Fight Fitness

Before we get into the scientific nitty-gritty, let's do a little experiment. Stand up right now and do 10 rapid Hindu squats. (For those who don't know, this is a deep knee bend that is favored in the grappling arts.) Make sure you do 10 of them hard and fast. Now it's time for a quick self-assessment. How do your legs feel?

by Mark Hatmaker

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It’s been said that there are two kinds of people in the world: astronomers and astronauts. In the past, at least, astronomers would sit quietly at the eyepiece of their telescope and study the universe, while astronauts would hop onto the business end of a rocket and explore the universe.

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So there’s this drink, and it tastes good. by Kelly McCann

So there’s this drink, and it tastes good.

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In the city of Weifang, China, my friend Zhengtong drove me to eight hotels until we found one that was licensed to accept foreign guests. I checked in, and the next day, he picked me up for training. Along the way, I asked him what he did every day to pass the time. He said he sleeps until 11 a.m. and then plays video games on his phone. Luckily, his family supports him; otherwise, he’d be on the street. by Antonio Graceffo, Ph.D.

We reminisced about our training mates at Shanghai University of Sport and wondered what they were doing now. One of them, a judo major, told us he couldn’t graduate. He’d competed for three years but accumulated no academic credits. Someone had convinced him to open an MMA gym, but it was failing. China just doesn’t have enough people yet who have money and want to train in MMA, it seems.
Meanwhile, Zhengtong said he was struggling to get his own MMA career off the ground. Because there’s no money in judo or wrestling, MMA is the only option for many guys. Unfortunately, after a lifetime of training in exactly one discipline, it’s nearly impossible for most of them to learn new ways of fighting.
We were reminded of an older man from Inner Mongolia who used to hang around the wrestling room at the university. Apparently, he failed to graduate a decade earlier but still wanted to train. He volunteered to coach me once. I asked if he was free in the daytime, and he said yes. I asked if he was free at night, and he said yes.
“So what do you do?” I asked.
“I don’t do anything,” he answered.
Zhengtong said that the guy finally found a job doing menial labor in Shanghai. Under Chinese law, however, citizens are not allowed to move from the provinces to the major cities without a permit. As a native of Inner Mongolia, he’d be living like an illegal alien in Shanghai with no rights and no access to government services.

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A few years back, we started seeing outlandishly violent YouTube videos that showed Russians engaging in “medieval combat" while wearing armor and bashing each other mercilessly with broadswords. While an eye-catching curiosity, this martial pursuit seemed unlikely to ever catch on in the West.

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