Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Hanayama Smash!

Baki has just barged into Hanayama's office and issued a challenge to fight.  As Hanayama stands up, Baki immediately kicks him in the side of the head, taking the giant to a knee.  If there is an issue of self-defense or an unavoidable fight, the very moment your opponent moves toward you, you must strike.  If you wait for him to ready himself, or you wait for there to be some dramatic dialogue between the two of you, you are already at a disadvantage.  However, the fight goes no further, as the police barge in, breaking up the altercation.  Baki calmly walks out, leaving Hanayama in the midst of a freak-out.  The monster-size 15-year old goes on a Hulkian rampage, destroying a car outside with his bare hands.  In Hanayama's case, he was born with immense physical strength, so doing things such as demolishing a car bare-handed is no big deal for him.  However, in most people's cases, it is necessary for us to build ourselves up to be strong.  It's a stretch, but there is something we can take from Hanayama's tantrum.

Strongman Exercises and Odd-Angle Lifts

Tearing a tire in half with your bare hands or flipping a car over is not something that most people train to do.  But, if you think about it, tearing, lifting, and throwing are real-world applications of strength that you just don't build from push-ups, sit-ups, the bench press or what-have-you.  Things out in the real world, be it a fight or just helping your friend move his furniture, don't operate as cleanly as they do in the gym.  The amount of weight you can lift in the gym will be significantly decreased in the real world due to body-placement, the size and shape of the object being carried or lifted, and the terrain over which it is transported.  That is why it is important to train with odd things like stones, sand-bags, and ropes in different places like in sand or on hills.  Building "gym" strength, which I would say is maximal strength given ideal conditions is important, but loses its importance if not simultaneously trained with it's real-life counterparts.  

Some examples of exercise in the gym and their "strongman" counterparts or modifications:
1. Barbell Squat-------------------------------Squatting while bear-hugging a large stone or sandbag
2. Biceps Curls---------------------------------Using a towel or rope as a grip tied to the weight
3. Overhead Press-----------------------------Stone or sandbag. Try walking with it while on your shoulder or pressed above your head, maybe even uphill.

Use this as a guide to mix up your training.  Make a note that you will not be able to lift near as much weight during the modified exercise.

Baki Visits Yuri (Injury Strikes)

In the hospital, Yuri wakes up from a horrible nightmare re-enacting the injury sustained while fighting Hanayama.  Sometimes, in training, competition, or real fighting, we get injured.  It's just something that happens.  We can't always prepare for every outcome and sometimes we just get hurt.  It is important not to get down on yourself during these times, but to focus on recovering and what your next course of action will be.  If your injury, God forbid, has retired you from your sport or favorite activity, it is not the end of the world.  Find some way to stay involved with the activity that doesn't include you being in the rough-and-tumble.  It may seem hard, but it is really for the best if you accept that the past is the past and continue on with your life as best you can.  Doing any different will merely frustrate you further.

Yuri's manager comes in, furious that his prized boxer would fight and get injured just before a match.  He threatens to sell Yuri's sister into prostitution and Yuri is in no condition to fight him.  Luckily, Baki takes him by the ear, like a mother might do her child, and kindly informs him that it is easy to pull an ear off from behind if pulled to the front (hopefully nobody's mom ever told them that!).  He quickly retreats.  Pain, without injury, even, is an excellent means of persuasion.  If someone is threatening you, your family, or your property, there are ways to cause pain without necessarily causing damage.  These may include pulling hair, joint locks, or chokeholds.  The key here is one word: Submission.  We'll cover a variety of joint locks and other submissions as we progress, but that's all I'll say about it for now.

Baki informs Yuri that he will be fighting Hanayama soon, and wishes the injured boxer a quick recovery, just before leaving.

It's Goin' Down At the Club

If two people are seriously looking to fight one another, it doesn't matter if it's at school, on the street, in the grocery store, or at a nightclub: when they meet, they fight.  Baki realizes that Hanayama is following him, so he goes to a place where there will be a lot of people watching because it will be more fun that way.  This time, Hanayama deals the first blow... well, the first several blow... ok, he kicks the crap out of Baki!  And proceeds to throw him out the window.  Baki, though, knows he can take a beating and pulls himself back up through the window to continue the fight.  He lays a volley of punches and kicks into the giant teen and takes a couple in return.  It's important to note the difference in the fighters.  Hanayama is so tough and so strong, he doesn't really need to guard.  He's not going to get knocked out and his muscles make it so he can take a lot of body damage, so he lets his opponent hit him in order to be able to grab or hit him back.  Baki, on the other hand, is the epitome of well-roundedness.  Speed, strength, endurance, flexibility, skill... all of them are top-notch, but his strength is not equal with Hanayama's by any means.  Therefore, to fight the beast of a boy on his own terms is not brave, but merely stupid.

If your opponent is strong, you have to be fast.  If your opponent is fast, you have to outlast him.  If your opponent has more endurance than you, you need to end it quickly with power or technique.  That's a bit of an oversimplification, but hopefully you understand what I mean.  But, in order to be ready to beat your opponent with his weak point, it is necessary to be like Baki and improve all around.  Everything must be good.  True, you can get far just being strong or fast or whatever, but in the end, you will meet the paper to your rock--the scissors to your paper--the... ah, you get it.  The point is, in order to be ready for the maximum number of scenarios, you have to be more than a one-trick pony.  And there's something else that happens when your develop everything together:  Synergy-- but we'll talk more about that next time, when Baki and Hanayama really get to fighting.

Good luck and happy training!
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