Or, Why I spent the morning watching UFC videos on YouTube
Yesterday a friend showed me some Jiu-Jitsu moves on the grass at Douglas Park. She told me about the history of Japanese Judo masters passing knowledge on to Brazilians, the Gracie family in particular, who then adapted the practice to focus more on the a defensive ground game.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu emphasizes getting an opponent to the ground in order to use ground fighting techniques and submission holds involving joint-locks and chokeholds.
Apparently competitions often ban certain joint-locks, namely the ones that can permanently damage knees and spines.
And about those chokeholds:
In BJJ, the chokes that are used put pressure on the carotid arteries, and may also apply pressure to the nerve baroreceptors in the neck. This kind of choke is very fast acting (if done properly) with victims typically losing consciousness in around 3–5 seconds. In contrast, an air choke (involving constriction of the windpipe) can take up to two minutes, depending on how long the person can hold their breath, and may cause serious damage to the throat.
There is definitely something about understanding a sport that makes it more enjoyable to watch. I would never expect to be enthralled by a 13-minute YouTube video about the role of Jiu-Jitsu inthe first Ultimate Fighting Championship, November 12, 1993 in Denver Colorado. But I was.
Ken Shamrock, who fights in an amazing red Speedo, describes his first fight in the ring with an undefeated bare-knuckle boxer:
“I crank his heel. I break his leg. He taps out.”
“They [the audience] were mad. No one understood what submission was.”
But Shamrock’s submission moves failed to match those of Royce Gracie, the smallest of the famous family, who beat Shamrock in the final round of that first UFC.
“There’s the tap. There’s the tap.”
Seeing Shamrock tap the mat, with pretty intense urgency, is meaningful when I know that he may well be 3 seconds away from unconsciousness, because of these crazy chokeholds.
“I’m sitting there on the ground, wondering ‘How in the world did he do that?’”