When you actually believe your own bullshido

As I have written before, I am a big fan of the film Bloodsport. As far as cheesy 80s action movies go, you cannot really get much better than this film, such is its sheer epic silliness.

Of course, from the perspective of an actual martial arts practitioner, there is absolutely no question that it is a completely goofy and ridiculously unrealistic film. It is... well, stupid. There is so much emphasis on stand-up striking and kicking and almost none whatsoever on grappling and throws- which, in reality, is exactly what most true mixed-rules fighters would use against proficient strikers to nullify the (considerable) advantages that their opponents would have.

And the reason why Bloodsport was such a silly movie from a martial arts perspective is because it was based on the alleged exploits of a chap named Frank Dux:





The Frank Dux story shows the power of marketing, more than anything else. Mr. Dux made a lot of money and a lot of fame from his reputation as the winner of that particular kumite tournament. The film also lists a set of exploits by Frank Dux that are supposedly all-time records that still have not been broken, which the second video explores and thoroughly debunks as mathematically impossible.

And, hey, well done him. He got fame and fortune from astute and clever marketing.

As President Lincoln once stated,

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Since we're on the subject of bullshido, let's talk about the Mayweather-Macgregor fight that took place on August 26th.

As you might imagine, I did in fact watch the fight. That was the first time that I have ever watched a full PPV boxing event in a pub.

And it will ABSOLUTELY be the last.

It was a rough night. I got to the bar at 7.30pm (30 minutes late, because of various issues with public transportation, which is never available or reliable whenever you really need it), met my friends, and watched the undercard fights- some of which were actually quite good.

But the main card didn't even start until 10pm, and at that point the bar really started filling up and getting noisy. The actual fight didn't start until past midnight.

Once the fight concluded, I didn't get back home until damn near 2am and didn't get to sleep until 2.30.

For an old soul and an extreme introvert like me, who likes routine and stability and happily goes to bed early and wakes up early and cannot stand crowds, noise, and lots of booze, that night was just about as close to the textbook definition of Hell as one can find.

The only saving grace was the fact that I was there with friends from my martial arts school who actually do understand the fighting arts, and therefore were able to provide intelligent, well-rounded colour commentary and different perspectives about what we were watching on screen.

My crowd and I are very different from the usual crowd of drunk yobbos that you typically get at a boxing PPV event on a Saturday night- partly because we actually box with each other, and so we actually have some idea as to how hard boxing really is.

All of that backstory aside, the point about the Macgregor-Mayweather fight is that it was another superb example of marketing and hype over reality.

Every single instructor at my school spars and boxes on a regular basis. Most of the instructors and school owners within our Federation are proficient mixed martial artists, boxers, and street fighters in their own right. And every single one of them- including the most senior of my Grandmaster's students, an Irish former boxing and judo tournament-level champion- knew damn well that Floyd Mayweather was never going to lose that fight.

If you watched the fight, you would have seen the game plan that Floyd executed, which he discussed openly in press conferences and other engagements. It was textbook stuff: feel out his opponent for the first few rounds, let him tire himself out a little, and then start aggressively walking through his strikes.

It was obvious from the third round onward that Mayweather had absolutely no respect whatsoever for Conor Macgregor's strikes and power. He absorbed the best that Conor had to throw at him- he didn't even have to do all that much, actually. Indeed, I was surprised to see how little of Mayweather's exceptional timing, speed, and counter-punching were on display in this fight.

And when Conor gassed out, as Floyd knew perfectly well that he would, in the 9th and 10th rounds, Floyd pounced and started unloading.

I disagree that Conor was really out of the fight when the TKO was announced; he simply wasn't throwing any punches, but from what I could see, he was still capable of fighting. Nonetheless, I do not doubt that by stepping in and stopping the fight at that point, the ref spared Conor significant and traumatic damage.

The outcome of that fight was not in question, to me, at any point. What was surprising was the fact that, for the better part of the first 8 rounds, it was actually a highly competitive fight. I personally had them about evenly matched until that round, after which Floyd clearly began pulling ahead on points. I strongly disagree with the judges' scorecards, in which two out of the three judges argued that Conor only won the first round; as far as I was concerned, Conor won at least the first three rounds cleanly, probably the fifth and possibly the sixth, and lost the rest for sure.

If we are honest, there was never any realistic prospect that Conor Macgregor would land a true knockout blow in the early rounds. Not against perhaps the purest defensive boxer who has ever stepped into the ring, and not given Conor's relatively limited boxing experience.

Now, to be clear, I have immense respect for both fighters. I particularly admire Conor's never-say-die attitude and his willingness to take enormous risks- and reap equally enormous rewards. Conor may have a big mouth, but he backs up his words with results- and when he fails, as Alpha males inevitably do, he sucks it up, faces his failures like a man, doesn't run away or hide behind excuses, and gets on with being awesome.

So while there is certainly no comparison between a true martial artist like Conor Macgregor and a bullshido artist (allegedly!!!, since I really don't want to get sued) like Frank Dux, it is certainly instructive to compare the outcomes of their respective hype machines.

A lot of people argued that Conor Macgregor would be able to knock down Floyd with a clean left hand. But he never got that opportunity. His punches rarely landed cleanly, thanks to Floyd's impeccable defensive reactions. And it was clear that Conor's MMA instincts were leading him to throw strikes- like those silly "rabbit punches" during the clinches- that inflicted no damage but came awfully close to getting points knocked off.

In the end, people believed whatever they wanted to believe. They believed that a man with no real professional boxing experience would be able to break a man who is perhaps the greatest defensive boxer in history. They believed the hype that Conor himself generates so routinely. They essentially ended up believing that a man who is used to being the world's best squash player, can also play tennis- and win against Roger Federer, on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

It takes a truly stupendous level of self-delusion to believe such a thing.

I did not believe these things. I also did not expect the fight to go as long as it did, so I give full props and credit to Conor for showing great heart and willpower in lasting that long. But the fight serves as a critical lesson to all of us in knowing our own limitations as men.

Yes, Alpha males like Conor Macgregor- and Floyd Mayweather- have virtually unlimited self-belief. And rightly so. They think and dream big, and because of this, they achieve incredible things. But there are some things that NO amount of self-belief can help you achieve.

Know your limitations. Work against them, for that friction and discomfort will force you to grow and change in good ways. But never be so deluded as to think that you can defy basic laws of physics, biology, and the immense benefits afforded by decades of experience when stacked against balls-out enthusiasm.

Comments

  1. The question is, if conor could have 'gone to ground' MMA style, could he have won? Not that mayweather would ever agree to that kind of fight.

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    1. Of course Conor would have won such a fight. Floyd is a boxing specialist- one of the greatest who has ever graced any boxing ring. MMA is a more generic fighting sport. Conor may not be the world's greatest grappler, but he is more than sufficiently skilled to take down and choke out a pure stand-up striker.

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  2. "As far as cheesy 80s action movies go, you cannot really get much better than this film, such is its sheer epic silliness."

    How about Cyborg? ;)

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    1. Good point. That, and of course Kickboxer, Universal Soldier, and Delta Force.

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    2. Ironically enough, I consider 'soldier' to be, not only Kurt Russell's best movie, but it allowed him to display the kind of acting talent I hadn't seen in 30 years.

      It may be a little silly at times, as a cheesy 90's action movie, but just watching him display what may be the toughest acting ever... emoting while restraining his emoting... was more than worth the price of admission.

      The man may have been an action actor, but he could do funny comedy, serious Drama, scifi, over-the-top buddy movie, romcom, and even suspense with extreme competence...

      Not to mention that the man has been with Goldie since '83. 34 years with the same woman... and an actress, to boot. I kinda wish their kid had tried acting... I bet he would have been amazing.

      Respect to the Russell.

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    3. Universal Soldier, bro ))

      Soldier is indeed a Kurt Russell film. Damn good one too, from what little I remember of it. But Universal Soldier is a monumentally silly JCVD/Dolph Lundgren film.

      I agree with you entirely about Kurt Russell. I have huge respect for the guy. He managed to stay with someone as flighty and ditzy as Goldie Hawn that entire time; and he's a gun nut and a small-government libertarian to boot. On top of which, he's a pretty damn good actor.

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    4. That's what I get for skimming.

      Sorry, with the exception of rather strangely good acting on Dolph's part, I thought 'Universal Soldier' was the worst flick since "Street Fighter"

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    5. Hey, I didn't claim that Universal Soldier was a good movie. Just a monumentally silly one )).

      Then again, my taste in movies is generally, and correctly, regarded as appallingly bad, so I'm probably not the most qualified movie critic around.

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    6. Apparently I have to retract my statement about Kurt.. Or maybe not, it looks like he caught Goldie Cheating.

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