Randy Couture is one of the greatest mixed martial arts fighters of all-time. He’s simply a living legend in the sport. So when he gets knocked out by someone, it’s remembered. In accordance with this, you’ve got to believe that the jumping front kick Lyoto Machida used to defeat Couture at UFC 129 will be remembered on another level. We’re talking about a victory due to something out of a traditional Shotokan karate manual; it will be talked about for years to come. In fact, it reminds, albeit with a little more flare due to its’ jumping nature, of the recent front kick that Anderson Silva used to fell Vitor Belfort at UFC 126.
How do these Black House guys do it?
Theory 1- Steven Seagal: It’s widely known that the high level Aikido black belt and martial arts movie actor is very good friends with both Machida and Silva, and has been working with them in camp. Speaking to that, Seagal told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani that “we worked very hard on that kick for a long, long time,” following Machida’s UFC 129 victory. “I really, really worked hard on that kick and I wanted him to do that kick; and he wanted to do it and he knew he could and he did.”
Of course, there was recently some talk of Seagal taking credit for inventing the front kick to the face (following Silva’s victory over Belfort), a kick that has been taught in traditional martial arts schools for years. Seagal, however, answered the critics.
“I didn’t invent anything,” he said. “I modified them in such a way that I can think I can make my students and myself in a real fight land them and hurt people.”
Regardless, it’s hard to ignore the fact that both Machida and Silva have given Seagal credit for helping them.
Theory 2- Machida and Silva’s Traditional Background: Let’s face it, there are a lot of fighters, trainers, and fans traveling in MMA circles that believe the traditional martial arts styles hold no worth in an MMA cage (or in the street, for that matter). Of course, Machida is the embodiment of the opposite of that philosophy, with his Shotokan karate background. What’s more, Silva, albeit on a lesser scale, started his martial arts training in Tae Kwon Do and Capoeira. Thus, their ability to hit home with more traditional kicks, etc., might simply be due to their training backgrounds.
But in the end, it’s probably not either one of these things in isolation. Seagal by himself probably couldn’t help the majority of MMA fighters in any way. After all, you have to be open to hearing things from a traditional stylist, which the far majority of MMA people aren’t. Of course, the fact that Machida (especially) and Silva have a background in the traditional styles already makes the types of strikes and kicks they’re hitting home with in matches possible. But their mindset in training is what allows them to open themselves up to someone like Seagal.
These Black House guys do it because they’ve been doing it and are open to doing it. Can’t wait to see what happens next- maybe Chuck Norris will get involved.