Friday, June 26, 2009

The King is Dead- A Sad Day in America

America, a country built on fundamentals such as "all men are created equal" (albeit not woman or the black man who were only given 3/5 status of an "equal man" when these words were created; nonetheless...), a country and home where one could practice their choice of faith and religion in freedom and peace (ask the Iranians how they feel about not having this policy) a place where people from all different cultures and ideals can come together and still stay apart, an example of Advanced Society for all others to follow, took a major turn for the worse yesterday.
Michael Jackson, the self proclaimed (and probably accurate claim) "King of Pop" died yesterday at the age of 51. Jackson first appeared to us as the Uber Talented 5 year old and leader of the Jackson 5, a family that produced a bevy of talented artists- albeit an extremely dysfunctional one at that. He then went on to his solo career, a career rivaled in fame and popularity only by the King himself, Elvis Presley. Jackson revolutionized the music industry with his music video- 'Thriller". Thriller was probably the single biggest reason MTV became what it did and Jackson and his super talent, from songwriting, singing and dancing (not to mention his theatrics- although that would soon be his downfall) was the man most responsible for that.
Unfortunately, like many children whose parents made the choice of sacrificing those precious early years of development for fame and fortune, Jackson was never able to become a card carrying member of society. Even worse, his fame and popularity only increased as opposed to most child stars that usually just fade into the sunset (or darkness of drug and alcohol abuse). His development curtailed to such a point that he was forever stuck in that children's mind with sexual tendencies (allegedly......) toward the same.
Jackson built his estate, Neverland, as an amusement park geared towards 10 year old boys. You don't think this is a little weird? A far cry from Graceland. There were allegations against the King of Pop of sexual misconduct and payoffs to multiple families of multi millions of dollars to quiet those rumors. Still all were put on the back burner to the mans immense talents.
So what does this all have to do with the despicable state of the current American lifestyle? Instead of being relatively relieved that a true evil doer has now left our World making it a far better and safer place (as it would be whenever any rapist, murderer or pedophile leaves this world), American media took the time and opportunity to create a celebration of Jackson's life. Check all the major media outlets today and see what it says about Jackson. Look at the majority of Facebook and Twitters status and tweets today and you'll find lines like "RIP-The King is Dead" and "I'm in tears, Michael is dead" etc, etc. The basic message being said is a man of enormous talent is dead- oh, and he had an eccentric lifestyle that might have had some allegations against him. You don't pay millions and millions of dollars to multiple familoies unless there is some serious fire behind all teh smoke. This is a man who no sane person would leave alone with their children for more than 6 seconds and the Media brushes it off because he was a Pop Culture Icon and incredible performer?
People, we need to wake up and stop idolizing shallowness and perversion and start admiring people for acts of human greatness. I was at CitiField yesterday and took my son (7 years old) to his first game. When we walked in to the Stadium we saw the huge #42 in the lobby and was proud to answer when my son asked "who was #42". When we talk about the greatness of Jackie Robinson we talk about the sacrifice he made for all mankind, someone who experienced tremendous persecution, torment and torture all because he was a Black Man playing a White Mans sport. We talk about the fact that through all this he never lost his temper, never lost his cool and never acted out because he knew if he did, his mission for all Black and White America alike would be dashed. He was a true American Hero. And ONLY THEN do we talk about the overwhelming athletic talent of Robinson, how despite all this he was a the first NL Rookie of the year, a consecutive 6 time all star, World Series and NL MVP, not to mention the first player in NCAA history to letter in 4 sports in college (Football, Basketball, Track and Baseball-his worst sport while at UCLA).
You see this difference folks. It's first about who you are, then it's about your talent and if your exceptional enough like a Jackie Robinson, your talent can make the world a better place. But when you have to brush away faults that those less rich and talented would be spending lifetimes in prison, because someone was an exceptional talent- why there America, is the problem.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tiger Schulmann MMA Rules at Bellator

Friday Night's Bellator Fight Card, that concluded by the crowning of their first Welterweight Champion, will go down as the night Tiger Schulmann MMA officially became a big name in the MMA community, and no longer just another Karate School.

TSMMA, was founded by Shihan ("Master") Danny "Tiger" Schulmann in the mid 80's with a small school in Quakerstown Pennsylvania, called United American Karate. Tiger Schulmann being an innovator was not comfortable with the traditional Karate fighting defenses for the American streets and took his Karate Style (Kyokoshin Karate) and combined it with Boxing type skills to combat the typical American fighter. Over the years he incorporated more Kickboxing and Grappling and eventually became the single largest Martial Arts System in the US; known as Tiger Schulmann Mixed Martial Arts.

The TSMMA system has always produced quality fighters, most notably (until at least now) in Muay Thai and Kickboxing, featuring Champions such as Uriah Hall, Shannon Maceo, Munah Holland, Will Hamilton and Jimmy Rivera, amongst many others. They have dominated the East Coast circuit in organizations such as Lou Neglia's Ring of Combat, Combat at the Capital and the recent Asylum Fight League. Friday night at the Mohegan Sun changed all that.

June 12, 2009 4 TSMMA fighters took to the cage for the Bellator Fighting Championships. All 4 fighters would win in convincing style in front of a packed house and a nationally televised audience for ESPN Deportes.
Jimmy "El Terror" Rivera would lead things off for Team TS. Rivera came in with a 3-1 Pro MMA record, a 7-0 amateur MMA record and a 4-0 Amateur Kickboxing record. He has held the New Breed and WKA East Coast Muay Thai Belts. "El Terror" in his second Bellator fight would dominate from end to end winning a unanimous decision over Nick Garcia.

Uriah "Prime Time" Hall, known in the Martial Arts community for his devastating striking game as witnessed during last seasons WCL ( a Pro Kickboxing association created by Chuck Norris- yes, THAT Chuck Norris), and his flashy kicks, not to mention the official MMA instructor of The People's Champ. Hall making his first appearance in a cage put in another dominating performance for Team TS, as he put on a striking clinic vs. the veteran Edwin Aguilar. Very rarely do you see someone in his first major event dominate a veteran like Hall did during his 3 round match, which ended with the referee stopping the fight in the last 30 seconds of round 3 as Aguilar could not defend the barrage of uppercuts and round kicks that Hall was putting on him. Hall displayed tremendous agility and speed as he hit Aguilar with an unorthodox variety of attacks which included Superman punches, knees, flying spinning hook kicks and spinning back kicks. Hall proved you can bring these skills inside the cage as Aguilar's defense was of no avail. Hall also displayed tremendous strength (as did all the TSMMA fighters) throwing Aguilar around physically; including tossing Aguilar off, while being mounted!

Nick Pace would then become a YouTube legend with one of the most devastating and ferocious KO's you will ever see. About a minute into round 1, Pace would hit Collin Tebo with a flying knee kick while following up with a devastating right while Tebo was bouncing off the ground. The ref stepped in and that was it. Pace is now the unofficial King of YouTube and MMA message boards everywhere. While his nickname is "Pretty Boy" his fight game is vicious.

The Main Event of the evening was the event the would change all for Team TS, an event that pitted TSMMA best fighter, Lyman Good- a perfect 9-0 MMA Pro record against, Omar De La Cruz, a fighter who knocked out former UFC Welterweight Champ (yes, the same division that now has George St. Pierre as it's Title holder) Dave Menne to get into the Bellator Welterweight Championship Finale.
Good, who might be the most physically imposing Welterweight fighter in the world, came to the ring with one focus. Dominate his opponent and win the belt. The winner would receive a $100,000 check, an immense purse for a non UFC bout (by comparison, Uriah Faber and Mike Brown each made less than that in their WEC Title bout last week). Good, who takes care of his two sisters and his mother, a fighter out of Spanish Harlem, would use the money to change their lives; a better life than what they had till then.
He would not disappoint; not his family, not his fans and not Team TS, who would now be known as a top fight training system, not only to their students, but to the entire MMA community.
Good powered Cruz right down, was held in the guard, just picked up Cruz and pegged him against the cage. This put Cruz in a very uncomfortable position and before long Good, was hailing lefts and rights that Cruz could no longer defend. The ref stopped the bout and Good was crowned the first Bellator Welterweight World Champion.
Team TS all showed a tremendous advantage in their conditioning, power and speed. While this wasn't the first Professional success for Team TS, it was surely it's greatest and will now be put on the map along with the Lions Den, Team Couture, etc. in the MMA fight training scene.