UnderGround Forums Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA Vol 1

7 days ago
Posts: 80


Chris Dolman: Godfather of ground and pound??

Next up is a battle of the judokas, as we are approaching tonight’s FIRE BOUT with Willy Wilhelm vs Pieter Smit. The pre-match interview shows Wilhelm saying that he used to have some competitive experience against Smit in Judo, but that Smit was a lot lighter in those days. Wilhelm says he’s much more confidant in this throws, chokes, and armlocks, then he is in his striking, so this should be interesting.

We are now safely back into what is clearly a work, and an awful one at that. Here we have two judokas with no professional wrestling, or striking experience, and it shows. This entire fight basically played like gi-less judo exhibition, only it was punctuated by laughably awful strikes on the part of Smit. Sadly, this tripe killed any momentum we had going into the main event.

We are now backstage again, where we find Maeda working on footwork drills, and Virj doing standing shoulder presses with some dumbbells. Virj must have been having a low-carb moment, and forgot where he was, and thought he needed to pump up for the Dutch National Amateur Bodybuilding Championships.

The fight is underway, and Virj fires off several kicks to Maeda, including a nice flying sidekick, straight out of Double Dragon. After this fine display of video game technique, Maeda fires off a kick of his own, that causes him to fall down and clutch his knee, which seems right out of Hulk Hogan’s Wrestlemania VI playbook, in which I suspect will be a stunt that’s used later as an excuse as to why he lost. After showing everyone that he has a weak knee, Virj pummels Maeda in the corner, forcing a knockdown.

7 days ago
Posts: 81

The rest of the match is a one-sided affair, as Virj continues to pummel Maeda, until he is completely out of Rope Escapes, and Virj is declared the winner. Hardly anything about this match was remotely realistic, but unlike the prior bout, at least this was fun, and only lasted eight minutes.

Conclusion: On the plus side, RINGS has the best presentation of any of the Shoot- promotions at this stage, and is the only promotion out of the current three, that is presented in a way that it feels like a real sport. Even though the actual content of PWFG is more realistic, their production values make them look low-rent in comparison, and the UWFI, while the most entertaining by far, is too tethered to the aesthetics of pro wrestling, to come across as seriously as they need to.

The problem, (and it’s a big problem) is that the RINGS roster is basically non-existent at this point. For a Japanese promotion Maeda was the only Japanese performer, outside of Nagai, who is a rookie. It’s impressive that Maeda has been able to get as far as he has with only his name value being the draw at this point, but if he is going to survive, I suspect that he will have to brew some homegrown talent, or I don’t see this surviving in the long-term. In his defense, it was wise for Maeda to put over Virj over as strongly as he did, basically letting him dominate him for the entirety of the match, even though he used a fake injury as a way to save face with the crowd. Also, if they only one you can find is Virj to build around, then you’re probably in trouble.

This was definitely more entertaining then their debut show, but still pretty weak overall. If the talent starts to match the vison, then Rings could easily be the finest of the three Shoot- promotions, so I’m hopeful for it’s future.

Here is the event in full: 

*In other news*

Irvine California: Karrem Abdul-Jabbar recently had a charity karate tournament for underprivileged kids, which featured several kickboxing bouts. During the evening we got to see Kathy “The Punisher” Long do some nasty damage to her opponent Lisa Smith. Long was able to completely dominate her opponent with a plethora of roundhouse kicks, and really stole the show with her strong performance. Don “The Dragon” Smith also had a bout with Canadian cruiserweight: Ian Jeckland. Unlike Long, Don hardly broke a sweat against Jeckland, easily winning a decision against his opponent.

Kathy Long (Right) putting the pressure on Lisa Smith

6 days ago
Posts: 3827

Rings and PWFG were strange to watch at the time but even stranger now.  I definitely preferred UWFI back then, it was more dramatic and OTT, whilst appearing more realistic than most pro-wrestling.

Plus, UWFI was on TV in the UK, named Bushido.  Takada was promoted as a genuine bad ass.

I was under the impression that Ken Shamrock v Don Nielsen was the first televised fight between wrestler and kickboxer that really captured the imagination of the Japanese.

Reading this thread it would suggest there were potentially similar fights prior to that.

Obviously Shooto was around at that time, but how often were predominantly pro-wrestling organisations broadcasting genuine shoots and can you list them?


Edited: 6 days ago
Posts: 82

We have witnessed a few shoots thus far into our journey. (We are currently at 8-1-91). These were all covered more in depth in this thread, but here is a brief recap:

The first shoot was on 9-2-85 between Akira Maeda and Super Tiger (Satoru Sayama). This wasn't intended to be a shoot, but the two biggest stars of the company started butting heads over the philosopical direction of the UWF, and literaly came to blows at this event. After starting off hard and heavy, they seemed to regain their composure about halfway through, only for Maeda to change his mind, and just kick Sayama in the junk. This led to Sayama quitting pro wrestling in disgust, and Maeda getting fired from the UWF. Here is a video...the match starts at about the 7:49 mark. 


The first totally planned/full shoot, was between Takaku Fuke and Thai Boxer, Lawi Napataya. This was completly real, and competly halarious, as not only did they not really think this whole concept through, but Napataya kept having his corner grease him down inbetween rounds. Fujiwara probably thought that this would be a slam dunk for Fuke, but didn't stop to consider that unlimited rope escapes in a small ring would give an almost unsurmountable advantage to the Thai Boxer.  Here is the event in full...Match starts around the 44:00 min mark: 

The third shoot, was the one we just covered between Chris Dolman and Ton Van Maurik. I'm not sure if this was intended to be a shoot, or if it just spiraled out of control, but Dolman lost his temper, and it wound up getting pretty nasty, with Dolman unleashing some nasty headbutts to his opponent. 

The fun thing about covering this from the very beginning, is we can actually take a close look at where all the "firsts" really were in this crazy sport. I'm sure it will be revealing in a lot of ways, as we continue down this path. 

6 days ago
Posts: 3828

Thank you, excellent stuff.  Shame no footage of Dolman v Maurik.  It's 1991 and to date there has only been one properly arranged shoot, that surprises me.  Presumably after the Inoki challenge matches of the past things returned to normal, with normal being pro-wrestling.

Edited: 6 days ago
Posts: 83

The entire match of Dolman vs Maurik is just 4 posts up from this one. It's inside the RINGS ASTRAL STEP II AQUA HEAT video. The 2nd card of the match, and it starts around 22:45.

To be fair, I don't think this was probably planned on being a shoot. I could be wrong, but to me it seems like Maurik didn't understand it was a work, or was being way stiffer than Dolman cared for, but either way, it got ugly quickly.

5 days ago
Posts: 3832

Thank you - didn't look like a work turned shoot.  Some of those shots were a bit stiff but I suppose the new guy was new.  

I note you mentioned earlier Kitao being disgraced.  Is that what lead to Takada knocking him out with the high kick?

That was definitely a moment of work turned shoot - if I'm using the right wording!

Edited: 5 days ago
Posts: 84

I'm not sure why Takada double crossed Kitao. Kitao was strangely very, very, over with the Japanese public for a long time, at least until he had his nose broken by Mark Hall at UFC 9 in 45 seconds. He was a former Sumo champion before going into pro wrestling, and after being fired from SWS in April of 91, he supposedly spent a year becoming a black belt in Karate, and was going into the Takada match with a lot of hype.

I suspect that Takada knocked him out, just to put himself over as the top dog of (pretend) shooters, but there may have been a lot more to it than that. What's interesting, is that after Takada kocked him out, Kitao wanted to salvage his reuputaion as a legit shooter, so he started his own Shoot- promotion about a year later. calling it Kitao Dojo.

They started off as a strictly worked, pro wrestling league, but towards the end they mixed in real shoots with the fake stuff. They didn't last very long, but interestingly enough, Chris Jerico did do at least one event with them.

After shuttering Kitao Dojo in 95, he started to presue real shoots, appearing on the inagural Universal Vale Tudo Fighting event, agaisnt Pedor Otavio. He then had his UFC fight agaisnt Mark Hall, and I think that killed whatever Kakutogi Carrer he could have had. Losing so quickly really diminished his reputation, and it's a shame, becuase I think he had some potential to do well in the mid-90s NHB era, had he taken things more seriously. 

4 days ago
Posts: 85

What does the Legendary Mike Lorefice have to say about all of this? Let's check in:

Mitsuya Nagai vs Herman Renting: Earth & Fire were one of the underrated '70's prog rock bands before they sold out to try to sell records, see Atlantis & Andromeda Girl, Wind absolutely can't be added to the compound, as that has been proven to be doomsday for our ears... Earth seems a lot more accurate for Renting, who was all about grounding Nagai. Maeda apparently had a lot of confidence in Nagai, though putting him in the longest match of the card in his debut against a veteran of 1 match seems dubious. It really did not pan out because the match had no intensity. It was pretty much no-pads sparring, with the standup taking place at distance & the strikes thrown slow enough that there was time to avoid, not that it mattered much. Eventually Renting would get Nagai down, and they'd roll around fiddling with each other's legs. This wasn't terrible, but it's obvious they were trying to do a more realistic match without having any concept of how to make that work beyond being less flashy, which just left us with low impact, loose and/or half speed pedestrian stuff

Chris Dolman vs Ton Van Maurik: This was the sort of odd work you can get when guys who are used to real fighting try to figure out how to alter their techniques. Van Maurik's body punches were hard, and really stood out because everything else was fairly light. Dolman seemed to have a better idea of how to fake things, having done this before and also being a long time trainer. For the most part, it was a pretty standard, not particularly interesting contest, again pretending to be more believable because it wasn't flashy but lacking the intensity, urgency, and impact (beyond Van Maurik's body shots) of a shoot. Dolman was really blown up by the end, but did manage some aggression & explosion on his key techniques, the takedowns & series of ground headbutts. 

Willy Wilhelm vs Pieter Smit: I found this contest to be pretty similar to the previous one, mostly inside fighting with the out of shape, heavy guy controlling the action, especially on the ground. It was worse because whereas in the previous match Van Maurik's body shots were good, here none of the strikes were good and Wilhelm was really annoying with his silly shrieks to fire himself up.

Dick Vrij vs Akira Maeda: A rematch from the first show, that seemed somewhat backward booking as the cyborg now ran over Maeda the way he was supposed to in the 1st match to establish himself as a force in the promotion. Even with the 3 month layoff, Maeda's bad knee wasn't cooperating, and that was the story of the match as Vrij was able to completely overwhelm him after Maeda's knee gave out throwing a low kick in the opening segment. Maeda was able to back away to avoid Vrij's kicks at the outset, but once he lost his mobility, Vrij would just work him over on the ropes with kicks and/or knees. The fans did their best to fire Maeda up, but while offensively he had a few moments scoring a knockdown with body punches & getting a couple of takedowns, he was never able to rise above sitting duck level defensively. Maeda didn't give up, and there was a great moment where the ring was filled with streamers & the Netherlands seconds started jumping for joy as soon as when Vrij scored the TKO with his 5th knockdown. While the least believable bout on the show, it was at least an interesting pro wrestling story match, as well as the most exciting contest. Their first match was better because they were on even footing, but this bought them a third match, and put Vrij in competition for the top foreigner spot even though he was Dolman's underling. 

Final Conclusion:  You can see what they're going for, but there's just nothing inspiring about this show. It just feels like a bunch of walk throughs on the undercard, which is the worst place to be because it's neither the real thing nor supplying reasons why the show is better than the actuality, with a UWF main event tacked on. The undercard isn't anything that needs to be seen, and the main event is a bit out of place in this setting. 

3 days ago
Posts: 3838

There's no real theatre to these fights, they aren't dramatic or really selling the fights.  It's obviously not real, anyone can see that, but it loses a lot of the appeal of pro-wrestling by being a less entertaining spectacle.  Presumably this was because this was a new artform at the time.  I know things improved over time, I have seen Volk Han and Tamura in works that looked far more believable whilst incorporating the more OOT and exciting techniques you would expect in a work.

What are considered the great worked shoots?

2 days ago
Posts: 86

We're still in the very early stages of this project, but as of 8-1-91, we've seen a few great matches. (Worked Shoots). There was Minoru Suzuki vs Nakoi Sano on 7-26-91, (Video Link can be found on this page), and Kiyoshi Tamura vs Yoji Anjo on UWFI MOVING ON 3rd 7-3-91, was excellent. Video can be found here:

There are many great shoots and worked shoots coming up, and part of the fun will be to see how everything starts to converge in the days to come. The best worked shoot (and perhaps the best pro wrestling match of all time) would be Kiyoshi Tamura vs Tsyoshi Khosaka at Rings Fighting Integration 4th on 6-27-98 which video can be found here:

2 days ago
Posts: 12284

Fucking worthless cocksuckers, that INgroove. Their so-called music brings to mind a mariel boat lift maniac fucking a stray cat

2 days ago
Posts: 87

Good news: De Braco. I was able to silence INgroove, and now the video works...lol.

2 days ago
Posts: 12285

Coolio Julio. I’ve never seen that show. Many thanks 

1 day ago
Posts: 3841

Excellent stuff, thank you.  Apologies I was getting ahead of myself - will let this play out and look forward to reading more. 

Edited: 4 hours ago
Posts: 88

Kakutogi Road: The Complete History of MMA Vol 10 "The Most Dangerous Game" 

*Archives of this series and many MMA and PURO wonderments await you at www.quebrada.net*

Greetings one and all!! We at Kakutogi HQ are attempting to make good use of our time in quarantine, by continuing to peer into the shrouded haze that is the past, in an attempt to better understand our future. When we last left off, Maeda’s band of hired misfits, still trying to figure out their brand, gave us a rather lackluster event, but we shouldn’t have any such problems here, as PWFG has been has been blessed with a rich talent pool right from the start, and if nothing else, appear to have a great main event lined up, with Ken Shamrock vs Masakatsu Funaki.

It's 8-23-91 and tonight we’ll be joined within the confines of the Nakijima Sports Center, a multi-purpose facility that was built in 1954, and sadly was the center of tragedy in 1978, when concert goers were unable to contain the excitement of seeing Ronnie James Dio, and a person was trampled to death during a Rainbow concert. Tonight, it will be host to the 4th event from the upstart PWFG promotion and the first bout will be between Greco-Roman wrestler, par excellence, Duane Koslowski, and the ever-scrappy Kazuo Takahashi. When we last saw Koslowski, he had a very fine debut against Ken Shamrock, where his obvious athleticism and Greco-Roman chops gave his aura an air of gravitas and was enough to overcome any lack of submission and striking skills.

The match is underway and after a quick feeling out process, Takahashi shoots in with a nice single leg attempt, in which Koslowski unsuccessfully tires to counter with a kimura. It would appear that Koslowski has been spending some time training with Fujiwara’s group, working on his submission knowledge, and for that we are thankful. The match was very grappling heavy and played out exactly how you would expect a fight between a catch wrestler, and Greco-Roman specialist (absent the striking, of course) to, with Koslowski dominating the standing portions, but Takahashi having more finesse on the ground. While I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking this was boring, I rather enjoyed it, as it set a nice, serious tone, to the proceedings. It was a work, of course, but outside of a few flashy slams, there wasn’t any gaping holes in the action, and thanks to Koslowski, it came across as a serious endeavor, even if it will be a bit dry for some. Koslowski finished off Takahashi with a standing-switch into a rear naked choke. 

Next up is Bart Vale vs Jerry Flynn. This will be only the 2nd professional match from Flynn, having debuted about two years prior in a barbed wire deathmatch for the Japanese FMW promotion. Flynn wound up sticking around the PWFG for a while, before migrating to the WWF and then to WCW, working mostly in a midcard capacity. Flynn was a good opponent for Vale, as he had a similar and size/build, which served to hide Vale’s main shortcoming, which was that he usually looked like molasses compared to his opponent. Flynn did move faster than Vale did, but it wasn’t to the point of the matchup straining credulity. This was very striking orientated, with plenty of flashy kicks and palm strikes, and surprisingly, this was quite entertaining, with Flynn getting the upper hand in the kicking exchanges, and Vale dominating the grappling, but just when the match started to build a lot of tension….boom, it just ends out of nowhere with Vale slapping on some kind of modified neck crank/can opener. Entertaining while it lasted but it ended way too abruptly.

4 hours ago
Posts: 89

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Lato Kiroware: At least Fujiwara had the good sense to stick himself in the middle of the card this time, and give Suzuki, and Funaki some space to shine. This was a bizarre, and strangely hilarious match, between the ever rotund Kiroware, and the forever aging Fujiwara. Fujiwara always seemed keen on being a jerk when he had someone that couldn’t put him in his place, and here we get that, only this time Fujiwara gets to do something that he rarely has been able to do before, and that’s use his opponent for a punching bag. Right away, Fujiwara decides that he is just going to keep laying in kicks, and there wasn’t anything that Kiroware could really do about it. Kiroware was allowed a few moments of offense, but instead of really laying into Fujiwara for being a jerk, he kept it really light, perhaps not wanting to upset the boss. There wasn’t anything good about this match from a technical perspective, but it was a bizarre bit of fun.

Kiroware…wishing he had stayed in school.

***********************************Shoot Alert*************************************************

He’s back! Yes, the Sultan of Slime has returned, and is ready to ooze all over Minoru Suzuki. When we last saw Lawi Napataya, he gave us an absolutely hilarious and our very first fully planned shoot, when he kicked the daylights out Takaku Fuke, while being more greased up than a cholo on an oil tanker. He is facing some stiffer competition in Suzuki, so we’ll see if his antics will continue to succeed. The match starts off with Suzuki taking a cautious stance with one arm stretched out, and the other protecting his chin. This stance later became all the rage with striking-deficient BJJ stylists in late 90s, so it’s good to see Suzuki blazing a trail here. Despite his caution, Suzuki is taking a few hard leg kicks to his midsection, as he tries to find his timing for a shot, against Napataya.

Suzuki was finally able to catch one of his opponent’s kicks, but Napatays is up to his old tricks, and immediately wastes no time clinging to the ropes for dear life. I must give Napataya a lot of credit, for his craftiness, because when they went back to the middle of the ring after a rope-break you could see that Napataya was hesitant to throw another kick right away, so he waited to fire one off, as he was back up into the ropes, and sure enough, Suzuki got the kick, but it didn’t matter as he was able to grab a rope just as soon as Suzuki caught his leg. Suzuki ate another nasty kick to his thigh before the end of round 1. While the powers that be still haven’t put an end to unlimited rope escapes, they at least must have had a talk with Napataya about his grease problem, as his cornermen are on their best behavior this time out, so it doesn’t look like we will have any slick shenanigans this time around.

Round 2 starts with Suzuki immediately shooting in on Napataya, and it almost didn’t work as Napataya leaped towards the ropes like a wounded tiger, and while he was able to get ahold of them, it wasn’t enough to stop Suzuki from being able to pry him off and get him down to the ground, where he immediately secured an armbar for the win. Good match, with sound strategy from both fighters. Had Suzuki not been able to pry Napataya off the ropes then he may have been in trouble, as the longer this would have gone on, the harder it would have been for him to obtain the victory. After winning, you would have thought that Suzuki had beat Mike Tyson, the way he was celebrating. Fujiwara got into the act too, running into the ring and hugging Suzuki, in what was probably the most emotion he had ever shown up to this point, clearly excited that Suzuki restored the honor of pro wrestlers everywhere, from the sneaky grease trap. Apparently, Fujiwara felt vindicated with this experiment as Napataya never returned, and we wouldn’t have another shoot like this until the famous meeting between Ken Shamrock and Don Nakaya Nielson.

Napataya hanging on for dear life....

4 hours ago
Posts: 90

And now… the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Ken Shamrock vs Masakatsu Funaki. This will be the first time that Funaki will be given a main event here in the PWFG with someone that I expect to really bring out the best in him, and I’m looking forward to it. Funaki wastes no time in throwing a kick Ken’s way and pays the price by being on the receiving end of a belly-to-back suplex. Funaki gets up quickly and starts to kick a grounded Shamrock, which causes Shamrock to put his hands behind his neck and start fighting off his back, trying to upkick Funaki, with an exchange that is somewhat reminiscent of Allan Goes vs Kazushi Sakaraba 7 years later in PRIDE. This doesn’t last long though, as Funaki quickly goes back to the ground, and they go back and forth for a bit, until stood back up by the ref. They immediately go to pounding each other once back on their feet, with the best strikes I’ve seen from Ken so far, and Funaki really putting some velocity behind his kicks.

The rest of the fight had it all, strikes, submission attempts, constant jockeying for position, but most importantly, it had an abundance of intensity. They constantly went at each other for 20+ min, and allowed themselves to be stiff, and it always felt like they were giving their all. Even though the finish looks a bit hokey on paper (Shamrock with a knockout via dragon suplex) it never felt anything less than excellent. One of the best matches we’ve seen so far.

Conclusion: Highly recommended… We had a great main event, and a historically important shoot, so for those two alone, it’s worth watching, but even with the three matches that preceeded it not being mandatory viewing, they were still entertaining, so this was a solid watch, start to finish. It will be interesting how things will develop from here. Hopefully Fujiwara will continue to place himself more in the midcard background and leave the spotlight for Shamrock/Suzuki/Shamrock, but that remains to be seen. They could still use a beefier undercard, but out of the three shoot- promotions they are having the highest quality output, even if they aren’t as entertaining top to bottom as the UWFI.

Shamrock Victorious!

4 hours ago
Posts: 91

In other news: The Gracies are at it again, this time with another hilarious puff piece, courtesy of the September 91 issue of Black Belt magazine:

3 hours ago
Posts: 13978
mbetz1981 - 

Thank you De Barco! You're incredible, and these gems belong in this thread. Hart's "instructional" was the most halarious thing I've seen in a long time. Seriously, he makes Kimo's teaching prowess look like Murlio Bustamante. The Super Tiger training was awesome as well. I have a special treat a little down the road... We at the Kakutogi home office have managed to unearth some Shooto footage circa 1988. This was before his first professional event, and Sayama made a Commerical tape wanting to expose the masses to his new sport of "Shooting." It's fascinating, and inclueds awesome training sequences in some hidden monestary in the lush Japanese countryside. 


Looking forward to the Shooto 1988 footage!
3 hours ago
Posts: 13979
It appears the grappling match featuring Masa Funaki vs Minoru Suzuki in April 1990 in the newborn UWF was actually a shoot.
2 hours ago
Posts: 92

I almost forgot! Here is the event in question: 

2 hours ago
Posts: 93
William C - It appears the grappling match featuring Masa Funaki vs Minoru Suzuki in April 1990 in the newborn UWF was actually a shoot.

I'll dig through my vault and see if I have this. If so, then I'll put it up here.