My friend Carlos trains in Jiu Jitsu under Renzo Gracie.
Last night, we took a road trip up to Mohegan Sun to cheer, support and watch Renzo fight Carlos Newton as a Superfight @ the IFL World Team Championship Finals.
There were quite a few Renzo Gracie Academy T-shirts in the arena:
The trip was a great way for me to end 2006. We met up in front of RGA in Manhattan, and took about a 5-hour chartered bus ride (thanks to endless traffic) up to Mohegan Sun. The group hustled to get food before the fights started, then it was ON! 😀
They’re going to show the fights on Fox Sports Net (FSN) sometime within the next week or so.
It’s a different experience seeing professional fighters get knocked out “in person” from watching it on television. I think it’s because on television, you’re getting whatever they show you and in person, you get to check it out with your own eyes… with nothing but air in between you and the fight. I think there’s something that you lose by watching the fight on television because they broadcast impossible views of the action. They have cameramen standing @ the ropes using zoom lenses, AND they have computer-operated cameras floating over the action. It’s impossible for you to think of what’s going on as an actual struggle between actual human beings, because the angles keep changing and you’re right on top of the action, where you couldn’t possibly be if you went to a fight. I noticed this when I looked to my right, towards the big screens that were showing what the cameras were shooting. It was necessary at times, when the action was on the mat and facing away from me, so I had no idea who was doing what. That’s when the camera angle was really useful. It was still surreal… like I was watching something else. Diverting my eyes from the screens and back to the live fighters gave me a good idea of the difference between the two experiences.
It was cool traveling with the RGA students. I don’t train, so it was interesting being around people that learn from one man in particular, and they were going to watch that man compete. I don’t know that there’s anything like it I can think of right this minute. You’re not going to see an NFL coach or NBA coach get on the field/court and get busy. Their time for that is over. Now, they just tell people what to do. Renzo Gracie has been fighting and STILL fights. There were a couple of other guys from the school that fought on the IFL card. A couple of female RGA students drove up as well. Wives and children of the students attended also. Looking around at all the green shirts, I could see a community of people brought together because of something they love to do, and someone they love to train with.
It was also interesting watching guys “gas out” in person. You can’t see it so much on television. On TV, you can see their facial expressions, or they spit out a mouthpiece, or you can tell they’re breathing really hard. There must be intangibles that you get from being in the same room with someone that’s doing a physical activity… Indicators that tell you extra things about them that you can’t pick up through watching the same thing on television. It was like you could SEE less energy “on” them. The punches got slower. The movements got slower. The hands stayed lower and lower. Guys started relaxing in clinches… This one fight, the guys literally laid around for 3 rounds (15 minutes?) and then, SOMEHOW, a decision was given out even though neither one of them did ANYTHING to the other one. It was really lame, and the crowd was booing like crazy. Those guys weren’t gassed.. they were just lethargic from the opening bell.
OTOH, MOST of the fighters were doing what they came there to do. There were some really good matchups and mostly good endings to the fights. This one guy was beating the living tar out of this other guy for like 2 1/2 rounds, then he happened to get caught ONE TIME with ONE PUNCH and got knocked out COLD. I mean, COLD. You could tell he was out before his body hit the floor. It was odd, because he had been so animated the whole time, and in one split second, it was all over. He was well on his way to a victory on the cards. All that animation just STOPPED. If it hadn’t been for gravity, he would have remained in the air, stiff… shut down. They took him out on a stretcher after stabilizing his neck as a precautionary measure, but he was waving his arms before they took him out of the arena to the ambulance. That’s always a good thing…. waving arms… not ambulances. 😀
The Renzo Gracie / Carlos Newton fight went to the cards, and the judges voted for a split decision win for Renzo (Pronounced “Henzo” because of Brazilian origin). Later, the students returned to the bus and I slept the two hours it took us to get back to Manhattan. I had a great time and it was a unique experience… going to the fights with student, admirers and fans of Renzo Gracie. I’m glad Carlos invited me. 😀