T Nation

Last Man Standing

Does anyone watch this? Its a BBC thing (I think, its on the Beeb over here anyway) and I caught it for the first time tonight. More info and a brief preview here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/lastmanstanding/

Basically they send a boxer, a modern pentathlete, a submission wrestler, a rugby player and a soccer player, all from the US or the UK, to participate in various brutal tribal sports. Tonight’s was stick fighting with the Suri in Ethiopia. It was awesome, I have never seen anything like it. Does anyone know anything about it, it didn’t seem all that skillful, valuing brute aggression above everything else.

In fact, one of the most interesting things I thought was that you could predict the winner from the beginning. The guys who didn’t care if they got hurt and actually wanted to do harm, rather than doing it just to win, if you see what I mean, were the ones that succeeded. Do you think that is true of combat in general, or is there a place for the thinking athlete?

I saw some episodes from the first season. It is really cool isn’t it?

I remember an episode where they had to do some type of weird wrestling where if you fell down even to your knees you lost. The tribe they were staying with was kind of nuts! They had a shaman tell the big black dude that he was selected by the spirits and would win for them or something like that! The whole tribe was counting on him to win, and if I remember correctly, he lost. Now that’s pressure!

As to your question of the attitude of combat, there has to be a balance. If all you want to do is kill someone and you come out overly aggressive and go fucking psycho on a guy, and he remains calm, defends himself for a while and waits until you overextend yourself or gas out if it goes long enough, he can capitalize on that.

Focused aggression with a rational purpose behind it is usually the way to go.

Then again, this is speaking of more technical combat. If you were a soldier and had weapons, it’s probably better to just go psycho!

In general, the less lethal and physical the type of combat is (think knife fighting vs jiu jitsu), the more time there is to think, and those are the times when the thinking athlete can shine.

Thats my opinion at least.

I concur with rob, for the most part except that I think the higher trained you are the more patience you learn to exercise even in weaponed combat.

Knife fighting for instance if you have a knife and rush an experienced knife fighter aggressively expecting to overwhelm them you’ll be on the ground bleeding profusely in a matter of moments.

Aggression needs to be controlled and unleashed at the right moments. It’s a powerful ally just as rob said earlier

Even when attempting to overwhelm an opponent with force it has to be done in a very methodical way.

I think it has to do more with the mindset of the opponent. The person who’s only prepared to return tit for tat won’t win. The person who is willing to one up you no matter one is the obvious winner because their mindset is beyond winning and losing. It’s the utter destruction of your will that they want. Allowing this to control you and make you lose all technique is pretty shitty (depending on the rules of the competition) but generally you NEED that extra “something”.

I think i mentioned this before

Fedor says he remembers being poor, cold, hungry with nothing to eat (and we’re talking RUSSIAN poor here)… he imagines his opponent is trying to put him into that former state whenever he fights.

Dan Gable when he went 100-0 in matches said he visualized every opponent was the guy who killed his sister in their family home.

I can’t think of any great fighters that didn’t have some sort of “kill” switch. While they’re still methodical and utilize great skill rather than just aggression to defeat their opponents the difference in mindset is a STARK contrast to some things you hear.

Anyway if you like their stickfighting, look into Dog Brothers stickfighting.

[quote]Xen Nova wrote:
Anyway if you like their stickfighting, look into Dog Brothers stickfighting.

Yeah I have in the past, but its quite hard to come by I think. There is a place near me that teaches “filipino stick fighting”, but I haven’t been able to find out what it is and they only train once a week for an hour.

This weeks episode was the wrestling one referred to above. The question I was left with this week was whether certain styles require more brain power than others?! The weaker guys all seemed quite sure they could learn to outthink their brawnier opponents in wrestling, which didn’t seem an option in the stick fighting.