Feryal Abdelaziz

As the Tokyo Olympics wind down the first - and perhaps last - ever karate competition concluded in a fashion sure to leave casual viewers disappointed. In the men's +75 kg kumite event Saudi Arabia's Tareg Hamedi landed a spectacular lead leg head kick to drop Iran's Sajjad Ganjzadeh only to be disqualified for too much contact. Meanwhile, the women's +61 kg division saw Egypt's Feryal Abdelaziz capture gold with a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan's Irina Zaretska.

On the wrestling mat 2016 gold medalist, American Kyle Snyder, had to settle for silver as he lost 6-3 against Abdulrashid Sadulaev of the Russian Olympic Committee in the men's 97 kg freestyle division. And Japan added two more golds as Takuto Otoguro beat Azerbaijan's Haji Aliyev 5-4 in men's 65 kg freestyle and Yui Susaki defeated China's Sun Yanan 10-0 in the women's 50 kg category.

That a director of my city's opera company would call me seemed a little odd. There are probably some monkeys who know more about opera than I do. But the director was inviting me to lunch, so of course I went.

It turned out the company was producing a performance of Madame Butterfly, the Puccini opera that tells the story of a doomed love between a French military officer and a geisha in early 19th-century Japan. The opera has come under fire for its stereotyped, utterly fanciful depictions of Japanese culture. The local company was trying to anticipate such criticism, and the director asked me, since I serve on the board of some organizations related to Japanese culture, what I thought.
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Apologies in advance for the title if it gives impressions that this is going to be all that poetic. It's not this presentation that is all that literary, but something else. Haikus and pentameter aside, MMA has moments that are nothing less than poetic on a pretty astral level. Not long ago, irony at the nauseating level (unless you are a psychopath) happened when former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman broke his leg on Uriah Hall's leg in an eerily similar way as the other former champ Anderson Silva did on Chris's in their title rematch. If you know anything at all about MMA and did not know this story, you have to have been living under a rock. Save your energy and do not go look at pictures of either event as it is nightmare material.
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Dr. Craig's Martial Arts Movie Lounge

Have you ever watched a film that was just so amazing that when the sequel came out, your mind started developing great expectations and that it would be a pip, which has nothing to do with a Charles Dicken's novel, yet a movie that could be a real humdinger?

In 2017, one of the most engaging and exciting elements of the Sammo Hung and Vincent Zhao starring God of War is that it was a remake of Jimmy Wang Yu's classic kung fu flick Beach of the War Gods (BWG; 1973). This gave me the perfect opportunity to see how a film on the same subject was handled by two Chinese filmmaking eras 44 years apart and how the fight choreography was used to tell the hero's story.

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