Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dinosaur slayers or just fodder

The late WWE superstar Edward Fatu "Umaga" weighed in at 160kg

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog." Mark Twain

A few years back I went to see the WWE here in Melbourne, on the card were ultra sized athletes like Umaga, Triple H and Snisky, I sat close to ring side so I could appreciate just how big these guys are.

Some of these WWE superstars weighed in at between 125kg (276 Ibs) to +150kg (330 Ibs) with tree stumps for thighs and arms as big as my leg.

When we got home I started thinking what chance an average martial artist like me would have against one of these behemoths, would my martial arts training really help me to overcome an attack on the street by one of these ultra huge and athletic guys.

Can they be grappled; can they be clinched, would you be able to control them on the ground, how would your strikes fair against their mass and bulk? Let’s hope we never have to find out.

When it comes to people who are extremely big and athletic as some of these wrestlers are, even if they don’t know how to strike or punch properly with all their body mass behind them, just one wild swing with the mass of their humongous arms would be enough to send you to cloud nine and good night Irene, and if they did know how to strike you would be in serious trouble.

In my opinion if you were to go toe to toe with one of these dinosaurs you wouldn’t stand much of a chance no matter what type of training you do, just thank the man upstairs that your average mugger or criminal doesn’t come in that shape, form or package.

By the way former WWE star Brock Lesnar was the former UFC heavy weight champion, from what I know Brock was a former Olympic style college wrestling champion and with some mma training he was king of the UFC.

So does size count? I think it does, I don’t think a mugger would pick a Brock Lesnar size man or a Umaga as his next victim, but other athletes like Leon Spinks former heavy weight boxing champion have been mugged successfully.

Let’s get away from the super size of the wrestlers to the normal average big guys that you encounter in everyday life, big yes but not dinosaurs.

The smaller guy will always assume that the bigger guy will be stronger and we all know that he will have reach on his side; on the other hand the bigger guy will feel he has the edge over the smaller guy due to size alone, therefore size has a psychological effect on both the small and big guy.

Being big is of course an advantage no one can deny that, we see it in everyday activities and general sports that we may have participated in.

What about if two athletes of equal skill faced off in the ring, I guess you might be tempted to go for the bigger of the two, what about if they were the same size, well then maybe you would be tempted to go for the more technically skilled athlete.

Muhammad Ali - possibly the greatest heavyweight boxing champion _ height 1.905m (6' 3") weight 107kg (236 Ibs)

So how right is Mr. Twain, does size mean nothing in a competition or in a street fight?

Size is a natural advantage but not the only factor when it comes to defending yourself; there are many other attributes that play a big role such as,

1. Intestinal fortitude
2. Heart - fearless
3. Intent – disable, maim or kill
4. Aggression - tempered or suicidal
5. Tenacity – forceful or extreme
6. Emotion/ego – state of mind
7. Skill – Fitness – Power - Speed
8. Upbringing – Morals
9. Consequences – aftermath
10. Personality – projection

Ever looked into the eyes of a person fresh from a long to medium prison term or a person who has just come from a war torn country where they had to fight for their lives to survive, the glare in their eyes is wild to put it mildly.

These people may not be good inside a ring or on a mat, but killing you with efficiency on the street is another thing all together regardless of their size or if they have had martial arts training.

It has nothing to do with putting your dukes up for a punch on to see who is better at fisticuffs; they will treat these encounters as life or death situations and will act accordingly.

Size is one thing to be sure but exercising your intentions on another human being is something else again, regardless of being a big medium or small man first you must be willing ready and able to carry out your intentions or you have lost before you have even started.

The mind set, your experiences, your intent and what extremes you are prepared to go to also play a very big role in your ability to defend yourself.

Mike Tyson one of the best heavyweight boxing champions of all time - height 1.82m (5' 11-1/2") weight 99kg (218 lbs)

I believe that you can defend yourself against a bigger person provided that psychological you are in the right frame of mind and physically you are in good shape combined with the right type of training.

You must also believe in yourself and your fighting ability because you have tried, tested and applied your skills, power and speed against resisting opponents of various shapes and sizes on numerous occassions in the dojo and competitions.

While nothing can simulate a real encounter which may turn out to be a life and death struggle, knowing that you posses unarmed weapons or physical tools like punches, kicks, elbows, kness etc. that work in stressful situations will go along way to helping you overcome such a predicament.

The strength and power required in all martial arts including karate for the purpose of self defence is not the same strength and power that is associated with lifting heavy weights, pulling buses or trams with a rope holding a heavy object for a very long time etc.

While resistance training in the right doses is beneficial to martial artists I don’t think it should be trained excessively. Combat athletes in karate, muay thai, mma, judo/jujitsu etc. all have toned and well defined muscles through rigorous training but they don’t look like body builders with over exaggerated muscle size and definition, even power lifters don’t look like body builders.

Body builder (left) and a Power lifter (right)

Your psyche and the indomitable spirit that real and authentic traditional karate training fosters also goes a long way to being able to defend yourself in a life and death struggle against someone who is bigger and stronger than you.

By the way i should add that I have witnessed a couple of real fights on the street between behemoths and average sized guys.

Without getting into details on one occassion the average sized guy looked like a kickboxer/muay thai stylist, on another two untrained punks were getting smart with the big fella and his girl.

On both of these occassions the behemoths looked untrained, after a few initial exchanges with fists and kicks which generally rocked the average size guy and seemed to have no affect on the ultra huge guy.

The end result in both cases, the average sized guys ended up disengaging and running away from the encounter while screaming abuse, and the behemoths both went on thier merry way.

Former WWE superstar and former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar 6' 3" ( 190 cm ). Weight: 265 lbs ( 120 kg )