This photo of Strikeforce champs Alistair Overeem and Marloes Coenen has been making the rounds today, and I adore it for lots of sparkly, Photoshopped reasons. Also, Overeem and Coenen seem to be two of the nicest people you’ll ever meet who can rip your arm off and eat it and chase it with horse meat.
But still guys … wasn’t it CANADA who saved the Dutch in 1945?
Hop over to the Ashcan to check my rundown of UFC 116, which was a FANTASTIC night of fights. I originally wrote it as a post for Five Deadly, and I say such wind-baggy things as:
Bonnar has never looked like a fighter, neither in physique, face or technique, but he fought like one, all heart and ugly smiles and a chin that can weather wrecking balls. Whatever doubts grew about his long-term prospects, that was the Bonnar who showed up this night. That Bonnar avenged his losses, ran all over the cage like a tweaked hamster, dropped Soszynski twice in the second round with knees and fists and elbows to the body, and then had his arm raised by ref Mario Yamasaki in the end. There he was, smiling and flexing, bloody and proud.
(photo of Lesnar #1 via)
COMEDY. Yoshihiro Akiyama, aka “Sexyama”, reversing decades of problematic representations one weigh-in at a time. (Arianny and Chandella as the gawkers for once instead of the gawkees.) UFC 116, Lesnar vs. Carwin, tonight.
Identity, martial arts, and the Universal African Fighting System in the RZA’s “Wu-Tang vs. The Golden Phoenix”
Anupa shared this amazing trailer for the RZA’s upcoming movie,Wu-Tang vs. The Golden Phoenix, on the Ashcan this week. She asked for more info on the Universal African Fighting System — the system’s founder appears in the movie — and, as I tend to do, I got lost in my thoughts, and barfed up a long response in the comment section. It probably works better as a post for this here blog, so my thoughts pasted below:
“…I’ve never seen the UAFS in action so don’t know how it’s supposed to work in practice (or in theory, for that matter), but one of its main talking points is the reclamation of Africa as the birthplace of all martial arts. (My favourite quote from the UAFS founder goes something like “Yeah, Asians have a tiger style of kung-fu, but Africans actually fought tigers.”) And yeah, historically, African warriors long ago developed and taught organized weapons and empty-hand fighting techniques for hunting and warfare, but the whole debate is kind of a misnomer because the term “martial arts” was first coined to refer specifically to the Asian arts.
This is why just [not too long] ago you could still find debates in combat rags about whether or not Greco-Roman wrestling or western boxing could be called “martial arts” — did the term refer to just any organized style of combat? Or did it imply something more cultural, referring to traditions, and possibly even religious beliefs? (Obviously, most Asian martial arts are steeped heavily in Eastern philosophy, Buddhism and Taoism especially, and hence the common refrain that martial arts are a “lifestyle” and not merely a sport or activity or method of self-defense.)
Bruce Lee’s reformations (through his “Jeet Kune Do” philosophy) and the mainstreaming of mixed martial arts training has largely made these debates obsolete. But still, as with a lot of other fields, traditionalists and identity politics aren’t going to totally disappear from the martial arts world anytime soon. There’s good reason why dead prez rap about dancing capoeira to prepare for the revolution and not, say, Israeli krav maga, even though the latter is likely (definitely) of more use in a real fight.
This movie looks dope for a lot of reasons (choreographed by a living LEGEND in my book), but definitely for the plain fact it inserts black dudes into a 70s period kung-fu flick. Blaxploitation and kung-fu cinema share a lot in common, and the two have been playing patty-cake for a while (from Jim Kelly all the way up to Afro Samurai), but shit it’s about time we saw something like this. Usually we just see a jive-talking black dude doing karate chops in the Bronx — I like that the RZA has taken it this far, and knowing his sincere interest in both eastern philosophy and Godbody, Original Man of the Earth black empowerment, I’m guessing under the surface this won’t just be a Tarantino genre mash. (Though of course you can argue Tarantino isn’t even that under the surface. Is it any wonder the two are best busom buddies?) And even if it is just that, it looks crazy awesome.”
I should also note that the film’s fight choreographer is the same guy who did Five Deadly Venoms, which, obviously, inspired the name of this blog. I’m kind of hyped about this.
I know all eyes are on the soccer field right now, but I’m throwing my nationalistic tendencies and appreciation for crazy athleticism at the feet of this recent WEC featherweight bout between Canadians Mark Hominick and Yves Jabouin. Wow, what a clinic these guys put on. I know most people would have the Korean Zombie’s debut as their fav fight of the year (and that fight was incredibly good), but the level of technique on display in this Canadian brawl I think sets it a notch above. (Whereas the Zombie and Leonard Garcia were mostly just wildly swinging for the fences.) That, plus the amazing sportsmanship, equals one happy Canadian fight fan. Hats off to both these dudes. The only bad thing about this fight is it didn’t go a little longer.