Friday, November 30, 2018


シリーズ PRIDE(ナンバーシリーズ)
主催 KRS
会場 日本武道館
入場者数 9,765人

NESTLED NEARLY-SNUGLY INTO THE ALMOST-CORNER OF HALIFAX NOVA SCOTIA'S NORTH AND ROBIE STREETS BUT FOR SURE ON THE NORTH STREET PART AND JUST SLIGHTLY LIKE *UP* A BIT THERE STANDS A SHOPPE OF BARBERING AND COIFFURE that has probably been there a very long time but which first caught my eye only about a year or so ago. It did so that day for it bore then as it does even now the name "T & K Hair Salon" and the immediate thing that occurred to me about it in that first moment of thrilling encounter -- and you are going to love this because it is so clever -- is that any scissors in possession of this stylehäus would totally be TK Scissors, wouldn't they, haha! Isn't that an amusing thought to have as you approach the corner of North and Robie on this field trip (of the imagination), having just walked past the coffee shop that gave the world this widespread and utterly unreal (and yet as real as it gets) photographic evidence of a very particular kind of hipsterism (I use this term free of all pejorative connotation but as an objective descriptor of cultural fact; to bemoan hipsterism is among the most tiresome things anyone can do so it pleases me that people don't seem to do it as much anymore for whatever reason; maybe because nazis came back and that seemed more pressing? [lol pretty weird crossover though there, right? {or is it}]) whose moment is no longer our moment but was for sure a moment that you will recognize at once the very moment you behold the photograph I am telling you about; and here is that photograph, the one I have told you about:

Isn't that wild? And yet not at all wild, in that it depicts a readily identifiable geographically diffuse yet temporally confined (as it turned out) phenomenon that many among us will recognize immediately. Let me state once more that I am not condemning this or any of the related æsthetics to which it is akin that found themselves ascendant in the fairly-recent-past but which have since receded significantly (and yet linger still, in that there are shops at the mall that help one belatedly recreate particular versions of these æsthetics now that they are no longer the province of the shoeless Java Blend [for that is the coffee shop in question here] avant-gardists or people who go to either the art college or the extremely niche humanities school of largely postmodern Anglicans, but are instead available to, like, mall-shoppists [again I condemn nothing at this time but merely restate the obvious logic of cultural/capital flow in this our {fallen; ever fallen} world]). 

I am liking this field trip so much; thank you for joining me on it. 

If you venture too far east (by this I mean towards the water) down North Street you will find yourself soon enough at Gus' Pub, home primarily (for me) to black metal shows I have really liked, the first of which was a Bathory cover set by a then-recently-formed Versifist (they are good) that I attended with my friend Troy (the greatest poet of his generation; R.I.P.; may Allah be pleased with him) and when the first song ended I embarrassed myself by saying THAT WAS AWESOME to Troy super enthusiastically in a volume commensurate with the kvlt-tonez that had preceded the utterance but not with the low-key between-songs ambient shuffling-about-the-pub that was all there was to be heard aside from like six people clapping for like eight seconds and Troy laughed uproariously at my folly ALSO THIS PUB IS NOTABLE for having hosted a Fist-City Cinema (a strong local cinema collective name for sure) screening of the 1990 Golden Harvest (R.I.P. Raymond Chow, I can't believe they got him) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie just this past summer and I managed to catch a pretty good portion of it after arriving post-judo à vélo (honestly I made tremendous time; I didn't end class early or anything, either, I just pedaled). BUT DON'T GO THAT FAR as we paint this picture and instead please be sure to stop just past Java Blend so that those among you with eyes to see would see this; would see this:

You can totally see the Java Blend sign there too, can't you, but really it's totally irrelevant to me these days as I do not purchase tea "at places" but instead bring tea from home in a thermos and take it to the library where I also take . . . my leisure (when my duties so allow [which they sometimes do {for I am blessed in many ways}]). Please look as closely as you are able on the words that occur below T&K and yet above HAIR SALON and as that may be difficult for you to make out let me share with you another photograph, this one of the entropically-enhanced sticker (for what is the cultivation of a wabi-sabi [侘寂] æsthetics of transience and imperfection but a yearning for the entropic processes of nature made visible in a discrete object . . . or moment) that is on the door there:  

T e c h n i c & K i n d n e s s, then; T e c h n i c & K i n d n e s s: my god. It is super weird to me how deeply this aligns with literally everything, and I will attempt to explain but I will need you to accept ahead of time that the poverty of the explanation that follows owes solely to the inherent deficiencies of my art and not to a lack of profondeur in the feelings that I have; I am begging you to accept this but understand if you cannot. 

Let us begin with T E C H N I C or technique or indeed 技 waza (also read as gi but not of the wearing kind, do not be misled; it is useful to know this other reading/pronunciation though in case you are searching for the kanji phonetically to enter the name of your promotion in ファイナルファイヤープロレスリング~夢の団体運営 / Final Fire Pro Wrestling: Yume no Dantai Unei! /  Final Fire Pro Wrestling: Organization of Dreams / Final Fire Pro Wrestling: Dream Organization Management [the name of your promotion is  フレンズ・クラブ / Waza Friends Club / Waza FC / 技FC]). We are unlikely to know in any of the the long years we shall together spend in waza-consideration (should we be so spared) a nobler guiding principle in pursuit of it (waza) than Kanō Jigorō's (嘉納 治五郎's) seiryoku zen'yō (精力善用), which can be (and often is) rendered "maximum efficiency, minimum effort," but which says both that (certainly), and yet more:

精 spirit, energy, vitality

力 power, strength
善 virtuous, good, goodness
用 use, service

Use your strength, your energy, in the service of virtue. 

Yasuhiro Yamashita offered a translation of seiryoku zen'yo that fell very much along these lines -- that we are instructed in this maxim to make best use of whatever strength we are given, or have cultivated (but which is no less given, for all that), and not merely in a mechanical sense but insofar as 善 / ぜん / zen connotes good, goodness, right, virtue. Regrettably I can't remember where I read this (was it his remarkable Ippon Books Masterclass Osoto-gari volume? probably it was [elsewhere he said one time "Judo gives us hope in this fragile world," and I believed him so hard when he said it]). Nevertheless the notion that we are to embody not merely mechanical efficiency through waza, but that our T E C H N I C must itself be in accord with virtue (and also in a sense cannot help but be?) is the key thing in this reading.  "[J]udo's purity is based on truth," Mifune Kyūzō (三船 久蔵) writes in The Canon of Judo (translated by Françoise White). "Technique is the purest action in judo, and is therefore the expression of truth and perfection." Why not consider, since we are fortunate enough to be together now, how seiryoku zen'yo is rendered in the Canon . . . ok here we go, Mifune (my teacher's teacher's teacher's teacher) comes to it here: "There is no regret in winning or losing, as the Kodokan Judo motto states: 'Utilize your energy to the best -- this is the true meaning of judo.' So if your will lacks intention and sincerity, you have reason to regret. To establish victory your intention must clear and resolute, based on reason, without cowardice or evil intent. Therefore the loser will learn his weaknesses, and pursue his studies further, while the victor will surely advance further to mastery of judo's mysteries. Acquire a swift and agile mind and body through diligent training. This will improve your use of energy, increase your insight into reason, and deepen your understanding of mankind." And he goes on like that forever; what a treasure, this volume, and, indeed, this guy.

If the first of Kano's two key maxims -- 精力善用 seiryoku zen'yō -- is considered broadly enough (or maybe that's exactly wrong, maybe this comes not a broad reading but an exceedingly narrow one, a focused reading, a minute reading, a reading of granularity) it comes to almost subsume the second: 自他共栄 jita kyōei, which we often receive, nobly, as "mutual welfare and benefit." This is already wholly admirable, but let us look closer, too, though: 

自 oneself

他 another
共 together
栄 prosperity, flourish, honour, glory, shine

You, me, shining together.

And so we are granted the K I N D N E S S that pairs with T E C H N I C, the 自他共栄 jita kyōei that joins with 精力善用 seiryoku zen'yō; here we rest at their intersection; here we gather . . . at TK Scissors. What does it all mean? Almost nothing and yet nearly everything, like anything else.  

HEY GUESS WHAT THOUGH IT'S TIME FOR プライド・スリー which is to say PU-RA-I-DO・SU-RI which is to say PRIDE.3 and again I implore you to learn hirigana and katakana just for fun! You can do it in a weekend and you will have so much silly fun sounding things out and doing a bad job of it! Or maybe you'll finally be able to read the kana parts on the menu of the Japanese restaurant you like best! Like the part where there are salads and it says サラダ and you will in time be like oh ok I get it now it says sa-ra-da, there wasn't actually a whole lot to that in the end, was there. But at least you'll know! You won't wonder what they're keeping from you! (Is it salads; are there other salads; there's no way I can ask without this being weird; let's just go; I'm so sorry. [R.I.P. the Granville Street location of Sushi Shige Japanese Restaurant; may your new location last a thousand years and turn out to be closer to my house also.) Glancing at the card, this does not seem like it will be the best one top to bottom probably (I have certainly not watched the whole show in more than a decade for sure and remember little of it clearly) however there are no fewer than two truly excellent things that await us: FIRST is the mere fact (a fact, like the taste of tea, a Zen guy said in a thing I read a while ago) of the 日本武道館 Nippon Budōkan, constructed for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics (to this day the most æsthetic of all Olympiads) specifically to host first the judo and, later, Cheap Trick ("Surrender" is extra good on that record); SECOND is that this one has 桜庭 和志 Sakuraba Kazushi of 昭和町秋田県 Shōwa (Akita Prefecture) vs. Carlos Newton of Newmarket (Ontario Prefecture) in what if you asked me to say real quick what the best mixed martial arts match ever was I would say that one first for sure, like for sure for sure. But I haven't watched it in years! Let's see how it holds up! I bet very well!

But before that there must be this: Akira Shoji, stout and loved, taking to fight against Daijiro Matsui (called here also Shunsuke Matsui), who is also stout and also loved, actually, so this one should be pretty even. The ever-elfen Caol Uno (宇野薫 Uno Kaoru) inhabits the tree-home of Akira Shoji's corner, whence he wages his unending war against the heedless all-conquering humanity that defiles the forest in its adolescent grasp and strain against an Order of which it is part but which it, in youthful arrogance, cannot comprehend. Daijio Matsui is of Takada Dojo, Stephen Quadros tells us, home of that "breakout star" Kazushi Sakuraba, but it didn't really turn out that anybody else from Takada Dojo could really do much of anything, did it? But there will be time for more along those lines later; we have so very many Prides to go. Bas Rutten says Japanese fighters have samurai spirit! Quadros acknowledges that Uno is a very accomplished martial artist who competes in the Shooto organization! Did you know that I have like way more than a hundred Shooto discs in my basement? But that I have not gone through them? And realistically never will? (If you are reading this there is actually an okay chance that you do know this because several of us went in on these discs together; thanks again, everybody!) The opening round is spirited and scrambly, and referee Yuji Shimada, who I think we can fairly say has proven himself over long years largely indifferent to human suffering, really lets them go, even when Matsui is leaning out between the third and fourth rope with his back three-quarters turned to Shoji. Quadros feels both Shoji and Matsui are martial artists of great purity, and contain no evil (he really says this). Neither, Rutten agrees, would ever cheat. Interestingly, the knees we would all come to know lovingly/in horror as "Pride knees" are not yet legal here, but north/south knees to the shoulder and collarbone are plentiful. Quadros concocts a mock conversation between the two fighters that involves one calling the other "brother man." This is all quite merry! The rounds are ten minutes and the first of them has left us already.  

I thought for a moment I maybe saw 金原弘光 Kanehara Hiromitsu peaking around ringside but I was of course incorrect; his loyalty to Fighting Network RINGS was absolute. Early in the second round, Shoji takes Matsui to the mat with a nice square 小外掛 kosoto-gake (minor outer hook), as befits one who judo'd well in high school. The ne-waza that follows is spirited! As are the huge looping punches each throws when they are next afoot. This is all, in fact, quite rad, and the people of the Budokan receive it thus (radly). A little while later, Matsui is in the turtle or kame or 亀 position getting punched up pretty good (bad), but then tries to roll through for a leg-lock! I like this a lot! There's just a great feel to it, and a really nice low-key energy to the crowd. And that was round two. 

Much of round three is spent sipping tea and patting one's grey cat as she settles into one's lap and of course I speak here of neither Shoji nor Matsui but of my own meagre self and ways however I should note Bas Rutten's noting of Shoji's slick 小外掛 kosoto-gake (minor outer hook) which, he rightly points out, is a lovely takedown but does unfortunately park you very much in your partner's guard. "If you defend it well, you cannot choke," Bas says of the arm-in guillotine, and we are reminded of just how long ago this was: we are in the era in which the arm-in guillotine was but a whisper, a phantom. Stephen Quadros thinks this looks so fun that people will want to just go to the gym and start to train! I too held out this hope for mixed martial arts years ago but I have long since learned that this was a fool's dream and that I am myself a fool, and mixed martial arts, rather than leading to all kinds of people seeking out noble dojos of the world and improving themselves and their lives in accordance with the demanding romantic-mediævalist strictures of 武道 budō, is instead scarcely more than a putrid cretin spectacle that somehow holds an extra special appeal to racists. Boy was I off the mark! It's okay, though, as for all the hype and hoopla of the intervening years, the lived martial arts world in 2018 is really not so different from the martial arts world of say 1985 in that, by number, it is overwhelmingly still kids in teeming karate dojos where they are working hard at their 基本 kihon (fundamentals),  形 kata (forms), and 組手 kumite (literally "grappling hands") and saying HAI! so everything is probably going to be okay. A smaller number pursue judo and the closely related arts that descend from it, and, mercifully, really almost nobody trains mixed martial arts. A blessing it was, and continues to be, that few mixed martial arts gyms survived even through the (dark) boom period that grows more distant with each passing year (praise be to the most high). As I noted elsewhere (for sure twitter) earlier this year, "meltz reportz ufc tv ratings are down like 20something% and ppv is down like 40% and it is nowhere near as big w/ 18-34 as it was ten years ago so the dream of ufc dying remains v. much alive." The 日本武道館 Nippon Budōkan crowd lightly boos this four-round, forty-minute draw that was actually quite spirited and nice.

Our second bout sees Daiju Takase, a judo nidan (hey!) who started as an adult (what!) and loves ne waza (are you kidding me!), against poor Emanuel Yarbrough, doomed to pitiable enormity by the time he was a young teen (320 lbs at 14 years old). That he became an NCAA Division I (1986) (& Division II [1983]) All-American in wrestling, finished second at U.S. Judo Nationals (1989 -- he learned his judo from 米塚 義定 Yonezuka Yoshisada at the Cranford Judo & Karate Center, not unlike "Bad News" Allen Coage), and held the 1995 World Amateur Sumo title are all worthy achievements to be sure, but fall short of just the fact that he lived to be 51 (which is still far too young, obviously, please do not mistake me) despite weighing at times as much as 882 lbs. The poor, poor man. Here we see him in his third and final mixed martial arts contest, after having became a minor star for getting White Tiger Kenpo Karate-punched into submission by Keith Hackney and, later, for squishing a guy in Shooto. He is much larger than  young Daiju Takase, as you can see here:

Daiju Takase's weight is given by Stephen Quadros as 169 lbs, but shown in the on-screen graphic to be 209 lbs, which is a pretty massive difference that I cannot account for (it is not even my place to), but either way Yarbrough is like 600. They give it as a round number like that, and so it is almost certainly not his exact weight, but, I mean, whatever, that's fine. 

THE BELL SOUNDS and it is impossible to feel good about this as Takase hops and scurries around the ring, not unwisely. You couldn't defeat Yarbrough with a samurai sword, Bas Rutten suggests, but I don't think that's correct, and also I think it is dehumanizing of him to say that. Quadros thinks Takase should go for a jump spinning heel kick, whereas Bas thinks flying triangle (absolutely not, Bas, what are you doing). Whenever Yarbrough gets anywhere near Takase, the crowd is like HWWWAAAAAIIIIII for a minute. This is really funny, Bas says with genuine merriment, and I am trying not to blame him for this. "There's a bit of a spectacle to this," Quadros opines. That's round one. 

Daiju Takase's wikipedia tells me he is known both as "The Newaza Artist," which is pretty tight, and also "The Grappler King from the Shadows" which is the name of a spec script I am going to write for the discontinued 2012-2017 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television program, a literally perfect children's television series, except for how it has no episode called "The Grappler King from the Shadows" (yet). Takase has been issued a yellow card (is this the first one ever? it would be so easy to check and yet I don't seem to be doing it) for inactivity and he responds by shooting in at once for a 踵返 kibisu gaeshi heel trip to the utter horror of everyone. He is squished, and shrimps (ebi! ebi!) like mad to escape from the bottom. Yarbrough is just laying on him, bleeding from the nose a little, until Takase shrimps all the way out and hits him a few more times before the bout ends on a tap-out to hitting. 

This was very dark. 

R.I.P. Emanuel Yarbrough, who struggled. 

I am going to stop writing for the night.

GOOD AFTERNOON EVERYBODY OH GOOD KAZUSHI SAKURABA AND CARLOS NEWTON are here now and one outcome of the beauty they are about to offer us is that we will convince ourselves that all of this is at least partly okay but really it probably isn't! Carlos Newton is just the loveliest fighter to watch and also I have only ever heard that he is a lovely fellow. My time in Ontario was a little after the era in which he and his boiz were competing in just everything they could get after (or so the legends say), all the judo they could get in addition to the like exceedingly nascent Brazilian jiu-jitsu scene to be had at that time there, all the submission stuff, just everything, and I never heard (or read) a word against him coming out of any of that time (and you know how people can be). Just the other day a student of mine who is also deeply, deeply of the BJJ scene was talking about the bros senior to him at his gym showing up at the first Canadian BJJ nationals and being like "oh hey there's Carlos Newton; this is neat." Hey do you remember the story about Carlos Newton putting a bunch of dudes like away because they were picking on him and his friend? (Sadly I think it is pretty easy to imagine people picking on Carlos Newton just given his way and aspect.) I wonder if that's one of those stories that's just kind of lost now even though everybody knew it back then . . . no, it lives! Here's Underground (the place is a sewer [R.I.P. Quincy "Train Judo" Rice]) poster "PR" responding to "fuckingkimura," who wrote "I don't think you want to use either Judo or Jiu Jitsu in a street fight," only for "PR" to say: "Ask Carlos Newton if he agrees. Put 6 guys picking on his buddy into hospital with endless judo throws. He was stabbed at some point during the fight though. The famous story is that the cops showed up at his door afterwards, not to arrest him, but to see the guy who '
put 6 guys into the hospital'." That is not exactly how I heard it before but it is super close so I say let's go with it. Or let's see if I can find any other accounts, okay yeah here's "Goju" posting at (totally new to me): "Anyway, When I was in grade 9 terry was teaching my gym class, and he said that carlos newton was stabbed in a street fight in toronto. He KOed FOUR of SEVEN guys, and then was stabbed by one of the remaining, after his 'friends' ran off . lol" Here's another one, and I'm going to stop pretty soon because this one took me to reddit, it's "jsh1138" with "tbh i don't think MMA is very applicable to street fighting at all. Carlos Newton was in a huge brawl with like 20 guys up in Canada once and got out of it using mainly throws, iirc As soon as you go side mount on someone, someone else is going to run over and kick you in the head, would be my guess" well I mean that is a pretty good guess, I think. Enough of this, though, the point has been made, but I will say in closing on this that I remember reading an interview where Carlos Newton talked about this situation, and how he thought judo in this instance saved his life, and how outside of the context of mixed martial arts fights against other trained people but just like real live street shit in the sense of getting the hekk out of dodge, he thought judo was even more essential than wrestling, especially for smaller people (as an unhuge guy myself I remember that last part especially clearly). I would also like to say about Carlos Newton that before Georges St. Pierre became one of the most beloved athletes in Canada (did you know GSP vs. Michael Bisping outdrew any other pay-per-view in Canada ever? like it did better than any boxing match? so reporteth Big Dave), Carlos Newton was totally the Canadian mixed martial artist; like, he was our guy. And i
t occurs to me only now that Canada's two finest mixed martial artists were both bullied, and in both cases you can totally see how their gentle earnest energies could have made them targets; if there is one thing bullies are pretty much universally dikks about, it's gentle earnestness. Bullies remain the worst.  

LET'S WATCH THE MATCH THEN or actually just before that let me note where Carlos Newton was in his career at this point: he had just lost a split/nonsense decision to Dan Henderson in the UFC 17 middleweight tournament final (less than six weeks before this match! he'd fought twice that night, too! what!) and is still about three years away from becoming UFC welterweight champion. Then he would lose a few (Matt Hughes a couple times [the first time was so weird!], Anderson Silva, etc.), then he lost a bunch (let's not even say to who[m]), and now he's retired and teaching in Newmarket and everything is apparently pretty good! Anyway here is Bas Rutten in the ring for some reason; let's find out together: he presents lovely bouquets to both athletes and addresses the crowd briefly, first asking if they are genki to a great roar of approval (I guess everybody's pretty genki). He announces that he will face Randy Couture in the UFC in October (spoiler: this will not occur) and then he hopes to compete in Pride against Rickson Gracie (the same). Oh what might have been, but which was not, except for in Fire Pro, and actually Fire Pro is pretty great so really it's ok. Here's Carlos Newton:

He's listed at 5'9", 169lbs, and I remember around this time he said he didn't do any weight-training (outside of all kinds of martial arts bodyweight stuff [obviously {who doesn't}]) in the way one might expect; he thought it largely irrelevant for his pursuits; and I recall too now a fairly recent GSP interview where he said that "strength and conditioning" as such is pretty much a lie, and he no longer lifts weights either (there was a long period where GSP would admit to lifting weights but sheepishly add that while it had no real utility to him as a martial artist it helped keep him in a build that he described as "more marketable" but he's done with those games now [you know you look good Georges; you know you don't need to be any more than you are; you know that, Georges]). And here's Kazushi Sakuraba, still remarkably unbattered: 

As they begin, Stephen Quadros points out that Carlos Newton holds a win over Shooto champion Erik Paulson at Vale Tudo Japan 97, which is a good win for sure in and of itself, but the way he won it was unreal (0:41, 腕挫十字固 ude-hishigi-juji-gatame). Sakuraba opens with really sharp low-kicks, and Newton, understandably wanting little to do with them (I bet they hurt!), clinches and attempts the minor outer hook of 小外掛 kosoto-gake. Sakuraba's counter, an 内股 uchi-mata, is spectacular, and the crowd is like hwooooooaaaaahhh:

If you scroll up and down really fast it's like an animated .gif! Stephen Quadros, rather than knowing a few words from judo (which is not hard to do, it is right there for you to learn the words of from), says that Sakuraba "did a cartwheel with Newton attached and flipped over into his guard" which is both inelegant and not really what happened, either, but at least he's excited about it! Sakuraba twirls around Newton's open guard in a way that would have been super impressively dynamic even if didn't lead into an immediate juji-gatame attack but it totally did and although Newton escapes and passes, Bas thinks Newton went "the wrong way." I think I would say he went to the off-side; who are we to judge [I no longer call the off-side sankaku a "wrong-side sankaku" in my own teaching and my reasoning in this is who the hekk am I compared to the Japanese women's team who are doing it that way; NOTHING, that's what]). 

Sakuraba pops his hips and bridges right out of Carlos Newton's osaekomi and is on top for but an instant before he attempts an ashi-dori-garami ankle-lock/toe-hold that ends up with Newton on top. "He should punch now! He should punch now!" Bas implores but Carlos Newton and Kazushi Sakuraba are existing on a much higher plane than that right now, Bas, please. This is already remarkably beautiful: the guards remain open, the passing sudden, the juji-gatame fluid, the escapes cræfty as you like. If anything this is better than I remembered. Sakuraba's second ashi-dori-garami ankle-lock attack costs him position again and Newton has his back for a bit but Sakuraba seems pretty chill about it all. Yeah, he's back on top again in a minute; he was right not to worry.

Carlos Newton's whole deal off his back is juji-gatame; it is the only thing he's after at all, really, and I identify with that so hard. (I used to favour sankaku-jime, the triangle chokeabove all other 固技 katame-waza [græpplings] in my 無段者 mudansha [one without dan] days but as a 有段者 yudansha [one with dan {it's been a while now too cuz I am super old}], and maybe from a little before that actually, juji-gatame is pretty much always the plan from pretty much wherever. It's so versatile! And sikk! And that's round one! What a treat!

Bas notes between rounds what we mentioned above, that Carlos Newton rejects weightlifting, he's all bodyweight stuff (who among us, in the end, is any more than bodyweight stuff [well I guess there is the immortal soul, sure]). ROUND TWO opens with Carlos Newton securing a waist-lock and slipping behind to attempt a 捨身技 sutemi-waza (sacrifice technique) which he hits but which puts one in danger of Sakuraba spinning out with 逆腕緘 gyaku-ude-garami and breaking the arm as would happen in time to Renzo Gracie CARLOS NEWTON BE CAREFUL HE LOVES THAT GRIP but it's okay, he's okay.     "Those transitions, man -- they're out there, they're going," Bas Rutten says for us all. "If you want to learn about gr[æ]ppling, watch matches like this," Quadros rightly adds. An absurd scramble that in its "shoot" beauteous splendor shall forever remain the province of the young follows and I am wondering if it was Goethe who suggested that when faced with something like this the only mean of safety is love? If so, I am safe as houses.

Newton has an arm ably triangled betwixt his legs from the side and it looks like he might have had a shot at a crucifix/地獄絞/jigoku-jime/hell-strangle but after a moment's respite a million things happen and Sakuraba puts everything he has into a juji-gatame; Newton turns in hard and gets his elbow the mat (fundamentals; so crucial) before stepping over and across Sakuraba's body (brandishing the legs to landscape the waist, as the non-idiomatic subtitles to a recent [I guess not actually very recent] Koji Komuro video would have it). It looked deep, for a moment, and Sakuraba seems to check in with Newton for a moment as Newton settles in on top of him, like everything ok? and Carlos Newton is like everything's ok and everything really is ok in a bunch of ways. "Such a sense of fair-play," Quadros says. Newton has the back, and I am pretty sure this is where yep this is totally where it happens: Newton has one hook in but not the other; Sakuraba threatens with an ashi-dori-garami ankle-lock on the outside leg, which takes Newton's mind (understandably) off the leg that is in between, and from there the actual finish of the 膝固 hiza-gatame knee-bar is elementary, and so trve:

So it was flawless, that match; that match was flawless. I am moved by it. Note, though, that I am moved a lot. But only because so many things are at once so lovely, and so sad.  

That wasn't even the main event! The 日本武道館 Nippon Budōkan crowd responded throughout as though it had been, but here we have (in what is also not the main event) Amir Rahnavardi, Kyle Sturgeon's second, stepping in as a last-minute (well, one-day) replacement for Kimo (who blew his knee, oh no!), to face Gary Goodridge, who, much like Carlos Newton, is an Ontarian born in the West Indies (until I lived in Toronto I had no sense of just how many people this described; it's totally its own distinct, rad culture). Oh, Gary Goodridge: whenever I see you I wish you'd kept welding at the Honda plant in Alliston instead of suffering endless brain trauma but you are your own man and we've never met and I respect both of those things. Amir Rahnavardi is a gamer, in that he makes credible attempts at 内股 uchi-mata, 三角絞 sankaku-jime, and 膝固 hiza-gatame and hangs in well enough until he's knocked out on the ground about seven minutes in.

Mark Kerr? Against Pedro Otavio aka "THE PEDRO"? I am surprised to see this here! There isn't much to see, I guess, in that Mark Kerr, drug-fueled though not yet drug-addled (the sweet spot?), wins by technical submission when The Pedro screams in agony whilst held in 逆腕緘 gyaku-ude-garami. NOO NOOO NOOOOO he screams even more emphatically once referee Yuji Shimada, uncharacteristically attuned to human suffering, ends the fight, but there's really no question about this one. This is the lowest carrying on. Please, The Pedro; you're better than this, The Pedro; The Pedro, please. As The Pedro leaves we see a pretty big chunk of empty Budōkan seats (a pleasing green).

One more match to go, and it is Kyle Sturgeon, about whom I know nothing other than that he had a probably worked match against Nobuhiko Takada, in a probably worked match against Nobuhiko Takada. People still seem pretty into Nobuhiko Takada! I mean, it really was just the one loss to Rickson Gracie, right? And who among us, right? Yeah okay this is for sure a work: Takada is in full UWF mode and Sturgeon is bouncing around with this weird energy that, in its doomed endeavour to be super real, seems just incredibly fake. I was about to say something like "if I am mistaken, my apologies to Kyle Sturgeon," but before I could, I was typing-interrupted a theatrical delayed submission to ヒールホールド hīruhōrudo that was just a disaster, æsthetically. But the people love it! They love Nobuhiko Takada! What did Dave Meltzer say!

March 30, 1998: 

"Pride Three on 6/24 at Budokan Hall is scheduled to have Nobuhiko Takada, Kimo, Marco Ruas, Kazushi Sakuraba and Mark Kerr as headliners. Takada will be spending six weeks in California training with Ruas and Bas Rutten for his tune-up match for Rickson Gracie in October. My feeling is with such a big match on the table, that Takada's match on this show will have to be a work [excellent work/shoot instincts!--ed.], and that Pride recognizes not only does he need to win for credibility, but they need his name on the card as a participant to sell tickets since the last show didn't sell many tickets. This likely eliminates the entire Takada clan which includes Sakuraba from being part of UFC if/when it comes back to Japan. It is believed Kimo will be given Yuhi Sano, which looks to be a way for him to rehabilitate himself with a win."


"Black Belt magazine had an interview with Rickson Gracie who put down UFC's emphasis on brawlers as compared with Pride One's emphasis on martial arts technique. Gracie, who had previously said due to credibility that he would never fight for a company that does worked matches (there were a few worked matches on the first Pride show but didn't appear to be any on the second), did admit in the interview that he was asked to lose to Takada but refused. When asked if Takada was real, Gracie said everyone in Japan knows Takada's name, comparing his name with Tyson or Hogan in the United States, and said the Japanese think he's real."

I wonder if that entire issue of Black Belt magazine is available through Google Books no wait I don't wonder because they pretty much all are, how wild is that. I have always loved and continue to love literally everything about Black Belt magazine, even (especially?) the parts that are objectively awful. 

April 13, 1998:

Just this, which I excerpt from a piece on Antonio Inoki's retirement:

"In recent years, Inoki has tried to re-establish himself as the father of all shooters, as true shooting, from UFC, Vale Tudo, Pancrase and other groups became popularized in the United States and Japan, the Japanese side of which can be traced back to Inoki's worked mixed martial arts matches of the late 70s and early 80s, to Maeda popularizing UWF in the 80s, to Nobuhiko Takada's UWFI selling out in the early. 90s, to Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki in Pancrase bringing pro wrestling even close to reality, to hardcore reality with UFC, Shooto and Vale Tudo. Inoki would get photo ops talking with Marco Ruas, training with Dan Severn, fighting with Oleg Taktarov, beating the likes of Gerard Gordeau, Ruska (in a 1994 match with both men in their 50s) and after 16 years, finally getting his win over an aged Willie Williams. And finally, in supposedly his final match in the ring, beating Ultimate Ultimate champion Frye, all setting up his next move, heading up his own Martial Arts Federation. In reality, Inoki may have had only two or three true shooting matches during his entire career, none of which were supposed to be that way ahead of time. There was the Ali match, a December 12, 1976 match against Akrum Pehelewan of Pakistan, and a situation that got out of control in Europe a few years later against Roland Bock. The Pehelewan match in a large stadium in his home country was likely a work gone awry with the hometown hero going against the script, which ended with Inoki breaking the national hero Pehelewan’s arm with an armbar legtimatelly before 40,000 fans. It was probably the scariest moment of Inoki's life because a riot was about to break out and as legend has it, guns were being cocked and aimed in his direction. But in his traditional post-match wave to the fans in Pakistan, the fans saw it as a symbolic gesture that he was thanking Allah for the win, and thus the fans saw that his win was okay, although Pehelewan, shamed by the showing, actually committed suicide shortly thereafter. Inoki had always claimed he was most proud of the Ali and Pehelewan matches as opposed to some of his most famous classic worked matches against the likes of Fujinami, Funk, Robinson and Brisco. The Bock mat1:h was probably under similar circumstances, a worked match gone awry, with Bock, a legitimate shooter also wrestling in his home country. not selling for Inoki and basically throwing him around like a rag doll until a disqualification was called.

But no mauer [matter?], reality has absolutely nothing to do with this or most other equations. Inoki manipulated his reputation in Japan to not only be one of the greatest wrestlers who ever wrestled in that country, but one of the all-time legendary shooters as well. And after the show was over, Inoki was talking about his next plans. Moving to the United States to set up his "new" UFO promotion with himself and Ali as the spiritual leaders presiding over a company that will include Naoya Ogawa, Yoji Anjoh and Satoru Sayama "

May 18, 1998:

"KRS announced that its next show on 6/24 at Budokan Hall would have Nobuhiko Takada vs. Kyle Stusion, who is billed as a 31-year-old 225-pound protege of Joe Moreira. Word ahead of time was that KRS was looking for someone to do a job for Takada, since Takada has to be protected and given credibility as a shooter for his October rematch with Rickson Gracie at the Tokyo Dome. Emmanuel Yarbrough, who apparently was 660 pounds (and from photos he looked like he weighed a ton more than Mabel but I don't think even he can touch Yokozuna at his heaviest), making him the largest man ever to compete in NHB, when he had his recent win over Tatsuo Nakano, is going to fight on the show."   

May 25, 1998:

"The Newark Star-Ledger ran a huge story on Emmanuel Yarbrough, whose next match will be against another sumo wrestler on the 6/24 KRS Pride Three show in Tokyo. According to the story, Yarbrough's weight got up to 720 pounds and he had to diet to get under 700 for his recent match in Japan with pro wrestler Tatsuo Nakano, where he won by literally suffocating the guy by sitting on him. The story portrayed Yarbrough as a warm-hearted guy who due to his size could have potential in several sports, but is lazy and never trains. The belief is he could have been a champion in wrestling, sumo or judo (he placed eighth in the 1986 NCAA wrestling tournament when he attended Morgan State University and weighed closer to 400, Gary Albright took third and Tom Erikson took fourth that year) but he never trained hard and said he'd rather sit in his basement and watch college basketball on television." [To be fair that does sound pretty nice; R.I.P. Emmanuel Yarbrough.]

June 1, 1998:

We have seen this before, as you may recall, but here it is once more! Why not!

"MMA: The changing of this heading from NHB, for No Holds Barred, to MMA, for Mixed Martial Arts, is largely based on several conversations with UFC commissioner Jeff Blatnick who noted there are holds barred in UFC (in particular, joint locks attacking the fingers and toes) and that NHB connotates a sport with no rules. This change has also caused us to make some changes in promotional placements. These are arbitrary and subject to debate without a doubt, but here goes. MMA will categorize UFC and other Vale Tudo type of events, along with Shooto, K-1, Draka, KRS (Pride) and events such as wrestling submission fighting events using major names or other promotions featuring freestyle fighting events. The judgement on these events is not that whether they are 100% real as opposed to worked as almost all of pro wrestling is, but whether they themselves market themselves within the pro wrestling world primarily and get coverage in pro wrestling publications. Even though KRS has a pro wrestler (Nobuhiko Takada) as its biggest drawing card and did a few worked matches on its first show and does market itself heavily within the pro wrestling world, it is considered as MMA. Pancrase, RINGS and USWF will still be listed under pro wrestling, regardless of what is and isn't a shoot. All three groups market themselves as wrestling and within the wrestling world. Pancrase and RINGS are probably around the fourth and fifth biggest wrestling companies in Japan. USWF, based on its attendance figures, has to be considered the No. 4 pro wrestling promotion in the United States even without having any television at least until another group besides WWF, WCW and ECW can regularly put 4,000 fans in an arena."


"Added to the Pride Three show by KRS on 6/24 at Budokan Hall this week was Kimo vs. Gary Goodridge in what is really a must-win situation for both to be considered as marquee fighters since both are coming off losses, Kimo to Kohsaka and Goodridge to Marco Ruas. Carlos Barreto was also signed for the show. Mark Kerr's opponent has yet to be named for the show, which includes Takada vs. unknown Kyle Sturgeon in what figures to be a set-up, Newton vs. Kazushi Sakuraba and Emmanuel Yarbrough against former Japanese sumo wrestler Yasuaki Hiromatsu."

June 8, 1998:

"KRS has announced two more matches for its 6/24 Pride show from Tokyo Budokan Hall, former Kingdom pro wrestler Shunsuke Matsui against Akira Shoji, who is best known for his 30:00 draw with Renzo Gracie at the 10/9 Tokyo Dome show, and undefeated Mark Kerr (8-0) against "The Pedro" (Pedro Otavio), a well-known Brazilian Luta Livre fighter with a record of something like 15-3 who in Brazil defeated large national calibre American wrestler Brian Keck and is best known in Japan for beating Koji Kitao in a shoot match and losing to Keiji Muto in a worked match."

June 22, 1998:

"The only change on the 6/24 KRS show at Budokan Hall is that Emmanuel Yarbrough's opponent was switched from Yoashuaki Horimatsu to Daisuke Pakasse, and who either of them are and what that means is anyone's guess." [How dare you -- ed.]

June 29, 1998:

"KRS held a press conference on 6/22 to promote its 6/24 Budokan Hall Pride Three event. Nobuhiko Takada, who is the big drawing card on the show, no-showed the press conference allowing opponent Kyle Sturgeon to run him down as being afraid." 

July 6, 1998:

The earliest reports are in:

"With the next UFC event not until October in Sao Paolo, Brazil (UFC is listing a 10/9 date on its web site although we're told that date will likely be moved), with a Randy Couture vs. Bas Rutten heavyweight title match expected to be the main event, the biggest MMA event of the summer was the KRS Pride III show on 6/24 at Tokyo Budokan Hall.

For whatever reason, most accounts say that Pride continued its string of poor shows, as it builds to its 10/11 show at the Tokyo Dome headlined by the Rickson Gracie vs. Nobuhiko Takada rematch.

Takada, in his first match of any kind since the Gracie match last October, headlined this show in what was generally believed to be a worked match winning with a heel hook in 2:17 from unknown Kyle Sturgeon, a Joe Morreira Brazilian Jiu Jitsu student from Southern California. There was no way, with the Gracie match on the horizon, that Takada would be put at risk, even against a no-name opponent, and it was pretty well known in the dressing room the night of the show that Takada's match figured to be the only worked match on the show, and it was apparently discussed in the dressing room ahead of time even that the finish would be a heel hook in the first round. While Takada was a great draw years ago as a pro wrestler including headlining the biggest run of Tokyo Dome sellouts in history, most of his appeal has been gone due to poor showings, inactivity and the Gracie loss along with the folding of his pro wrestling company (UWFI) and generally flaky reputation. This show, with Takada as the top draw, drew a crowd announced as 8,000 but paid attendance was closer to 4,500 in the 16,000-seat arena.

The biggest name fight to UFC fans was scheduled to be Gary Goodridge vs. Kimo, however Kimo tore his ACL in training about a week before the fight. Goodridge fought an unknown Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter trained by Moreira known only as Amir, and won in 7:23 when the referee stopped the match with Goodridge landing a series of punches on the ground to increase his record to 9-6.

In what was, at least after the show, the most talked about and most exciting match, Kazushi Sakuraba, a pro wrestler who captured UFC heavyweight tournament in December, faced Carlos Newton, the Canadian who looked so impressive in the middleweight tournament at the most recent UFC where he lost an extremely close split decision to Dan Henderson in the finals. In something of a surprise, Sakuraba, now 3-0, dominated much of the match before gaining a tap out to an armbar in 15:19 (actually 5:19 of the second 10:00 round), dropping Newton to 3-3. [You can't trust some of these early reports! --ed.]

In the other big name fight, Mark Kerr increased his record to 9-0 without so much as even a dangerous challenge to date, beating noted Brazilian Pedro Otavio, now 15-4. Otavio is best known in Japan for beating Koji Kitao in a shoot, which propelled him into pro wrestling where he lost a worked match on a major show to Keiji Muto. Kerr won in 2:13 with a hammerlock. Otavio never tapped and the referee stopped the contest, and apparently Otavio heavily protested that decision.

The show opened with two poor matches that were heavily booed by the crowd. Shunsuke Matsui, a former pro wrestler with the now-defunct Kingdom promotion in his first true Vale Tudo match (although he did wrestle in shoot matches with Kingdom), battled to a 40:00 draw against Akira Shoji, now 2-1-3, who is best known in Japan for going to a 30:00 draw against Renzo Gracie last year at the Tokyo Dome in a match that he would have won had their been judges. Fans booed the heavily slow-paced defensive struggle. The second match pit 6-8 1/2, 700-pound Emmanuel Yarbrough against unknown Daiki Takase. Takase basically ran away from Yarbrough for the entire first 10:00 with the fans heavily booing. But it was smart strategy, since Yarbrough had no conditioning and just staying on his feet and holding up his hands for that length of time zapped his strength. Takase continued that strategy in the second round until the referee threatened to disqualify Takase for running away. At this point, Takase attacked, taking Yarbrough down and throwing punch after punch to his blown up foe before Yarbrough either tapped or the ref stopped it at 13:22.

6/24 Tokyo Budokan Hall (KRS Pride III - 4,500): Shunsuke Matsui d Akira Shoji 40:00, Daisuke Takase b Emmanuel Yarbrough 13:22, Kazushi Sakuraba b Carlos Newton 15:19, Gary Goodridge b Amir 7:27, Mark Kerr b Pedro Otavio 2:13, Nobuhiko Takada b Kyle Sturgeon 2:17 "

July 13, 1998:

Further reports!

"We should have a full report next week on the Pride Three show from Budokan Hall after seeing a tape of the PPV. We've gotten some reports from Americans that have seen the show. The reports are that the Nobuhiko Takada vs. Kyle Sturgeon match was not only a work, but a bad work. Takada was said to have looked out of shape (from photos, Takada didn't look overweight but he did look by far the softest he's ever looked in his career) and the match looked less believable than Takada's UWFI matches. So much for people hoping for a miracle at the Tokyo Dome against Rickson Gracie. From photos, it appeared Mark Kerr was a lot smaller than in his UFC fights for his match with Pedro Otavio. Rutten was in Kerr's corner, and Rutten on the PPV did do an interview challenging Rickson Gracie, but nobody believes that Gracie will fight someone of Rutten's calibre. It's interesting, given the results of the MMA guys going back in wrestling, that Rutten, who has never had one match under these rules is already being proclaimed by so many as the best fighter in the world under these rules. There can be no disputing that Rutten has a great won-loss record in Pancrase, second to only Ken Shamrock in the history of the organization, and that Ken and Frank Shamrock went from Pancrase to UFC with great success and that Rutten has very high skill level and more experience against tougher guys in a closer genre (Pancrase is closer to UFC than Greco-roman wrestling is) to the point he very well may be favored to beat Couture, but every sport is different and just because someone is great in Pancrase or UFC doesn't mean they'd do great in the other one. Rutten does have that mystique because he's impressive to fans because he can punch and kick very hard and now has considerable experience on the ground particularly in defending against submission. But there is still the question of what happens when he's taken down by Couture on how he'll get up again without a stand-up. Perhaps the key to this fight is the officiating and how quickly they'll order stand-ups, as the more stand-ups there are, the more chances Rutten will have to use his strengths. On the mat I can't see Couture submitting Rutten and could see a possibility of Rutten submitting Couture, but more likely it'll be Couture controlling him unless or until a stand-up is ordered. This is not to say Rutten won't make a great challenger for Couture, it's just that I wouldn't label someone the greatest fighter in the world under UFC rules before they've had their first match under those rules. Back to the Pride show, reports were the Carlos Newton vs. Kazushi Sakuraba match was excellent and really was the lone high point of the show, as most of the rest of the matches were boring. Gary Goodridge was also said to have looked great in his match against Amir."

July 20, 1998:





6/24 KRS PRIDE THREE: As a PPV show, this makes three in a row for KRS when it comes to thumbs down shows. The problem with KRS when it comes to Vale Tudo as compared to SEG, which has produced generally good and often great shows, seem to lie with the two basic differences--the octagon vs. a boxing/wrestling ring and the lack of a stand-up rule when the matches slow down with long guard sequences. For all the purists who argue about artificial stand-ups, time limits and judges decisions ruining UFC, they should be sentenced to having to actually watch some of the matches from the previous KRS show (in particular the Renzo Gracie 50 minute match) and it should be a jolt back to reality. And speaking of that

1. Shunsuke Matsui and Akira Shoji went to a 40:00 draw. In a sense this was an amazing match as far as both men's physical condition, because it wasn't a stallfest in the least. It was mainly straight mat wrestling which is tiring enough going 5:00, let alone going 40:00 and neither men gassed out. Shoji would have easily won the decision as he dominated most of the way, but it wasn't totally one-sided and Matsui deserves a lot of credit for his stamina and ability to survive and get out of some bad predicaments. Shoji got Matsui's back several times and it appeared was going to be able to choke him, but whenever Shoji went for a submission, Matsui, who started out as a pro wrestler under Takada, was able to pull an escape or reversal. Matsui did rock Shoji with a punch in the second round but couldn't follow up. Because of that, I'd rate the second round even since Shoji dominated the ground in that round as well, but Shoji clearly won the other three rounds. In the third round, Shoji got a good flurry of blows in, and later got his back again but Matsui survived. In the fourth and final round, Shoji again tagged Matsui with a lot of punches, which ended up bloodying Matsui's nose, but again when he went for a choke, Matsui got away. Even so, the fans booed the match when the bell rang because it wasn't very entertaining even though both deserve a lot of praise for hanging in there so long and not mentally quitting; 2. Daijyu Takase beat Emmanuel Yarbrough in 13:22. Yarbrough trimmed down to a svelte 682 pounds for this fight. This was held in a very big ring which Takase used to his advantage as Yarbrough couldn't cut the ring off which was the difference between this match and his previous match in Japan against Tatsuo Nakano. Takase basically ran away and Yarbrough tried to catch him and he was basically blown up 2:00 into the match. There were a few exchanges of punches but nothing did serious damage. Takase continued to run away to try and wear Yarbrough out. The first round was amazing because Takase basically never touched him and he was killing him by attrition because Yarbrough was carrying so much weight. Almost like the old boxing tales of Willie Pep being able to win a round without even throwing one punch. In the second round, Yarbrough nearly caught Takase twice and the fans began chanting for Yarbrough even though his opponent was Japanese. Even though nothing was happening, this match was both perversely entertaining as a spectacle and entertaining from a strategy standpoint as well. Takase kept running away until the ref gave him a yellow card and threatened disqualification. Takase then went for a tackle and Yarbrough fell on him, but luckily Takase was able to move enough so that Yarbrough fell on his leg rather than his chest which would have been a killer. With Yarbrough on the ground, Takase began throwing punches to the face and the knee and even tried an armbar. Takase kept pounding and eventually was able to slip his leg out and kept throwing punches, bloodying Yarbrough's nose and he tapped out; Before the next match, Bas Rutten did an interview in both English and Japanese. He said that he would be facing Randy Couture for the UFC championship, and after he wins the title and fulfills his UFC contract, he wants to fight with his promotion and challenged Rickson Gracie. Fat chance of that match ever happening; 3. Kazushi Sakuraba beat Carlos Newton in 15:19. This was the best match on the show, but it was in structure closer to a high-level Pancrase match than a UFC match. What was amazing to watch is that as fast as Newton moves on the ground, Sakuraba was noticeably quicker. The result was an upset to most martial arts insiders because of Sakuraba's background as a pro wrestler and participating in works going against a proven top-level shooter. In the first round Sakuraba nearly got an armbar in the first minute but couldn't quite complete it, and later nearly got an ankle. Sakuraba controlled the match on the ground, but kept going for submissions and didn't throw a punch on the ground until the 9:00 mark and he had plenty of opening to punch and appeared to choose not to. Newton's big chance was early in the second round where he got Sakuraba's back and began throwing knees and punches but Sakuraba reversed. He went for another armbar, but Newton used that to reverse him, but in the scramble Sakuraba eventually got the ankle and turned it into a kneebar forcing Newton to tap in a somewhat similar finish as the Shamrock-Horn UFC match. This was a great technical match, but it wasn't as exciting because it was so technical, as the better UFC matches this year; [A massive error of taste-level here --ed]. 4. Gary Goodridge beat Ameer in 7:23. Ameer was a Joe Moreira student from Los Angeles who was subbing for the injured Kimo. Goodridge is much smaller than in his UFC days. After a good opening exchange, Ameer tried a throw but Goodridge blocked it and landed on top. Goodridge landed some hard punches, but Ameer also came close to finishing it with an ankle lock but he didn't appear to have the technique down enough to finish him. Goodridge ended up slipping out of an attempted triangle and began throwing punches from the mount, and the third punch in a sequence knocked Ameer silly and the ref wisely stopped the match; 5. Mark Kerr beat Pedro Otavio in 2:13. Kerr was also much smaller and also a lot less muscularly defined than in his UFC days where he literally looked like a cartoon character. The difference was so pronounced you'd think the guy went for being a steroid freak to going clean. I mean, you'd think it if you see the before and after shots. Kerr took Otavio down and simply overpowered him, getting a hammerlock after some body shots. Otavio was screaming in pain and the ref stopped the match. Otavio then threw a temper tantrum in the ring because he had never tapped, although if the ref hadn't have stopped it, Kerr may have separated his arm from his shoulder. Otavio started throwing his kneepads into the crowd as a sign of protest when the ref explained to him the hold was too dangerous and he had no choice but to stop the fight; 6. Nobuhiko Takada beat Kyle Sturgeon in 2:17. It was clear from the crowd reaction that everyone was there to see Takada, although the crowd size (4,500 at Budokan) showed that the number of people he draws nowadays is way down from his glory years. Takada didn't look at all concerned going into the ring, which spelled WORK in capital letters even before the match started. Anyway, it was a believable looking work but an obvious work. [<-- That's a wild sentence --ed.] Takada went down on a knockdown from a kick before coming back with a heel hook for the submission. Since it was a work and they exchanged hard kicks, the crowd was pretty excited as it was going on, probably more than any other match on the show."

AND THAT'S THAT! Thank you once more for your time! I suppose we will probably next speak on the occasion of the December QUINTET (クインテット)! Please join me then! By which I mean like a week or so after it happens probably! As ever and always, my best to you all, my friends.