Boxing Entertainment General Fitness Martial Arts Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Tae Kwon Do Technique

MMA Defined

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about martial arts and it occurred to me that the term MMA is confusing to many people. Parents continue to put their kids into Tae Kwon Do and Karate schools in large numbers while many MMA schools have fewer students and have to diversify to stay in business. And, there is still the occasional debate pitting MMA versus Traditional Martial Arts.

I personally started with Tae Kwon Do over 30 years ago. I love martial arts and therefore I love Tae Kwon Do, but I learned (the hard way, which is sometimes the best way) that if you study just one discipline you are cheating yourself and not learning everything you will need going forward.

So, what is MMA? MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts. To some this means the UFC, because the UFC has spent millions of dollars spreading their business to every corner of the world. This also means MMA is tightly associated with (sometimes brutal) cage fights. But MMA is much more than this.

MMA has been around for a long time–long before the epic 1993 contest that put the Gracie name on the map . Anytime a martial arts practitioner used techniques from more than one style, they were doing MMA. MMA includes striking (Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Boxing, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Wing Chun, etc.), grappling (Wrestling, Judo, Jiu Jitsu, etc.) and ground fighting (Wrestling, Judo, Jiu Jitsu, ground and pound, etc.), but the most important part of MMA is transitioning smoothly between and amongst these three areas and many styles.

So, that means that time you got in a fight and boxed with your opponent who then took you down and you choked him until he quit, you were doing MMA. The first person to have international fame using MMA was Bruce Lee. Although his striking was amazing, Lee was aware that he had to know more than just striking to win on the street. This is why Lee trained with people like Gene LaBell, and Lee was able to show some of what he knew about ground fighting in his movies.

One of my goals with this blog and my book is to help people to be more open minded about martial arts and fitness. For people to argue about MMA vs Traditional, or MMA vs Boxing, etc. is really a waste of time; MMA is traditional martial arts and MMA is boxing. MMA is learning Tae Kwon Do and Karate, but also learning grappling and ground fighting.

I cover this and much more in my book, Martial Arts For Everyone. Thanks and best of luck with your training.

Defense Entertainment Martial Arts Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Technique

A Great Defense

It has been said that the best offense is a great defense. Last year in December, there were two UFC fights (one of which a MAJOR title defense) that illustrate this point very well.

In my first example, lets look at UFC Fight Night 33, Dylan Andrews and Clint Hester (former TUF 17 teammates) going to battle, with Andrews favored to win due to his superior striking. Hester was more than able to hold his own and the fight was generally a back and forth draw up until Andrews attempted a wide, looping right hand which Hester deflected using a stop-hit block. The stop-hit was so well timed that Andrews shoulder was dislocated and he was not able to return after the 2nd round.

The second, and much more well known fight was between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva at UFC 168. This was Weidman’s first title defense after he defeated Silva earlier in the year. Silva was much more humble and professional in the rematch, but right from the start did not seem to have the same confidence and speed that he has shown for years. Weidman was dominating the fight when Silva attempted a leg kick to try to break the rhythm. Weidman used an excellent stop-hit block to check the kick and Silva’s tibia broke into two pieces, ending the fight in favor of the new Champ.

These examples show how devastating an aggressive defense can be. It is way better to go after your opponent than it is to just cover up and hope for the best. While the Weidman/Silva example may come across to many fighters and fight fans as a fluke, it was a well placed move with forward momentum that went after and defeated Silva’s attack.

After an effective stop-hit, you are more likely to be able to take the initiative and go on the offense. In self-defense situations, using stop-hits allows you to disable your attacker(s) while reserving deadly force until it is truly the last resort. Imagine if every time your attacker tries to hit you he finds that limb less useful (or completely useless). Imagine if you add to that strikes to vulnerable areas so you disable two areas/functions at the same time. It doesn’t take long for your opponent to figure out that he doesn’t want to fight you anymore.

For me, that is the goal in a fight. If you can accomplish this before it gets physical that is preferred, but if you have to fight make every move count and make your opponent regretful.

This topic and more are discussed in my new book, Martial Arts For Everyone. Thanks.

Entertainment Martial Arts Media Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Movies

#DoritoZ Commercial

We filmed on Sunday, November 10, 2013 on location at Umstead Park in Raleigh, NC with a great cast and crew, and put together a Zombie commercial to enter into this years Doritos Crash the Superbowl Contest (

Our entry can be found at:

Here are the credits:

Produced by David V. Nelson and Nikki Nelson

Directed by David V. Nelson

Co-Directed by Ashley Jones and Tsuyoshi Saito

Director of Photography:     Josh Ortiz

Assistant Director:     Sue Thies

Edited by Josh Ortiz and Tom Babb

Director of Information Technology:     John Cloud

Make up by:     Nikki Nelson, Aleya Richards, Megan Patton and Tsuyoshi Saito

Photographer:     Sorng Buntoum assisted by Nathan Buntoum

Starring:     David V. Nelson and Master Kenji Saykosy

Lead Zombie:     Mike Nelson

Featured Zombies:     Debra Nelson and Murry Haithcock

The Zombie Horde:     Tom Babb, Phal Buntoum, Alphonso Dunston, Nina Ehara, Kirsten Ehlert, Crystal Newman, Robbie Newman, Ella Srikhirisawan, Liz Stabenow and Te’ Walker

Thanks to everyone for your help with this project! It was a lot of fun!



A Chip and a Chair

I recently took a trip to Vegas for some fun and some poker, but mostly for poker. I arrived on Wednesday, June 12 and took a cab to the Luxor. I was early and check-in was not available yet, so I headed to the Luxor Poker Room for a warm-up tournament.

I then headed to the Rio where the WSOP was underway. I quickly found a single table satellite game for $175 and sat down to play. The winner would get $1500 in chips to use toward a WSOP buy-in plus $125 cash. Out of the 10 players in I made it to 4th before going out with AK. I am still trying to figure out why I play AK; It looks good but rarely wins.

At this point, I headed back to Luxor and went to their gym. The weight room was more than adequate (unlike some hotels/casinos) and I got a good work out before heading to get a protein smoothie at “Blizzed.” It was late enough so I called it a day (3 hour time difference, so my body thought it was 10 or 11 pm).

The next day I headed back to Rio for another shot at a satellite. This time I played a $75 game with a payout of a $500 chip plus $50 cash. Out of 168 people I made it to 34th, losing with another bad beat (KK vs QJ). It was getting close to noon, and I wasn’t quite getting there with my luck, but I was there to play event #24 no matter what. I put up the $1,500 buy-in and got something to eat before heading to my table.

It was a long, grueling day of poker from there. We stopped for breaks, but didn’t finish day one until after 2 am. My chip stack was very low, but I was very happy to have survived day one and made it into the money for the first time.

The next day I headed in and played for about 30 minutes before the blinds and antes forced me all in with Q8. I went up against QJ again and did not catch. I did manage to out last 37 players who had more chips than I did at the start of the day and I moved to the 2nd payout level as a result. Overall, I am happy that I cashed but would have liked to break into the top 100. I will be back next year for another $1,500 event and maybe next year I will have better luck and even make it to a final table.