Tonight in our MMA class, we put on our gis and did some sparring under Kyokushin rules. This was a lot of fun. The rules go something like this: No hand strikes to the head, knees and kicks allowed to the face. The fight stops when it goes to the ground. This is pretty sweet because you can bang on each other as hard as you want and, while you might get bruised, you won’t get injured.
The idea here was that MMA fighters are obsessed with strikes to the face, to the point that, while attempting to pass the guard, they’ll get stymied when they could be pounding on their opponent’s legs, stomach, and any number of other targets. Cross-training is rightly seen as a valuable pursuit in other sports, and we profit in the martial arts from checking out other styles. That especially includes MMA and BJJ, which both become more like sports every day, with their own rules and conceits that take them a little further from the “street.”
I really got my ass handed to me. I’ve fallen hopelessly into the trap of becoming a grappling geek, and not even an especially talented one at that. Those Kyokushin guys are tough bastards, I’m sure.
It was good at least to find that I’ve at least gotten more accustomed to getting hit in the months since I first started cross-training in MMA. I’m not sure the term “tougher” applies here so much as “less pathetically fragile.”
On The Ultimate Fighter:
Tapout is everywhere on this fucking show! Every guy is wearing a Tapout hoodie, and not only that, every guy is wearing a different design of Tapout hoodie.
And it’s not just shirts. There’s board shorts, rash guards and gloves. The mats have Tapout logos on them. There are Tapout gloves, and Tapout baseball hats (immaculately white, and worn high and sideways by Matthew Riddle, my first favorite to get ousted) and the same substance-free commercial shown in the prime first half of each commercial break (My goodness, he’s an animal inside! Note that this commercial’s premise could work for any sport, including raquetball and other sports that prominently feature the letters “q” and “u”). I’m looking forward to Tapout Toothpaste.
Tapout is is one of those companies built, like Nike, on the disposable income of fanboys, not so much founded as accreted around the last slide of some voracious young venture capitalist’s PowerPoint presentation. This brand’s prominence on TUF speaks to the relationship between this glamorous young sport and the high precision marketing blitz that sustains it. This is a fraught relationship, the kind which greasy eels like Dana White lubricate so well.
I don’t mean to be a hater, but look at it this way: Tapout is first and foremost a brand, which is penetrating that most delicate of sphincters, your retina, with its purchasing power. The Tapout gear was clearly foisted on these eager beavers who, beleive me, showed up displaying the logo of their home gyms, where patient and stern men have taught them more about themselves than any other school or sport ever did. Notice how that’s swept under the rug: Exclusivity demands that these guys adorn themselves only with the raiments of some soulless corporation, signifying absolutely fucking nothing.
This Upper Decker brought to you by the Tapout Brand Pooper Scooper. God, I can’t wait.
Oh, and speaking of God:
One final thing:
Thanks to James Jon for the heads-up on the image.