Monday, October 25, 2010

Bagpipes, kilts and ..... kickboxing?

Typically in those cheesy action movies from the 1980s that starred such luminaries as Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme, a competitor traveled to some faraway land somewhere in Asia whose aesthetics and environment were greatly exaggerated by Hollywood. There they engaged in a "deadly" tournament with fighters from around the world in arts such as kung-fu or kickboxing.

Well, there's no JCVD to be found here and there are no elaborate temples. In fact, one of Evolve Academy's students is traveling to the exotic land of Scotland to compete in the 2010 World Kickboxing and Karate Association World Championships, according to an e-newsletter the Gaithersburg gym sent out last week. Hopefully that last link works better for you than it did me. All I can get is Scotland's flag and the association's logo.

It's safe to say that Scotland would not be the first locale most people would think of when they think of a kickboxing and karate tournament. But despite the stereotypes Tinseltown and others would want us to believe, martial arts is not limited to just the Far East. I also watched Braveheart for the millionth time last night and if Scotland is anything like what Mel Gibson portrayed on the big screen, I don't doubt the toughness of the country or its capability to host a martial arts tournament.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The first rule of Fight Club is......

You don't talk about Fight Club (original, I know). But in the case of Frederick Fight Club, talking about it gets you your own story in a local magazine.

The gym was featured in the latest issue of Find It Frederick, an "alternative" publication in Frederick that highlights local events, hot spots, organizations, etc. One of the magazine's writers took a free Brazilian jiu-jitsu class at Frederick Fight Club and chronicled her experience. A copy of the article can be found here.

The writer first portrays hesitation/trepidation about trying the art for herself, which I can definitely identify with. I myself was somewhat hesitant to start practicing mixed martial arts when I took a couple classes, mainly because like the writer, I saw other people who already well-advanced in the art and showed themselves to be at the very least competent and at best experts. There was definitely an intimidation factor.

But as the writer tried the class for herself, with help from the chief instructor, she seemed to find herself enjoying learning the art of BJJ and promotes the practice as a hell of a workout, going as far as to say she couldn't hold a spoon correctly for a while.

She also mentions that she was taught that practicing something like BJJ is more mental and physical and I think that's the most important point of all. I have heard the expression "90 percent of life is just showing up" and I think that can applied to something like learning BJJ or MMA. As long as you show up and you are the type of person who welcomes and absorbs teaching well and you approach it with an open mind, learning something new and perhaps intimidating can actually become quite rewarding.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The stars come out

I previously wrote that the third Shogun Fights event is taking place next month in Baltimore. While the card for the event looks promising already, The organization recently announced some special guests for the event, who include some of the more recognizable names in MMA.

Former UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Serra is expected to be in attendance, as are WEC competitors Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Mike Brown. Serra recently came off a tough loss to Chris Lytle at UFC 119 while Cerrone avenged his previous loss to Jamie Varner by defeating him at "WEC: Aldo vs. Gamburyan" last month.

Shogun Fights is also expected to host Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, who is known as the "king" of stolen bases since he holds the career record in that category.

The last Shogun Fights had its fair share of celebrities in attendance as well, including members of the Baltimore Ravens and Kris "Savage" McCray, who was a finalist during the last season of "The Ultimate Fighter".

Perhaps I'll talk to Rickey while I'm covering the event and ask him if he thinks Binky Jones could steal nearly as many bases as he did. I would most like to talk to Matt Serra, as I have watched several of his fights since I started following MMA and have become a big fan of the guy. He just seems like a regular, everyday guy who does this because he loves it and really seems like one of the more personable guys in MMA.