Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Update (20/05/14) - Hiatus & Summer Blogging

So, it’s been a while...
Now, before I get into what I want to talk about today I want to let you guys know about a little hiatus I'm going on. You see, it’s almost the end of the school year and at the moment I am a little behind so I need to really focus my attention on that as I've put nearly two years into it and at this point it would just stupid to throw it all away.
Obviously, I don't want to go on a hiatus! But in this circumstance it is the logical thing to do. However, over my long summer break I plan to publish a post every single day (fingers crossed). The plan is to one day make this my job because I love it like nothing else. I know it’s a massive shot in the dark but over summer I hope to make enough money to equal that of a part time job and then into a full time job. There is no secret to becoming a successful blogger it’s just the equation of you get out what you put in and if I publish everyday then I have the best chance possible of 'making it'.
The hiatus will last a few weeks, or until I get a decent amount of my work out of the way.
Oh yeah, thank you for 65,000 views!
Catch you later,
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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Misconceptions of Professional Wrestling - Part 3

(Part 2 of this article can be found HERE.)

Last time, I covered some common misconceptions people had of professional wrestling. I shall continue this part with a few more.

“They know what they are going to do before they even get into the ring”

This is something my dad used to tell me when I was growing up. He always made it out that everything is choreographed, like some sort of dance. Well, I can say that is not true.
Realistically, the only thing professional wrestlers know before they go to the ring is who is going to win, and how the finish is going to take place. Agents will discuss appropriate finishes with the wrestlers before the match takes place.

So how exactly do they know what moves are coming next? Well, the wrestlers are in constant communication with each other, as well as the referee. Yes, the referee plays a large part in the match and doesn’t just do the pin falls. Something which you probably didn’t think plays a huge part in the match itself is the announce team.
Now, I could try and explain this to you myself, but the video below explains it a lot better than I could.

“The steel chairs are not real, and they don’t hurt when you get hit with them”
Yes, the steel chairs which are used in professional wrestling are legitimate. They are not made from plastic, or a lighter metal, they are actually made from steel.

So, how do they not get hurt? Well, they don’t. When they are hit in the back with a chair the person swinging the chair aims for the meatiest part of opponents shoulder, so it doesn’t hurt as much, but don’t get me wrong it still definitely hurts.

Mick Foley takes a chair shot to the head from Terry Funk
But what about chair shots to the head? Sometimes, you will see professional wrestlers put their hands up to block chair shots directly to the head, but this is usually because they have a history of concussions or other serious head injuries.

However, what about when the wrestler doesn’t block the shot to the head? Let me tell you something, there is NO way to soften the blow of an unprotected chair shot to the head. In the past, wrestlers have sustained severe concussions from chair shots to the head.
Somebody who is notorious for taking unblocked chair shots to the head is Mick Foley. Throughout his career Mick has taken numerous violent chair shots to the head. During his match with The Rock at the 1999 Royal Rumble, Mick becomes handcuffed and receives eleven unblocked chair shots to the head, with the final of which knocking him unconscious.

This match can be found here.
“Retirement injuries are not legitimate”

In professional wrestling, as part of a storyline or angle, a wrestler will sometimes carry out a worked retirement. But like I said, that is part of a storyline. I guess this where people get their wires crossed with what is reality and what is not.
Probably, the most two famous retirements in professional wrestling due to injury are Edge and Shawn Michaels’ first retirement.

Edge has had numerous injuries throughout his career, including a serious neck injury. In 2011, he felt numbness in his arms and was eventually diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis. As a result, no doctor would clear him to compete again within the squared circle due to the potential risk of neck-down paralysis or even death.
Shawn Michaels probably is the most famous example of a retirement injury. At the 1998 Royal Rumble, Michaels was in a casket match with the Undertaker. During the match, Michaels would take a back body drop onto the casket outside of the ring and hit his lower back. As a result of the fall, Michaels slipped two discs in his back, and completely crushed one.

Michaels said he didn’t feel any pain from the accident initially but a few days later woke up and was completely paralyzed. As a result, Michaels was forced to retire and competed in his last match at WrestleMania 14. However, he did return after a four year later before finally retiring in 2010.
“Thumbtacks are not real in professional wrestling”
Now, with professional wrestling, I think people have the concept of if it looks painful then it can’t be real, but in most cases it is legitimate and it DOES hurt, and thumbtacks are no exception.

The thumbtacks which are used in professional wrestling matches are 100% real. They are not modified or altered in anyway. They do hurt a lot, they do the puncture the skin, and you will bleed as a result. However, it must be said that the wrestler’s boots, knee pads and elbow pads do take some of the impact, but not all of it.
Guess who is notorious for using thumbtacks? Yeah, you guessed it! It’s Mick Foley. Every time in this article I have mentioned something violent or dangerous, Mick Foley’s name always seems to crop up. Although, I guess that’s why he got the name ‘the hardcore legend’.

Mick Foley uses thumbtacks in the majority of his hardcore rules matches, and is the only person I can think of who would have the balls to go face first into them. This of course happened at the Royal Rumble 2000 against Triple H. At the end of the match, Mick received a pedigree (Triple H’s finishing move) face first onto a pile of thumbtacks. When the camera zooms over to Mick, you can see the thumbtacks sticking out of his face! Ouch!

This match can be found here.
“Kurt Angle is not really an Olympic gold medalist”
I can’t believe I’m actually answering this! But I’m not kidding you, I have actually heard this a few times.
Yes, he did win a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics. He won the heavyweight (90-100 kg) division in freestyle wrestling. It’s NOT a wrestling angle, storyline or gimmick. It did actually happen.
This concludes my series on wrestling misconceptions. I hope you guys enjoyed this series, and hopefully gained a little more respect for what professional wrestlers do, and maybe I cleared up any misconceptions you previously had.  
Now, when I started this this article I wanted to address the question of "Is wrestling fake?", and hopefully you'll think I have done that, and I went into some detail. However, the best answer I have ever heard comes from an answer the Undertaker gave during an interview in Kuwait which can be found below. Also, Vader gets a little angry.
Catch you later,
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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Misconceptions of Professional Wrestling - Part 2

(Part 1 of this article can be found HERE.)
When I was younger, people had these ideas and concepts about professional wrestling that they would tell me. It was as if they somehow knew everything about the professional wrestling business. Things I used to hear time and time again were:
“Wrestling is scripted”
Okay, so is wrestling scripted? Well, that depends on the person and circumstance. Now, when I use the word ‘scripted’ I am referring to promos, interviews and segments. When a wrestler goes to the ring to cut a promo, does he know exactly what he is going to say? Did he just learn a script? Yes and no. I’ll give you an example.
Vince Russo
Vince Russo, who was the head creative writer for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) from 1997 - 1999 wrote most of the stuff for the performers. He said that characters such as Goldust and Val Venis he wrote everything for due to their gimmick. He also said when Triple H started with DX he “pretty much wrote every word that came out of his mouth”, but that was because he was in the early stages of a new character and later the scripting became much less. 
However, top main event stars such as Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock just had bullet points on what they should cover during their segment, and had a lot more freedom in what they said.
“The blood in professional wrestling is not real”

How many times have I heard this one? Yes, the blood in professional wrestling is REAL. The process itself is known as blading or juicing. To carry out the blading, a razor blade is concealed in the tape on the wrestler’s fingers or parts of his hands. In some circumstances, the blade may also be stored somewhere else on the wrestlers body, but this is less common.
A small incision is made on the forehead, and this will cause the wound to bleed profusely. Scalp wounds also heal very quickly, so in a few days the cut will disappear altogether.
Obviously, professional wrestlers know where to cut, but there is a risk that they can cut too deep which results in permanent scaring, or even cutting artery located in the forehead. Probably, the most famous case of this was Eddie Guerrero at Judgment Day 2004. In this match he accidently cuts through an artery in his forehead resulting in massive surge of blood pouring from the cut. Eddie lost so much blood in that match that he felt the effects of it for two weeks after the match.
“They're just actors”
No, they are athletes. I think people really underestimate professional wrestlers, and the attributes it takes to actually be one. It takes an immense amount of training and dedication to be a professional wrestler, and the athleticism required is tremendous.  

Although, there are theatrics involved, that at the end of the day is part of the performance. 
Also, do you know the schedule of a professional wrestler? Its 320 days a year! Yes, you did hear that correctly. Many people think they do one TV taping a week, and a PPV every month and that’s it, well I’m afraid that is not the case.
Professional wrestling is 365 days a year, with no off season; it’s just 100% percent all the time. The days when they are not doing live TV tapings they are either traveling or doing house shows, which are non-televised wrestling events. They spend time away from home and there families just so they can entertain us.
“Nobody gets hurt in professional wrestling”
This is probably the most frequent one I heard growing up. Yes, the moves in professional wrestling do hurt. Actually, they hurt a lot. Dave Finlay once said “you can’t see pain, you can only feel it”.
The moves that professional wrestlers do in the ring are very impressive, but are also extremely dangerous. If something were to go wrong it could result in serious injury or even death. Probably, the most famous serious injure from a botched move happened on October 5, 1999 during a taping of SmackDown!
The match was D’Lo Brown against Droz, also known as Puke. During the match, D’Lo attempts a running powerbomb on Droz but wasn’t able to secure a tight grip on him as he was wearing a very baggy shirt at the time. As a result, D’Lo slams Droz directly onto his head resulting in fracturing two disks in his neck. The accident left Droz paralyzed from the neck down. Although, through treatment he has regained some movement in his upper body and arms. The match itself has never been broadcast. However, the stretcher image can be seen at 0:14 in the video below.

Another famous botch happened during the match between Owen Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin at SummerSlam 1997.
During the match Hart delivers a botched piledriver to Austin, dropping him directly on top of his head, resulting in breaking his neck. For a few minutes Austin lay in the ring completely paralyzed. After a few minutes had passed, he managed to regain enough movement to pin Hart and win the match. After the match, Austin had to be helped up and led to the back. He didn't take part in another match for four months.
Now, I can’t write about injures in professional wrestling without talking about Mick Foley. He has sustained countless injuries, broken bones, and concussions throughout his professional wrestling career. He even lost his ear during one match.
The most famous match of Mick’s was probably the Hell in a Cell match against the Undertaker at King of the Ring in 1998. This goes down as one of the most violent and dangerous matches in professional wrestling history.
There is a lot I could say about this match. Actually, I could probably write an entire article about it. However, I’m not. I’ll just give you an outline of what happened during the match.
The match itself consisted of two main high falls, or bumps as they are known in professional wrestling. In the first fall, Mick was thrown from the top of the cell through the announce table, which was a height of 22ft when taking into account the angle at which he fell.
Surprisingly, Foley only suffered a dislocated shoulder from the first fall, but was still badly shaken up. At this point the match was stopped, and Mick was taken away from the ring. But being the crazed lunatic that Mick Foley is, he comes back to the ring and scales 16ft up the cage once more to continue the match.
Now, the first fall was supposed to take place, although everybody regretted letting it take place afterwards. However, what happened next was 100% legitimate and was not planned.
The Undertaker delivers a chockeslam to Foley resulting in a panel in the roof of the cell to give way, and Foley crashes to the mat below knocking him unconscious in the process. On the way down a steel chair which was on top the cell came down with Mick striking him in the mouth causing him to lose one and a half of his teeth. One of his teeth went up into his sinuses and came through his nose. Other than this, from that fall he sustained a badly bruised hip, a pierced bottom lip which was caused by him biting all the way through, and a severe concussion.
Foley just lay there lifeless in the middle of the ring for a few moments, and medics immediately rush the ring. Terry Funk, who was at the scene at the time said in his book, "Watching from the back, I thought he was dead. I ran out here and looked down at him, still lying in the ring where he'd landed. His eyes weren't rolled back in his head, but they looked totally glazed over, like a dead fish's eyes.”
At this point, the match was stopped again. However, Mick chooses to continue the match. At this point, Mick can hardly get to his feet, and the matches carries on for about 10 minutes, with the Undertaker ultimately winning the match.
After the match, Mick refuses to be taken to the back on a stretcher, and has to be carried to the back. Mick receives a standing ovation from the entire crowd.
Mick could not remember much of the match itself and had to be shown tapes of what exactly happened during the match. Still, 15 months after the match, Mick struggled to remember peoples phone numbers, an on one occasion drove an hour past his house without realising.
The fact is Mick Foley could have easily been killed that night, and for what? Just so he could entertain a crowd. No man will ever attempt what he did that night. Was it necessary what he put his body through that night? No way. But what happened that night will be remembered forever, and nobody will ever try to recreate it.
Oh yeah, did you know professional wrestling is fake? Give me a break.
If you would like to see the full match then a video can be found below.

I hope you enjoyed this article, and part 3 will be uploaded soon.

Catch you later,

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Saturday, 10 May 2014

Misconceptions of Professional Wrestling - Part 1

Now, this gets on my nerves quite a bit, and it has done since I was a kid. That of course is people referring to professional wrestling as ‘fake’. I can safely say that is the most uneducated and ignorant thing you can say about it.

The word ‘fake’ would imply that none of the moves performed in professional wrestling actually hurt, or none of the wrestlers ever get injured. In a sense they walk in as fresh as a daisy and walk back just as good as they came out, but just a little more tired and sweaty. And if you think that’s what happens in professional wrestling, then you’re very stupid.
I think where people get their lines crossed is by the fact that professional wrestling is a performance. The matches are predetermined, and the promos and interviews are sometimes scripted (I’ll talk about that in part 2).
So, I don’t know how much you guys know about the professional wrestling business and what happens behind the scenes, but I shall give you a brief outline. A creative team (or writer) will come up with storylines and characters for each of the wrestlers, and will try and get each of them over with the audience. A booking team (or booker) will book matches to take place on various different events, most of the time to progress a characters storyline. And finally there is the agent. This is typically a former wrestler who goes through the finishes of matches with the participants. Two famous examples of agents are Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco.

Realistically, nobody actually wins or loses, or nobody actually becomes champion. But, in professional wrestling it is very hard to get noticed. Even, if someday you make it to the big time, which of course is the WWE, there is no certainty that you will get over with the fans or stand out enough for them to give you a push to be a main event star, or someday carry the belt. So, I guess in a sense it is an accomplishment to become champion, as it means the higher powers have faith in you to be at the front of their company.

When I was a kid, I would tell people I was a fan of professional wrestling, and typically I would get the uneducated response of “how can you like that fake stuff?”, which I used to ignore and just not say anything, but now it just kind of pi**es me off of how ignorant people can be. The truth is the moves which are used take tremendous amounts of training, precision and athleticism to perform, and many of them are extremely difficult also.

There is very little room for error in most of the moves they do, as lots of the more complicated moves if not executed correctly (or botched) can result in causing serious injury or even death.

Probably, the most famous example of a botched move was Brock Lesnar’s shooting star press at WrestleMania 19 against Kurt Angle. Previously, Lesnar had performed the move successfully in his development stages, but this time he underestimated the distance from Angle and wedged his head and neck by hitting Angle’s rib cage resulting in a serious concussion. Now, Brock Lesnar is massive. He is six foot three, and weighs 265lbs. So, the fact that he can execute a shooting star press, a move which was previously banned due to how dangerous it was, and is usually only done by cruiserweights, really shows his athleticism. 
The first video is Brock's successful attempt, and the second is his botched attempt.

The shooting star press is one of the most impressive moves in professional wrestling, but how many people perform the move today? Oh, that’s right, nobody. The last person to perform it would have been Evan Bourne, but he has been out from the scene for quite a while now. Surely, if professional wrestling was ‘fake’, wouldn’t everybody want to perform that move?
The fact is the wrestlers are going out there sacrificing their bodies, and potentially risking their lives in order to entertain a crowd. I appreciate everything professional wrestlers do, as not anybody can be a professional wrestler, it takes a certain type of person.
I hope you guys enjoyed part 1 of this article and gained maybe a bit more respect for what professional wrestlers do. The second part of this article will be uploaded tomorrow. Before you leave I would appreciate it if you would watch the video below. Thanks!
Catch you later,
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Monday, 5 May 2014

Update (05/05/14) - Thanks for 35K, JT Torres, Copa Podio & Vince Russo

Before I start, I would first like to apologise for not posting much last week, but normal service will be resumed this week.
Okay, well where do I start? It's almost been two weeks since I last posted an update post, and lots of things have happened.
So, I've continued to write my series '10 Years of BJJ', and it has been very successful, and as always I am eternally grateful for all the support. This week I started to post some of the parts on Reddit, and they were met with lots of success and feedback, so I am very happy. Part 4 (My First Competition) in particular saw lots of success. In fact, it gained over 1500 views in 12 hours, which is incredible! And as a result is my second most viewed post on this blog.
I have seen a lot of traffic in the past two weeks to this blog, and as a result I have surpassed 35,000 views! Which I am over the moon about, and all I can say is thank you to everybody who takes the time to read my content, it really does mean a lot. As a result, I'm pretty sure I shall hit my goal of 100,000 views before the end of the year.
Now, I have gone a little dry in terms of interview recently. I try my best to get at least one interview out every 2-3 weeks, but I currently have three interview out at the moment, and I am still waiting for replies to them. Those interviews are of course Ryan Hall, Kit Dale and Gianni Grippo. These interviews I am really excited about, as I asked a lot of question I think you guys will be interested in. However, they all have very busy lives, and it might take a while to receive a reply. Although, I can’t wait forever, I need to still be asking for interviews with people, and recently I asked JT Torres to do an interview with me. As of now I haven't heard anything from him, but fingers crossed I will receive a reply off him soon.
The last time I wrote an update post, I talked a little about writing an article about the 2014 WPJJC. Well, time has gone by since then, and I think you need to write articles about events pretty soon after the event itself has taken place, so I think it’s a little passé. However, I am planning on writing an article for the upcoming Copa Podio event held on May 10th in Rio de Janeiro. They have a lot of exciting fighters taking part, so it should be an awesome event overall.
Hopefully, sometime this week I also hope to write a non-BJJ related article. This article I intend to write about Vince Russo. Now, some of you may be familiar with Vince and some of you might not, but he has a lot to do with professional wrestling. Most of you might not know this about me, but I am at heart a big professional wrestling fan. Although, I don't watch the product much now, I still to try and keep up to date with everything that is happening.
I have a big interest in wrestling controversies; shoot interviews, creative teams etc. And one man I am particularly interested in is Vince Russo. I can tell you I have spent a lot of time watching interviews with him as I find him and his past very interesting. Vince himself is considered by many to be the savior of the WWF in the mid-late 90's, and is responsible for turning it into one of the most popular TV shows in America, and spawning what is known as the 'attitude era'. There is a lot I could say about Vince Russo, but I shall leave it mostly for the article.
Now, I don't plan on writing many non-BJJ articles, but I thought I would throw one in every now and then, just to mix things up and perhaps reach out to a new audience.
That's all for this week, and be sure to look out for lots of exciting contenting coming your way this week!
Catch you later,
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Saturday, 3 May 2014

10 Years of BJJ - My Jiu-Jitsu Journey - Part 8 (Braulio's Competition Part 1)

(This is part 8 of this series. If you haven't seen part 7 it can be found here.)

So I am now a yellow belt...

I mentioned last time that I was promoted to yellow belt by Braulio and Victor Estima in October 2007, as the regulations had changed.

Fast forward a few months, and it is now January 2008. I found out that Braulio was putting on his own kid’s competition in February for all -16's under Gracie Barra. Now, if I'm honest I didn't really want to do this competition at first, but somehow I always come round to saying yes.

I guess I was hesitant at first as this would be under IBJJF rules, and this would be my first ever competition doing so. Actually, as a thirteen year old that meant nothing to me, all I knew was there would be submissions involved, which I was a bit nervous about if I'm honest, as we didn't really roll that much in the kid’s class with submissions, only if Chris told us too.

Nobody else entered in the club, it was just me and my brother. Actually, my brother was ill the week leading up to the competition, so now it’s just me. 

The competition itself was held in Gracie Barra Birmingham, and as always, it took forever to get there. Now, other than my first ever competition, this was probably the most nervous I have ever been leading up to a competition. Probably because this was something completely new, and I guess I didn't know really what to expect.

For some reason, I didn't actually own a yellow belt. When I was graded, they gave me a yellow belt, we had a photo, and then they took it back. Actually, at this time I only trained nogi, so I didn't really need one. So, instead Chris gave me an old white belt to use instead for the competition. Actually, Chris was supposed to come up, but for some reason he didn't.  

So, we finally arrive and the place is rammed. I mean literally you cannot move. There were loads of teams there that day. Every team had loads of competitors, at least 20. I on the other hand, had my ill brother, and my dad wearing that AWFUL purple coat, (one day, I am going to burn it!). So if nothing else at least I had some good corner men (jokes!).

Basically, they weighed all the competitors, and then separated them into categories. I was in Teens A (13-14) heavyweight division, as I was pretty chubby at that age. For some reason, they did IBJJF rules and time limits, but not age or weight divisions. There were a decent number of competitors there that day, so they probably could have done proper divisions.

Now, I didn't really know the rules all that well, and I definitely did not know what advantages were. Neither did I know what submissions were legal or not, but I wasn't too worried about that, as most of them I never really did. Back in those days I didn't really have a game, just try and get on top, and somehow pass the guard. And if I'm honest, that game SUCKS! And I found that out when I started training with the adults. 

So, now I am there dressed in my Gracie Academy gi, with Carlson Gracie and Brazilian Top Team patches on, at a Gracie Barra competition. Yeah, people must have thought I turned up to the wrong competition. But all jokes aside, today I felt really confident. I just knew today I was going to win!

My division was actually pretty big, and since we all pretty much started again in terms of grade, everyone was either a yellow belt or lower. Except for one guy, who was an orange belt, and was in my division. Great!

Okay, so I get called to fight...

I hope you guys enjoyed. Part 9 will be uploaded shortly.

Catch you later,

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