I recently watched Choke, a documentary on Rickson Gracie and other fighters as they prepare for the 1995 Vale Tudo Championship tournament in Japan. There’s a lot of training and fighting action, so it’s fun to watch.
While it’s mostly focused on Rickson and his family, the other fighter bios immediately remind you that these are the early days of MMA. I won’t give too much away, but their training, fighting styles, and even their management seems antiquated compared to what you commonly see on UFC preview shows. Watching this movie ten years ago might be exciting and inspiring to some; now it’s more of a retrospective showing how much and how fast MMA has grown.
Naturally, the best parts of the movie involve watching a Gracie kick some butt. While it was impressive to watch Rickson’s patient, deliberate BJJ victories (though some of his skills might not overpower today’s fighters), I think Yuki Nakai stole the show! Again, the Vale Tudo Championship was in tournament format, and this guy fought fearlessly three times that night. Despite being the smallest man in an absolute weight class. And being injured and later crippled. Again, I don’t want to give too much away, but Nakai is probably the toughest fighter I’ve ever seen. Check him out!
You can see the video here. When you get a chance, let us know what you think.