I just stumbled on this cool website called Roots of Fight. It looks like it’s a blend between documentary videos and an on-line gear shop. It mixes the two quite nicely so don’t be surprised you end up buying some of their T-shirts. That said, the videos are well worth watching because they feature a bunch of well known fighters in a range of sports: muay Thai, MMA, boxing and more.
Here are a couple of videos I enjoyed the most:
First one is of course the incomparable Bas Rutten, explaining how he ended up breaking the shin bone of an opponent in a leg lock:
But my favorite is of course this one on Mike Tyson with comments by Randy Couture, Forrest Griffin and Ray Mancini:
I remember staying up late at night as a teenager to watch his fights live. Tyson was just out of this world as a fighter and in my opinion there hasn’t been a heavyweight like him since. Ray Mancini touches upon it a little in this video, explaining that Tyson was a complete fighter but what set him apart was his speed: he had tremendous hand-speed for a big guy.
That’s certainly true, Tyson was blazing fast in his prime. But I don’t think that’s it either. What I see in Tyson at his best, is a fighter who dominates his sport just like Roger Federer dominates tennis. A while ago, I read an article about how in tennis there are (just picking a number, I forgot the exact one) 15 basic physical movements/skills that everything else is based upon. A top tennis player will typically be able to do about 11 of them at a very high level of skill and be a little less good at the remaining 4.
Federer does 14 out of 15 almost perfect, every single time. This sets him apart from his opponents and makes it exceedingly difficult to beat him.
As an aside: the article also stated that one way you can tell this is that he moves extremely fast on the courts yet hardly makes any noise. I’ve found this to be true in many top-level athletes, regardless of the sport they’re in.
In my opinion, it’s the same with Tyson. If you look at all the basic technical and physical skills needed in the ring, Tyson had mastered all of them at a relatively early stage in his career. He had great technique, aggressive offense and despite what people sometimes think, his defense was actually pretty damn impressive too.
On top of all that, he had amazing power, stamina and lightning speed in his punches. Combined together, you got a fighter who stood head and shoulders above his competition. If only Cus d’Amato would have lived longer, I think we’d have seen some truly amazing things from him that would have eclipsed Muhamad Ali’s career.
In the last part of Tyson’s video he touches upon a crucial point in both combat sports and in the streets:
In order to show courage, there has to be fear.
There is so much trash talking and macho posturing in MMA and other sports that people sometimes forget those fighters are just as human as the rest of us. And they most certainly feel fear (though I’m not sure Fedor feels anything, but I digress…) like we do when the adrenaline rises. Like Mike says: the fighters are never who they appear to be.
Anyway, check out this site and I hope you enjoy the videos as much as I did. I hope they go on to make many more.