August 26th…McGregor has edge?

Floyd “Money” Mayweather has spoken.  In an interview with ESPN’s Stephen Smith, he concedes that Conor McGregor has some advantages over him “on paper.”

Specifically, he admits some of McGregor’s strengths, “a lot younger…taller, longer reach, he’s a bigger man…”

August 26th is approaching fast.  Soon we shall see the end of this spectacle.  We will see if maybe these strengths will be enough for McGregor to top Mayweather.  It is interesting that Smith brings up the thought that McGregor doesn’t deserve to be in the ring with Mayweather.  It must be lost on him that the underlying reason that we are seeing this fight to fruition is the fact that it will generate a lot of wealth for the two fighters and their promoters.  At this point I do not believe that either fighter cares too much about who deserves what, their legacies, or this fight’s impact on them…probably none whatsoever.

Will we have a return to some normalcy for the UFC?  How about McGregor actually defending his UFC title?  Perhaps this is his swan song, and he will not return to the octagon…  Without any main UFC events until September it is easy to see where the focus is for the organization.  McGregor had better be laughing all the way to the bank…I would be.

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Stay classy fellas…

Things turned even further south at the Brooklyn stop.  I will shamelessly admit that I find this all very entertaining.  Both fighters are picking at one another to inflame the media as well as each other.  From McGregor being racist to Mayweather wearing the Irish flag.  I suppose that if McGregor can say he is “black from the bellybutton down,” Mayweather should say that he is “Black Irish.” Stay classy fellas.

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The Reality….

There is a lot of buzz in martial arts circles recently concerning a video from China showing a challenge match between an amateur MMA fighter and a Tai Chi master.  Take a look below:

It is clear in the video that the young MMA fighter dominated the Tai Chi master.  What isn’t clear is really what was going on in the cognitive of the Tai Chi master as he was receiving the beating that he did.  Was he thinking that his skill would eventually ‘kick-in’ and save his hide?  Now I can’t actually tell you how the Tai Chi practitioner trains; however, based upon this evidence it would appear that he was not prepared for the realities of the engagement.

So what went wrong?  The ‘master’ clearly had no idea of how to manage and control the distance with the MMA fighter.  His response appears to be one of backing up while flailing the arms.  He gave a typical response once on the ground from the initial onslaught of punches.  That is, he appears to instinctively try to protect himself by avoiding being flat on his back and ultimately goes belly down to protect his face from further damage.  I say instinctively because it would appear that he was loosing consciousness towards the end of the engagement.  The aftermath of this shows a wounded ‘master’ wiping the blood from his face.

Now we also can’t really know how confident the Tai Chi master was in his abilities.  However, would he have not taken the fight if he truly thought his practice was useless?  If there was just one thing that I have learned in all of these years of study and in my military service it is this:  you have to train as you fight.  And by that I mean that you have to train with aliveness.  Matt Thornton highlights three things that make up his concept of aliveness.  Those are: timing, energy, and motion.  By energy, he means resistance.  If you don’t have those elements as a part of your usual practice then you may be engaged in a fantasy martial art or self defense system.

I am sure that there is some value to Tai Chi and other related internal and Chinese systems.   I am also certain that there are some that may practice some level of aliveness.  However, it is clear that the Tai Chi man in the above video was woefully unprepared for the confrontation, and he paid the price.

If your intent in practice is health…great.  If it is to preserve and ancient system…great.  However, if you plan to be able to save your ass…train functionally and with aliveness.

More on aliveness from Matt: