Monday, January 1, 2018

RIZIN FIGHTING WORLD GRAND-PRIX 2017 バンタム級トーナメント&女子スーパーアトム級トーナメント Final ROUND 12/31/17: 高阪 剛 TSUYOSHI KOHSAKA vs. ミルコ・クロコップ MIRKO CRO COP

RIZIN FIGHTING WORLD GRAND-PRIX 2017 バンタム級トーナメント&女子スーパーアトム級トーナメント Final ROUND 
December 31, 2017 in さいたまスーパーアリーナ Saitama Sūpā Arīna 
Tokyo, Japan

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE MAY ALL THAT IS GOOD AND TRUE AND OF COMFORT BE VISITED UPON YOU IN 2018 I HOPE YOUR 2017 ENDED HAPPILY AS WELL and let me tell you that right at the very end of an absurdly-blessed-beyond-all-sense-or-reason 2017 for me and my family (all praise to the most high; catch a vibe always) a lovely thing that happened like right at the very end is that as I prepared for my nidan (弐段 or 二段) grading [and one of my students prepared for his long-overdue (for he has long been good!) shodan (初段)] I reconnected in a real and meaningful way with my old judo sensei who is a true character of a seventy-five-year-old godan (五段); to say that they do not make them in his manner anymore is to speak a truth none who have known or have ever even beheld him could contest. We talked together like old judo friends remembering old judo days because that's what we were when we spoke as we did those dark December nights and it was of great value to me and I treasured it and what I would like to suggest to you now is that together we -- you and I right now (and here let me thank you again for your time and attention to these matters) -- might too be old judo friends who remember old judo days as we reconnect with a figure no less towering atop/central to our study than 高阪 剛 TSUYOSHI KOHSAKA, he of the very scissors under whose banner we convene once more, who, though no seventy-five-year-old godan (五段), is every bit a battle-scarred forty-seven-year-old yondan (四段); and it is perhaps worth here noting that it is no mean feat to have attained a rank of yondan (四段) when Kohsaka did so in his mid-twenties (more than two decades ago); and I will add at this point too that I like the kanji for chi/yon because it is square with two little legs inside it like this 四. What I wish to suggest to you my friends and what I can in truth assure you given my recent experience is that there is much to be gained for our hearts by reconnecting with our dan-ranked betters at this time of year so oft and so rightly given to the raven-pair Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory). AND SO IT IS TO RIZIN WE TURN BECAUSE OH DEAR GOD TK HAS TO FIGHT CRO COP GET IN THERE REF PLEASE NO.

To the extent to which RIZIN is not just PRIDE FC's spiritual but actually just pretty literal heir, I support Nobuyuki Sakikabara's probably-slightly-less-yakuza'd mixed-fight promotion without reservation (aside from the general and obvious reservation that no one should be doing this and we certainly shouldn't support them doing this), and yet I don't think I have ever watched an entire RIZIN show, not even the one with the unreal Kiyoshi Tamura/Wanderlei Silva vs. Kazushi Sakuraba/Hideo Tokoro tag-team submission græppling bout, and that is almost certainly not going to change this day or any other that I can foresee. The time of life in which I would not just willingly but gleefully greet the next day's dawn after a night of streaming Saitama Sūpā Arīna (GONG) kakutogi is no less irretrievably behind me--behind us?--than is the very AIM through which we then furthered our fellowship, having first gotten on it at Cory's behest (hi Cory). AIM is fvkkn dead, man. And so too the past. OR IS IT because Cro Cop and Kohsaka are fighting; isn't that wild. 

It would seem our commentators are "Showdown" Joe Ferraro, who I seem to remember as being perfectly pleasant but not entirely to my taste (I cannot fault him for this) and Frank Trigg, which puts me in mind of an excellent anecdote I heard recently and it must have been on a Dave Meltzer podcast (if not it was someone relating a Dave Meltzer-gleaned anecdote and so all roads lead to him and his Wrestling Observations once more) and it is that the wrestler known to all as Sting but who is known to his mother and good lady wife as Steve Borden also had a successful real estate career when not enstinged and he went by "Real Estate Steve" because real estate is fvkkn dumb so why wouldn't he. Anyway the story is that when Frank Trigg, who I guess "shoot" lived in the same area as Steve Borden, worked for the Total Nonstop Action wrestling promotion (I never saw their shows except for the clips of A.J. Styles getting mad at Mike Tenay over having been poor [****1/4]) he saw Sting backstage without make-up and was like "my god--you're Real Estate Steve" and Sting was like "yup yup." (That's it, that's the whole story.) Here, Frank Trigg has a few things to say about Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, and they are that he asked TK why on earth are you doing this and TK explained that he wanted to fight Cro Cop in the high days of PRIDE, but that he wasn't good enough, he couldn't get to him (you will recall that he did get a fight against Fedor, so that Fedor might avenge his RINGSloss, an event we have discussed here previously; meetly; rightly). But now he can! Because of how nobody else would take the fight against Cro Cop because Cro Cop geared-to-the-fvkkn-gills is super dangerous but as a young fighter one can only look awful getting lit up by old-man Cro Cop so it is totally hard to find fights for him! But TK is even older than Cro Cop so it's okay! Except it's not okay as both Trigg and Ferraro acknowledge that Cro Cop is the heaaaaaavy favourite. "There's no pressure on TK," they agree, except for the natural pressure you would feel just as an animal who doesn't want to be beaten horribly now or ever. WELL EITHER WAY TOO LATE NOW HERE HE COMES.


That he enters to the bluesriffery of the Stone Roses' "Driving South" is obvious; that his name as shrieked by Lenne Hardt is sikk, no less so. Trigg mentions TK's nine-years away from competition before returning to wallop "The Colossus" James Thompson a little while ago (he does not mention Thompson by name, nor does he mention that Kohsaka lost a decision to Baruto but managed to TK Scissor him; baffling oversights) as RYOGAKU WADA HEY REMEMBER HIM OF COURSE YOU DO attends to last-minute matters outside the ring. Kohsaka clasps his hands in prayer for he is a man of faith. 

That all of this extremely high-quality video is available to us immediately and at the low cost of "lol nobody actually pays for this stuff do they?" is truly remarkable, but at the same time, the crispness of these images carries with it too a coldness, does it not, when we consider these stills alongside/set against the badtracking (forgive me) warmth of our previous TK encounters in these same pages? But time is an arrow and there's nothing to be done. And you wouldn't want to go back: Kohsaka may no longer exist in the swirling æsthetic haze of barely-there VHS, but in the time that has passed he has gained a daughter, has gained a son. You might not think one has anything to do with the other but what you're failing to do right now is to have weird thoughts when it's pretty late.

Cro Cop's shirt says "Dice Wallet," no doubt a sponsor I do not and perhaps cannot understand. Would you like one of TK's t-shirts though? I think I would. The commentators remain silent in their reverence as Cro Cop enters to Duran Duran's "Wild Boys" but as much as I enjoy Duran Duran (this is real) I have never felt anything for this entrance that apparently many like a great deal; I do not begrudge them that (that would be sick) but I have never much cared for Cro Cop, as he was first an enemy of pro wrestling (he won), then an enemy of judo (he lost), then a guy in the UFC (I don't remember much of this), and now again an enemy of judo; and all the while a cop (in aspect and spirit if not in praxis). The one largely positive association I have with him is that I was working as a substitute high-school teacher supervising a computer lab (don't worry, this tale lightens soon) when I saw a huge lad looking at Cro Cop's Sherdog Fight Finder page (which I assume still exists but imagine looking at it today; it is inconceivable) when I was like hey if you like martial arts you might like judo and he was like actually I have been doing kickboxing but I would love to try judo and anyway he turned out to be quite good at it and also a really nice guy and now he is a pretty accomplished EDM artist because life is strange. 

Cro Cop is nineteen pounds heavier than Kohsaka and is listed as three inches taller even though they appear to stand at exactly the same height; I bet Cro Cop has started shrinking and just hasn't measured himself in a while. Judge judge judge ready fight and we are underway and thirteen seconds in Kohsaka gets the clinch with a legitimate grip from which he can and has thrown no less unthrowable a foe than Randy Couture; we have seen this happen; there has definitely been harai goshi (払腰) from here in the TK-past:

That it does not exist in the TK-present is not an indictment of the TK but of the present; what on earth are any of us involved with this in any way doing right now. Ah but who are we to deny Kohsaka if his heart's true wish is to enter into a contest in which seconds after an ill-fated clinch he is punched predictably hard and, despite hooking an arm deep to attempt a sweep or indeed an ashi-kansetsu, is brutally pounded out in precisely a minute; who are we to deny the RIZIN Christ:


This was difficult, and not just for me because I am too tender-hearted: look at the grimacing wince (maybe it's a wincing grimace; who can say) on the corner referee who throws in the little yellow baton to signify the symbolic death of ippon:

This got dark. 

And there had been signs. It was not the commentators' pre-fight apology that alone augured so ill; extremely sophisticated computer simulations like the Fire Pro Wrestling (ファイヤープロレスリング) one I ran on the very couch on which I now sit foresaw the very same outcome. Look:

Ah, but what no simulation could have told us was that despite the hideous brutality of all we for some reason chose to bear complicit witness too, when all was said and done, whatever suffering may have been endured, all is redeemed in fellowship:

For Tsuyoshi Kohsaka and Mirko Cro Cop, I mean; not for us: we remain gross.

OR DO WE yes we totally do but nonetheless let me restate my earlier earnest wish that you enjoy in the truest sense a Happy New Year; my best to you now and always, my friends. Thank you once again for your time. I hope we will speak with one another again soon.