Marcelo Garcia and Tuishou Chen Do Karate-do
Disclaimer: Marcelo Garcia asked me not to post this on YouTube at the time. I'm hoping what he meant was "Hey random guy I don't know, don't put this on YouTube in a crappy way that goes against the spirit of the martial arts." Tuishou Chen won't have a problem. :)Being there to see what happened above was very special to me. Being able to record it was special. And being able to share it with you is special.
I'm sure there are things that could be discussed about the content of the video. For example, taichi players, when first exposed to standup grappling, don't have a good understanding of the importance of protecting their legs/sprawling. I certainly didn't. Exhibit A:
That's a clip of me at my first BJJ competition after about 2 months of training.
Instead I'd like to focus on the series of events that led up to me sharing the first video with you.
I think it's interesting to note the importance that movies play in inspiring the young to train a martial art. Before considering releasing the video against Marcelo's wishes, I thought it'd be a good idea to find a biography of sorts to get a sense of what kind of guy he is (he was a super cool guy in person!) I found this from bjjheroes.com. I read that and thought "I was inspired by karate kid too!" I wonder how many people that must be true for... probably a lot. I also got my first taste of the martial arts from karate.
Chess, Josh Waitzkin and the Wu-Tang Clan
Growing up I was really into Chess. I played on the team and everything. ;) I was no Bobby Fischer, but I used to read about him and follow his crazy rants on the internet. I can't remember when but I was also at some point exposed to Josh Waitzkin (have yet to see that movie... read his book though! :) ) I knew about him for his chess accomplishments for years, it was crazy to me when I heard about him "switching" to taichi.
The Wu-Tang Clan was and perhaps forever will be my favorite music group (and legend). I loved hip hip, they rapped about martial arts and I'd hear clips of my favorite martial arts movies in their songs. Good times.
What happens when you mix Chess, Josh Waitzkin and the Wu-Tang clan? WuChess, that's what:
I must have restarted my career as a marital artist with kungfu right around the time the UFC began. I remember people talking about the VHS tapes and... I was never interested. I was sold on all those stories I read in the library (you know, touch of death type stuff ;) ). Well, I trained a lot, got into taichi, moved to Taiwan and, in 2006 got beat (handily) by one of Tuishou Chen's teammates. I thought I was quite the taichi wizard at the time as I had no trouble handling all of my BJJ brothers in stand-up.
BJJ and Marcelo Garcia
I don't know if you'll believe this bit of the story but it's true. While I was in Taiwan and training BJJ a friend of mine was like "You need to check out this Marcelo Garcia guy." So I did. I remember being really into his armdrag videos (either because that's what my friend told me to check out, or that's what I found). The video below is a product of me trying to do a "Marcelo Garcia" style armdrag and take back. It's an impressive video, but... watching it from the point of view that I was trying to do an armdrag... it looks kind of terrible... lol
Also, Marcelo Garcia is like the epitome of taichi expressed in BJJ. Or maybe I should said what legend says taichi was and it should aspire to be today. I say this because he would often compete in absolute matches (no weight limit) and win or rank high. It's very impressive given his size.
This post is quite long, but getting that video involved an insane amount of coincidences which included me winning a car from Ford with free gas for 6 months. Organizing a seminar with Tuishou Chen a few weeks prior to filming it and one of my missions as a "Ford Fiesta Agent" taking me to New York at the same time that Tuishou Chen happened to be there. Funny thing, I was acting all cool and calm, but that free car had been towed the night before and I needed to pick up my girlfriend from the airport later that day, but... I just hung out there like everything was good in the world (and it was). The only people missing were RZA and Zheng Sanfeng.
I can't remember exactly when I made the decision, but I've been on this quest to show how effective taichi can be as a martial art in the MMA arena. My goal isn't to show that taichi is an outstanding stand alone art that is greater than all other arts. My goal is to show that training taichi and taichi push hands can vastly increase to potency of an MMA fighter in combination with other arts (BJJ, Muay Thai, Judo, Karate, etc.) Call me crazy, but I believe taichi would have the kind of impact on MMA that BJJ has had. :)
The video at the beginning of this post was another (magical for me) step in the direction of making that dream a reality. I can't tell you exactly how it's going to happen, but what I'd like to see is a push hands style event that was friendly to other martial arts (Judo, BJJ, Freestyle Wrestling, etc.) I can tell you that Tuishou Chen's organization is interested in bringing such an event to the US. I can also tell you that I'll be visiting and training with their group in February.
Will anything come of all of this effort? I don't know. It sure is fun trying though. :)
Be sure to check out Marcelo Garcia at MGinAction.com. Tuishou Chen also has a website (mostly in Chinese) available here.
P.S. I got the car and picked up my girlfriend in time... it was her birthday too. lol
P.P.S. The quotes at the beginning and end of the video are from Gichin Funakoshi. I'm never surprised at how little I know of anything. I've never read much about him and... feel like I've been wasting my life having not read more about him sooner! Books must be acquired!