There’s no denying that Jim Arvanitis is a skilled martial artist. He moves like a 30-year-old both on his feet and on the ground, where he flows from technique to technique with an ease you seldom see outside a high-end grappling school. And there’s no denying that he’s a martial arts historian par excellence. One look at his most recent book, The First Mixed Martial Art: Pankration From Myths to Modern Times, reveals that he’s intimately familiar not only with pankration, the fighting system of his Greek ancestors, but also with the rise of the martial arts in the West.
But neither of those is the reason I admire him. What struck me the first time we met was his honesty. It’s starkly illustrated in the following passage, which was lifted from a yet-to-be-published article he wrote: “In 393, pankration, along with gladiatorial combat and all pagan festivals, were abolished by an edict from the Christian Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I. In terms of an Olympic sport, pankration had been practiced for some 1,000 years. While there’s proof that wrestling persisted in Hellenic society after the conclusion of the Olympic Games, little evidence supports that either boxing or pankration continued. It’s safe to assume that pankration vanished for the next two millennia.”
Nick Hines, Jim Arvanitis’ senior student, penned a paragraph that continued the story—and reflected his teacher’s truthful approach to the history of his art: “Although it’s been claimed that various clans in Greece attempted to assemble what remained into a martial art, not until the 20th century was it regenerated into a tangible form and introduced to the martial arts world. Jim Arvanitis … spent years researching the history, modifying the training methodology and codifying pankration into a contemporary form of hybrid fighting.”
Such honesty is rare. In most parts of the world where martial arts developed, you can find masters who claim to teach ancient fighting arts that exhibit techniques that are identical to those of other arts, yet they deny there was any cross-pollination. And here we have Jim Arvanitis, openly admitting that many of the specifics about pankration’s techniques were lost in time and that he had to patch those holes.
“With my continuing research, I noticed ‘voids,’ or areas that necessitated modification,” Jim Arvanitis said. “That’s where the inclusion of modern resources came in. I never intended my revival effort and personal interpretation of the ancient form to be an exact replication. Having been defunct for some 2,000 years, how could it be? Why should it be?”
Which sources did he rely on to fill those voids? Boxing and Greco-Roman wrestling, as well as muay Thai and judo, especially its ne waza (grappling techniques), he says. “I also studied tactical knife fighting with some skillful Greeks and Massad Ayoob for the battlefield component, and Massad Ayoob and I have worked extensively on handgun disarms since 1974.”
Such is the martial art that Jim Arvanitis teaches—through classes and seminars, as well as via video and the printed word. Throughout the years, his message has been essentially the same: The ancient Greeks had their own style of combat, and if you try it, you’ll find that it’s every bit as comprehensive and effective as anything in Asia. He says his goal is to bring credit to his ancestors for their contributions to the martial arts, and he’s doing a fine job of it.
The staff of Black Belt is pleased to induct him into its Hall of Fame as 2009 Instructor of the Year.
The long-awaited meeting between ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano "Mikinho" Moraes and ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson took center stage and had a shocking conclusion.
Five other bouts helped fill out ONE's primetime debut in the United States.
Need a recap of what went down at ONE on TNT I? Here is what you missed from the latest edition of ONE Championship action.
Main Event: Adriano Moraes vs. Demetrious Johnson
Adriano Moraes 🇧🇷 SHOCKS THE WORLD, becoming the first man to finish Demetrious Johnson! @adrianomkmoraes #WeAreONE… https://t.co/JVSVwKC973— ONE Championship (@ONE Championship)1617850288.0
Moraes Winner by Knockout
Round 2 - 2:24
For the first time in a 14 year career, Johnson was finished. The jaw-dropping knockout came in the second round as Moraes successfully defended the ONE Flyweight World Championship.
The Brazilian clipped Johnson with a right uppercut that staggered "Mighty Mouse" and put him on the mat. As Moraes followed up, "Mikinho" delivered a short knee to the face that put an end to Johnson's title bid. Moraes' stunning finish of the all-time great made him the top flyweight on the planet.
Rodtang Jitmuangnon vs. Danial Williams
Rodtang Winner by Unanimous Decision
Following the title tilt, Rodtang "The Iron Man" Jitmuangnon put on a show as he welcomed Daniel "Mini T" Williams to ONE. The Aussie proved to be a game opponent and gave Rodtang a run for his money, but in the end it was a clear-cut decision for the Thai star. The exciting matchup was a great showcase for ONE Super Series, Rodtang, and Williams as well.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Iuri Lapicus
Lapicus Winner by Disqualification
The opening bout did not go as expected. The potential best match of the night ended early after illegal blows to the back of the head from Alvarez were called by the referee. Alvarez was shown a red card and Lapicus was given the victory. However, fans can likely expect a rematch as nothing was settled in this contender's matchup.
Tyler McGuire vs. Raimond Magomedaliev
Magomedaliev Winner by Unanimous Decision
Dagestani Raimond Magomedaliev put in an excellent 15 minutes against Tyler McGuire to make a solid case to be the welterweight division's top contender. The American pushed forward for 15 minutes, but Magomedaliev had the answers every step of the way to earn a unanimous decision.
Enriko Kehl vs. Chingiz AllazovKehl Winner by Split DecisionEnriko Kehl and Chingiz Allzov met again, but this time it was inside the ONE Circle. The longtime kickboxing rivals showed how closely matched they were in an exciting back-and-forth banger. After nine solid minutes, Kehl got two of the three judges to see it his way to grab the narrow victory.
Oumar Kane vs. Patrick Schmid
Kane Winner by TKO
"Reug Reug" Oumar Kane continued his ascent as the next African star with a first-round mauling of Patrick "The Big Swiss" Schmid. The Senegalese grappler got to show-off his developing striking before taking the match to the ground and ending the bout with strikes.
BONUS: Johnson Speaks after Loss to Moraes
- Demetrious Johnson: Anatomy of the GOAT - Black Belt Magazine ›
- ONE On TNT I Press Conference & Faceoffs Highlights - Black Belt ... ›
The European Taekwondo Championships wrapped up on Sunday in Sofia, Bulgaria with Russia dominating the men's categories while Great Britain reigned on the women's side. The British nabbed three titles in the women's events lead by two-time Olympic gold medalist Jade Jones who took her third European championship capturing the 57 kg division with a 20-5 victory over Turkey's Hatice Kübra İlgün. Jones will seek to become the first British woman to win individual gold at three different Olympics when she competes at this year's Tokyo games.
The Russian men also earned three titles lead by 2017 world champion Maksim Khramtsov, who garnered his second European crown at 80 kg.
One of those bouts features ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion Janet "JT" Todd continuing her pursuit of two-sport dominance against Anne "Ninja" Line Hogstad in a Muay Thai contest.
The two top-ranked Muay Thai contenders each have their own hopes and dreams for the gold, but if Todd can capture it, she will be the second-ever two-sport atomweight World Champion. She is chasing history to cement her legacy as the best atomweight striker in the world.
But Hogstad will not be one to lay down for her bid.
Fans should expect three rounds of elite striking with a furious pace. The output will be high from two aggressive competitors who will not back down with such high stakes on one of the biggest events of the year.
And you can get primed for the bout with a look at how they made their way to this momentous occasion.
In this video from ONE, see how both women have performed on the global stage to get to this crucial point of being entrusted to perform in primetime. Who will come away with a potential title shot at ONE on TNT II?
Janet Todd vs. Anne Line Hogstad | Road To ONE On TNT II
Watch the main card on TNT or the Watch TNT app at 10 p.m. EST at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST. The West Coast can watch the main card on TNT on a delay at 10 p.m. PST.
The event will also be available on Bleacher Report and the B/R app at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST. Fans will need to log in with their cable subscription credentials.
Prelims will be aired on the B/R App, B/R Live, Bleacher Report, B/R Live YouTube, and B/R MMA Twitter at 8:30 p.m. EST/5:30 p.m. PST.