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Wado Heretic
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 23 May 2014
Posts: 481
Location: United Kingdom, England, Shropshire
Styles: Wado-Ryu , Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu (Kodokan), RyuKyu Kobojutsu

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having watched UFC 1 in its entirety a couple of times I came to this conclusion:

The only two people who knew what they were doing in a Free-Fight were Rickson Gracie and Ken Shamrock. However, there was only one man who knew what he was doing in a Vale Tudo Match, and the UFC was a Vale Tudo Promotion until roughly 1998, and that man was Royce Gracie. He was conditioned and prepared for Vale Tudo and that is why he beat everyone until everyone else realised what they game was.

Now, with that said, I do think that they chose opponents that were credible to the lay-person but were out of their depth in Vale Tudo.

Zane Frazier: Kick-Boxer with a middling record after going Professional.
Taylor Wily: Retired from Sumo in the lower end of the third division.
Art Jimmerson: Was an international level boxer but lost to world level competitors.
Patrick Smith: Sabaki-Challenge Winner and Kick-Boxer with poor international record.
Gerard Gordeau: World Savate Champion and National Kick-Boxing Champion.

The only credible Grappler was Ken Shamrock, and the Gracie's believed that Pancrase was Worked like the UWF and other shoot promotions at the time. There were works in Pancrase, but it was largely legitimate.

However, the majority of people believed that Kick-Boxers and Boxers were the best fighters around as that was the professional fighting culture in the US at the time. Most people were also smart to the fact wrestling was worked, but most were also fairly confident that pro-wrestlers could fight if they needed to.

The real lesson of UFC 1, and what followed, is that boxing and kick-boxing are sports with specific rules that differentiate them from Vale Tudo and Free-Fighting. And that if you want to compete in a sport you have to train for that sport. The only people doing that at the time were in Brazil, and many of the best among them happened to be part of the Gracie Family.

Now, with the above said, I do not think the UFC really hurt Karate's popularity or credibility. I think it hurt the credibility of anyone who was not doing Brazilian Jujutsu for a while. People saw Royce and Rickson winning these no-holds barred tournaments and that is excellent marketing for a systematic approach to fighting.

I think karate is making a come back of sorts. There is no denying the nadir many traditional martial arts experienced in the late 90s and early millennia due to the rise of Mixed Martial Arts and the explosion of BJJ and Muay Thai across the world. After people like Lyoto Machida and Stephen Thompson showed how to use elements of sport karate in MMA did set the ground work for stuff like Karate Combat. I also think the Karate Youtube scene is also increasing the visibility of practical karate, and so more people are seeing Karate that works rather what became the self-parody of McDojo in popular culture. Then there is also Cobra Kai raising the profile of the art again. Karate, as already stated, has consistently remained the most popular art in the world. Thus, it never really went away, but there is no denying it has felt a bit like a dark age compared to the glories of the 70s and 80s. Though, I say that as someone who has only been around during this so-called dark age, so I can only judge by what people have said it was like prior to the 90s.
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Himokiri Karate
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 345

Styles: Boxing, Korean Karate

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2022 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wado Heretic wrote:
Having watched UFC 1 in its entirety a couple of times I came to this conclusion:

The only two people who knew what they were doing in a Free-Fight were Rickson Gracie and Ken Shamrock. However, there was only one man who knew what he was doing in a Vale Tudo Match, and the UFC was a Vale Tudo Promotion until roughly 1998, and that man was Royce Gracie. He was conditioned and prepared for Vale Tudo and that is why he beat everyone until everyone else realised what they game was.

Now, with that said, I do think that they chose opponents that were credible to the lay-person but were out of their depth in Vale Tudo.

Zane Frazier: Kick-Boxer with a middling record after going Professional.
Taylor Wily: Retired from Sumo in the lower end of the third division.
Art Jimmerson: Was an international level boxer but lost to world level competitors.
Patrick Smith: Sabaki-Challenge Winner and Kick-Boxer with poor international record.
Gerard Gordeau: World Savate Champion and National Kick-Boxing Champion.

The only credible Grappler was Ken Shamrock, and the Gracie's believed that Pancrase was Worked like the UWF and other shoot promotions at the time. There were works in Pancrase, but it was largely legitimate.

However, the majority of people believed that Kick-Boxers and Boxers were the best fighters around as that was the professional fighting culture in the US at the time. Most people were also smart to the fact wrestling was worked, but most were also fairly confident that pro-wrestlers could fight if they needed to.

The real lesson of UFC 1, and what followed, is that boxing and kick-boxing are sports with specific rules that differentiate them from Vale Tudo and Free-Fighting. And that if you want to compete in a sport you have to train for that sport. The only people doing that at the time were in Brazil, and many of the best among them happened to be part of the Gracie Family.

Now, with the above said, I do not think the UFC really hurt Karate's popularity or credibility. I think it hurt the credibility of anyone who was not doing Brazilian Jujutsu for a while. People saw Royce and Rickson winning these no-holds barred tournaments and that is excellent marketing for a systematic approach to fighting.

I think karate is making a come back of sorts. There is no denying the nadir many traditional martial arts experienced in the late 90s and early millennia due to the rise of Mixed Martial Arts and the explosion of BJJ and Muay Thai across the world. After people like Lyoto Machida and Stephen Thompson showed how to use elements of sport karate in MMA did set the ground work for stuff like Karate Combat. I also think the Karate Youtube scene is also increasing the visibility of practical karate, and so more people are seeing Karate that works rather what became the self-parody of McDojo in popular culture. Then there is also Cobra Kai raising the profile of the art again. Karate, as already stated, has consistently remained the most popular art in the world. Thus, it never really went away, but there is no denying it has felt a bit like a dark age compared to the glories of the 70s and 80s. Though, I say that as someone who has only been around during this so-called dark age, so I can only judge by what people have said it was like prior to the 90s.


Ken Shamrock had a fall from grace. I am not going to get in to details but Google and peoples experience of approaching him were very unpleasant. Gracies are doing good but the news breaking story the Gracies and their saga with Rufino Do santos which was pretty dark and a huge deal did have an effect. Also one major problem is, not cleaning mats= getting staff infection which= losing tons of students. There was a UFC fight with Womens fighting in which one of the female fighters was caught in a submission but she was able to escape from it using a poke in the eye. Most people were horrified but others questioned the effectiveness of grappling outside of sporting arenas.


This brings us to karate. In karate, you train your fingers, toes, palms, back of the hand, forearms, elbows, knees and etc.. That and the nature of karate is one that allows for improvement in solo training. It has many colorful and cool variation and you can become very good without risking injury or staff infection. Its friendly for folks who are germophobic and do not enjoy the ground. While sometimes taboo, you can also come up with your style of karate or ideas which will be challenged but its also very exciting to have your thoughts, your creativity manifest in your karate. The training can be very fun for youngsters if it is also taekwondo/Korean karate based.


As you mentioned, cobra kai makes a difference, at the dojo/dojang I train at, my teacher tells me that every cobra kai season brings new students through the door. Not everyone sticks with it but many try it for sometime before novelty wears off. I believe the karate nerd is doing great as well as well as sensei Andrade and Sensei Rick Hotton who are really growing karate on YouTube. Hopefully someday I too can get there as well in 5 years or so.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29100
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RW wrote:
bushido_man96 wrote:
I don't think it was that rigged. Yes, it was their tournament, but they Gracies had been doing challenge matches for some quite some time before these tournaments started. There were plenty of good fighters in the tournaments, and I don't think any highly graded or skilled Karatekas being brought into the tournament would have changed any of the outcomes.


I feel part of the issue is that few people were aware of BJJ-style grappling at that point in time. Everybody could recognize a punch or a kick, but a kimura or heel hook? Not so much.

Imagine that there were some alternate dimension where everybody grew up seeing BJJ instead of professional boxing and the cool movies in hollywood displayed wrestlers instead of karateka or kung fu guys. Schoolyard fights would consist on guys wrestling each other like kids do instead of flailing their arms trying to punch each other in the nose.

Then suddenly there is an "ultimate fighter" tournament where this guy is doing this wild, innovative thing which consists of closing his fist and thrusting it into people's faces or using his foot as some sort of stick to kick people with... he'd have had the same success the gracies had in UFC1.


I'm not sure that holds water. Grappling has been existing in cultures for many years, and even the ancient Olypiads had separate boxing, wrestling, and pankration events. Of the those three, Pankration was held in the highest regard.

Lots of people spent lots of time honing their skills in stand-up combat for lots of years, but when running into even a middling level grappler, the stand-up skills can be mitigated when going to the ground. It would be nice to see your reversed scenario have worked, but in the end, I don't think it would have changed a thing.
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