. A ticket is required for the Gala. More details are available at http://www.btsny.org/gala/2014-gala.

The world-class competition has twice before been held in Times Square. Last year the event moved to historic Grand Central Terminal, where it was also a huge success. Dubbed “The Rumble on the Rails,” it featured dual meets between Team USA, Russia and Iran and was an important part of the international Keep Olympic Wrestling effort, which resulted in wrestling retaining its status on the Olympic Games program.

This will be the fifth straight year in which a major international-style wrestling competition will be hosted as part of the Beat the Streets Gala activities. In 2010, an all-star challenge featuring top U.S. wrestlers was held on the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier docked on the west side of Manhattan. In 2011, the United States defeated World champion Russia, 5-2, the first sports event ever held in historic Times Square. In 2012, another U.S. vs. Russia dual meet was held in Times Square, along with the U.S. Olympic Team Wrestle-off for the 60 kg/132 lbs. position on the U.S. Olympic Team in men’s freestyle. All of these events have been great showcases for international wrestling and have received major media coverage.

Tentative Beat The Streets Wrestling Schedule
At New York, May 7, 2014

4:00 p.m. – Beat the Streets Exhibition Matches in Times Square at 43rd Street
5:30 p.m. – World Class Wrestling: Team USA vs. The World in Times Square at 43rd Street
7:30 p.m. – Gala Celebration at Best Buy Theater at 1515 Broadway

April 25, 2014

“The Secrets of Judo” Book Review

Filed under: Product Reviews — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 2:38 PM

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Judo is the gentle art in the world of combat sports, with an emphasis on using your opponent’s momentum to defeat them. An old judo anecdote about Professor Jigoro Kano, the inventor of modern Kodokan Judo, was said that fighting him was like “fighting an empty jacket”, because it felt like he was doing nothing at all in spite of his attacker’s flying all over the mats when they grabbed his gi. Jiichi Watanabe and Lindy Avakian’s book, “The Secrets of Judo” aims to break down those techniques and make the practitioner the best judoka they can be.

Originally written in 1959 and re-released by Tuttle Publishing around five decades later, this book weighs in at just under 200 pages long, and came out during the height of judo’s popularity in the US. Historically, Judo and Karate gyms began appearing more prominently in the US after World War II, when American GI’s brought these techniques back with them, and more Japanese-Americans began opening schools to continue the education many people overseas were yearning for. At the time of publication, martial arts instructionals were much more difficult to find as opposed to today, especially good ones (I have a few from the 1920′s and ’30′s that are simultaneously amusing and somewhat educational). Watanabe and Avakian’s book may have easily been one of the best of it’s time, and makes perfect sense that it would be reprinted this many years later.

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“The Secrets of Judo” goes into great depths to explains the science and mechanics of judo, including discussing reaction times, friction, momentum, leverage, and even explaining how the laws of motion apply to combat. It’s a comprehensive book that shows the most-popular throws of its time, along with a good amount of pins and ground submissions such as chokes (mostly with the gi) and armbars. No shoulder locks or leg locks here, since judo does not typically allow them even though they are part of the curriculum, and definitely no triangle chokes since it was not as commonly used then as it is today (it would also be banned in judo for a few decades, which would happen not long after this book came out if my memory is correct). Oddly enough, there actually are a few guard pass moves in the grappling section, which was surprising to see.

This is a smaller book, so as I mentioned it does not have all of the throws in the judo world, just sixteen of them. Each one gets a two-page spread per technique, one for the text and the other for illustrations. The instructions are quite formal, and feature an explanation of the throw, then a “dynamic explanation” that goes into more of the science and momentum you would use, then “key points” to remember when doing the specific move. While the techniques are applicable to judo combat, they seem more for formal practice and less sport-related.

There are very few photos in this book, and all of them are old black-and-white pictures (for obvious reasons). Illustrations are often employed to help visually show how a throw or hold should be done, and function just as well as a photo would. Modern MMA fans are spoiled with the amount of color photos we often get in instructional books, as opposed to older books where you were often lucky to get three pictures for one move (look at any of Bruce Lee’s Gung Fu books to see that).

This book is definitely meant for a more traditional practitioner of judo and not intended for a sport judoka who has been training for years. However, for a newer student or even intermediate one, I can still suggest this book for its information. Beyond that, it is an interesting window into the past of martial arts, and I enjoyed the book immensely for that. It’s amazing how times have changed so much, and “The Secrets of Judo” is a glimpse into the martial arts world of the late 1950′s. Reading it made me feel like I jumped into a time machine, and for anyone remotely interested in this book, I suggest you treat it that way as well

You can order The Secrets of Judo: A Text for Instructors and Students for $12, and is a good value for a nice older book. There is still plenty to learn from it, but if you are looking for a book on how to be the best judo competitor, this is probably not what you will want. If you enjoy the formal training aspect and judo techniques, then you will love this. It all comes down to perspective with this book, and I can not necessarily recommend it to everyone, but I can say I had many reasons to enjoy this book and if you are like this Fight Nerd, I think you will too.

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