In this weeks wistful look at all the BS which drenches our beloved martial arts and combat sports, we discuss the announcement of Ronda Rousey versus Holly Holm, the death touch low single, and a man with magical kempo powers.
On this morning's Good Morning America, Ronda Rousey announced that her next opponent would be Holly Holm, in January 2016. There are all sorts of arguments raging on over whether Holm merits a title shot and over the depth of the division, but frankly it doesn't matter. Ronda Rousey is easily the biggest star in the sport right now and if UFC 190 proved anything it's that a good number of people will pay to watch her fight any old opponent with a pulse.
UFC 190 was a desperately weak card on paper, just as bad as expected in actuality, and still had nearly a million pay-per-view buys as people waited up late into the night to see Rousey take on an opponent of almost no merit in another sub-minute squash match. At this point, Rousey could fight "TBA" until the night of the fight, then be announced to be fighting The Fabulous Moolah and it would get the exact same number of buys as it would against an undefeated opponent. None of the crowd who thought it was worth paying to see Ronda Rousey versus Bethe Correia is watching for the challenger.
Respect is due to the UFC, for choosing to make this match rather than resigning to Rousey versus Tate III: This Time It's Convenient. Holly Holm does have saleable accomplishments. In terms of boxing she is literally the most accomplished boxer to be currently competing in mixed martial arts—holding eighteen different world titles through the many governing bodies and weight classes. You can watch her matches on YouTube and decide how highly you rate the crop of contenders in women's boxing, but her accomplishments in her field are undeniable. She's also undefeated in MMA and has a winning kickboxing record of 2-1. All of that adds up to “18 time world champion undefeated kickboxer” on the promos if you twist the words around a little. The casual fan thought that beating the massively overmatched Correia was a feat, can you imagine what they'll make of this?
But we shouldn't jump to arms about an undeserving challenger so quickly, when many of us have benefited from the UFC taking this approach before. Certainly, those of us who were begging to not see another rematch between Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks were happy to Rory MacDonald switched in—and I'm sure the rest enjoyed the resulting fight. Plenty of fans are happy to see Carlos Condit challenging Robbie Lawler just for entertainment value, even though Condit has done next to nothing to earn that shot, having not beaten a top ten opponent since 2013 and going 2-3 since his controversial decision win against Nick Diaz. Not to mention Diaz's own shot at Georges St. Pierre, and we haven't even left the welterweight division.
Certainly, nothing irks me like rematches when little has changed in the losing party. Cain Velasquez's rematches against Junior dos Santos and Antonio Silva are prime offenders, and in fact Velasquez is at it again in a scheduled rematch against Fabricio Werdum. God knows what the point of that is, if Velasquez regains the belt do we see an “immediate” rematch between Werdum and the notoriously injury prone Velasquez in Mexico in early 2017?
There's no point complaining about the choice of Holm because she's what we're down to. There is no depth to that division and frankly, were Rousey to retire tomorrow, the UFC might give up on the weight class after an appropriate length of time. But despite all of that... Holm might even pull it off.
In Killing the Queen: Ronda Rousey we discussed at length how Rousey doesn't cut the ring or trick her opponents into clinches, she runs forwards on a straight line and eats punches to get there. I don't have much faith in Holm being the one to finally land the one punch knockout on Rousey, but if she can continue to circle out and land the occasional left hand, it's easy to see Rousey tiring and tiring quickly. There is a reason that men don't get to titles in MMA by bull rushing straight into clinches without ever learning the ringcraft. Hell, Holm's entire boxing career was the kind of stuff I'd love to see Rousey challenged with—tons of movement, plenty of punches, working until the opponent was exhausted.
Is it worth your money? Well, wait and see how the rest of the card is booked. Ronda Rousey has been huge for mixed martial arts in the short term, but if the UFC has taken away from UFC 190 that people really will pay for anything with her in the main event, they're wasting a chance to convert heaps of casual viewers to the beauty and intricacies of MMA. Stacking a card with young, world class talent in exciting match ups, then slamming Rousey versus TBA at the head of the card is the way forward—not securing Rousey's fight and treating the rest of the card like an afterthought.
The Speed Hitting Cloud Burster
Readers of my previous Wushu Watch columns will know that I am eagerly awaiting the first chi related knockout in mixed martial arts. I'm still waiting for a George Dillman protégé to make it to the big leagues, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the first stoppage of a professional bout due to the manipulation of chi meridians took place in the UFC of all places! Mitch Clarke was forced to drop out of his fight due to an acupuncture needle breaking off in his contracted forearm muscle, and required surgery to remove it, rendering him unable to compete this weekend at UFC Fight Night 74.
On the subject of intentional chi / ki related injuries, the work of a gentleman named John La Tourrette recently crossed my desk. Tourrette is touted as 'The Speed Man' and is a kempo instructor who has dozens of videos up on youtube for your enjoyment. A lot of it is the usual Ed Parker style stuff, lots of flailing the arms around against a stationary attacker—but if you're going for the eyes and crotch I don't supposed forming the kinetic chains necessary to hit with power is all that important.
La Tourrette even has some interesting teachings on getting off line and striking through blind angles in many of his videos. It only really gets weird when he starts talking about Dim Mak, the legendary death touch. In the following video, La Tourrette demonstrates a vital point strike, then proceeds to assess the strength of if through energy testing. Now there's nothing wrong with smacking people in the back of the head and expecting devastating results, and I'm not so arrogant to presume that I know everything about how the human body works, but it's how La Tourrette measures his results which boggles the mind. Here is my favourite skeptic, James Randi, discussing this method:
It's an old scam wherein you have your customer place their arm out straight and then push it down whilst they resist. Then you change some variable (put a crystal in their hand, etc.) and do it again, this time not pushing as hard but convincing the recipient that he's actually been made stronger by whatever factor has changed. Other variations include using it to determine true and false statements. I'll let La Tourrette demonstrate how he asks his uke's body how badly it was effected.
Now whatever martial arts fanatics want to spend thousands of dollars on is up to them, but if I were you I would pick up the Doc's courses on knife fighting, Dim Mak, and persuasion right now before they're all snapped up. After all, this a man who can burst clouds with his mind.
I'll leave you today with my new favorite application of the low single against an opponent who is standing but having passed guard. Traditionally, the shoulder or the head is driven against the inside or front of the knee joint to cause the opponent to lose balance, but with just a little knowledge of the arcane, I'm pretty convinced I can replace those studier surfaces with my fingers.
Had Kazushi Sakuraba known this one, I reckon he'd be middleweight champion of the world to this day.
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