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Posts tagged with "Mixed martial arts"

Planned event likely sought to end the argument between supporters of the two combat styles, which has been bubbling over since MMA fighter defeated tai chi master in April

Police in Shanghai on Monday closed down an unlicensed fight between two teams – one led by a tai chi master and the other by a leading mixed martial artist – just weeks after footage of a similar, very bloody, contest went viral online.

The event, dubbed a “group brawl”, was set to pitch four MMA fighters, led by Xu Xiaodong, against four tai chi experts led by Ma Baoguo, Guangzhou Daily reported.

The planned fight came just weeks after Xu, a fighter and promoter of mixed martial arts, doled out a severe beating to another tai chi master, Wei Lei, in a bout that lasted just 10 seconds. Many commentators described the fight as a clear victory for modern combat techniques over traditional styles.

Monday’s bout, however, failed to get underway after police raided the venue, the report said.

Footage of the incident posted on YouTube shows the would-be combatants preparing for the bout in front of a crowd of spectators, before the lights go out and police come in.

Officers are then seen talking to Xu who can be heard saying: “I will certainly cooperate, but don’t push me. You won’t be able to push me!”

He is later seen being escorted from the premises.

In late April, Xu – known as “Mad Dog” for his intense fighting style – scored a convincing victory over Wei, after making controversial remarks about tai chi in which he said he wanted to “expose” its lack of merit.

“[I] crack down on fake things, because they are fake. Fake things must be eliminated. No question,” he was quoted as saying by state-owned tabloid Global Times after his win.

Wei was once featured in a Chinese Central Television documentary as “one of the greatest tai chi masters in China”.

Xu’s crushing victory in their head-to-head contest led to a passionate debate online about the relative merits of the two martial art forms.

Many people suggested that Wei’s defeat showed that traditional martial arts had been found wanting in a real combat situation.

Supporters of the centuries-old art form, however, pointed to its place in Chinese history and culture. Others, of a more patriotic bent, seemed outraged that MMA, a form of combat championed in the West, could be considered superior to a traditional Chinese martial art.

The Chinese Martial Arts Association said in a statement in May that the initial match had been illegal, and had “violated the morals of martial arts”.

Wushu is a traditional Chinese exercise activity, an excellent part of traditional culture, with merits for physical fitness, self-defence and health cultivation,” the statement said.

Other martial arts experts, including tai chi masters Lu Xing and Wang Zhanhai, rushed to challenge Xu to provide “fresh perspective on martial arts”, Lu was quoted as saying to local media.

Meanwhile, Chinese tycoon Chen Sheng, founder of the Tiandi No. 1 drinks company, even offered to raise the stakes by putting 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million) into the mix to “defend the dignity” of traditional martial artists.

Xu’s microblogging account was deactivated after the national attention, but internet users excitedly referenced the latest incident with the police as his “resurrection” after months of silence. They also complained about the apparent deletion of messages relating to the planned Shanghai bout.

“Blocked again! This is regional politics!” one person wrote.

“[Xu] can defeat all of the ‘fakeness’ across the lakes and rivers, but he cannot defeat the government!”

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The mixed martial arts fighting promotion ONE Championship is gearing up for its next big event. This time, the promotion is setting up for ONE: Dynasty of Heroes. The event goes down May 26 in Singapore.

In the main event, undefeated atomweight champion Angela “Unstoppable” Lee will be defending her fellow undefeated competitor Istela Nunes. Also competing in the night’s event, Rika Ishige will be facing Jomary Torres.

In a recent interview with the ONE promotion, Rika Ishige explained that its all about the art of the sport. “Most people do not understand mixed martial arts. They think there are no rules and barbaric.

“I want to show them it is not like that. It is a real sport, and me, I am a small girl, but I can compete in a world-class organization. It is not brutal – it is about technique.” She explained.

The fighter went on to explain that she is looking to present her skills through her career. For the newly budding professional mixed martial artist, it’s about making it to the championship. “I want to keep competing and showcasing martial arts in Thailand. Long term, I can be a champion!” She said.

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Geje Eustaquio considers himself lucky, but he has always possessed the drive and talent to achieve all of his lofty goals. The 28-year-old has capitalized on every opportunity that has come his way.

As a result, he has a Master’s degree, and is a perennial contender in both of ONE Championship’s flyweight and bantamweight divisions. However, his parents did not always support his martial arts pursuits. In fact, they discouraged him from it during his childhood.

The Filipino known as “Gravity” was raised in a peaceful mountain community in the Benguet province, and his parents stressed an importance on education. All other activities and interests took a distant backseat to acquiring a much-desired college degree.

While Eustaquio’s two sisters have embarked on more secure career paths, such as nursing and engineering, he planned on invoking the Igorot warrior spirit and testing his skills in battle.

“In our region, our culture is simple. You go to school, you graduate with your degree, and you go find a job,” said Eustaquio. “When I was in college, they did not want me to play sports, because it was a distraction. They did not want me to do martial arts, but I am a hardheaded boy and I am stubborn. I proved to them that I could do a lot of things at the same time.”

As a teenager, Eustaquio first took an interest in kickboxing, which operated as a gateway to all other traditional and non-traditional martial arts. He did not have to travel far from home to watch the inspiring action up close and personal.

“In our community, there is small local kickboxing promotion. I used to watch those events. I got encouraged. I wanted to be those guys. I wanted to stand up and compete, so I looked for a gym to train,” he says.

While attending Baguio City National High School, the man now known as “Gravity” found a gym and kicked off his martial arts journey. At 14, he was a big dreamer, but he put in the work to make his lofty goals become reality. He remained dedicated to his craft and cultivated his talent.

“I just did my best,” he says, “and then, the opportunities came.”

He was selected to be on the Junior National Team for wushu, and by the time he graduated from high school in 2005, had earned a wushu scholarship to the University Of The Cordilleras. Like many others, Eustaquio then moved to the university to train under the national team’s head coach, Mark Sangiao, who was highly-regarded as an inspirational figure.

In 2009, Eustaquio earned his Bachelors degree in Education, and taught in school for a year. He quickly realized that his heart still lay in the lively and challenging world of martial arts, however, not in a classroom all day and at home grading papers all night. 

“I was done with my degree,” he remembers. “I was so excited to apply it [to my work]. Then I tried it for a year. My world became so small. My job took all of my time. They get you from 7:30 in the morning to 5:30 in the afternoon, then you have homework and paperwork. I was like, ‘No, I am too young for this profession.’” 

Then another opportunity arose in February 2011, when a Filipino mixed martial arts promotion was in desperate need of some competitors. Eustaquio, who had semi-regularly trained out of Sangiao’s Team Lakay camp, was encouraged by his coach to test his skills inside the cage.

“Coach Mark said: ’Why not try?,’” he recalls of their simple conversation. “So I said, ‘Let’s go!’’

The man known as “Gravity” knocked out his opponent via punches within a minute of the opening bell, and his professional career has been on the rise ever since. Now signed to ONE Championship, he is scheduled to rematch Thailand’s Anatpong “Mak” Bunrad in a flyweight affair at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES on Friday Night, 26 May, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Their first contest ended in a split decision in favor of Bunrad. It is a loss he is keen to avenge.

Eustaquio has not only challenged and changed some of the pre-conceived notions of combat sports athletes in his home country, but he has also altered the dynamic in his own home. His success in the sport made his parents believers, as they now wholeheartedly support both him and his younger brother.

“I have their full support. They are telling me to train harder and prepare more,” he says with a chuckle. “They tell me if you want to be a champion, then you need to work harder. My parents now push my little brother to train, too.”

Even with his hopes of someday capturing the ONE Flyweight World Championship, he still has not left the classroom entirely behind. Last year, he earned his Masters in Physical Education, and plans to get his doctorate some time in the future.

“I found the understanding that we are martial artists, and we are expected to behave as complete athletes,” says Eustauiqo. “Besides the body, you should also train the mind. I found out that teaching is my spiritual gift, so I am going to use it to the fullest, if God permits.”

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Fast and efficient…

Posted by BJJ Eastern Europe on Monday, November 14, 2016

Mixed martial arts can do a lot more than just entertain you and your friends on a Saturday night.

Training in any particular form of martial arts can benefit you in many different real life situations.

In the video below, you can see a police officer using martial arts technique to quickly take down and unarm a man with a gun. This police officer’s martial arts training potentially saved himself, his fellow officers, and any civilian in the area.

The martial arts technique used by the police officer comes from Aikido, the same martial arts technique used by the character Morgan on AMC’s The Walking Dead.

The technique used by the officer involves quickly getting control of a person’s wrist and using that to move their body. The police offer used the gunman’s wrist to not only force him to release the gun but to also take the man to the ground. This is a prime example of why wrist control is so important in the sport of MMA.

If you’ve seen Marvel’s new Netflix series Ironfist, then you may have heard of tai chi. Tai chi is an ancient Chinese form of martial arts practiced for both its health benefits and its defense training. Though, in today’s Western society, it’s seen more as a form of “meditation in motion” than a means of combat.

 ​This is not the case in China, as tai chi is highly respected as a fighting style, with numerous zen masters training for years to obtain the “iron fist.” So it comes as no surprise that when last week an MMA fighter took down a tai chi master in less than ten seconds, it ignited a firestorm.

MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong is the man in the video giving the beatdown on master Wei Lei, and he is not shy about expressing his thoughts on the fight. Following his tremendous victory, Xiaodong challenged all traditional Chinese martial arts masters to face him.

Xiaodong wants to prove once and for all that mixed martial arts are more effective in combat, and that traditional Chinese martial arts are a way of the past. His challenge is catching steam, as Xiaodong told The Beijing News that several kung fu masters have come forward in order to defend the honor of traditional martial arts.

One of these challengers is Xing Lu, president of the Sichuan tai chi pushing hands research institute, who invited Xiaodong to a public duel to “teach him a lesson.”

“He is deeply biased against the traditional martial arts and his words were insulting,” he said. “I challenged him so he could have a fresh perspective of tai chi and the true traditional martial arts.”

Lu went on to say that he is 80% sure he will win the fight, citing tai chi masters as having the “iron fist, air foot, and iron back, which need more than 20 years of hard practice.”

In more recent news, according to South China Morning Post, Xiaodong has upped the ante:. Xiaodong is now offering 1.2 million yuan ($174,000) in prize money to the winner of his challenge, and said the fight will be broadcast all over the country. He even took to Chinese Twitter to say he could take on two or three fighters at once.

Doesn’t MMA vs. tai chi seem like a great undercard for the potential Mayweather-McGregor boxing bout?

 Think about it: Two styles of fighting squared up against one other, in a battle for honor. This has “Disney classic” written all over it.

 

Former Road FC ring girl and fighter Song Ka Yeon (1-1) has joined the Evolve MMA fight team. The Korean, who holds black belts in judo and hapkido, underwent a two week tryout and impressed sufficiently to be invited to move to Singapore full time to train there.

Yeon is famous for appearing in Korean reality TV series Roommate, the country’s answer to Big Brother, but she is also a lifelong martial artist who began training as a child. She’s competed in kickboxing and fought twice in Road FC’s atomweight division, registering a win and a loss.

ONE Championship chairman Chatri Sityodtyong saw some of Yeon’s tryout and was extremely impressed,

“She has been training nearly all her life and is a legit fighter who is aggressive and fearless. She’s very serious about her MMA career and training with all the world champions at Evolve MMA will definitely take her to the next level.”

Angela Lee’s career skyrocketed after signing for ONE Championship and joining Evolve MMA and she’s set to make the second defense of her atomweight title in Singapore later this month. The hope is that Yoen, who competes in the same weight class, will enjoy a similar trajectory.

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Martial arts can be a vehicle for many things. Many people get the fulfillment they need out of it without ever competing, let alone becoming a world champion.

This could be said of Eduard Folayang, who cites his introduction to wushu as the most pivotal moment of his life. However, now Folayang is a world champion, and that offers him many more opportunities to promote combat sports.

Folayang beat the legendary Shinya Aoki in November to claim the ONE Lightweight World Championship, and he comes back to home turf to make his first title defense at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila. On 21 April, he won’t just be fighting for himself; he’ll be doing it for his countrymen.

 “To be able to fight for the Philippines is truly an honor,” the Team Lakay lightweight stated. “I will do my best to make my people proud.”

Folayang is already a national hero, but it is the traits he has gained through his years training in martial arts that really endear him to the fans. “Discipline, respect, and honor,” are what he cites as the characteristics of a true martial artist; things that will never leave him, no matter whether he is champion or not.

“All of these traits I live my life by now? They’re all etched deep into my soul,” says Folayang.

ONE Championship “Defending Honor” in Singapore, 11 November, 2016

In the first title defense for “Landslide”, he’ll face off against surging contender Ev Ting, who boasts an impressive 13-3 record to date. The popular Malaysian has won seven of his eight ONE Championship contests, including four in a row that cemented him as the number one contender.

Ting is a big threat to the champion, but one Folayang feels he can overcome, especially in front of a partisan crowd in the Philippines. Again, it’s not just the specific skills he’s acquired in martial arts that make him ready for such a robust challenger, but the life lessons.

“Through the toughest times growing up, martial arts taught me to persevere. It taught me to face adversity. It built my character,” stated Folayang.

From being a huge underdog, to being the defending champion in front of a sold out home crowd with thousands of Filipinos chanting his name, people can clearly see how fast things can change in top-flight combat sports.

That’s why It’s important to keep thing in perspective, which Folayang does every day. He’ll always be thankful for the opportunities without ever losing sight of what martial arts has given him on the inside, even when the gold on the outside is stripped away.

“Over 15 years ago, martial arts changed my life, and today I am blessed beyond imagination,“ said a grateful Folayang.

He’ll hope to keep inspiring people as champion, but whether there’s a belt around his waist or not, people will still look to Eduard Folayang as a great role model; one that was shaped by his love for combat.

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A new martial arts school in Williamsburg is teaching women the tools they need to defend themselves.

BROOKLYN – A new martial arts school in Williamsburg is teaching women the tools they need to defend themselves.

Unlimited Martial Arts Academy on Meeker Street offered a free self-defense class for women.

Attendees learned some moves along with information – like how jabbing an assailant in the eye can cause pain with the same amount of force a person uses to change the channel.

Instructor Kristen Cabildo says she hopes to empower women to put up a fight if necessary.

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Christian Lee (5-1) has always enjoyed traveling.

As a child, “the Warrior” and his older sister, ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee, would accompany their parents on family trips to Singapore and business trips to the Philippines. He never imagined his martial arts pursuits would lead him to competing on the global stage and in countries all throughout the world.

The architect who steered Christian and Angela towards that martial arts journey was none other than their father, Ken Lee.

“It just started with really trusting the process and trusting in my dad,” the 18-year-old says. “He is the one who had the dream, the vision for us. Now we are able to really see the fruits of our labor, and all our dad has done to help us in our careers.”

Though he has studied the martial arts since he was a toddler, Lee took his first step on the path to international superstardom in 2012. He traveled to Greece and participated in the World Athlima Pangration Federation finals, where he became a world champion in the MMA division.

A year later, he went to Croatia and added more pankration titles to his growing resume. Soon thereafter, he and his sister had their eyes set on a career in mixed martial arts.

For the next two years, Lee took part in select martial arts competitions and diligently enhanced his skill set at his father’s United MMA gym in Hawaii. Then, in August 2015, he once again traveled to Singapore with his sister, but this time, it was not a family trip. This was strictly a business trip, and the business happened to be MMA.

“We flew down to Singapore and tried out for the Evolve Fight Team. That was the first time we went to Evolve MMA,” Lee recalls. “Thankfully, we both made the team, and ever since then we have been racking up the air miles.”

Besides making the regular trip to Singapore to train at Evolve, Lee has been jet-setting around the world, fighting all throughout Asia for ONE Championship.

Since making his professional MMA debut in December 2015, he has competed in a different Asian country every time he has stepped inside the cage. That includes the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and China. In the process, he racked up five wins — all first-round finishes — with just the lone blemish on his record. That’s a remarkable work rate.

While Lee’s main purpose in these different Asian nations revolves around battling a worthwhile adversary, he truly makes the most of his spare time, as he regularly immerses himself in the regional culture, meets new people, and dines on the local cuisine. Through all of that, he has gained a more worldly outlook, and developed a deeper appreciation for life.

“One thing I have learned from traveling to all these countries is just gratitude. From living in Hawaii to visiting all these different countries, you meet all these people, and these people have never left the country they are living in,” he acknowledges. “They have lived there their whole life and they are going to stay there their whole life.

“So the more places you visit and cultures you are exposed to, the more you get to appreciate each culture individually, and you get to appreciate the fact you are able to travel and see the world. Your eyes are so much more open to the spectrum of the world. I just take in the experience and enjoy meeting new people. That is honestly what makes it amazing for me.”

“The Warrior” may not have visited any of these countries in Asia, or at least not at this speed, had it not been for martial arts. That is something he readily admits, and that further motivates him to stay dedicated, and disciplined, in his career.

“I love the martial arts. I am very passionate about it, and I would still be practicing martial arts today if I was not fighting,” he says. “All the time you are putting in at the gym comes into fruition, and winning these fights just allows you to travel to more places and experience new things. I am very happy with the journey I am on.”

On Friday Night, 21 April, the journey will take Lee back to the Philippines, as he meets Wan Jian Ping at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY. Win, lose or draw, martial arts has had a profound effect on the young Evolve MMA product, and has turned the prospect into an international superstar.

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Rising martial arts star Judd Stevens, with his trainer Richie Ivory, from the Bendigo Mixed Martial Arts Academy.

Judd Stevens after his win in the Brisbane Championships.

HE MIGHT be only 10-years-old, but Judd Stevens is building a jiu jitsu competition record the envy of competitors more than double his age.

The Maryborough martial artist recently returned from the Brisbane Open with a pair of gold medals in his 10-year-old 28 kilogram division.

In the 14 months that have passed since he started training in jiu jitsu, Stevens has won six gold medals, two silver and four bronze.

His wins in the gi and non-gi in Brisbane came via submission, as did his two fights to qualify for the finals as he made short work of the competition.

The decision to enter the tournament was a spur of the moment one.

Stevens found himself in Queensland on a holiday with his parents and younger brothers and decided to give it a go while doing some training under Australian kickboxing champion John Wayne Parr.

He’s glad he did.

Jiu jitsu has become more than just a sport to Stevens, helping him cope with personal issues, including an anxiety disorder.

“I’m normally full of energy and I need something like jiu jitsu to burn out all the sweat and energy,” he said.

“It’s also helping with my school work.”

Training has become a family affair for Stevens, who travels to Bendigo at least three times a week to train under his instructor at the Bendigo Mixed Martial Arts Academy, Richie Ivory.

His dad Matt and six-year-old brother Cruz also train at the academy, which is based at the Fit Republic gym in Golden Square.

Cruz joined his older brother at a Grappling Industries tournament in Melbourne last weekend, where he won gold in gi and no-gi, including a victory over the reigning world champion.

Judd returned from the tournament, held at Coburg Basketball Stadium, with a bronze medal.

Testament to his ability, both of Stevens’ silver medals and one of his bronze medals have come via losses to the current world champion in his division, who is based in Sydney.

Ivory said the older Stevens was keen for another tilt at the champion.

“He’s a multiple world champion and he competes at every competition, so his goal is to catch him,” Ivory said.

“Judd does jiu jitsu and muay thai and would like to one day do MMA, but he’s too young for that.

“The first day he came in he was arm-barring people, so he’s picking the sport up quicker than anyone I have seen.”

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