Tuesday, April 17, 2018

QUINTET (クインテット) 4/11/18: QUINTET.1

QUINTET (クインテット): QUINTET.1 
両国国技館 Ryōgoku Kokugikan 
(Ryōgoku Sumo Hall)
Tokyo, Japan
Attendance: 4,039

HELLO FRIENDS I HOPE WITH ALL THAT I HAVE TO GIVE AND OFFER THAT YOU HAVE BEEN WELL IN BODY AND IN SPIRIT SINCE LAST WE SPOKE and if I may presume to make a request of you nearly at once as we begin (this is gauche of me and I plead forgiveness) I would ask you in your kindness to summon all you know of this blog's (and indeed this blogeur's) radically disproportionate enthusiasm for grappling team contests. If you are unable to do so it's totally ok don't worry as I will lay before you words once offered in commemoration of RINGS 2/19/95: Free Fight Gala 1995 and offered in that fashion once more let all who dare encounter them do so belowly:

"Waaaait is this some kind of DANTAISEN 団体戦  or Team Fight taking shape here? Naruse, Yamamoto, Nagai, and Maeda are all in the ring representing RINGS Japan (you knew this), as are Willie Peeters, Rudy Ewolt, Dick Vrij, and Chris Dolman for RINGS Holland. If this is truly to be dantaisen, what will its format be? Senposen, in which bouts are arranged by seniority? Taishosen, in which each side sets its order as it pleases? Or will it be the knockout-competition of kachinukisen 勝ち抜き戦 in which the winner stays until s/he is defeated, a draw ending the run of both competitors? I am not making any of these up I swear to you! They are all formats of (judo) dantaisen of which I am aware! There could be others I don't know about but these are all great! And not even just for competition between clubs but sometimes for fun you can split the class and fight a light dantaisen as a kind of randori 乱取り (chaos-taking)! I think this is taishosen though. If only they had added a fifth to each side (as is customary) we could have gotten another Kohsaka match (they brought him along and everything) but alas no."

That is so definitely not the only time we have spoken words of such matters but it is the first TK-Enscissoring that came up when I searched specifically for the knockout/team-survival contest of kachinukisen 勝ち抜き戦, a format known well to me since some of the yore-most days of my judo certainly but a term first uttered to my hearing much later in (a relatively early episode of) the genre-defining Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl! and which was uttered once more in an early (perhaps the earliest) promotional art-tape for Kazushi Sakuraba's seemingly ingenious QUINTET (クインテット [kuintetto]), sending me into a weeks-and-I-guess-it-was-probably-months-long tizzy of retweeting things about QUINTET and also joking around with my friends at judo about our five-person Rec Judo Top Team entry into the contest haha we'd get shirts haha aaaaaand in fact ok yeah I just searched and this is dated 18 December 2017:

"Dear Kazushi Sakuraba,

how are you

my friends and I would like to register for your tournament

as Rec Judo Top Team

please say this is ok we have already made shirts

Your Friend,


AND NOW IT IS UPON US THROUGH THE MIRACLE OF FELLOWSHIP as a dear pal of judo days past but of friendship eternal has shared with me a copy of this event which is the only way I was going to be able to see it because of my refusal to materially support the fascist-adjacent and æsthetically-shit UFC (the FC doesn't even stand for Friends Club; they never even got that much right) and also because I am unable to grab things off of the tracker right now (the fault is naught but mine; the tracker is blameless). Also -- and, I would add, tragically -- Hulu Japan, where this event is available streaming with Japanese commentary, is like famously locked down, forget it, you need to be like supremely *in* Japan (or else "good with computers") to make it think you are in Japan, I tried. Oh how I tried. So it is either wait for the Japanese DVD (a kind of a disc: it's not as good as tapes, but some of them have Virtua Fighter 4: Evo on them) or Blu-Ray (a kind of disc: it's not as good as tapes, but some of them have Virtua Fighter 5 on them) releases, both of which have already been announced (yes I have been monitoring QUINTET.1 and post-QUINTET.1-twitter very very closely . . . for us) or watch it in English and while we are made of unusually high taste-levels we are not made of stone so RIP-A-DIP-DIP HERE WE GO A-WATCHING (I think that is what Mauro Ranallo says now [I don't think he's on this don't worry]).

I DISLIKE THE COMMENTARY A LITTLE IMMEDIATELY ALTHOUGH IT IS PROBABLY FINE AND I WILL ATTEMPT TO SAY NOTHING MORE OF IT LEST OUR TIME TOGETHER BE POISONED and we are liiiiiiiiiiive and on the mats (for they are indeed mats) before us stands Takeshi Yano who will serve as the Japanese commentator we are not allowed to hear because justice is elusive in this fallen world and now here we also have none other than YUKI NAKAI, Chairman of the QUINTET Referee Committee and truly remarkable man of les arts martiaux as featured on the final print edition of GONG KAKUTOGI (my home is blessed by a copy of it but not the copy depicted below, I do not wish to mislead you in this or any other detail):

He is keeping well! To have emerged a champion in kosen competition whilst studying at Hokkaikdo University under Kanae Hirata; imagine it. And from there to the ranks of Shooto; an unfortunate blinding at the hands of Gerard Gordeau (I spit); an able showing against Rickson Gracie (who, again, was of kind and generous spirit when I met him) though undersized and, as I may have mentioned already, blinded earlier that night in the same tournament; earning the first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt awarded to a 日本人; and, to cap a glorious career, demonstrating the wisdom necessary to bestow upon Tsuyoshi Kohsaka a black belt in that same art, reasoning that if one is employing Kodokan Judo in the context of mixed-fight, that is in effect Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so far as he is concerned (I read a thing where Nakai explained this; it is likely linked to elsewhere on this very blog at which we now convene and I should probably just look it up but time is an arrow). I WONDER WHAT THE RULES ARE:


In short, these rules are excellent! The overall kachinukisen structure we approve of implicitly; the use of a minor foul or shido (guidance) system essential; and the list of prohibited acts utterly reasonable, I think: heel hooks are a scourge; pile-driving/spiking is inappropriate; straight neck-cranks without an arm in are a risky business; the (crab) scissors takedown of 蟹挟 kani-basami, though super slick, is best left to formal practice; and jumping into closed guard is disgusting. I am intrigued by the prospect of shido for closed guard! That ought to keep things moving! Also, shido for "[s]itting without attempt to grab opponent" should be seen as just, like, advice for living (the 36th chamber is the world outside the temple). OKAY LET'S GO! Or actually first two men in khaki pants and clean white shirts and lovely orange ties are demonstrating the prohibited kinshi-waza outlined above. They are actually saying shido and why wouldn't they. 

The crowd looks a little bit sparse so far but the crowd of my heart is full . . . of mirth(!) as Lenne Hardt, known to all as the wild-sounding PRIDE FC lady, is here to yell names. Satoshi Ishii, speaking on behalf of JUDO DREAM TEAM, suggests that "[V]ictory will depend on how latent and total power are used and so the Judo Team hopes to use [their] latent power to full effect." He remains an odd guy who makes strange choices! The 2008 100kg+ Gold Medalist in Beijing, Ishii has gone on to basically make a dumb hash out of everything in his professional career but it has been exquisite. Do you recall how he was awarded a BJJ brown belt after training for two days in that art? None knew him to be a man of ne waza during his days of competitive judo but I mean how many times did you ever see Hidehiko Yoshida finish in ne waza; no, he was launching dudes for ippon with uchi mata, wasn't he (yes), and yet his ne waza in the context of mixed fight was strong, wasn't it (yes). Ishii wasn't throwing for ippon in the same way, exactly, as he was more of a grind-it-out-and-win-by-yuko kind of guy who excelled during probably the æsthetic low-point of the sport . . . but man was he ever scrappy! And it would be foolish to overstate the non-ippon-ness of his style; Ishii is without question the best thrower in this tournament, should such an opportunity (one of throwing) emerge. Tell them what they need to be told about this, please, Kazushi Sakuraba: 

I have found that to be enormously true.

THE PREEMINENT FIGHTSPORT FOR THOSE WHO HAVE CHOSEN THE WARRIOR'S PATH man that is another good subtitle that comes just a little bit later; I am gonna put that right up at the top of the page I think. Michihiro Omigawa and Dong Sik Yoon point out that they're all used to kachinuki contests on this judo squad as I become convinced from this pre-taped package that QUINTET is the greatest (non-RINGS) martial arts promotion the world has ever seen maybe? 

Judo Dream Team enters first and this really does seem like a pretty sparse crowd at 両国国技館 Ryōgoku Kokugikan but maybe they will trickle in at their leisure to sit on nice pillows? Let me be clear that I don't know what a Haleo is but who can doubt that this is a dream team of it as Sakuraba's familiar "Speed" entrance AAAAHAAAAAA it is interrupted and what plays in its place is THE U.W.F THEME almost as though all that we see here before us were knowingly and self-consciously a part of what we have come to call (following the lead of Tadasahi Tanaka who never said it but almost did) "The Long U.W.F." and let me tell you that although the crowd here is small their enjoyment of the U.W.F. theme is disproportionately large for a wrestling song that is like thirty years old. Each team's ordered roster is posted so I will share that posting with you now, it goes: 

Daisuke Nakamura, Kazushi Sakuraba, Hideo Tokoro, Marcos Souza, Jorsh "Josh Barnett" Hornet


Michihiro Omigawa, Shutaro Debana, Hyung Ju Kim, Dong Sik Yoon, Satoshi Ishii

The teams bow-in (rei) and we're ready to go! Nakamura vs. Omigawa to start! Both of these guys are super old but in really good shape! The bell sounds and our first eight-minute bout begins! OMIGAWA THROWS WITH HARAI GOSHI TWENTY SECONDS INTO THE MATCH THIS IS THE BEST SHOW ALREADY WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING as Omigawa sacrifices position to look to finish with shime-waza; Nakamura defends but Omigawa comes up on top for a bit but they are both to their feet again a minute and a half in. Great pace so far! The graphics on-screen are super clean, one might well note, showing the time remaining, the number of warnings/shido, and above each competitor's name, their position on their squad (in this instance "Senpo=1st"). As these able græpplorz ably græpple towards the edge of that mats, the referee asks them to break and restart in the middle and the crowd is like clapclapclapclap for how this has gone so far and I could not agree more. Nakamura has had some nice moments on top but with about two minutes to go Omigawa has mostly had the best of this one HOWEVER with about a minute and a half to go Nakamura gets around the legs (clapclapclapclap) for a few semi-dangerous moments for Omigawa but before you know it the half-guard of niju-garami is established once more. Holy moly though Nakamura swings across for 腕挫十字固 ude-hishigi-juji-gatame arguably the noblest of all 固技 katame-waza (græppling techniques) and extends the bridging Omigawa's arm just as time expires! It is a draw but it was super close to not being a draw! What a finish! If this had been on a RINGS show I would have been like I can't say for sure but that looked like a work to me because of how perfectly it worked out right at the bell but something we have established long ago, have we not my friends, is that I am a fool. Omigawa and Nakamura share a laugh of a fellowship in their exhaustion as we fill out our Wrestling Observer Newsletter ballots for Best Show, Best Promotion, Best Match, Best Booker, M.V.P. (the m.v.p. is waza), and Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic (other promotions' absence of waza). 

And now Kazushi Sakuraba at forty-eight years old steps onto the mats to face the younger-but-not-that-young Shutaro Debana (he is thirty-three) who is utterly unknown to me but a quick check at the ever-ready Judo Inside site tells me that he took bronze medals at a junior national championship, a senior national championship, and the Kodokan Cup in Chiba, and I probably do not need to tell that since all of those things happened in Japan they are accomplishments of note. Let's see then! Also I should say that it is to Debana's enormous credit that more than a decade removed from his competitive judo days, he has weighed in here at 77.35kg, which could easily have been his everyday weight when he competed at -73. We have got to stay lean, and Shutaro Debana has; he understands the Way broadly. As these two jihō / じほう / 次鋒 (second guyz) are similar in weight (Saku is in the low 80s, I forget exactly what it said) this match too will be eight minutes. Let me grab the kanji for senpō for you, too; I should have done this earlier (forgive me): 



1. advance guard; vanguard​
2. athlete who competes in the first match of a team competition (kendo, judo, etc.)​

Kendo, judo, K U I N T E T T O, etc. Debana drops down and looks for juji-gatame and he comes pretty close! Sakuraba keeps his elbow tight enough to his body that it never truly crosses Debana's groin into an area of legitimate peril, demonstrating that whatever irreparable brain trauma he may have suffered throughout a mixed-fight career that descended into legitimately ghastly horror pretty quickly when you look back on it all, Sakuraba is still a fellow of "shoot" wiles. But his brain really can't be good, can it. My pal Neil and I, in our heartlessness, joked that when Shinsuke Nakamura left NJPW nobody had the heart to tell Sakuraba what was really going on so they told him Nakamura had just gone to live on a big farm in the country and Saku was like oh that's awesome Shinsuke loves the country. We are a couple of kidders! Especially Neil; he loves to kid. Sakuraba escapes the juji and looks pretty steady on his knees but man Debana keeps throwing things up, like for instance an arm-wrap juji that keeps Sakuraba on his toes (knees). Debana is pretty good off his back! As the two are restarted after scooching too close to the edge of the mat I should say that the commentary has in fact been totally fine, Stewart Fulton and Mei Yamaguchi are doing a totally fine job bordering on a good job and it is wrong of me to blame them for what they are not and can never be (the Japanese feed [well I guess Mei Yamaguchi could be {but I guess she was not asked to be}]). Debana uses an arm drag to get back to his feet; this guy is really moving! He tries a form of 隅返 sumi-gaeshi but isn't deep enough to really flip Sakuraba over but it does put him in a great position for another juji-gatame attempt and Sakuraba is half-caught again! Elbows in, though; elbows in. There's a lesson here for all you kids at home (it's elbows in). Debana is messing around after leg-locks, too, and actually catches Sakuraba with a 踵返 kibisu-gaeshi ankle pick and cartwheels past Sakuraba's guard what is even happening! And then they're back up and Debana throws with a weird 足車 ashi-guruma or something! THIS MATCH IS AWESOME ALSO! Debana is alllllll over Sakuraba but can't finish before time expires and they too are merry!

Can you believe little Hideo Tokoro is forty now? It's okay though because his opponent Hyung Ju Kim (Asian Games 2002 Buson -66kg gold, World Championships 2001 Munich -66kg bronze) is even older. Tokoro's gimmick as the fighting janitor in K-1 HERO*s was exquisitely rendered. WELL THAT'S IT as Tokoro dropped down for a leg-lock (an Iminari roll or something?) and as Kim "sat in the chair" to defend it Tokoro grabbed the juji-gatame and that match took seventeen seconds. And it owned. Or was he keyed on the arm the whole time? I think he might have been! The rolling finish was l o v e l y.  

OKAY SO NOW IT IS DONG SIK YOON OF THREE ASIAN GAMES CHAMPIONSHIPS AND A WORLD BRONZE AND THE FAMED DONG-BAR which is what a number of us insisted on calling his juji-gatame because we were young I guess and Hideo Tokoro is giving up about twenty kilos in weight here so it shall be but a four-minute match (this is an excellent rule). And it takes pretty much no time for Yoon to finish with a 袖車絞 sode-guruma-jime/sleeve-wheel-choke/Ezequiel from inside Tokoro's legs and if you are like "uhhhh actually it is spelled Ezekiel" I would point out that it is known by that name after Brazilian Olympian Ezequiel Paraguassu who would employ it from exactly that same spot Yoon did just now. Well done Yoon! Great job, Tokoro! Everyone is having a great time!

Next in is Marcos de Souza who is a guy from Brazil whose mother is Japanese and whose father was a judo instructor and Marcos moved to Japan with his brothers and he and they is/are super good at jiu-jitsu, is my understanding of the Marcos de Souza situation, please forgive me if I am misrepresenting any of this. (Replays suggest, by the way, that Tokoro actually passed out at the same time he was tapping; he was woozy as could be as Yoon released the hold.) This will be an eight-minute match because these fellows are almost exactly the same size. Souza seems really good! He is all cat-like and stuff! He's in a great position for juji-gatame before long at all, and now to the back, and then back to the arm. Maybe he can roll through? No, he bails o the arm but doesn't really lose position in so doing. He's super! Perhaps a 肩固 kata-gatame/shoulder-hold/arm-triangle finish? NOPE IT WAS JUJI-GATAME and the only surprising thing is that Dong Sik Yoon lasted 4:18 in that match because de Souza was so good. "Smooth as a ghost on roller skates" ok I take back what I said about the commentary being fine but I will speak nothing more on the subject.

AND NOW SATOSHI ISHII man he remains a large and powerfully-built guy. I was about to say something like I wonder how it would have gone for him had he stayed in judo after Beijing but in fact the answer is very clear and not that interesting really in that it is "Teddy." Especially with the way the rules were changing, it's hard to see how Ishii would have ever really done much of anything to Riner. And we would not have had the strange gift of his consistently baffling mixed-fight career. As TOM has noted, the thing about Satoshi Ishii is that while you can be fairly sure he will radically underperform, you can never be sure exactly how he will radically underperform, or just how radically, so it is always totally intriguing. He weighed in at 108.5kg looking like this:

He's a lot bigger than Marcos de Souza so this is a four-minute match. If Ishii wins, it's Barnett against Ishii in the final match, but if de Souza can so much as take Ishii the four minutes, then the Haleo (I should look up what that is) team wins. 大外刈 O-SOTO-GARI IT TRULY IS A LARGE OUTER REAP and Ishii is on top about a minute in. De Souza has closed up his guard which is supposed to be a shido . . . but maybe they could wave that if the guy is way bigger like this? I think that would be fair. No shido is given because he didn't hold it very long so it's ok. Ishii looks just monstrously huge compared to this obviously-very-fit-but-normal-sized human. Back on their feet, de Souza tries to shoot in for a single-leg! He is sprawled atop and just crushed but full credit for the attempt. Ishii is smothering him on the mat but de Souza does a great job of hanging in there and the draw wins it for his team. HALEO DREAM TEAM ADVANCES WHAT A GREAT TIME THIS IS. 

That I will know none of the Lithuanian sambists who make up SAMBO DREAM TEAM is a given; it would be true too of POLARIS (that's a professional jiu-jitsu event, right?) DREAM TEAM too if they did not have as their tiniest member 宇野薫 Uno Kaoru, known and loved by all martial arts enthusiasts of roughly my age and tastes, who you will recall worked a truly lovely exhibition match against/with 高阪 剛 Kohsaka Tsuyoshi at the final RINGS show! It is very nice to see him here, elfin as ever. The Polaris team is for sure the favourite, as they are a bunch of dudes who do pretty much exactly this thing, right? No-gi submission-only stuff? I could easily be mistaken about this, obviously. The first match is Craig Jones, who is the middleweight champion of this Polaris promotion (having defeated Jake Shields for that title), and Mindaugas Verzbickas, an enigma. Jones is already at his legs at once, and it looked like he would have had a pretty good shot at a heel hook had they been legal. Instead, he works for a hiza-juji-gatame knee-bar that he nearly finishes a minute in, and then I think he is looking for an ashi-dori-garami/toe-hold but they are all squished together, who can say. Jones is just running through things, and Verzbickas doesn't seem to know what is happening (I wouldn't either, this is not about blame). The end comes from a knee-bar and I don't think Craig Jones is very tired. Verzbickas can't super duper walk on that leg right now. Sergej Grecicho, who is smaller but not by enough of a margin to change the match length, is the next guy, and I don't know, man. Jones sits right down, which I think they said would be a shido, but it isn't, but it doesn't really matter as Grecicho went right in after him so it didn't look as absurd as it easily could have. Leg-lockery leads to sweeping leads to a pretty thorough 袖車絞 sode-guruma-jime but I guess it wasn't quite on, weird. After they stand and restart, Jones sits rights down again, and I think several people are yelling for the shido? It does not come, though. This same exact thing repeats again. Jones is bigger and heavier and better and in control throughout but can't finish and makes a lot of weird exasperated hand gestures? I don't care for those hand gestures! Anyway it's a draw so they're both gone.

Next is Marcin Held (Polaris), who has had several UFC fights I have not seen, and Viktor Tomasevic (са́мбо), a mixed martial arts fighter with eight wins by submission. This is a tidy two-and-a-half-minute match (with lots of neat bits in that short time) that Held, who is not just of Polaris but indeed of Poland, I have learned, takes by knee-bar. "Tap or snap" is the idiotphrase voiced on commentary and I am breaking a promise to you (and to myself) by even mentioning the commentary again, I am sorry. Great job Marcin Held, though (great job everybody, I will continue to maintain until proven wrong), whose reward is the 104.4kg Teodoras Aukstuois who has fought in RIZIN and who has just a tremendous look: 

This will for sure be a four-minute match then, right? Right ok good, this guy is huge. Held, I will remind you, is his team's second (jiho) whereas Aukstuolisis his teams fourth (fukusho). OH DEAR AUKSTUOLOSIS HAS BEEN ASHI-KANNUKI'D UNTO THE SYMBOLIC DEATH OF IPPON: 

Yep, you just slide that kannuki around a little and you feel it right in the ol' hiza, am I right fellow græpplorz? We've all been there. Well done, Marcin Held! 

The final sambist here today is Marius Zaromskis who I believe maybe defeated Kazushi Sakuraba a long time ago by way of ear-murder? If Marcin Held can so much as earn a draw in this eight-minute match his team will win the day! The referees seem to have decided now that people who are sitting down whilst not touching anybody should indeed be asked to stand back up and I support this for making it seem like a martial arts fight of some kind. Held is really something! I like his technique a lot! I believe he is going for a twister, and those are awful! I have probably told you before about the time I went to a local mixed martial arts show at the Halifax Forum because a judo guy I had trained with was competing (he hit a sikkkkk uchi mata and won by juji-gatame, I think [this was a long time ago]) and during another match the lady behind me was like "that guy's setting up a twister" and I was like "a what?" and then yeah he nearly finished with it, full marks to the lady behind me. There are only three minutes left in this Zaromskis/Held match and Zaromskis is very plainly A Mean Guy of Pressure and those guys are zero fun to græpple! He cannily defends a fairly deep juji-gatame in a stylish way that elicits polite applause from this crowd of 4,039 (I just looked it up). Held was plainly just trying to run out the clock for the last couple minutes and he certainly did so. 

AND SO POLARIS ADVANCES TO THE FINALS that will follow after probably an intermission or something because they are going to need a little break. At our own annual in-club student-tournament this is where we would have any number of INSTRUCTOR SUPERFIGHTS so that people at the bottom of the draw are not disadvantaged as we move along with our evening, so maybe they could have some of those? No, no they are going with an intermission, during which they play highlights of the earlier matches but with Japanese commentary this time as we sigh eternally for what can never be. 

AND WE ARE BACK as the U.W.F. theme is once more sounded in this fair hall that I think is undergoing a big renovation this summer and so NJPW is running the 日本武道館 Nippon Budōkan for the first time in ages at the end of G1, right? I might be confused about that.  These Lenne Hardt introductions really are something! I would have definitely told you I had missed them but I am slightly surprised at just how sorceressesque they truly remain; it is nearly as though she were introducing not so much græpplers as an old dirty clan of terrorists and shooting, as it were, that piss. JOSHUUUU BARNETTOOOOOOOO vs. GREGOR GRACIE is our opening bout, as line-ups are reshuffled each round, should the teams so choose (or such is my understanding? or maybe you have to go back to front this round? maybe they will say; I'm sorry). Gregor Gracie is I believe not a Gracie by name but a Gracie of convenience, a professional Gracie. But hey so is Roger Gracie and that guy is basically a prince of Gracies so what am I lawgiver? Barnett, who has diminished himself tremendously in conversation with Joe Rogan (THRILL as reddit is made flesh) but who nevertheless continues to call holds by their Fire Pro names and so is to be respected, weighed-in at 112.1 slightly loose kilograms but that would seem to be his curse wouldn't it as he has certainly tried to tighten up through sikkdrugz (perhaps he never found the right ones?). Gregor "Gracie" is a good deal smaller at 86.25kg and so this shall be but a four-minute contest. I will tell you once more how great I think that rule is!

Two minutes in, they haven't even hit the mat yet, and nobody has really done much to make it happen, either. Hey remember that Sakuraba/Frank Shamrock RIZIN græppling match where they never even got to the ground in however many minutes it went? And Shamrock was dead tired from it? Let me check how old he is . . . he's 45. That's old but not old enough to explain that match. He displayed the cardio of a man who is not making it out to judo (or whatever) the three-times-a-week he needs in order to stay in peak fighting readiness at all times. It's a dark thought but I don't know how else to read it. THERE SURE ISN'T ANYTHING GOING ON IN THIS ONE EITHER as a kid yells JOSHU GANBATTE (ジョシュ がんばって) but he isn't so much, really. With a minute left there is a shido given to Gregor Gracie and so they begin par terre. Neat rule! I have no idea what the warning was for but that is neither here nor there as Gracie rolls (not Rolles Gracie haha) through for a hiza-juji-gatame knee-bar that it turns out does not exist except for maybe as a kind of whisper or ghost. Barnett cranks pretty hard on a kata-ashi-hishigi straight-ankle lock but Gracie skips up and away in a manner I can only think to describe as sprightly. So that's a draw, despite the shido, and both fellowz are out. 

DAISUKE NAKAMURA vs. LARGE DAN STRAUSS which is a nom-de-guerre or sobriquet-rouge I visit upon him now.  He is waaaaay bigger, not quite enough to have the match-length halved (pronounce the "l", it's way more fun, please try), but enough that he can shrug off Nakamura's tobi-juji-gatame flying armbar entry with the merest of shruggery. Then like a coward Strauss jumps closed guard against a guy who is child-sized next to him and it is baffling that that is not a shido. Let me read about this guy . . . ah he teaches under Roger Gracie in London, I guess? Then he should know about nice little ashi-waza, the tidiest of foot-sweeps, shame on him for this. In time, he takes the back, secures the do-jime (a body triangle in this instance) en route to a finish by the naked strangle of 裸絞 hadaka jime. The commentator (forgive me for speaking of him once more), a Scot, gets a throaty boner for the British born and bred Dan Strauss and it is reasonably gross. 

HIDEO TOKORO is both tiny and next; ah good, this one will be but four minutes. It's like 24kg between them but it's græppling so it's just fun, you don't really have to worry that much! Strauss sits without contact, which they said would be a shido, so let's see . . . no, it is not a shido in this instance and instead merely a stain upon his honour and dignity as a sportsman. Tokoro goes in hard for the doomed and hopeless single-leg because of how his spirit is. After some nonsense on the ground where Strauss puts his hands up like HE'S NOT DOING ANYTHING (well neither are you, asshole, and you're a thousand pounds bigger, so maybe fvkkn attack) both are brought back to their feet and rung up for shidos with the classic rolling-hands judo call for inactivity. Strauss puts Tokoro all the way out with a front choke with about forty seconds to go but I think everybody here knows who stinks of the heart.

Kazushi Sakuraba is next, and is near enough in weight that we are looking at an eight-minute round, also known as 章魚 (たこ) tako, "the octopus" (that's not true). A minute in, Strauss sits without contact for not-a-shido; he does the same a bit later and Sakuraba jumps through the guard to polite applause. Strauss sweeps beautifully and squishes Sakuraba quite thoroughly; one would think an armlock will follow. EBI EBI EBI is the instruction shouted from Saku's corner (shrimp shrimp shrimp) but man it is tough out there. AH SAKURABA HOOKS THROUGH FOR HIZA-JUJI-GATAME AND SWEEPS that was wily! Sakuraba gets a couple informal warning for grabbing too-few fingers when he grips the hand (I have issued a number of those to my students in randori over the years as well haha) and we are nearly finished this one already -- it has really flown by! A nice little match but nobody has come close to anything of substance since that Sakuraba sweep some time ago. A draw! Good on Sakuraba for going the distance with Large Dan, who has eliminated in one form another three dudes, so good for him too (with the above reservations kept firmly in mind). 

TINY ELFIN 宇野薫 UNO KAORU DOES HIS LITTLE SNOW-ANGEL THING BEFORE THE MATCH I FORGOT THAT WAS EVEN A THING IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG LITTLE BUDDY and he is in with Marcos de Souza who is as you may well recall quite excellent. This is an eight-minute round which is absurd when you see these two standing next to each other and I wonder if maybe it should be like a percentage body-weight difference rather than just a straight 20kg? Uno compensates for his lack of size by poking de Souza super hard in the eye whilst defending a takedown. When they return to action, de Souza throws with a lovely low 肩車 kata-guruma (shoulder wheel) into 腕挫十字固 ude-hishigi-juji-gatame (you know this one) despite Uno's cræftig defense. Lovely technique!

And so it is Marcos de Souza, his team's taisho (5th), against Craig Jones, fukusho (4th), so unless de Souza finishes Jones, the day swill belong to Polaris. Oh jeez there's a knee-bar, Jones is super good, and that's that!

WELL THAT WAS ON THE WHOLE DELIGHTFUL and I very much look forward to more and further QUINTET (クインテット [kuintetto]) and I thank you in all sincerity for joining me once more and actually before we part I would like to mention to you that my twitter friend GoRINGS 😺 @5RINGS_5RINGS, who last year posted all manner of ill Akira Maeda photoshops, numbered amongst the 4,039 in 両国国技館 Ryōgoku Kokugikan for this super-neat event. He wrote of it, astutely: 

今回のQUINTETでは、サンボ選手達が悉くブラジリアン柔術選手の足関の餌食になったのも驚きだった。約20年前の「RINGS KOKトーナメント」1回戦「アンドレイ・コピィロフ(リングス・ロシア サンボ)vsカステロ・ブランコ(ブラジル 柔術世界王者)」でのコピィロフ膝十字16秒殺とは真逆の結果。

(Translated from Japanese by Microsoft)

In this quintet, it was surprising that Sambo players fell prey to the foot of the every Brazilian Jiu-jitsu players. About 20 years ago, "RINGS Kok Tournament", "Andrei Kopilov (Lynx, Russia sambo) vs. Castelo Blanco (Brazil Jiu-Jitsu world Champion)" in the Kopilov knee cross 16 seconds of killing is a true opposite result.

Right? We remember those moments vividly here at tkscissors.blogspot.com, and celebrated them by turning the whole match into but a single gif of entirely reasonable size:

I attempted to reply that Andrei Kopilov was amazing in that tournament (アンドレイ・コイピロフ はそのトーナメントですごかった!), to which our friend answered:



(Translated from Japanese by Microsoft)

At that time, I watched it in WOWWOW and cried unintentionally.


"It was a beautiful dream," I wrote. (それは美しい夢でした。)

To which our friend answered once more:


(Translated from Japanese by Microsoft) That dream, once again! 






Thank you and goodnight, my best to you as ever and always. 

Monday, March 19, 2018


Fighting Extension IV
June 21, 1997 in Tokyo, Japan
有明コロシアム Ariake Koroshiamu
(Ariake Coliseum) 
Drawing 9,188

AT ONCE A VOICE AROSE AMONG THE BLEAK TWIGS OVERHEAD IN FULL-HEARTED EVENSONG OF JOY ILLIMITED AN AGED THRUSH FRAIL GAUNT AND SMALL IN BLAST-BERUFFLED PLUME HAD CHOSEN THUS TO FLING HIS SOUL UPON THE GROWING GLOOM of us having no more RINGS shows to consider together as fellows in fellowship but can you believe that the full-hearted evensong that lies before us now with happy good-night air is one no less sikk than RINGS 6/21/97 which is to say DISC 73 which functioned for precisely none of the original RINGSboxists (my best to you all eternally) but whose ecstatic carolings are known to us now through the cleverness yes but far more importantly the generous spirit of Young Kelley aka @DenimAssemblage whose plumage may or may not be blast-beruffled I don't but it is true of so many of us that it may well be WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IN THIS RINGS SHOW I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER WHERE IT FITS IN REALLY. But thank you once again, Kelley, for this great gift; I offer all that meagerly follows as tribute to your kindness. And here is the show itself; why would you do otherwise than partake of it. 

You know what though let us pause for a moment first and listen to something together maybe? I think it's pretty remarkable and if you're reading this the odds that you will find it of at least passing interest are pretty good so I say let's do it. A little while ago I was listening to old Wrestling Observer Radios and Bryan & Vinny Shows, searching for ones where they talked about Pride FC or RINGS or really anything on the subject of what we have come to mistakenly know through interpretative errors and misguided thoughts entirely of my own as Tadashi Tanaka's "Long UWF" (he never said any such thing) and I would remind you before we go any further down this road that only God can judge me (I suppose anyone else can too though). But it was really fun to do! I mean, there was way less of it than you'd maybe expect, but I think this is because the old shows are not necessarily tagged as well as they might be in the archive, maybe? And there are like nine-thousand shows (that is a "shoot" number) so it's not easy to just, like, leaf through them, as it were. The Bryan and Vinny ones were really very merry, I must say, and I enjoyed those most of all. HOWEVER the most interesting part was definitely Big Dave Meltzer's answer to a mailbag question (mine never get through, nor, much more disturbingly, do Tosh's) on the subject of the Americ(kkk)an mixed martial arts enthusiast's simultaneous loathing of professional wrestling and love(ing) of Pride FC (paradox . . . or dialectic?). I post here both the question, asked by Bryan Alvarez (who I identify pretty hard with as a small-to-medium-sized martial arts instructor living in a coastal city whose interests in events occurring along the work/shoot spectrum persist inescapably) back before his voice or the way it is recorded (probably both) changed significantly, like he totally used to sound like a muppet and now he sounds good, but anyway here he reads the question and then Dave answers at length; hear what comfortable words our Meltz sayeth:


It is probably only polite to at least bullet-point this in case you are unable to listen to this until later or maybe you just feel the need for read I don't know but here are the areas addressed and some of the points made:

  • Pride FC was supposed to be the next generation of UWFi, a vehicle for Nobuhiko Takada, (our dear dear dearest boy) Hiromitsu Kanehara (who is our precious boy), and Kazushi Sakuraba. If they'd had their way, Takada vs. Rickson Gracie would have been a worked fight, but Rickson Gracie, who I remind you was exceedingly gracious at the seminar I was very kindly invited to attend, did not care to do that.   
  • The first Pride shows had both works and shoots but *and this is crucial* it is a mistake to understand these to have actually been different things (for more please re-read Tadashi Tanaka's greatest Observer letter ever, the foundational text of many if not all of my terrible ideas on this matter).
  • This leads to Dave recounting a tale of mid-1997 RINGS (we are in mid-1997 RINGS right now!), where there was for sure a mix of worked and shoot matches, and Dave would understandably try to figure out which ones were which. This leads to "someone there" saying to Dave, "You're a mark."
  • Dave is like but why.
  • The guy is like "well, when you really understand the business, you'll realize it doesn't matter, because it's all the same anyway."
  • And Dave is like woah.
  • Tangential but also not really: Pride's draws were Takada, Sakuraba, Hidehiko Yoshida, and Naoya Ogawa when they could get him, never guys like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira or Fedor Emelianenko.
  • And then he says about six more minutes of good and worthy things but I am no transcriptionist. 
You really might want to give it a listen I think! Or maybe I listen to so much HerbMeltzAudioNetwork material that I really have no idea what's good or bad on it anymore; that possibility is distinct.  

BUT ON TO THE FIGHTING NETWORKS RINGS THEMSELVES SHALLN'T WE and oh wow(wow) WOWOW (wow) is I guess showing Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield after this? Stay tuned everybody for boxing! One wonders if commentary for that bout will be handled by WOWOW EXCITE MATCH's Kenichi Takayanagi, who of course guides us through this our present Fighting Extension alongside Gong Kakutogi's Hideyuki Kumakubo and also one other fellow who we have seen before but whose name I don't think we have managed to catch yet (we haven't super tried). Hey it's the RINGS OFFICIAL RANKING: 10. Mikhail Ilioukhine 9. Masayuki Naruse 8. Hans Nijman 7. Mitsuya Nagai 6. Yoshihisa Yamamoto 5. Bitsadze Tariel 4. Akira Maeda 3. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka 2. Kiyoshi Tamura 1. Volk Han and man oh man that is quite a crew isn't it! No wonder we so much like to watch this sort of thing together!

Our opening bout sees Watura Sakata, eternal young lion, encounter the remarkably obviously Kyokushin (極真) karateka Yuri Bekichev, whose very keikogi pants (he wears no shirt, no jacket [but a long black belt]) say K Y O K U S H I N down one leg And Also Have A Throwing Star On Them. You can tell at once that this match is a work but you can also tell that Bekichev is kicking Wataru Sakata way too hard for a work which, if you follow me, totally ensures that this is a work. I am reminded here of something I may well have told you several times (forgive me) over during the course of our treasured time together and that is that a great judo pal of mine trained Kyokushin for a while and described it as a rec centre room full of like otherwordly-hard dads just blasting each other with unprotected head-kicks like it was regular. I have so much respect for karate. And not just the unreasonable kinds: I think they're all great! I think Shotokan is wonderful and I admire Gichin Funakoshi a great deal! Pine waves; pine waves. My best to all of karate as it prepares for its Olympic début at Tokyo 2020; may it make known it's true spirit there. TOBI-SANKAKU-JIME YEAH THAT'S RIGHT 飛び三角絞 THE FLYING TRIANGLE CHOKE and it is a submission win for Wataru Sakata at 3:54 and one wonders if Yuri Bekichev's ear on the knee-side of the choke (if you follow) will be devastatingly cauliflowered (or gyoza'd) from this waza as one of my pals' was when he was assailed by this very technique at I believe the Atlantic Canadian Judo Championships in probably 2007? Some of the details have faded but it was a good trip I can tell you that much for sure. In the end they are announcing it as a victory by yoko-sankaku-jime or "side" triangle choke . . . and I can see why!

Next we have Lee Hasdell (seconded by the great Maurice Smith) and Masayuki Naruse (seconded by the great Tsuyoshi Kohsaka [Alliance Cornering!]) and these guys are not at all the same size are they. I cannot read the kanji tattooed on Lee Hasdell chest but I would like to be able to and I am working towards that goal (through the twin arts of "haiku translation" and also "writing my judo notes in terrible Japanese"); in time, yes, I will know Lee Hasdell's chest and all the tales it tells. Recently a judo pal had a hat with kanji on it and I was like hey what does your hat say and he said "ne waza!" which is What The Lady Told Him and I was like hmmm well I am still unbelievably bad at this but I know the ones for ne waza (寝技) and these are not those! I looked it up though (this is still hard for me to do but it is getting easier) and it meant "persistent" so you could do a lot worse, we agreed. Let me tell you, please, what it is I am most enjoying about this ne-waza-heavy pretend match (I am pretty sure [I am still "a mark" in this way I suppose or am I in fact a scholar which is a different *kind* of mark) between Lee Hasdell and Masayuki Naruse: it is the serenity of it all as the crowd is still, the commentary muted, the mat a calming soft blue hue. Akira Maeda sits at ringside as peacefully as his nature will permit which is to say that at this moment he is kicking no one in the eye through treachery. 




Although we have together enjoyed, have we not, both textures and moments of great energy and ample vigour (so to speak) throughout our long exploration of this our cherished Fighting Network, it is the low-key feel of these quotidian mid-card bouts that I have missed most in their absence, I think. A nifty north/south hadaka jime 裸絞, announced as a shoulder neck lock(u), ends this worthy contest in Masayuki Naruse's favour at 12:58.  

Ok ok real quick don't think about it just say the first name to come into your head when I say Masayuki Naruse ok Masayuki Naruse, JUST SAY, GO: it was totally Mitsuya Nagai, wasn't it! I know right? Well it has taken him but twenty seconds to best Dutch kickboxer (that's a good kind of them for sure) André "Man Art" Mannart (a nom de guerre or sobriquet rouge we have only now bestowed upon him but I think this is going to take, I really do) by heel holdo! heel holdo desu! in what I swear to you was a shoot. Mannart is super good-natured about his loss and seems like a fine guy to me. And Mitsuya Nagai, it's like, if you don't know my feelings about Mitsuya Nagai by now, you will never never never know them; no; you won't; ooh; ooh woah. Akira Maeda is so proud!

You may recall (you also may not which is also totally fine) that the thing that pained me most about the failure of disc 73 (or perhaps we failed it, I don't know) was that I believed it to contain the further græppling instructionalz of Tsuyoshi Kohsaka and specifically the most august waza of 腕挫十字固 ude-hishigi-juji-gatame which is to say my favourite guy teaching my favourite technique. However it turns out that this excellent primer, containing fundamentals of application, escapes, and grip breaks (so crucial) is instead ably taught by young Masayuki Naruse. I could not tell you how many beginner lessons on juji-gatame it has been my privilege to teach over the many years I have been blessed by a position of judo instructorship but I believe that it has been a lot and I also believe that the one Masayuki Naruse offers here is lovely! Topics include:
  • saying both "judo" and "ne waza" (I too emphasize these points in my teaching)
  • ensuring the elbow is secured well past the hips
  • positioning the thumb upwards to align that which needs be aligned (I usually put this in terms of cracking lobster but this is a regional reference that might not be more broadly applicable [would probably be good in 日本 though])
  • squeezing one's knees together (nothing could be more crucial)
  • attacking the wrist as a simple break of uke's sub-optimal "s-grip" defense 
  • rolling hard-in and stacking to defend sensibly
  • rolling backwards to defend somewhat desperately (do not attempt with dry old shoulders) 
  • tobi-juji-gatame, the flying armbar, correctly presented as not a big deal, we can all do this if we work together carefully ps never do this in randori please
Well that was great! And since we mentioned the prospect of TKinstructionalz(.blogspot.ca) a moment ago, why not enjoy a whole folder of them? Also before we move on I would ask you to consider the degree of hardness with which two spectators seated on either side of Kenichi Takayanagi in this shot gaze into the camera and indeed our souls:

Our next bout is a vale-tudo rules contest betwixt Yuri Korchikin and Ricardo Morais, a literal ogre of yore-day myth and fable. If my memory serves me, I believe every bout announced as "vale-tudo" has indeed been a shoot and I expect nothing otherwise here, nor do the nine-thousand-or-so people of 有明コロシアム Ariake Koroshiamu who are abuzz as these two poor humans meet in the centre of the RING(s) for final instructions from referee Yuji Shimada; holy moly Ricardo Morais is big:

He is listed here as 205 cm and 123.5 kg so that's just a hair under 6'9" and just a smidgen  over 272 lbs. If this helps you, he is a centimetre taller than Teddy Riner, but 7.5 kg lighter; that is the order of his magnitude. Ricardo Morais, unlike Teddy, I don't think could pass WADA drug testing, nor could any of his descendants for probably like three generations, probably, but that is utterly irrelevant to the monstrosity that looms before the comparatively wee and yet objectively quite large Yuri Korchikin (185 cm 105 kg / 6" 230 lbs). Maeda Akira is announced as I believe the lone judge for this bout, perhaps? I think that is what just happened but I am not at all certain, forgive me yet again. I am reminded by this announcement, though, both that i) the RINGS ring announcer is my all-time favourite ring announcer by a lot, and ii) Akira Maeda is loooooooooooved and not just be me or my weird friends (though that is also true [what's up guys]). 

Ricardo Morais is chomping at the BIT in his eagerness to debase himself through barbarism and who can blame him. The opening exchange, in which Morais ducks in for an ungreat takedown attempt only to be ineffectually flying-guillotined by Korchikin before Morais can seize Korchikin's hand behind his back and assail him with like a standing (or tachi-waza) variation of ファイヤープロレスリング Fire Pro Wrestling's "cruel mounted punches," would seem completely over-the-top in a worked match and yet here it unfolds before us, as real as you or me. When the two become entangled in the ropes, Morais throwing punches I would not enjoy to be hit with into Korchikin's turtle (or kame [or かめ {or 亀}]) defense, the two are stopped and restarted in the same position in the centre of the ring -- I mention this to you because Maeda, red-jacketed and fat, enters the ring to help with this reordering and the crowd goes wild for it. Akira Maeda's presence is overwhelming. 

Yuri Korchikin is hanging in there, though, and one cannot help but wonder what horrors he has seen elsewhere in his life that allow this to be cool for him. Morais has him flattened out from behind, which is a terrible place to be (and super uncomfortable even without hitting, if tori uses his hips correctly) but Korchikin buys himself more time than you might think by trapping both Morais' meaty hocks beneath him. They stand, but remain in largely the same position, if you follow, and Morais drives Korchikin into the corner, still standing. He is yellow carded! But why? Oh, I see: Morais has one hand very much grasping the top rope (it is black) whilst face-hitting from behind with the other, and Akira Maeda is there to literally point it out. 

Five minutes have passed, we are told, as Morais attempts another takedown poorly, but after a minute or two of standing he manages to just, like, push him over. Morais makes no attempt to pass, but his hitting seems good (for hitting [which is always bad]) and Korchikin goes feet-on-hips and pushes away to create a scramble. And there is the bell! We have a draw! Korchikin clearly got the worst of that whole deal, but was never close to being finished by the much larger manbeast and so his performance here is a credit to him. 

We remain in the dark realm of vale tudo (or so it is claimed; and yes it totally is [it is not a work, I mean]) for a contest (for real) between Alexander Fedorov who I believe was a Detroit Red Wing and well regarded jiujiteiro Adilson Lima who I believe lost brutally to Igor Vovchanchyn twice in the same night after being transported to a hell dimension where that is even possible. This Fedorov, about whom "combat sambo" is definitely said, is an immediate favourite of the sporting people here assembled once he walks across the ring to not only shake Lima's hand but embrace him warmly; Lima accepts this unexpected kindness with a gracious air. And now they are fighting, Fedorov's pendulous gut pouring out atop the vivid purple tights that, in their folly, seek to contain it. And holy shit he just hit the illest little yoko-otoshi [横落] / lateral drop, look at how happy his corner friends are:

The elation shared here amongst Nikolai Zouev, Mitsuya Nagai, and their other friend in the nice sweatshirt takes me back to the days of packing all our pals into little cars and driving around to all the tournaments and being so into everybody's matches and just having such a spirited time of fellowship it takes me back there so hard man this is what it is about. The crowd agrees! Lima is a very skilled guy though and it is not long before he finely executes a "butterfly" sweep of the most basic kind and those who know me well will understand before I even say it that to describe the waza here employed as basic is not to diminish but rather to exalt Lima's performance of it. Might we do better to say "fundamental" than "basic"? Might we recall that one of the funniest things on East Bound and Down before it became unbearably cruel was the fake-audiobook excerpt that said "fundamentals are a crutch for the talentless"? There are indeed so many things that we might do, that we might be. 

As we ponder them, Lima advances inexorably to tate-shiho-gatame (縦四方固), announced here, quite reasonably, as mounto though I do not favour the term myself. Good for him -- he's doing great! He seems to have half a mind (or maybe more; I mustn't presume) to sneak in an ude-garami 腕緘 of precisely the kind some say not to try from tate-shiho-gatame lest you be swept (which can totally happen, sure) but sometimes it's just there for you and you would be a fool not to take it. Yes okay that is totally what Lima is after and I say go for it. Perhaps he will use the same grip but extend to ude-hishigi-ude-gatame 腕挫腕固 with maybe a little slicer just the teensiest little slicer right under the triceps just to check in with the triceps and see what it is up to this fine evening of June 1997? There has been a small amount of punching but thankfully little. Ah! Just as Lima postured up to begin to punch anew, as his efforts towards the bone-locking of kansetsu-waza had proved fruitless (let us here credit the wiles of our new friend Fedorov), the towel came flying in from the corner. TOWEL! GIVE UP, DESU! is Kenichi Takayanagi's extremely correct and artful call. That's a TKO at 10:10 and as an enemy of ground-hitting I would put the finish of this ***3/4 match at no worse than like ***1/4 but I would understand how others, in their savagery and contempt for life, might see it all as a DUD but also then I would use this space to denounce you. 

Yoshihisa Yamamoto! Maurice Smith! This is a great idea! I was thinking about Maurice Smith as recently as yesterday as TOM and I addressed the many moments of near-peerless glory that marked Hidehiko Yoshida (吉田 秀彦)'s mixed-fight post-judoing . . . though can his way of judo be said to have ever ceased? Was it not but a year ago that an unreal-fat Yoshida at the age of 47 tore up the 第67回  全日本実業柔道団体対抗大会(2017/6/3-4)1日目 男子第3部 決勝戦 67th All-Japan Business Judo Group Counter Competition (2017/6 / 3-4) Day 1 Men’s Part 3 Final Fight with an osoto gari  大外刈 of distinction representing the Park 24 team? Oh wait it totally was:

There are several other Yoshida gifs (and photographs!) you might well enjoy at the almost-venerable let's play judo tumblr but among them you will not actually find the one that I am thinking of right now which is the one where he defeats Maurice Smith (a stout foe, ever and always) with a crushing kesa-gatame 袈裟固 (held as though by a Buddhist's surplice!), which I hope you have seen before but maybe you haven't so let's: 

That is how you waza, I am sure we can all agree! Would you believe (and you may well struggle to, and that's okay) that it has always bothered me that everywhere you might look for such things, this submission win is listed as a submission win by neck crank (kubi-hishigi) despite the fact THE FACT that Maurice Smith said his neck was fine but he had to tap due to the compression of his chest and inability to draw breath? Which is to say that he tapped to kesa-gatame? BUT NOBODY TALKS ABOUT THIS it is really just me. On a related note: I am DLing 109gb of all of the Prides because I have almost all of them on discs in my basement but not all, and all of a sudden it really felt like I should have all. All of a sudden!

BUT TO RETURN TO THE MATTER BEFORE US I see that Maurice Smith is wearing boxing gloves whilst Yoshihisa Yamamoto is not and so my assumption is that what we have here is shoot-style? I haven't watched any RINGS in a while, and not much wrestling at all really (my NJPW World subscription lapsed but I have every intention of renewing, please do not worry), but I really had forgotten how hard these guys would kick each other when they weren't even fighting for real. On twitter today I saw a compilation video of Katsuyori Shibata (whom all rightly admire and wish well) doing his finishing kick after he has engrogged uke with hadaka-jime or suleeper holdo and while the whole point of the video was how hard he kicked guys, I've got to say, compared to RINGSguys, he didn't kick many of those guys all that hard at all. I am as sad as any of you (probably) about how hurt Shibata got in that Okada match but let's be frank here. Hey on the subject of hadaka-jime, still fresh: Yoshihisa Yamamoto just finished with the "short" version of it (a longstanding friend of the club shared some great details with me recently!) after doing a great job of flattening Maurice Smith out by pushing down with his hips. I am pretty sure that match was a work and I am equally sure that it was an excellent display of waza

KIYOSHI TAMURA AND NIKOLAI ZOUEV IS A MAIN EVENT IN ANY BUILDING IN THE WORLD no of course not but it is among the mainest events possible to anyone drinking green tea in a deer-mug whilst currently sitting on my couch. Tamura's music is so sikk. It certainly does put one in the right flame of mind, doesn't it; yes; yes. Once again Tamura has tied his t-shirt off to the side lest it droop out too much at the front and hide his elegant waist and let me tell you again that I support this boldly effeminate move wholeheartedly:  

Have you ever tucked a t-shirt in at the back, like, just at the back, because other wise it would droop out at the front too much rather than sit across just so? I am talking about when you are wearing it under an open shirt or trackjacket or unzipped hoodie. I know I have! But I have never once tied it off to the side; I feel like it might be easier now to find that courage. I don't know. I will tell you if it happens, though.

Zouev rolls all over looking for ashi-kansetsu as Tamura floats in and out of positions with hyper-real fluidity (both praise and diss) in the definitely-for-sure shoot-style bout that I was enjoying a great deal even before Tamura's rolling juji-gatame against Nikolai Zouev's turtle of kame defense (the kanji for turtle, I remind you, looks like a little turtle, sort of: 亀). The 有明コロシアム Ariake Koroshiamu crowd loves it! And Zouev's escape from it! This crowd should come out to judo later this week because we're probably going to do that exact roll! They will be like huwaaaaaaaayyyyyyy as we get our reps in!  

As we near the four-minute mark, Tamura is the first to seek refuge in the rope-eaves because of how he is leg-locked ah but it is no more than twenty seconds later that what has been sauce for the goose if proven very much sauce for the gander. Zouev throws with a fine tai-otoshi 體落 (body drop) which may have started life as a harai-goshi 払腰 but that is how it goes sometimes in these Fighting Network streets. Tamura rope-escapes soon thereafter, wisely fleeing ude-hishigi-juji-gatame 腕挫十字固, and actually just as I relay this news to you he has done so once more, this time with his legs all tangled up, too. Zouev is streaking out ahead in terms of the little-yellow-box tally. 

Tamura's approach now is to kick Zouev about the knee many times over as though he were a (his) future (our past) Cro Cop and Zouev a (his) future (our past) Yoshida and whilst this is a work these kicks are awful, awful acts. Was it not Frank Shamrock who said Tamura's kicks were harder than Bas Ruten's? I believe it was. We are ten minutes in as the rope-breaks draw even THERE IS NO TIME TO TALK ABOUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN HOW NIKOLAI ZOUEV JUST WON WITH A HUIZINGA ROLL:


HOLY MOLY WHAT A FINISH not that it was the first Huizinga roll to have been seen in RINGS nor would it prove to be the last but what can I say to you other than that I treasure each; I treasure each.

That show was a lot of fun! Thanks once again to Kelley for sharing this with us in the wizardry of his internetting but also in the deeper magicks of fellowship! I am thinking about maybe watching some old judo tapes and writing about them here, I don't know! I'll figure it out! Thank you once again for your attention and for your time! I hope to speak with you again on matters very much like this if I am spared! I hope we all are for at least a while more! Good night!