Monday, January 26, 2009

MMA in NY - Hoyce Gracie Joins the Fight

Mixed Martial Arts legend Hoyce Gracie has joined the fight to see his sport legalized in NY. His Op-Ed piece in the Daily News gives a compelling argument, as well as an abbreviated history of the sport from its days as Vale Tudo to the modern interpretation. In many ways, the early part of that history is the journey of the Gracie family, who are represented locally by Renzo Gracie, who runs a jiu-jitsu school in Midtown.

That same journey proved the inspiration for one of my favorite movies of 2008, David Mamet's Redbelt. I was reminded of this when a friend asked about my take on the movie following my last post about MMA in NY. In Redbelt,  Chiwetel Ejiofor plays an American fighter who has married into a Brazilian family clearly inspired by the Gracies. The film finds the heart and poetry of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Those who view MMA as strictly some kind of bloodsport have missed out on so much nuance and skill, something which Mamet zeroes in on.

Hopefully, lawmakers in Albany can see some of what Mamet saw when they look at legalizing the sport. 

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