MMA

What It Is And What Not It Is

The Mixed Martial Arts, also known as MMA, is a blend of different kinds of Martial Arts developed especially from the Vale-Tudo (translated -anything goes)  style of combat in Brazil. Though they might often be mistaken, they are two different things, as MMA is a more organized, well structured kind of combat and is not as much a full contact sport as Vale Tudo. It includes much more rules and fair play, as well as its orientation for entertainment is taken more seriously within a sportive praising series of tournaments and contests that all have a specific rules, different from the Vale Tudo objective to simply defeat the opponent by knockout.

Techniques

The MMA techniques mix a wide range of combat styles: boxe, savate, Muay thai, Tae kwon do, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Capoeira, wrestling, and much, much more. The result is a kind of combat both with stand up hand-to-hand fight and on the floor combat, and the array of strike techniques is quite wide, from wrists, hand and elbows strikes to feet and knees techniques. Also, the combats involve a series of immobilization techniques originated from professional wrestling and karate.

Rules

One of the most basic standards on this kind of combat is the use of open-fingered gloves, so the the fights are structured in more strategical ways and involve more professionalism as well as resilience when it comes to hand-to-hand confrontation, avoiding long fights and promoting fair play.

However, the rest of rules will always depend on which competition, tournament and country is setting the match. For example, Japan structured MMA doesn’t allow elbow strikes to the head. The time of the match also may vary from contest to contest.

Victory

The victory in MMA is not always determined by knockout at all. Since it has more rules, the judge can decide after a certain amount of time considering the effectiveness of attacks and the effectiveness of defense strategies. Often when the last ones are not intelligently performed, that will count in favor to the opponent attacking.
Other kinds of situation can lead to victory, as technical submission, (when the fighter is in a submission hold where he can get injured if it keeps going on), Doctor stoppage (the ring doctor will decide whether the fighter is too much injured to keep going on or not), Corner stoppage (is the hand throwing performed by a corner’s man when the fighter is being seriously beaten to the point he cannot backlash) and some other situation where the contest goes out of the rules or the physical confrontation is little.

MMA Origins

The Origins Of MMA

The history of MMA would be traced back to Ancient Greek times with the practice of the Pankration combat sport. It is the base of what the modern MMA is today: involves a versatile style of confrontation, large audiences and a combination of many different kind of striking skills. The Pankration would later be the core for sports like the Greco-Roman wrestling, for example, that also influences the MMA when it comes to fights on the ground and the submission of the opponent. The Greco-Roman wrestling is largely based on popular combat and it would influence another strong feature of the MMA combat, the confrontation of different kinds of martial arts fighters that would spread around Europe in the late ‘1800s.

These confrontations were held like street fights, with few coordination and rules and more thrill for the entertainment. At the end of the WWI, this kind of “street fun” got quite popular in USA, the professional wrestling started to establish itself as a business in sports and the trend was spreading around the world.

The Heart of the MMA

For the core of the modern MMA, two different martial arts scenes were essential for the sport to take root. In japan, the wrestling would be settled as the Merikan fight and would develop specific rules. This tradition was then brought to Brazil by the family Gracie, where the sport would in fact develop with the so-called Gracie challenges.

The Japanese descendant family has settle itself in the north of Brazil and they would do there what was already a trend in Japan. However, the exposition to different kinds of artial marts as the Brazilian Capoeira and Brazilian Judo made it more complex and opened to new interventions.
The Gracie family would set their fights especially around the judo and jiu jitsu styles as they adapted these fights to their physical limitations: short stature, endomorphic bodies and more. To promote this new kind of “free style jiu jitsu”, they started the Gracie challenges, from where the Vale Tudo competitions would start to get popular.

The Vale Tudo practice got really popular in Brazil and started to spread around the world. Royce Gracie took it to USA in the early ’00s where it would then start to be taken seriously as a business of entertainment and sports.

What is The Walking Dead

This is a primer to the 5th season of a popular show.

The Walking Dead is originally a comic book series created by the writer Robert Kirkman and visually designed by the artist Tony Moore. Despite being a thematic series revolving around zombies, Kirkman developed a novel alike writing focusing on human nature, as well as the extreme relationships settled in the post-apocalyptic scenario he developed for the universe of the series. The first issue of the comic series was released in 2003 and so far, there are over 20 comic volumes already released. The success of the comics would inspire the adaptation of the story to other medias, like television, a novel series and a video game series.

The Story

Most of The Walking Dead’s plot is settled around the survival of the character Rick Grimes, his family and companions. He introduces the reader to the the post-apocalyptic world of the series after waking up in a desert hospital of his hometown Cynthiana, Kentucky.

He was shot in line of duty and hospitalized but, despite it is never too clear how it happened, it seems to be the result of the imminent chaos spread around America after the zombie event.

During the first volume of the comic, Rick reunites with his family, his son Carl and wife Lori, as well as he establish a relationship with most of the main characters of the series.
The plot’s arch of each comic is settled around how Rick and the survivors will handle their lives and establish themselves once again in the brutal scenario of chaos left behind.
Kirkman develops the story in an elliptic fashion about what is going on in the world outside the lives of the characters, being unclear whether the zombie apocalypse is happening only in America or around the world. As the story advances throughout the series’ volumes, the plot thickens and more complex arches are introduced to lead the scenario of the series to a denouement.

Characters

Despite being centered on Rick’s journey, The Walking Dead has a set of main characters that become remarkable for the story. He will be often seen besides his son, Carl, whose growing up journey will also be a main key of development since he starts the series as a 10 years old kid and becomes a meticulous killer man.
Rick also would met characters like the scavenger Glen, the religious farmer Hershel, the tough and skilled Andrea, as well as the mysterious and iconic Michone, who becomes a second main character along the story famous for her killing with a katana sword.

Some villains of the comics are also famous and iconic for the lore of the series. During one of the first volumes, the introduction of the character The Governor would be one of the most thrilling and well received arches of the series.

A psychopathic and tyrannic alike kind of villain, the Governor sets new grounds for the developing of the series when the story leaves a more centric and character-focused development to a pillage war style of narrative. From 2011 to 2014, Kirkman and Moore would release two novels centered around the Governor.

The TV Show

Though today the comic books of the series are quite famous, most of this mainstream success was brought to the the series thanks to its adaptation to television in 2010. The Academy awarded film-director and screenwriter Frank Darabont teamed up with Kirkman to adapt the story to a television show narrative.

The TV series premiered in October 2010 on AMC channel as a 7 episodes only first season. At the time, AMC was a growing cable TV channel and the budget for that pilot season was moderate. Nevertheless, the rates were quite expressive and the show was promptly renewed for a second season.

Darabont and Kirkman’s work in this first season was not too much far from what the comics have established in therms of plot, despite some character choices have been done for the TV show that would take new turns for the story. This kind of decision making about characters would lead to Kirkman decide to build an alternative universe for The Walking Dead set on the television spectrum. From Season 2 on, what would be seen on TV would not be predictable by the comics.

The show would also have an emphasis in some characters in detriment to others and would spontaneously have its audiences turning some of them into bigger icons. Daryl, who doesn’t exist in the comics, is one of the most famous characters of the show.

Themes

An unanimous aspect of both comics and TV series is the themes that are overall explored. Despite being a zombie story, The Walking Dead is much more about how dangerous and extreme human beings can be. Often the main dangers of both stories are the people alive, something Kirkman extensively develops creating a symbolic relation between the savagery of these undead cannibal creatures and the people who remain alive.

A moral debate also happens when characters like Rick question whether they are good or bad, since they are alive in a hostile world and that requires cold blood and ruthlessness to survive, as well as it brings out the worst of everyone. In both stories we witness Rick’s moral decay, or perhaps, a humanist decay while his persona departs from a figure of law and order to a merciless predator and defender of his band. The concepts of innocence are also explored with Carl’s journey as he becomes tougher as his father and the several episodes of infanticide, also a recurrent theme in the comics and the show. Later, the cannibalism discussion takes place as alive people in both stories adopt as a living skill the habit to eat human flesh, once again emphasizing Kirkman’s comparison of savagery and monstrosity.

However, the comics are more brutal and honest. The depiction of each of these themes is rawer. Also, themes like rape and torture are boldly and graphically explored in the books while in the show they are quite lite or noexistent.

Changes

The TV show would face some challenges after its first season related to Kirkman decisions to change the spirit of the story on TV. Some antagonists characters that would be dead in the first volume would still remain alive in the 2nd season. Also, Kirkman tried to keep it demure for TV when it comes to violence and this was not well received by critics who considered the show’s journey closer to soap opera drama than to the realistic/psychological aftermath of the comics books.

The comics are quite graphic and brutal. While one of the first killings happens in front of Carl’s eyes, in the show it is eclipsed from the child’s view.

(If you haven’t seen the TV show or read the comics, be aware of spoilers about characters and plot ahead)

In the comics, Rick’s best friend and also antagonist, Shane, is later known in the story for leaving Rick to die in the hospital. He has an affair with Rick’s wife and tries to be the alpha man of the zombie Apocalypse’s aftermath. Rick would find out about his betrayal and shoot him in the head before the end of the first volume. In the TV show, Shane would be killed only in the end of Season 2 and not in front of Carl.

Andrea, which is in the comics a romantic interest of Rick and later bond to Dale – another main character – is also adapted differently. While in the comics she is often extremely skilled and resilient, her depiction in the TV show is more vulnerable and nihilistic as well as humanist and controversial than usual, as she will often be polarized between antagonists and Rick’s group. She would have a love affair with The Governor in the show and get killed by him because of her indecisiveness. In the comics she is a regular character and never teamed up with the villain.

Her outcome as a bipolar alike character in the show would even generate some sarcastic backlashes from the fan’s community. Andrea’s picture is often used in disambiguation pages inside the Walking Dead official wikis, in reference to how Kirkman wrote her ambiguous in the show.

Another female character from the comics was also depicted in a radical way in the show, or perhaps, overused. Carol, who dies in the first volumes of the comics and is a fragile mid aged women, seems to actually take Andrea’s personality in the show. She is a recurrent character on AMC’s adaptation and has managed to survive alone, growing stronger and colder as a killer. In the future seasons she is supposed to play a strong, polarizing role in the story of the show.

(end of spoilers)

This kind of controversial changes has lead to criticism of the television adaptation. While the viewers ratings exponentially increased along the seasons, there was some rejection towards these character changes coming from the comics’ readers. Frank Darabont would even be cut off the project after season 2 in an attempt of AMC to solve narrative problems, though is Kirkman who is in charge of this kind of narrative choices and who kept altering the course of the show. The audiences of the AMC’s Walking Dead and the comic’s one have also become distinct from one each other through the years.
The AMC’s show released its 5th season in October 2014 but is still unclear for how long they plan to keep the show going on as the rates are really high and stable. Since the comic series has over 20 volumes, Kirkman is brainstorming to sum up, as well as to skip, many plots to write the rest of the show’s arches denser and closer to a resolution before the show looses its uniqueness.