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5 Reviews
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Modern Sports History
This book is an easy read that provides a detailed history of martial arts in America (North and South). While there are a few early chapters focusing on the transport of jiu-jitsu from Japan to Brazil, and on the advances made by Bruce Lee, the core of the book is really the 1990s. About 80% of the book details the years from 1990-2000, which makes sense since these...
Published on August 12, 2012 by DG

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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Author Missed Some Holds
While in Hawaii on the way from Japan, where we live, I found this book (2011 ed.) for sale in a store going out of business, and was happy to see it. Having started my martial arts career in wrestling in 1966 and going from there to Judo and other Asian arts, I've always loved grappling. I found the book to be extremely detailed in the area of modern MMA and submission...
Published on September 14, 2011 by John R. Himes


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Modern Sports History, August 12, 2012
This book is an easy read that provides a detailed history of martial arts in America (North and South). While there are a few early chapters focusing on the transport of jiu-jitsu from Japan to Brazil, and on the advances made by Bruce Lee, the core of the book is really the 1990s. About 80% of the book details the years from 1990-2000, which makes sense since these were the years the author was around for.

For the most part, the book is very interesting, focusing on the style conflicts in early UFC events. The book also provides good biographical sketches of the originals, including the Gracies, Shamrocks, etc.. As someone who didn't start paying attention to MMA until the mid 2000s, much of this was new to me. Having said that, there is probably nothing in this book you couldn't learn from simply browsing wikipedia for a few nights.

One negative is that the author spends almost as much time discussing the original MMA promoters as he does the fighters themselves. While this is understandably an important part of the history of MMA, it is also really boring. When the author would frequently discuss financing problems and promoter backstabbing, my eyes would glaze over. I can keep track of the fighter's names, but to fully follow this history its necessary to keep pen and paper on hand to track different financiers,promotions, etc.. I refused to do this, and frequently found myself skimming previous chapters or pages to figure out what the author was talking about.

Finally, I still can't understand why the author chose to include several of the last chapters and Appendices. For example, there is a chapter about "a day in the life of an MMA fighter," as well as an appendix of pictures of various submission holds. These chapters, as well as several others, are wholly inconsistent with a book about the history of MMA. Anybody who is willing to read a history book about MMA is already going to know what a rear-naked choke is, and won't need to see a picture of one. I also agree with the other reviewer who stated that the interviews with Abbot, Bas Rutten, etc. felt very out of place. I can't help but think that approximately the last 20% of the book is just added fluff to make it appear longer and more comprehensive.

Overall though, a great book for the price. Very thorough recording of the rise of the UFC between 1990 and 2000. Despite its length, this book can be finished in 4 or 5 days.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic History of my favorite Sport, May 12, 2011
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I've been looking for a book like this for a while. I've read many UFC or MMA fighters autobiographies such as Forrest Griffin, BJ Penn, Randy Couture, and Chuck Liddell to name a few. Autobiographies are great to read if your in the mood, but reading how a sport like this began at its early hisotry stages and where it is today is undeniably interesting. I am almost done reading it and if your looking to know more about MMA and how the UFC, Pride, and WEC began, turn to this book. Great job to the author Clyde for doing his research... This is a book I'm proud to own and have in my library as its truly the fastest growing sport in the world today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great nostalgic look back from an author with a first-hand perspective dating to the beginning of the UFC, November 30, 2013
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Great history on MMA from an author whose material dates back to the very beginning of the UFC. A great nostalgic look back for long-time fans, or an enjoyable history lesson for new fans. This book compares well with the other best MMA historical perspective in my opinion, Total MMA: Inside Ultimate Fighting by Jonathan Snowden
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Author Missed Some Holds, September 14, 2011
By 
John R. Himes (Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Japan) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
While in Hawaii on the way from Japan, where we live, I found this book (2011 ed.) for sale in a store going out of business, and was happy to see it. Having started my martial arts career in wrestling in 1966 and going from there to Judo and other Asian arts, I've always loved grappling. I found the book to be extremely detailed in the area of modern MMA and submission fighting, but very lacking in a couple of areas.

First of all, here is the positive side. Clyde Gentry III has done a tremendous job of writing down the oral history of the modern MMA phenomenon as given to him through dozens of interviews with the participants. His sources for the history of the UFC, for example, are unmatched. For his book he interviewed everyone from various Gracie family members to Dan Inosanto to Randy Couture. So this book is outstanding and literally without peer as a compilation of the oral history of the modern MMA movement.

Again, in spite of listing no original Japanese sources save Kano Jigaro's book "Kodokan Judo" and an article by Kano, Gentry has done a fairly good job of giving the history of Japanese MMA. He does well in describing the influence of Karl Gotch on the Japanese scene, though he entirely misses Lou Thesz.

This brings us to the main fault of the book. In spite of this being touted on the front cover as "The Complete History of the Mixed Martial Arts in America," Gentry appears not even to know the existence of catch-as-catch-can wrestling (also called catch wrestling and American folk wrestling), which is nowhere mentioned. It is inconceivable that a true history of the MMA would have nothing about this style. The above mentioned Karl Gotch and Lou Thesz were both catch-as-catch-can wrestlers. Again, in spite of the showboating and the "worked" matches, modern "pro wrestling" is based upon this style. Again, the incredible record of Abe Lincoln in this style is not mentioned. Again, modern Olympic freestyle wrestling is based on this style. (I remember my high school coach in the 1960s telling us that Olympic wrestling was going to replace our catch-as-catch-can in the high schools.) This list could go on and on. I recommend that for the next edition of the book, the author do some serious research in the area. An excellent place to start would be the classic 1937 book about wrestling in the 1920s-30s, "Fall Guys" by Marcus Griffin.

Another fault of the book is the inexplicable Appendices I, "The Best of Tank Abbot," and II, "Bas Rutten: the Flying Dutchman." Tank Abbot comes across as a foul-mouthed, arrogant, drunken brawler with no respect whatsoever for any other fighter than himself. Rutten is also portrayed as a drunken brawler, though one with serious skills. One wonders if the author is truly trying to sabotage the sport by including these appendices!

Finally, while the author gives a nod to the traditional martial arts in several places, his ignorance is woeful. For example, in his glossary he says that "Jigaro Kano's Judo eventually replaced Japanese Jujutsu" (p. xii). What, no mention of how Teddy Roosevelt learned jujutsu? Again, he writes, "Several styles of kung fu do exist." (p. xiii). The number may actually be several thousand. (No complete survey has ever been done.)

All in all, this was a fun book to read, and sums up an important oral history. But it is not scholarly. (I mean, an article from "Mad Magazine" in the sources? Really?) Because of its readability I gave it three stars, but because of its lacks gave it no more than three.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not complete, January 25, 2014
It started off so good and then just went to total crap.
they leave out so much. With this book coming out in 2011, why do they just stop in 98?
I feel as though there needs to be a part 2 and 3, or this book was just a total waste of my time
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No Holds Barred
No Holds Barred by Clyde Gentry III
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