I recall Floyd Burk who is also a regular writer and contributor to Black Belt Magazine once asked for my input on article he had in the works entitled 'The Aging Martial Artist'.
Specifically he wanted to know the biggest change in your martial arts ability that you've noticed over the years? (Answer could be physical, philosophical, strategic, etc..)
Because judo is so physical, many of the moves I can no longer do because of prior injuries and trying to avoid future ones, (after 60 it takes much longer to recover). So my role have gravitated towards being involved in running the judo organizations, promoting large events, refereeing, developing future leaders, as well as providing wisdom that comes with age and experience.
He also wanted my advice to younger martial artists?
Focus on the big long term picture. Competition only lasts till you're too old to really get out there and do it. In judo we do have master divisions but I think there are better ways to serve the development of judo by developing dojos and students. I'm much more into using the principle of judo (maximum efficiently with minimum effort) then I was when I was younger.
I noticed it's harder for me to pull off big throws that require getting under an opponent's center of gravity. I favor small throws such as foot sweeps but these require perfect timing and skill to pull off. As I get older being smooth and in touch with the flow of the opponents movement becomes extremely important.
I'm also much more into judo as a life style than simply for competition. Judo has effected every aspect of my life, from my family to friends, even business, I see the tie in between what is done in the dojo as a microcosm of what happens in the real world.
Finally he asked; What can people do to best prepare themselves for those transitions?
Read books on judo's philosophy that are now more available compared to when I was growing up. These include Mind over Muscle by Naoki Murata, The Art of Peace by George Ohsawa, Judo Heart and Soul by Hayward Nishioka, Three Budo Masters & The Way of Judo by John Stevens, The Second Life of Judo by Alan Rafkind, Judo Memoirs of Jigoro Kano by Brian Watson, which all give terrific insights on the true meaning of judo. Also take good care of your mind and body by doing things in moderation.
Paul Schollmeier a judoka who's also a Barrick Distinguished Scholar and Philosophy Professor and I talked about the importance of understanding the samurai concept of mushin being focused on the here and now or being present.
Paul recommended these additional books; The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman, The Heart Sutra and its translation and commentary by Red Pine. In Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Live by Shantideva. Epectitus might be a stoic to start with. There is a short collection of his thoughts that served as a handbook for Roman soldiers. It's official title is Encheiridion, but it is also known as the Handbook.
To this end I really appreciate Jeff Przybilla's Life Skills Test which he incorporates into his at SCSU classes.
Jeff in action
Nanka will be hosting a free Zoom seminar from 2:00 to 4:00 PM (PDT) on Saturday September 18, 2021.
Nanka Judo Yudanshakai's relationship with Kano Shihan goes back to 1933, when during his then visit to Los Angeles he supported the formation of Nanka. So our interest in being able to present and enable conversation on Kano ideas and intentions is relevant to us and we believe the judo family at large.
It is our pleasure to be able to present this seminar featuring Lance Gatling – Jigoro Kano and Judo, the Secret Behind the Man.
It is well known that Kano frequently spoke about his judo philosophies for many decades, but he never ever disclosed their origins, nor their exact meaning which has escaped judoka ever since. His writings were not only influenced by ancient Eastern philosophy, but also from 19th century English philosophers.
While living in Japan, Lance Gatling has studied and researched Jigoro Kano for the past 15 years, discovering much that has not been seen for nearly the past 100 years.
During this seminar Lance will be present materials originated by Kano on a wide range of topics that include; Kano's judo philosophy; its origin and meaning, Kano's view of education, his thoughts on judo vs. today's sport judo, the five historic judokas, and his Twelve Principles of Judo.
Many of these concepts have never been discussed before and through his unique understanding of Kano, Lance will reveal a side of Kano we were not aware of. We expect a very large audience to this seminar. Register now at the link above!
The USJA's Board of Director's Election
(Voting has begun Eligible Voters have been notified)
Here are the best choices based on their judo, business, and educational experience
From left to right: Paul Bova, Jan Finkbeiner, Bonnie Korte, Dr. Ray Marquez IV, Paul Rivera
Detailed Bios can be found on the USJA's Election Website
Jefferson City Judo Club is excited to begin hosting Challenge of the Champions! We wish to extend an invitation to everyone, near and far, to participate in this spectacular event. Judoka and grapplers from all styles are welcome to participate. This tournament will be a great opportunity as we will offer BOTH Freestyle Judo and IJF Judo. Contenders are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in both rule sets.
As this event continues to gain momentum, we anticipate a tremendous turn out. Participants, coaches, referees and spectators can expect a great experience as you are greeted into one of the finest dojo facilities in the Midwest. Our school is 9500 square feet with two, full sized competition mats, which will be running simultaneously to keep the day flowing smoothly. You can also expect highly qualified and experienced Freestyle and USA (IJF) referees on the mat.
We will have Junior, Senior and Master's brackets ages 5 and up. Registration/weigh-ins are Friday, Oct. 8th from 3-8:00 p.m. Brackets will be available to view and we will start promptly on Saturday, Oct. 9th at 9:00 a.m. Preregistration is encouraged and can be completed by calling 573-301-1738 / 573-680-4694 or emailing email@example.com to receive a registration form which can be mailed/emailed back to us.
Payments can be taken over the phone, check by mail and we also accept cash. Cost is $40 per competitor.
Head over to visitjeffersoncity.com to find places to stay while in Jefferson City.
Other useful links include:
Challenge of the Champions is sure to be one of the most impressive tournaments you will experience this year. Please come, be our guest and allow JCJC to serve you a memorable day full of judo as you step out, share the mat and challenge yourself with other champions. See you on the tatamis!
I'm always looking for new subjects to write about regarding judo as well as contributions from my readers. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, thanks.
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The Brazilian grappling star signed with ONE in the summer of 2020, and he is now set for his first opponent, who will test his skills in a striker vs. grappler matchup. His first opponent will be the heavy-handed Anderson "Braddock" Silva.
The task will be simple for the 17-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion: get "Braddock" to the canvas.
His fellow countryman has an impressive resume of his own as a Brazilian National Champion in kickboxing and a professional kickboxing record of 52-20-1. The matchup against Almeida also gives him the opportunity to show the heavyweight division he can stuff takedowns of one of the world's most elite submission artists.
As the heavyweight waters deepen with talent, both men have a chance to showcase their skills and establish their place in the pecking order. There is no time to waste, and with their heralded backgrounds, both men will be looking to leap toward the top of the division and chase reigning king Arjan Bhullar.
"Buchecha's" debut has all of the makings for an unforgettable matchup, and Silva will not be one to shy away inside the Circle. You can expect fireworks when the bell rings.
Which heavyweight will come out on top and send a message to the remainder of the heavyweight division? The answer will come at ONE: Revolution.
ONE: Revolution will air live on Bleacher Report on Friday, September 24, at 6:30 a.m. EST/3:30 a.m. PST.
"Buchecha" vs. Anderson Silva | The Heavyweight BJJ GOAT Has ARRIVEDGear up for the highly-anticipated debut of 17-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida as he takes on Brazilian powerhouse Anderson...
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Two Out of Three Ain't Bad — For Most People. For Stamp Fairtex, However, It's Not Enough!
This story begins with a scenario you've seen in a classic movie franchise and in the hit Netflix series it spawned: A mild-mannered youth gets bullied at school day after day. The kid comes under the guidance of a wise martial arts teacher, who imparts the ways of combat. When the kid decides that enough is enough on the schoolyard, you know the end is near. Using skills learned from the sensei, the kid vanquishes the bullies — and even wins a local tournament.
Before you stop reading so you can go catch up on Cobra Kai, know that this particular story has more twists than a double spinning back kick.
In order to continue this real-life version of the "wax on, wax off" saga, we have to talk math. Why? Well, because later on in this story, the world's toughest math teacher is going to show up. And, believe me, you don't want to fail his pop quiz!
Statistically, it's about a million-to-one shot that a person can become a pro athlete in the NFL, MLB or NBA. The odds are stacked even higher against a person who sets out to become a world champion in a combat sport. To become the best on the planet at two different combat sports, the odds can be calculated only by someone like Stephen Hawking. To become the first female world champion in three combat sports — well, you don't even want to try to figure out those odds!
But this is precisely what a Thai fighter named Stamp Fairtex is striving to accomplish, and she's almost there.
Farm Girl The future champion was born Natthawan Panthong in the city of Rayong, Thailand. It wasn't until later that she adopted the fight name Stamp Fairtex. She grew up on her family farm, which grew durian, a tropical fruit.
Looking back, she told me that for the most part, she enjoyed a happy life in the country. There was only one problem: Starting in kindergarten, she was bullied by other girls. "When I was 5 years old, this girl kept pinching me," Stamp recalled about the earliest days of her victimization. "I was scared. I would have bruises on my arm."
When she'd endured the abuse long enough, she sought help from her father, a muay Thai practitioner. At the gym his brother operated, Stamp's dad taught his daughter the basics of the martial art and, most important, the intricacies of the clinch, which was the position in which she often found herself in those schoolyard scraps. "It made me strong," she said. "Now I'm never scared when I have the clinch." Perhaps this is why she considers her father the hero of her life.
Within a year of taking up muay Thai, Stamp had ended the bullying and started fighting in the ring. (In this Southeast Asian nation, it's not uncommon for young people to compete in full contact.) She won her first match in less than 30 seconds. "It was Children's Day in Thailand," she said. "I walked forward and kneed, kneed — and won."
New Star Unlike Daniel-san in The Karate Kid, however, Stamp didn't stop after winning her version of the All Valley Karate Tournament. Competition quickly became a way of life for the youth. As the only female fighter in the camp where she trained, she frequently found herself fighting boys. No doubt that helped her build a foundation that was second to none.
On average, Stamp competed every other month, which gave her at least some time to see to her schooling. Over the ensuing decade, she was able to amass a record that spanned 80 pro bouts and included a stadium championship and a two-division Northeastern Thailand title. All the while, she used her winnings to help support her family.
Then when she was 18, destiny came calling, and it was in the form of a representative from the legendary Fairtex Gym in Pattaya."Fairtex wanted me and [some other] female fighters for their MMA program," Stamp said. "One of the trainers knew me. He said, 'If [you] come here, you will have a big future.'"
His pitch worked, and Stamp made the move, in part because she lacked worthy opponents in the countryside. But it wasn't all peaches and cream. "I missed my family a lot," she recalled. "I didn't have time for myself so much [because] I had to focus on training. I didn't have time to be a regular teenager. I saw my friends go to parties — it would look fun, but when I had free time, I had to sleep."
Two Titles Everyone knows the adage, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." In the case of Stamp Fairtex, the person who appeared was ex-high-school math teacher and former UFC middleweight champ Rich Franklin. Trivia note: Franklin was the real-life inspiration for the teacher who turned MMA fighter in the 2012 movie Here Comes the Boom, which stars Kevin James, Selma Hayek and Henry Winkler. (If you haven't seen it, you should — even if it's just to watch Bas Rutten, who plays Kevin James' coach, do his "happy dance.")Back to our story: In his capacity as vice president for ONE Championship, Franklin was in Thailand on a scouting mission when he ran across Stamp training at the Fairtex gym. I asked her about the encounter, and in her usual humble way, she downplayed her performance that day. "[I] simply showed my skills … I kicked pads and showed my MMA techniques," she said.
Franklin remembers the encounter somewhat more shockingly. "Our first recruiting session for Rich Franklin's ONE Warrior Series was in Thailand at Bangkok Fight Lab," he said. "I experienced what we call the 'Stamp effect.' While my co-host and I were watching two athletes in their tryout, we heard what sounded like a cannon off to our right. When we saw that it was Stamp kicking the pads, we completely forgot there were fighters actually trying out in front of us."
Franklin immediately booked her for her debut bout against Rashi Shinde. Knowing that Stamp brought the match to an abrupt end in the first round with a Thai kick that yielded a 19-second knockout, I asked her about the bout. "I just remember that I kicked her in the head," she said matter-of-factly. "There wasn't much more than that."
I watched the tape, and I must concur: Bell rings, Stamp kicks, Shinde drops, fight ends. Much more transpired afterward, though: The win landed Stamp a six-figure contract with ONE Championship.
Incredibly, the promoter scheduled her debut fight for the 2018 ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Championship, where she would face Kai Ting "Killer Bee" Chuang. "It was my first time at a big stadium," Stamp recalled. "It was a big first in my life. I fought kickboxing, but I used a lot of muay Thai techniques."
Those muay Thai moves did not mean an easy victory. Chuang, a full-scholarship athlete at Taiwan University, offered some serious resistance and went the distance, but the Thai fighter won by unanimous decision, dethroning Chuang and earning her first world title.
Aware that they'd captured lightning in a bottle — and wanting to replicate the phenomenon as quickly as possible — ONE booked Stamp's next bout four months later. She would face 33-year-old Los Angeles native Janet Todd, a Pan-American muay Thai champ, for the inaugural ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Championship.
In the ring, Stamp outboxed Todd, winning by unanimous decision and collecting her second world title. That feat put her in the same company as fellow female fighters Graciela Casillas (boxing and kickboxing) and Kayla Harrison (judo and MMA)."My … fight with Janet Todd was my most memorable. I walked out to Blackpink (a South Korean band) and did my 'Stamp dance' — I practiced the dance for a week or two," she said, smiling.
"I was the first woman to get two belts in two sports [for ONE Championship]. It was my first big match in muay Thai. I became famous for this fight. Everyone liked the fight with Janet Todd. I liked the bout, too."
No. 3Winning two world-championship belts in two combat sports was not enough for Stamp Fairtex — which is why she set her sights on earning the ONE Championship MMA title in 2021. She embarked on the path to that destination by winning her MMA debut by rear-naked choke, and now she sports a perfect 5-0 MMA record with three knockouts. Once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, the 23-year-old will be itching to transition from contender to champion. This brings us back to mathematician Rich Franklin. With both of us acknowledging that Stamp is already a world-class striker, I asked Franklin if she can gain the grappling skills she needs to become the MMA champ. Franklin did the fight math in his head and gave the following calculation about her chances of success:
"When we recruited Stamp, she was still a little green on the ground but closing the gap quickly. More importantly, she is eager and willing to take chances and try new techniques in competition rather than playing it safe. Given she has been working on her ground game since we recruited her, she is a serious threat to the title."
ONE Future When I interviewed Stamp Fairtex for this story, she was ranked No. 5 in the MMA division. Only time, talent and the grit of this young fighter will determine whether she becomes a world champion in her third combat sport by taking down current titleholder Angela Lee. What I do know, however, is that any title she does win will be with ONE Championship.
I know that because I asked her if she might be lured away by a bigger promoter, but she was steadfast in her loyalty. "I won't fight in the UFC," she said. "I'm with ONE Championship. They gave me an opportunity, and they made me a star. They gave me a name. I won't leave."
She noted, however, that she's open to taking part in Thailand's national pastime again. "MMA is a new sport in my life," she said. "I like MMA a lot, [but] muay Thai is part of my Thai blood and heritage."
Whatever the future holds for Stamp Fairtex, chances are she'll succeed. Once her combat career is over, she said she plans to work for the family farm. But don't expect to see her selling fruit at a roadside stand. She studied marketing at school and no doubt will be crafting a plan for the agricultural enterprise — while tending to her social media followers and burgeoning fan base. Further down the road, she hopes to launch a career in the fashion trade.
Clearly, this farm girl who's on the road to becoming a triple belt holder is no country bumpkin. You can see it in her plans, and you can see it in the answer she gave to my final question, which concerned whether she posts videos of her workouts online: "I don't really show too many special techniques — so my opponents won't know [what's in store for them]."One can only wonder what else is in store for Stamp Fairtex and her opponents as she rides the wave of fight fame at ONE Championship.
Perry William Kelly has a sixth-degree black belt in jiu-jitsu and is an instructor in four other martial arts. He's the former national coordinator for use of force for the Correctional Service of Canada. In 2017 he was a karate gold medalist at the World Police and Fire Games, and in 2018 he received the Joe Lewis Eternal Warrior Award. His website is perrywkelly.com.
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