MMA Gloves
cdn.pixabay.com AV_Photographer
Did you grow up in an area with that classic combat sport that tested the mettle of young people to their core? Was it named the same thing where you lived: Two for Flinching? The sport where kids raised in questionable environments, kids with a confused sense of comradery, or just plain ol' mean kids would approach a friend (strange label to employ), pretend to punch them and stop just shy of contact (most of the time)? Of course, the test for success or failure being measured as faux punch thrower observes that innate reaction of fast-twitch nerve firing reflexes called a flinch. If a flinch is seen, it is a fail. And by the way, how is it not a conflict of interest here that the judge of the flinch also gets to throw the punch if he sees it? We thought MMA judging needed work! The cost for failure is two Mike Tyson-level punches to the shoulder. How did you do at this competition?

As strange as it may seem, one gauge of success in combat sports is quantified in terms of the willingness to get punched in the face. Not in the broader sense as in willingness to engage in combat sports, but the actual act of being hit in the actual face - actually. You will hear it verbalized like this: He/she does not like getting punched in the face. One former UFC champ (Daniel Cormier) in making analysis of a fight spoke to how to get a fighter (Derrek Lewis) he had faced to raise their guard (get those hands up by the head) in order to open up takedowns. Specifically noting that this was possible and effective because one fighter in that contest didn't like to get hit in the face. Of course if your region and youth had Two for Flinching, it may have also had that rhetorical masterpiece to use upon hearing this news that some people do not like getting punched in the face i.e. No duh! Or, No doi, depending on your region's dialect. Who actually likes getting punched in the face?!

Well, there are people in MMA history that seem to. If you have ever seen a Chris Leben fight, something strange would happen when he got punched in the face. He described it himself as a button on his nose. Sure enough, it looked like a switch flipped when it happened – instant marauder; just add face punch. There are stories made of the stuff of legend that might surprise you in their having occurred only a few years ago about martial arts teachers lining up students and simply punching them in the face as they tried to stand and take it. No, not in temples centuries ago, but in Sacramento, California U.S.A. barely a decade ago. Master Thong who was the Muay Thai trainer at Uriah Faber's Team Alpha Male is part of this lore.

There is even more nuance to this discussion that may surprise the casual fan as it is not always the apparent tough guy or gal who acts fearless when threatened with a strike to the face. Apparently Master Thong can train it, but like all things, there are some who excel at it and others who do not at it. All said, it is a strange thing to have as an asset in a sport, viz. to not mind a punch to the face. It is probably normal to think, 'not in the face!' when there is an actual threat. But, as we have learned, normal is not likely an adjective used for fighters. Still, it is probably not something Compustrike or Fightmetric stats can measure. However, any longtime fan of MMA who follows their favorite fighters closely enough, would probably upon reflection be able to list a few fighters who would either medal or not even make the team in a Two for Flinching competition. Curious, did Volkswagen Beetles cause PTSD or contusions in your neighborhood too or was that specific to Northern California as well?

Introducing Martial Arts School Listings on Black Belt Mag!
Sign Up Now To Be One Of The First School Listed In Our Database.
SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the worlds largest magazine of martial arts.
Bruce Lee Enter the Dragon
d2e111jq13me73.cloudfront.net / Enter the Dragon/ Warner Bros.
Bruce Lee really did have the Midas touch when it came to training. Most people think Bruce was advanced and complicated, but he was the master of simplicity. He was not worried about doing the jump-up flip spin-around back kick. Not sure if there is one. But by the time you land, Bruce would just throw a simple kick or punch to knock you down as you landed to the ground. However, that is the point. Simplicity is often overlooked because of the coolness and the latest and greatest workout when simplicity produces the most significant effect. Super complicated does not mean superior. This is actually reverse in fact. We see super complex exercises that don’t need to be. Truthfully, if an exercise or method is not straightforward in its approach, then it probably is not good.
Keep Reading Show less
Woodley Paul 2
Photo Courtesy: CBS Sports

Tommy Fury, half-brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, has withdrawn from his upcoming bout with undefeated YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul due to injury, per ESPN. The match was supposed to be contested at 192 pounds for eight, three-minute rounds on December 18. Thanks to former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, the show must go on.

Woodley, who was defeated by Paul via controversial split decision in August, will seek redemption on short notice. The announcement of the rematch comes less than two weeks before the event takes place. According to Paul, Woodley will receive a $500,000 bonus if he is able to land a knockout. However, Paul doesn't expect this to happen, claiming that he is going to "punish" the 39-year-old mixed martial artist.

The Woodley-Paul grudge match is not the only exciting fight on the Showtime pay-per-view card, as ESPN's #3 ranked female boxer Amanda Serrano will take on Miriam Gutierrez in the co-main event. There will also be another celebrity matchup between 3x NBA All-Star point guard Deron Williams and 5x NFL Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore, who will duke it out in a heavyweight bout.

A social media sensation versus a former MMA world champion. Two world class lady warriors. A former professional basketball player versus a member of the NFL 2010's All-Decade Team. Who will have their hand raised that night? Stay tuned for more news and updates about the event from Black Belt Magazine, both here on our website and on social media.

Instagram post from Tyron Woodley:



Karate training
Shutterstock / Kzenon

I have a confession to make: I’m a romantic for cheesy martial art movies.

One of my favorite things to watch in kung fu cinema is a teacher tortu–er, training a novice student. Of course, it is easy to see how we fit in the script. Regardless of our level, it is important to have a mentor who can help guide us properly in our training.

A big part of our growth as people and martial artists is finding the correct ways to be challenged and to promote our depth of understanding. While that duty often is seen as only befalling on the person you study under, there are various things we can consciously do to mix up our training to glean better benefits.

Check out these methods and you’ll soon be able to add new levels of realism to your training and find any hidden holes in your techniques!

Keep Reading Show less