Do you want to see an "old school" martial arts tournament match that will show you what things were like before safety gear?
This is the title fight of the U.S. Open in 1968 between Jim Harrison (on the left) and Fred Wren (right). Jim just died recently. He was an outstanding martial artist and one tough competitor.
Fred won this match with a sidekick at the end. It is an amazing fight.
A lot of tough old guys like to say that this is when a black belt "really meant something," but I don't agree.
Yes, a black belt really meant something back then. There were not many McDojos in those days.
Yes, these guys were tough and hard as nails. They could probably eat lightning and crap thunder.
But they both went to the hospital after this match. You don't take punches and kicks like this without suffering damage.
I have had a black sash for well over 20 years and I have not been sent to the hospital. I sparred without pads when I was young, and I was injured plenty -- cracked ribs, injured elbows and knees and black eyes.
Something inside of me, however, just didn't want to go too far, and I also tried to make sure I pulled my punches and kicks on my opponent. I had too much self-esteem to get myself hurt or to hurt someone else.
If you required everyone to go through this type of thing to prove themselves worthy of a black belt, a lot of people would very wisely say, "No thanks."
When you are young like Jim and Fred were in 1968, sometimes you just go for it. By the time you get a little older, you realize how useless it is to damage yourself, or other people, to prove yourself to be ready for a street attack that may never come.
Fred is still alive. He and Jim were both excellent teachers long after this, I hear. And also good people.
This match is FUN to watch! They are young men at the top of their game.
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