Joe Rogan is a podcaster nonpareil, martial artist, UFC commentator, actor, and comedian. The practice of martial arts, when it becomes hopelessly separated from reality, can lead to figures becoming Inadvertent Comedians, generating laughter that would do Rogan proud during his stand-up act.
Take for example the legend of Baby Monkey.
Rogan is on record as saying that Kung Fu (as it is widely practiced) is not among the most effective martial arts. He makes the case here during an appearance on the London Real podcast.
The Legend of Baby Monkey
At some point in time, Rogan had disparagingly referenced a Monkey Fist, as shorthand for those who practiced Chinese martial arts based on mystical arguments and blind faith, not reality. That caught the attention of a sifu named Nelson Chin.
"Joe Rogan says Kung-Fu uses Monkey Fist, nonsense martial arts," complains Chin, who adds "He's right! There is no Monkey Fist. There is a Leopard Fist."
"The funny thing is, Joe used the word Monkey to laugh and mock Kung Fu. Little does Joe know, noone uses the Monkey technique more than the MMA. This leg wrapping [the sifu then apes the Guard position] this is called the Baby Monkey."
Then the sifu breaks out science.
"If you watch Animal Kingdom, you will see that baby monkey wraps the legs around the mommy monkey's waistline and back, 65 percent of the time. And that is exactly what MMA using the baby money - 65% of the time in the cage.
"Now who is the money here?"
Sifu Chin then demonstrates his Monkey Spinning Arm Lock. Chin got one of his students to don MMA fight shorts, try to do a double leg (it was done with all the skill shown by a child pretending to fly a plane), and then executed the MSAL.
In a moment of remarkable unintended irony, Sifu Chin closes with the following: "The difference between a street fighter and a martial artist is martial artists always have great techniques."
Was it a Troll?
The first reaction of many, perhaps a majority, is that this has to be a great troll. With the Asian music in the background, the nonsensical techniques, and given Rogan's wide circle of comedian friends, this has to be an Asian Ari Shaffir.
Rogan himself wasn't certain.
"I think we might be getting trolled," he said. "If it's real. Sir, please come to 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu in LA, and I'd love to try out your Baby Monkey, see if I could pass your Baby Monkey. I bet I can pass your Baby Monkey."
"I mean I'm no killer, I'm no Marcelo Garcia, but I watched you roll and I'm pretty sure I can pass your Baby Monkey. that's all I'm sayin' - you try your Baby Monkey on me man, I'm going to get side control. I bet I'm going to get side control.
"I don't give a f*** bro, I don't give a f*** dude. That dude wants to try that wack-ass Baby Monkey on me. I'll show him what's up. 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, b****.
"That's offensive to me. Here's my thing, it's funny, but if he's serious, yeah if he's serious, it's offensive to me. If he's serious. which I don't think he is, it's offensive to all martial arts because that guy doesn't know what he's doing."
Rogan later clarified on The UnderGround Forum that he was taking it all lightly.
"Watch the video," he wrote. "You get a different, more calmer vibe then by just reading it. Yeah, relax, folks. I don't really want to pass his baby monkey. We were just baked and joking around."
Here's the thing - this is not a troll.
Nelson Chin is a master of Hung Gar Kung Fu, who lives in Sugarland, Texas. He has for decades run a martial arts equipment importation business called Beijing Imports. He has a YouTube channel, where he explains the superiority of his Monkey Spinning Arm Lock.
"The BJJ/MMA armbar is weak, slow, and vulnerable," he writes.
Inadvertent Comedians in Martial Arts
Sifu Chin, and many, many other "martial" artists like him, are high-level comedians, entirely inadvertently. Sifu Chin belongs to an old, dead age, when martial artists argued about what was best, and whoever had the best argument won. They all had the best arguments, so everyone was not just better than average, but amazing.
The heart of martial arts is developing techniques that you can see and feel work, against trained resistance. The heart of inadvertent comedy is developing techniques that there is an argument for the efficacy of, under circumstances that do not allow for full resistance. Make sure your martial arts practice is the former.
And let's end with a smile. The final comment on the MSAL clip is from Sifu Chin himself: "It has been 7 years not one MMA/BJJ show a faster, stronger and safer Arm Bar than MSAL - only trash talk."
Yup, MMA and BJJ are all about nothing but talk.