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I've just watched a good number of fights by Lyoto Machida [W], a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter who currently has 13-0 record that includes top opponents like Tito Ortiz, B.J. Penn, Rich Franklin, and Stephan Bonnar. Machida's primary art is Shotokan Karate (his father is an instructor) with some Sumo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He typically uses a "southpaw" stance (in upright fighting this is usually for the left-handed with right-leg forward).
I did Shotokan Karate daily for 13 years myself (to 3rd degree) and it's about time a Shotokan guy started making it in MMA. He does techniques that are very karate. The front leg sweep is tricky because you have to catch the momentum and timing. The "spinning" back kick is a big tempo but very powerful. The one point-orientation of JKA Shotokan fosters very careful live-or-die kind of timing as opposed to brawling slug fests. A fair number of stesso tempo (same time) attacks of slipping while striking. He bows too!
The trend in MMAs is that fighter must now be well rounded in striking, wrestling, and grappling. I haven't seen much of Machida's grappling (not even with BJ!), but his striking is very good, his dirty boxing is good, his take down defense is good, his take downs are good. Machida plays smart: He plays defensively, elusively but also goes for the points and goes for the fight-ending moves. His sense of measure or distance is good, he know what he can reach and what his opponent can reach. He does a lot of feints and draws out openings from his opponent.
Page Modified: (Hand noted: 2007-07-19 21:41:10Z) (Auto noted: 2010-12-24 22:08:01Z)