Showing posts with label enson inoue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label enson inoue. Show all posts

November 3, 2014

Enson Inoue's 'Live As A Man / Die As A Man / Become A Man' - Book Review

I have been a fan of Enson Inoue's since early in my martial career.  I remember seeing some old Shooto fights a karate buddy had VHS (that is an archaic recording medium that can now be viewed in the Smithsonian) of and Enson was one of the fighters.  His bravery inspired me, his attitude entertained me, and his fights NEVER disappointed.  From fighting MMA, to rescuing dogs and feeding the needy after the terrible nuclear disaster just a few years back, I have always been drawn to the grappling and MMA legend. So when his self published autobiography "Live As A Man, Die As A Man, Become A Man" hit the market I was stoked, as Enson Inoue IS living martial arts history.

To understand Enson one must have a fundamental understanding of Japanese culture and history.  Enson lives by the motto 'Yamatodamashii' which is loosely translated as Samurai Spirit.  Essentially it is the embodiment of the Samurai spirit they carried into every task, every day and that is whatever you do you must do with 100% heart and conviction.  You must be prepared to die spiritually, emotionally, physically to stand by your honor and integrity.  These attributes Enson finds lacking in the 21st century, again something I completely agree with and can relate to.

The reader is taken along for a ride from Enson's early childhood where he witnessed firsthand the effects of fear and cowardice.  The feeling of despair when a friend needed him and he did nothing laid a heavy impression upon Enson and drove him to never again find himself bowing down to fear.  His candor in sharing his true feelings is admirable and rare as he tackles some of the most difficult questions all men face.

Any true fan of combat sports needs to put 'Live As A Man.." on their X Mas wish list as Enson is the living embodiment of MMA, truly no bullshit a pioneer whose power and influence even I did not realize until reading this bio.  He takes a fight by fight breakdown of his entire MMA history; the wins and the losses.  I mean this is THE guy that handed Randy Couture his first pro MMA loss!  The list of men whom have stepped into the ring with Enson is literally a who's who of MMA, ADCC, and BJJ; Igor Vivchanchan, Mark Kerr, Mario Sperry, Frank Shamrock, Big Nog, Guy Mezger...


His history and unfortunate falling out with the Gracies is detailed, as well as a short stint training with the Machado family as well.  Enson also touches on traditionally taboo topics such as the role of Yakuza (Japanese mafia) in the Japanese mixed martial arts business.  Inoue has been able to walk in both worlds because he carries himself with dignity and stands behind what he says.  Rare attributes in today's society, thus respected by gangsters and police alike.  This position offers Enson rare insights into just how corrupt the organizations like Shooto and Pride really were / are!  Sad and disappointing to true fight fans who want to see the fighters taken care and the organizations follow a legit line to ensure the sanctity and longevity of the sport.

Overall the book is an easy and fun read offering a peak inside the mind of what I would consider a modern day warrior struggling with his identity and purpose.  Enson flirts with being a bit masturbatory in some of the retelling of the tales, and is in desperate need of a solid editor, but overall I think this book is one of the most honest insights into the mind and heart of one of the toughest SOB's on earth.  My singular selfish complaint is that we get only a glimpse of the heart of Enson Inoue, which I can say without doubt, is much larger and greater then his fighting prowess!  Following Enson's life over the years has shown me the generosity and humble serving nature of a modern Samurai where he has dedicated his life to helping out the animals and people in need throughout Japan.  He does not touch on any of his charity work designing and selling bracelets (Destiny Forever), delivering food water and hope to those affected by the terrible nuclear meltdown in Japan, as well as taking a yearly pilgrimage walking over 1300 miles in an effort to raise money for the needy in Japan.    Perhaps these are tales for a second biography  further down the road, but none the less aspects that I think are just as interesting as his fight life. 
To order "Live As A Man" Click here.  For more information on Enson, or to order some of his custom made bracelets (proceeds of which go to charities helping both people and animals) please visit Destiny Forever. 

Enson Inoue's Tattoo's

Since Enson is the subject of the hour check out this Fightland article on his many tattoo's and their significance.  Enson is a pioneer and quite possibly one of the most unique characters ever in MMA and his ink is literally a storyboard of his life.

Enson Inoue: "For me, a tattoo isn't about fashion—it isn't about [having] something that looks cool. It's something that I want to take with me when I die.
    I got my first tattoo before my Zulu fight. Funny how I always gauge things by my fights. I put a little Shooto kanji on my back to show my support for Shooto. That was my first tattoo, and at that day and time, nobody wore tattoos.   I was the Shooto heavyweight champion, so they couldn't banish me from the ring because of a little tattoo. And it was a tattoo that said "Shooto," so it made it even harder for them to banish me.
    The next tattoo I got was a real honorable tattoo, where I put “Yamato Damashii” on my back. That was my nickname. I was a foreigner that still represented the real samurai spirit of Japan. I had two tattoos and they were still allowing me to fight, so it pretty much opened the door for other fighters to get tattoos.
    The tattoos in the palms of my hands mean the most. Not only because they hurt the most..."
To Read the Entire Article Click Here

July 17, 2014

Couture vs Inoue - Throwback Thursday

Here is a great clip of Randy Couture fighting early in his career against one of the best ever... Enson Inoue!  This was early in Coutures MMA history and you will notice the relative lack of exposure to BJJ that he had.  Great job muscling Enson down to the ground, but Randy ends up in his guard with an arm trapped.  Significant because I do believe this was Randy's first pro loss!
  I thought this would be a great teaser for Enson's new book I received to review yesterday, "Live as a Man, Die as a Man, Become a Man." 


September 30, 2013

Enson Inoue and Animal Abuse

Enson Inoue is one of my hero's for several different reasons, but the main important one is because he is a consummate advocate for animals and their rite to be treated right.  Enson is on one of his two month long pilgrimages to raise awareness for earthquake aid (yeah, remember that little rumble in Japan a while back?) and has dedicated the 20th day of his journey to our fuzzy friends (and even those with scales). 

I could not agree more with the statements he makes below.  If you agree make sure to express your appreciation by checking out one of Enson's handmade bracelets at Destiny Forever.  
Dedicating my day today to all the abused animals. To all of you treat your pets like shit wish I could just have five minutes with you on the mat!

Thinking it's cool to mistreat the weaker is not right! Just speaking out for the our furry cuddly friends that don't have a voice.


June 25, 2013

UFC 13: Enson Inoue vs Royce Alger (MMA's Most Underrated Fight!?)

Over 16 years ago on May 30 1997, one of MMA's most historical fights took place in Augusta, Georgia.  Enson Inoue (Shooto champ / one of the earliest black belts in BJJ in Japan / overall awesome cat!!) took to the UFC's octagon and squared off against three time all american Iowa wrestling superstar Royce Alger!  Royce was considered by many to be the protege of Gable and even Enson offers mad props saying Alger is "...Gable's toughest wrestler."  This would go down as being one of the most important and future shaping bouts in MMA history.

You all know I am a wrestling fan, and most know that I have a man-crush on Inoue (one of the pioneer grapplers who transitioned smoothly to MMA), so this analysis may be a bit biased... but that makes it no less accurate.



Back in the early days of bare knuckle UFC one could almost always count on the wrestler shooting without much of a back up plan if it fails, and you can see Enson just about nails the crucifix before setting up the arm bar from closed guard.  He eats a few shots in the process but gains a W in the UFC with one of 9 career submissions in 12 victories.  In other words Enson is the shnizel! 

Above and beyond the arm bar victory this was a historically pivotal fight as Enson got injured in the bout with Alger.  Back in 97 the UFC was still tournament style with each winner advancing throughout the same evening.  By the 13th installment of this style of fight, the UFC realized they need back up fighters in case of injuries.  As luck would have it a very young (the youngest to fight in the UFC at that time at 18 I believe) kid by the name of Tito Ortiz won the alternate bout and replaced Enson who was set to face Guy Mezger.  Though Tito would go on to lose via a guillotine, this scrap with Mezger would catapult Tito into stardom as he would quickly climb the cage of success and become one of the most dominant and controversial fighters in MMA history.

Who knows what would have come of Enson moving on to fight Guy Mezger.  It would be the first and last time we would see Enson grace the octagon, though he would go on to win the Shooto LHWT title, fight the likes of Randy Couture, also throw down in a few Pride FC events.

Now days you are more likely to find Enson at an arts fair where he sells his hand made Yamato Damashii (Samurai Spirit roughly) bracelets which the profits of go to those still in need after the devastating earthquakes and subsequent nuclear disaster in his native Japan. Here is a link to a write up I did a couple years ago on his bracelets! I still have yet to get one and do a review, but check out the great selection he has.  Plus it is hand made by the man himself!!!!

Don't forget your roots kids, Enson was a BJJ and MMA pioneer!
Cheers
Jake