Tag Archives: grappling

Ricardo Liborio, BJJ/Grappling Legend On A Mission To Help Blind Kids

Today, I just came across a story that I found to be very inspirational, to say the least.

If you follow martial arts, especially MMA (mixed martial arts), you are no stranger to BJJ (Brazilian or Gracie Jiu Jitsu).

Considered Grandmaster Carlson Gracie’s best student, Ricardo Liborio has proven to the grappling world to be an absolute BJJ legend.

Among numerous titles and accomplishments in competition, Ricardo was also the first BJJ heavyweight world champion.

After moving from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to the United States, Ricardo joined forces with Dan Lambert, Marcelo and Conan Silveiro to form the ATT (American Top Team) in Florida and their fighters have been leaving their mark in both the MMA and grappling arena.

Now that might be impressive and all, but what I really think is cool is the following:

Inspired by his 4-year-old daughter, Bella’s blindness, Ricardo Liborio is holding a summer martial arts camp for blind kids in Coconut Creek in Broward County, Florida.

Ricardo and his team of instructors are teaching 15 kids from the age of 6 to 12. Some kids were born blind, others unfortunately lost their sight later on, like Bella Liborio due a genetic disorder.

Guys, we all have our challenges learning new martial arts moves, maybe even old ones. How about learning new moves you can’t see, because …..you can’t see?

The kids at the summer camp, which is organized by the non-profit organization Lighthouse, have to rely on touch and commands they hear from their instructor.

And because they can’t see the position, their instructor will place them in the position and simply explain how the move actually works.

Once they feel how the move works, they can imitate it and with their instructor’s aid, they can try doing the movement by themselves.

A number of Ricardo Liborio’s blind students have continued their training to win national grappling championships and to actually become instructors themselves.

But what seems to be at least as important to Master Ricardo Liborio is the difference he is making by helping the kids live happy and fulfilled lives.

Check out the amazing person Ricardo is in this video:

Undefeated In Over 9 Years, Judo Legend Yasuhiro Yamashita

Judo is a traditional Japanese grappling art developed by Jigoro Kano, whereas the competitors try to throw or force their opponent to the mat.

When competing in judo one can score points by performing an effective throw, or by forcing an opponent into submission.

Judo players, a.k.a. judoka, will do their best to gain control of their opponent before applying a throwing or holding technique.

Along with such greats such as Masahiko KimuraYasuhiro Yamashita is considered one of the best judoka ever.
When his home country of Japan boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow for invading Afghanistan, Yamashita had a winning streak of 194 (!)  fights to his record.
And there went his chance of winning an Olympic gold medal. Yamashita was devastated and even wept on Japanese television.
As the only judoka  from the 1980 Japanese judo team to qualify, Yamashita got his chance four years later at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Very unfortunately in an early match of the tournament, Yamashita tore the calf muscle of his right leg. This painful injury did not deter him from continuining and winning this and several consecutive Olympic bouts.
In his final match against Egyptian Mohamed Ali Rashwan, Yamashita won the gold medal despite his calf muscle injury and became a national hero.
Noteworthy is also the fact that Rashwan did not attack Yamashita’s right leg. For his act of fairness he received an award from the International Fairplay Committee.
Yamashita went on to be awarded the Japanese National Prize of Honor and  at the age of only 28 he ended his extraordinary with a whopping 203 total victories in 1985.
Ever since, 9th degree black belt Yasuhiro Yamashita has been an instructor and a trusted advisor for Tokai University and the All Japan Judo Federation as well as the International Judo Federation.
I enjoy watching ’16 Days of Glory’. I hope you do, too.

Cung Le And The Chinese Fighting Art Of Sanshou

Just recently I heard about a Chinese fighting art ….. on the tennis court!

As I was talking with a team mate, I learned from him that he had been a practitioner of a style  I had briefly heard about years back, but I never really looked into any deeper.

Until today.

Originated in China the style is called Sanshou (free hand) and at times Sanda (free fighting).

It is both a self-defense system and a combat sport.

Sanshou combines a number of  extremely vital and effective elements such as kicking, punching, throwing, grappling and applying joint locks.

One of Sanshou’s special emphasis is the so-called kick-catch, whereby one person throws a kick and the other person catches the kick and then trips the other person’s leg they are standing on.

Thinking about it, that’s what we even practiced way back in my Shotokan karate days. I just made that connection while writing this.

Sanshou as a sport is regulated by a bunch of different rules depending on amateur or professional status and also on the location of where the fights take place like China or the U.S.

Among all the successful and very skilled Sanshou fighters, one practitioner has really stood out for me during the years and he has without a doubt made a name for himself. He is the Vietnamese American kickboxer, mixed martial artist and actor, simply known as Cung Le from San Jose, California.

Cung Le has won too many titles and championships to list here, but I will mention that he won the Strikeforce Middleweight World Championship by beating legendary mixed martial arts champion Frank Shamrock about 2 years ago. Cung Le actually broke his opponent’s arm by executing devasting kicks during their fight.

Cung Le has been actively pursuing his career on the Big Screen and was awarded a role in Bodyguards And Assassins starring Donnie Yen which was released last December.

I found a video clip that I think you will enjoy if you like action-filled fight scenes.      Warning: It can be a little rough and tough at times.