Why Leslie Knope is my Karate Idol

A lot of people have favorite karateka: Chuck Norris, Lyoto Machida, Rex Kwon Do.

But I propose a different person to look up to.  Someone not exactly known for her martial arts prowess.  Someone like Leslie Knope.


I’ll admit my choice of karate idol may seem a bit strange.  But I recently finished Amy Poehler’s Yes Please and really enjoyed it.  Aside from being an interesting and funny read about an interesting and funny person, it got me thinking.  When Poehler reflects on her most famously played character from Parks and Recreation, she discusses how genuine, accepting and giving Leslie is.  I have to agree that Leslie Knope can be as inspiring in real life as she is to Pawnee.  If we all spent a little more time thinking of others and putting service before self, the world would be a better place.

But how does that apply to karate?

In a culture dominated by stripmall senseis on one end of the spectrum and world-class athletes fighting in The Octagon on the other, there’s not much room for the simple, positive aspects of martial arts as practiced by the rest of us to shine through.  This is especially true of traditional karate; genuine, accepting, and giving masters are few and far between.  But these are the three most essential qualities needed to keep karate alive and well.

My charge is for all karateka, to practice being more genuine, accepting, and giving.

For those unfamiliar with Parks and Recreation, here is some explanation with scenes to show you what I mean.

Be Genuine

Not all of us who practice karate are genuine.  We may boast and brag.  If we don’t know something about our art, we may not admit it.  If a junior student gets the better of us in some way, we may try to dismiss his or her progress to save face.  Instead, we should try to be more like Leslie: wear your heart on your sleeve, share your hopes and dreams, be honest, and stay positive in the face of criticism.

Be Accepting

Not all of us who practice karate are accepting.  We may put down other styles.  If someone introduces us to a new technique or idea, we may ignore it.  If a student or training partner disagrees with us, we may get angry.  Instead, we should try to keep our eyes, minds, and hearts open to others whom can teach us more about karate and ourselves.

Be Giving

Not all of us who practice karate are giving.  We may refuse to train with junior ranks.  If someone asks us to help teach a class, we may be “too busy”.  If we have techniques or knowledge to share, we may selfishly keep them to maintain an advantage.  Instead, we should be attentive to others’ needs, and we should freely give what we can to help them along The Way.

Vote Knope! 

Whether you like Parks and Recreation or not, I hope you can agree that we should try to stress the positive aspects of karate more each day.  Also, we shouldn’t take our art so seriously!  Let’s try to be more like Leslie Knope.  It may be the only way to make karate relevant to new and old students alike.

Posted in Inspirational, Karate | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why isn’t Anthony Pettis a superstar?

How come THAT DUDE isn’t a budding MMA superstar?

Sure, the cage combat faithful are jazzed up that Pretty Tony is returning to the cage this weekend, but why hasn’t he crossed over to become the Hollywood-esque martial artist we all thought he would?

If you started from scratch and tried to build the ideal MMA fighter, you might come out with a hodgepodge that closely resembles Mr. Pettis.

UFC 164: Henderson v Pettis

Reason for superstardom #1: His fights are ELECTRIC. He does stuff that only ninja’s in subtitled Japanese flicks do.

Reason for superstardom #2: He FINISHES fights. During the Edgar/Henderson era, didn’t we all desperately call for a fight finisher at 155? Well, now we have one. Still,  it seems there is little to no buzz when his fights arrive.

Reason for superstardom #3: He somehow ended up on the COVER of a Wheaties box and none of us seem to care. Where is the love for Showtime?

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions

There are a few answers I’ve been casually mulling over as UFC 185 approaches as to why Pettis hasn’t spun off into a stardom supernova.

We are all probably experiencing a Ronda Rousey hangover. Even though her last tilt only lasted 14 seconds, we have been talking about her future for what seems like eternity. Can Cyborg make 135? Is Holly Holm ready? Can Ronda beat a male? Will she decapitate a moose in the cage? Ronda. Ronda. Ronda…

Ronda Rousey queries have thankfully run their course and now we are free to talk about upcoming fights, yet the MMA twittersphere is still failing to realize the epicness we have on deck this weekend. (Mayweather/PacMan coverage doesn’t help the cause either…)

The strike for strike most exciting fighter in the sport is lacing them up this weekend and there still a serious lack of chatter surrounding this thing. It boggles the mind!

In my mind, the real issue lies in the hands of Pretty Tony’s opponents. They simply can’t sell fights. Gilbert Melendez is the fighter’s fighter. The toughest SOB this side of the Prime Meridian, yet he doesn’t exactly make you want to shell out your cold hard cash for a PPV. Showtime’s last outing (against Melendez), UFC 181 did 400K PPV buys, which is decent in this day and age, but it was also the co-main event of the night.

Hendricks/Lawler II caught top-billing that night and rightfully so. While Hendricks is booked for a scrap with the modern incarnate of Rasputin, Matt Brown on Saturday, it lies 3 fights down on the card. Will the Carla Esparza/ Joanna J******* fight help move the PPV needle at all? No sir.

The sales lie on the shoulders of our main event fighters and Rafael Dos Anjos isn’t exactly pulling his weight. Over at Bleacher Report, the homey Chad Dundas broke down this problem a million times better than I could. If you didn’t click over, let me sum it up for you: RDA is the ultimate nondescript Brazilian fighter. He has a seemingly web-generated Brazilian MMA contender name and a look that doesn’t make him stand out from the crowd.

Is that RDA? See, you wouldn't even know...

Is that RDA? See, you wouldn’t even know…

His Embedded scenes show him training and praying. Nothing to write home about here. Woo hoo. It takes two to tango, brother. It’s safe to say that RDA won’t be the Chael Sonnen to Showtime’s Anderson Silva, if you catch my drift.

Let’s hope an off-the-cage triple-axle moonsault hadouken can vault Pettis into MMA luminary status. Otherwise, I simply don’t know how to sell you this guy.


Posted in Commentary, MMA | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Ronda Show: A Glimpse at the UFC 184 Main Event

As MMA fans, we should cherish every single time Ronda Rousey fights. She isn’t going to be here forever. Even with her budding star power and excellent displays of brutality, it’s still hard to get amped up for this weekend’s pay-per-view card. Sure, injuries ravaged the Main Event, but what card hasn’t been hit by the bug lately?

16 seconds.

16 seconds.

Ronda Rousey is a unique occupant of this MMA bubble we all occupy. We should all make an effort to tune in whenever she fights, even if that involves suffering through Alan Jouban vs. Richard Walsh fight on the MAIN CARD… Ms. Rousey will go down as a legend. As a pioneer. She very well could be the best athlete in the UFC today. If we even give the slightest of a damn about the growth and legitimacy of this sport, we should have some eyes on the Main Event Saturday night.

Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, MMA, Opinion | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Can 35-year-old Frank Mir capture ‘Bigfoot’ Silva?

The answer is no. Simply, no.

Why, ALar?

Why, ALar?

In most of my blogs, I try to take a deep dive into the strategy and backstory behind UFC main events. For this one, I am going to more or less ask HOW and WHY Frank freakin’ Mir is headlining a UFC event in 2015.

Frank Mir has lost his last four fights. Usually after three the ol’ pink slip in the locker trick is pulled, but not for former Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir. I get it. He has a hell of a comeback story that you can spit out before every fight, but at this point, is he even competitive?

In a recent MMAJunkie article, he spouted out the quotation, “People train way too hard in the sport of MMA.” What?!?! Mr. Mir hasn’t been a world renowned gym rat throughout his career, but damn, give the viewing public some hope heading into this thing. Did I mention he was on TRT DURING the four fight losing streak?


Let’s take a quick look at those four L’s on his resume. Due to future opponent Alistair Overeem’s own testosterone fiasco, Mir was shifted into the UFC 146 Main Event for a date with Junior Dos Santos. JDS proceeded to obliterate the slower Mir in just over seven minutes. Next up, Frank welcomed Daniel Cormier to the UFC. The current Light Heavyweight contender controlled Mir for 3 rounds with relative ease. Little to no offense was seen from Fransisco Santos Mir III in that tilt. Sure, that’s a tough two-fight run. Let’s toss him in there with another old-school grappler, Josh Barnett. Surely, Frank and The Warmaster will make the Octagon look like the staging floor for this year’s ADCC, right? Wrong.

Barnett flash KO’d Mir with a knee in the first round. Add in an utter domination at the hands of Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir has looked WELL past his prime since May of 2012. He hasn’t seen cage time since last February, yet here he is, headlining a already light UFC card.

Even with Bigfoot coming off a KO loss to Andrei Arlovski, I still fully expect him to put one of his metric ton fists on Mir’s chin and end this thing early. If this card isn’t a prime example of the UFC stretching itself too thin, I don’t know what is.



Posted in Commentary, MMA, Opinion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

No love: Prepare yourself for some Brandon Thatch scented violence!

Bring it, Broomfield!

Bring it, Broomfield!

Why go see 50 Shades of Grey this weekend when there is some ol’ fashioned cage fighting going down in Colorado?!? A little Rocky Mountain MMA has all the roughness, ruckus, and sadism you could ever ask for!

My loyal readers may or may not know who Brandon Thatch is. After Saturday night, you certainly will. To those “hardcore” readers out there, this headline probably woke you up from a PED news induced coma and you subsequently thanked the good lord that there was some serious human cockfighting taking place this weekend.

Photo props to EKC.

Photo props to EKC.

Opposing every MMA blogger’s favorite wunderkind Thatch will be Lightweight stalwart Benson Henderson. Henderson is making a short notice trek up to Welterweight in order to rid his mouth of the bad taste that his last loss to Cowboy Cerrone left. As much of a “Smooth” detractor as I’ve been over the years, I thought he beat Cowboy straight up. I believe the community at large thought that as well…

Even though their name recognition may be in different stratospheres, Thatch is a hell of a test for Henderson. The sharps in Vegas even have the two going off even, which frankly I’m shocked by. You’re telling me that a dude that has only beaten the likes of Justin Edwards and Paulo Thiago in the UFC has a fair shot at taking down the one-time Lightweight king?!??! Just take a look at these two videos and tell me you don’t think he does…

First off, Hatch is a HUGE welterweight. His lanky frame reminds me of Matt Brown, yet it seems someone just ran Brown through a Xerox machine at 1.5X and Thatch was created. Both brawlers throw every hard part of their body at their opponents with reckless abandon and won’t quit until the referee intervenes. Frankly, I dig that. The old kill or be killed mentality still rings true in some distant corners of MMA. Will that mindset work against such a noted strategist as Henderson? I think so.


You’re going to need those Illuminati forces on your side, Benson.

Henderson is jumping into this scrap pretty quickly after going 15 minutes with Cowboy. According to the judges, Cowboy maintained range and aggression when matched up with Bendo and outpointed him. In this fight, you think Ben would attempt to right any of his wrongs in the Cowboy fight by being the obvious aggressor. As evident above, that is not the right move against a cutthroat barbarian like Thatch. Dos Anjos walked at Henderson and demonstrated to the world that the slick wrestler had a fault to his game. I believe Brandon Thatch will do just the same as he rises up another ladder on the way to stardom.

Thatch is massive. While Henderson has long dwarfed his fellow 155ers, he will be lacking a distinct advantage against “Rukus.” The lengthy Thatch will cut off the cage on Bendo and provide some trademark brutality and finish the former champ in the second round. Bold, I know! Thatch by TKO.

What a 'do.

What a ‘do.

Posted in Commentary, MMA, Opinion | 1 Comment

No More Heroes


Why. Just why.

We all know what news broke last night. As an MMA fan and supporter, it was saddening. Disappointing, even. I’ll be damned if it wasn’t totally sobering. One of our stars, our most lethal hero, one of the last mythical beings that fought in a cage for a living, was brought down to Earth with the thunderous force of a positive PED test.

Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, MMA, Opinion | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Training Mask Karate Training

We posted on this a long time ago as a Training Mask review.  Here’s a recent workout from the Meriden Martial Arts Club featuring new and old models of the mask.

After several sessions with the masks, Derek and I noted it saps your explosiveness and mental acuity pretty quickly.  You can tell because we slow down and goof up a lot!

Have you tried using the Training Mask for traditional karate training?  If so, what are some suggestions?

Posted in Karate | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Dan Henderson is fighting tonight! Rejoice!


Whew! This one almost flew right by me! With the McGregor madness just subsiding and the simmering fervor for the return of Anderson Silva next week, this seriously compelling FOX card almost soared right under my radar.

The headlining bout is a legitimate number one contender feud between Alexander Gustafsson and ‘Rumble’ Johnson. Let me tell you, I am JAZZED up for this one. Rarely do two fighters with such contrasting styles get in the cage with “it all” on the line. The precursor to this scrap will be the return of Dan Henderson to the cage, this time back at 185. Can the 44 year old keep up his comeback ways against the ‘Young Vagabond‘ Gegard Mousasi? Find out after the jump!

Continue reading

Posted in MMA | 1 Comment

Spinning Webs: Let’s Predict the UFC 183 Main Event


Finally, the time is now! Anderson Silva is coming back to the cage to add another victim to his web. On January 31st, Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz will tangle in one of the biggest fights in recent memory. When the legend of Anderson Silva matches up against the cult of personality that is Nick Diaz, who knows what will happen, but all that is certain is that I will be sitting comfortably in front of the TV screen to watch what madness goes down. Get my prediction for this heated tilt after the jump!

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

#HotTake: Daniel Cormier will DISMANTLE Jon Jones


It’s going down. This Saturday night has that special tingly feeling about it. That feeling that only comes around once in a blue moon in today’s MMA landscape. Ever since the “Year of the Superfight” was declared, I was expecting this combat sports induced sensation to be occurring on a monthly basis, but I can’t remember the last time I felt this way before a big fight. (Alright, maybe I lied, the last time I was this amped up for a fight it likely involved Anderson Silva…)

Arch-enemies and natural foils Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier will finally do the damn thing in the cage at UFC 182 in dusty Las Vegas. After raucous pre-fight antics and an unfortunate injury delay, the day is here and boy, it is going to be some kind of fun. That is, if you are a Daniel Cormier fan.

Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, MMA, Opinion | 1 Comment