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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

"Bye Bye Trump" on Brave News Blog 

My latest article on the Brave News Blog is up.

Entitled "Bye Bye Trump", it can be read at https://www.bravenewsblog.com/bye-bye-trump.

It is free to read, so check it out.

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Monday, January 18, 2021

"Tokyo Olympics: Going, Going, ...." on No Holds Barred Patreon Page 

 


My latest piece, "Tokyo Olympics: Going, Going, ....", is up on the No Holds Barred Patreon page. A subscription, for the low monthly price of US$10, is required to read it. The article is at https://www.patreon.com/posts/tokyo-olympics-46355092.

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Monday, January 11, 2021

"Call Them By Their Real Name: FASCISTS" on Brave News Blog 


In a return to political and news commentary, I am contributing articles to the Brave New Blog, established by K-Hive founder Bianca Delarosa.

On the January 6, 2021, riots at the U.S. Capitol incited by Trump, my article is entitled Call Them By Their Real Name: FASCISTS.

I also have a sendup of the alt-left called The Alt-Left’s First Food Fight Of 2021.

These are free to read, so check them out.

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January Sumo Tournament Article on the No Holds Barred Patreon Page 


 My piece, "Amidst Raging Pandemic and Tokyo Area State of Emergency, January Sumo Tournament Proceeds", is up on the No Holds Barred Patreon page. A subscription, for the low monthly price of US$10, is required to read it. The article is at <b><a href="https://www.patreon.com/posts/amidst-raging-of-46068096" target="_blank">https://www.patreon.com/posts/amidst-raging-of-46068096</a></b>.


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Friday, January 01, 2021

No Holds Barred: Eros Armstrong on Sumo, Women's Invitational National Sumo Tournament, and Soul Combat 


 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Eros Armstrong, the women's heavyweight sumo wrestler on the 2020 U.S. National Team.

We spoke with her by Skype Wednesday.

Based in Austin, Texas, Eros Armstrong has already found much success after competing in sumo for just a little over a year. Previously she had wrestled in high school and college, and trained in boxing and the hand-to-hand combat techniques of the military. But for her, sumo wrestling is special and "different from the brutality of boxing and American wrestling."

Sumo wrestling, she said, "when you step into that ring, it's like soul combat. It's the only way I can describe it.

"You go in there. You're getting in the zone. As soon as the clap happens, it echoes throughout your whole being. And whatever was a problem in the outside world just melts away. The only thing that's there is that center, your center. You're in the center of the center. And the person that is in there with you is going to move. That is all that matters, is that they will be moved, out of the center."

She added, "You can't really understand it until you do it. And that's the only way I guess I can explain soul combat."

Besides training for national and international competitions, and hoping that one day sumo becomes an Olympic sport, she is devoting particular energy to getting more women to compete in it. Towards that goal, she is working with her club, Dark Circle Sumo, in hosting the first Women's Invitational National Sumo Tournament, or W.I.N. Sumo Tournament, scheduled for March 6, 2021, in Austin. A women's sumo training camp is also being planned for before the tournament, all of which takes place right before International Women's Day 2021 on March 8.

"Women are built for sumo, especially with that lower body strength," she said.

"I hope you're going to tell your friends about sumo wrestling," she noted.

"If you've got sisters or aunties that you want to push around, get them to Austin, Texas, March 6, or before that so that they can get a little bit of a foundation in the sumo wrestling."

We also discussed more on how she first got involved with sumo, how her military and wrestling training were not nearly enough for sumo, how she was "extremely lucky" to find sumo, how she has learned so much from training with Justin Kizzart of Dark Circle Sumo, training and competing during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, how sumo involves people from many different sports and backgrounds, the culture of respect in sumo, how she is dedicating herself to sumo, and much, much more.

Please also subscribe to the No Holds Barred page on Patreon for much more No Holds Barred content on the combat sports and martial arts, for only US$10 a month.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on these sites and apps:
  Google Podcasts 
  Amazon Music 
  Apple Podcasts 
  Stitcher 
  Spotify 
  Anchor

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Fight Shop, home of the Skullz Double-End Bag, the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Fight Shop - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://skullzfightshop.com.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Monday, December 28, 2020

Two New Articles on the No Holds Barred Patreon Page 

If you haven't done so already -- and now most Americans can use part of their $600 check (lol) -- please subscribe to the No Holds Barred Page on Patreon. The first two new pieces have been posted, for subscribers only.

The first and longest is entitled "Can Fury vs. Joshua Actually Happen in 2021?" This article explores the many obstacles that need to be overcome to make what should be a no-brainer of a fight. But (insert rimshot and cymbals), this is boxing. (https://youtu.be/9CdVTCDdEwI

The second, shorter piece is about a 24-year-old Ghanian would-be boxing prospect with a 3-0 record, entitled "Ghana's New Heavyweight, Ishmael Djan". Hopefully we can learn more about the trajectory of his career in the coming year.

There is a lot more to come, and not only on the heavyweights and boxing.

The No Holds Barred Patreon page is at https://www.patreon.com/eddiegoldman.

(Photo of Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2 by Ryan Hafey, Premier Boxing Champions. Photo of Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev by Mark Robinson, Matchroom Boxing.)

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Sunday, December 27, 2020

Subscribe to the No Holds Barred Page on Patreon 

I hope you are staying safe in this pandemic as this ghastly year wraps up.

For about three decades now, I've been creating combat sports media. I've hosted and produced shows on radio, then Internet radio, and next through podcasts. I've had articles appear on countless combat sports and martial arts web sites, and in magazines and newspapers. This coming March will mark 15 years of the No Holds Barred podcast, started at a time when you had to explain to people what a podcast was.

My content has also usually been ahead of the curve, focusing on rising trends, interviews with many seeking to bolster the combat sports as sports and not spectacles, and exposing the many drawbacks that plague these sports. I've earned, the hard way, many accolades, including being named "conscience of combat sports" and receiving a lifetime achievement award about 12 years ago.

But now I face a dilemma. Besides all the problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic and even before it, a grave situation has been facing most media members and particularly those of us in sports media. There have been seemingly endless rounds of layoffs, closures of both online and print media outlets, and continuing marginalization of and chronic crises in the combat sports.

For me, this has meant that many doors that had been open to paid media work either have been closed or have vanished. Much of what is left of the sports media rubble is souped-up propaganda and public relations for promoters, networks, and the like, along with a lot of just plain old dumb stuff. Concurrent with this has been the cancelling, postponing, or major downsizing of many sporting events due to the pandemic.

So where to go next? While I've certainly been slowed down, I'm not yet ready for the pasture, and even Covid-19 couldn't shut me up for too long (to the amazement of some very fine doctors).

Fortunately, one of the things that has played utter havoc with the old financial models of the media has also provided some new opportunities. That, bubbelehs, is the Internet (I still capitalize it).

Thus, after discussions with many close friends and colleagues, in order to earn more income from my labor, I have decided to use the web site Patreon.

This site will enable me to post media, including written, images, audio, and perhaps video, most of which will only be available to paying subscribers. It is also possible that it might include a little advertising, but that may be down the road. 

On Patreon, I would still chiefly be focusing on the combat sports and martial arts, with an emphasis on boxing and various styles of wrestling, along with issues relating to sport corruption and human rights in sports in general. But don't expect much on MMA at all, particularly since its largest outfit, UFC, has metastasized into a vulgar, cruel, and dishonorable spectacle. I would also include new posts, along with reposting some older ones when they are relevant.

This site allows "creators" to set up subscriber-only tiers to access the content. I will have only one paid tier, at least for the start. From my research, I have found that Patreon subscribers are charged an average of US$12 a month. The subscriber-only tier for my work, again at least at the start, will be only $10 a month.

Also, the No Holds Barred podcast will remain free to listen to or download. So please sign up to become a subscriber. You won't find this kind of No Holds Barred analysis and writing elsewhere.

The No Holds Barred Patreon page is at https://www.patreon.com/eddiegoldman.

Thanks, Eddie Goldman

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Thursday, December 17, 2020

Statement from Jim Walden, Lawyer for Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, on CAS decision in WADA v. RUSADA Arbitration 

From Jim Walden: 

“The decision by CAS to effectively ‘split the baby’ is nonsensical and undeserved. Despite overwhelming proof of corruption, doping fraud and obstruction of justice, including a brazen attempt to falsely incriminate Dr. Rodchenkov through fabricated evidence, CAS has once again proven itself unwilling and unable to meaningfully deal with systematic and long-standing criminality by Russia. CAS reduced the ban by half, allowing Russian athletes to participate in international sporting events anyway, and in effect upheld an already-limited ban in name only. To the millions of clean athletes who were or will be cheated by dirty Russian athletes as a result of today’s ruling, please know that stronger angels have emerged and that the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act now gives the U.S. Department of Justice the power to step in to fill the void left by CAS, which consistently trivializes the longstanding and deeply rooted corruption by the Russian Federation.”

Jim Walden, Lawyer for Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov

December 17, 2020


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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

'Sumo East And West' Review from 2003 


[Note: The film "Sumo East and West" was shown at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival in New York, which I attended. I wrote a review of it which was posted on May 12, 2003, on one of the many web sites which regularly destroyed its archives. Despite this affront to journalism, history, and decency, I found it on the indispensable Internet Archive, a resource which should be supported. This review also offered a brief glimpse of the state of sumo in the U.S. in 2003, with the link updated being the only change in the text of the piece from the original.

The film itself is not now available for streaming, according to a recent conversation with its filmmakers, Ferne Pearlstein and Bob Edwards, but they do hope to get it back up soon somewhere. I've done other later analyses of the ups and downs of the World Sumo Challenge and World Sumo League in 2005 and 2006, a tribute to Manny Yarbrough who passed away five years ago this month, and am currently doing interviews about the recent revival of sumo in the U.S., all of which can be found on this site. Hopefully those involved in sumo today can learn from the positive and negative lessons of what has happened to the sport outside Japan in the past. Arigato.]

'Sumo East And West' -- Another Winning Combat Sports Film At Tribeca Film Festival

While many people around the world are aware of the existence of sumo, outside of Japan few know much about its inner workings, history, and tradition. A new film, 'Sumo East and West,' which just debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this past week, provides a stirring, in-depth look at this often closed world. Put together by two American filmmakers, Ferne Pearlstein and Robert Edwards, who admittedly aimed at presenting 'the perspective of outsiders,' this documentary is a film that can make you fall in love with sumo.

Much of the film centers on the struggles of American sumo wrestler Wayne Vierra, who had to cut short his pro sumo career in Japan because of injuries. Vierra returned home to Hawaii, and has also returned to sumo, but this time on the amateur circuit, outside Japan. While Pearlstein and Edwards are filmmakers and not sports journalists, their focus on Vierra and several American-born sumo legends like Akebono, Konishiki, Jesse Kuhaulua, and Manny Yarbrough, is done in the grand tradition of sports story-telling that features the human side of the competitions.

As Akebono said in the film, sumo is not merely a sport. Rather, it is a lifestyle. That is captured vividly here with behind-the-scenes shots contrasting the life and treatment of the newcomers to sumo, who are on the lowest rung of its ladder, and the stars and champions, who are treated like gods in Japan. The difficulties of Americans breaking into this world are dealt with clearly, including the controversial failure of Konishiki ever to be awarded the status of Yokozuna (Grand National Champion).

The film also explores the attitude of the official sumo establishment to women. While the rising amateur sumo ranks include women's competition, in pro sumo in Japan, women are still prohibited from even entering the dohyo, or match circle. Pearlstein related after the film's showing that when they were shooting it in Japan, she had to be careful not to enter the dohyo, lest the Japan Sumo Association revoke the access they had provided to the filmmakers.

This moving film is not a movie just for hardcore sumo fans, which is also its strength. There are plenty of places for that kind of documentation. What is missing, especially in North America, is a good introduction to the sport and its culture. That is accomplished here by Pearlstein and Edwards, who also do not come from the worlds of martial arts or combat sports. They thus speak to the general public, and do so successfully. They also said that time constraints in this 85-minute film prevented them from including some topics that might have interested the more dedicated sumo fans, such as technique used in the matches. Also, they said that issues like allegations of fixed matches in sumo were not broached in this film, again because this would have had them lose the access they did have from the Japan Sumo Association. In no way does the absence of the mentioning of these issues in this film detract from the tremendous contribution it makes to building support for and understanding of sumo.

The screenings at the Tribeca Film Festival were held in a movie theater in downtown Manhattan directly next to Ground Zero. If ever you needed a reminder of the need for greater international understanding, and the destructive power of unbridled cultural and international hate, ignorance, and fanaticism, that is it. Hopefully this film can contribute to greater international understanding. A central theme was the contrast of cultures, especially between the world of sumo, which is immersed in ancient traditions, and the growing Westernization of Japan's youth, as seen by the myriad shots of Japanese youth with bleached blonde hair, Western rock 'n' roll-type outfits, and quite untraditional behavior.

In the end, sumo shows that the culture of the big guys truly has an international appeal. The failure of sumo thus far to get a major foothold in the sports world in America is touched on here. Footage of the 1998 'Night of the Giants' tournament in Atlantic City, which was also shown on ESPN2 and was part of a failed attempt toestablish pro sumo league, are included in the film. Also shown is footage of the North American Sumo Championships, in a distinctly sleazy and cheesy presentation at Hollywood Park, in direct contrast to the solemn and graceful settings for sumo in Japan.

'Sumo East and West' will soon be widely available to the general public. Edwards said to expect it to be broadcast early next year in the U.S. on PBS, although that version will have to be cut down to fit into an hourlong timeslot. The filmmakers have also retained the video rights, so expect a video of the complete version to be available soon as well.

This touching film could contribute to the growth of sumo in America. Since it was shot in 2000, there have been some welcome developments in sumo in America. The California Sumo Association has already hosted two annual U.S. Sumo Open tournaments. The second was covered in the April 2003 edition of Grappling. The 3rd annual U.S. Sumo Open will take place Sunday, August 3, at the Manhattan Country Club in Manhattan Beach, CA, in the Los Angeles area. For more information, go to: https://www.usasumo.com.

So, in the wake of last year's 'The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Mark Kerr,' the combat sports have provided the story for yet another triumphant documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival. That shouldn't be surprising, since many of us have long felt that the drama that unfolds in the combat sports is unparalleled anyway. Now many in the filmmaking world are also discovering that, a development which can only be mutually beneficial.

I generally don't review movies, so I don't have a standard scale to rate them. Whichever scale you like, this one gets the highest rating possible. 'Sumo East and West' is a wonderful, must-see film not only for sumo and combat sports fans, but for anyone who can appreciate a great, true story. Don't miss it when it comes your way.

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Monday, December 14, 2020

No Holds Barred: Justin Kizzart of Dark Circle Sumo 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Justin Kizzart of Dark Circle Sumo.

Besides founding this sumo club in Austin, Texas, he still regularly competes in the sport and is a trustee of the U.S. Sumo Federation.

We spoke with him by phone Thursday.

Even with the coronavirus pandemic still raging, this was a busy year for Dark Circle Sumo. Along with Dark Clan Fight Lab, they hosted the inaugural Consulate's Cup open invitation sumo tournament in Austin on October 10, 2020. Justin Kizzart himself participated in the Second Annual Queen City Sumo Open hosted by the Ohayo Sumo Association, held December 13, 2020, in Franklin, Ohio, near Cincinnati. There he finished third in the men's lightweight division.

With coronavirus vaccines now starting to be available, 2021 looks to be an even bigger year as sumo in the U.S. revives.

So far, Dark Circle Sumo is scheduled to host two important events.

The first Women's Invitational National Sumo Tournament, hosted by heavyweight sumo wrestler Eros Armstrong, is scheduled for March 6, 2021, in Austin.

For 2021, the U.S. Sumo Federation has also scheduled the 2021 U.S. National and North American Championships to be held in Austin, on June 19, 2021. This will serve as the qualifying event for the 2021 Sumo World Championships in Krotoszyn, Poland in September 2021. 

These will set the stage for a major multi-sport event in which sumo is included on the program: The World Games.

The 11th edition of The World Games, usually held staged every four years, was originally scheduled for 2021, but was postponed to 2022 due to the Tokyo Summer Olympics being postponed from 2020 to 2021. Now The World Games is scheduled to take place July 7-17, 2022, and be held in the U.S., in Birmingham, Alabama. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries are expected to take part in The World Games in 2022.

Besides being able to compete on a world stage in the U.S. in The World Games, qualifying events are slated to be held in December 2021, offering another opportunity for American sumo wrestlers to compete at home and build their sport. 

"The year's going to be pretty big, leading up to Birmingham. It is going to be a pivotal moment for sumo," said Justin Kizzart.

"And I think that we have time to really step up what we do here, so that Americans can root. It's here on home soil. So I think it will be exciting for Americans to begin to know the sport, and to start rooting for the different teams that are growing going into the World Games."

And he emphasized, "This is going to be so good for us, so good for us. So I'm excited to see what's coming in the next year and a half."

We also discussed what appealed to him about sumo so that he got so involved in the sport, the need for sumo wrestlers in the U.S. to learn from the training and conditioning methods used by international teams, how sumo bridges the gap between different martial arts, how he started the Consulate's Cup and taught himself about live streaming, training in the 82 winning techniques in sumo, and much, much more.

If you are able to, please make a donation to support No Holds Barred so that the truth can still be told. You can do so at PayPal.me/nhbnews.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on these sites and apps: 
  Google Podcasts 
  Amazon Music 
  Apple Podcasts 
  Stitcher 
  Spotify 
  Anchor

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Thursday, December 10, 2020

No Holds Barred: Ed Suczewski on Sumo in the U.S.  

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Ed Suczewski, a U.S. sumo champion and president of the U.S. Sumo Federation

We spoke with him by phone Wednesday.

Sumo is a sport to which Ed Suczewski, who competed in American folkstyle wrestling while in school, said he was "instantly drawn". He eventually began competing in sumo, and from there his involvement in and commitment to the sport rapidly grew. But it was not his original intention to become a leader in it.

"In terms of getting involved in the leadership, it's not something I ever really set out to do, but it was just a need that I saw needed to be filled," he said. "I felt the federation had been around for a long time, and a lot of the people who came before me did a lot of great things to move the sport forward. But I felt like I had some ideas and maybe a new direction I could bring to the table. So for that reason, I wanted to get involved and just kind of see what I could offer."

Encouraging and supporting the local and regional sumo clubs to host their own events, like the recent Consulate's Cup in Austin, Texas, has helped expand the sport, he explained.

"In terms of a new direction, I've been really inspired by what these different clubs are doing. And I think for the federation to do what it's doing now, which is taking on more of a bottom-up leadership style rather than a top-down leadership style, and giving the clubs the freedom to really push the boundaries of the sport and move things forward, I think is what we're trying to do," he said.

"And so, opening the door more and more for these clubs and these individual athletes and promoters to move the sport forward, is where we're at."

An icon and star of the past of American sumo is the late Manny Yarbrough. He is still the only American ever to have won a gold medal at the world championships organized by the International Sumo Federation, when in 1995 he was the champion in the open weight division. He also won silver medals in 1992, 1994, and 1996, and a bronze medal in 1993. We discussed finding a way for the U.S. Sumo Federation to honor Manny Yarbrough and his legacy. "It can be done," said Ed Suczewski.

We also discussed the notable enthusiasm for the sport from those involved with the U.S. Sumo Federation today, how sumo is very easy for fans to understand while still involving much technique, how unlike some other combat sports "sumo is actually fun" and builds respect, how it is a family-friendly sport, its still untapped potential outside Japan, the need for a sumo club in New York, how it is the sport best suited for the TikTok short-form video-sharing service, and much, much more.

If you are able to, please make a donation to support No Holds Barred so that the truth can still be told. You can do so at PayPal.me/nhbnews.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on these sites and apps: 
  Google Podcasts 
  Amazon Music 
  Apple Podcasts 
  Stitcher 
  Spotify 
  Anchor

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Monday, November 30, 2020

No Holds Barred: Leslie Collins and Laurie Collins of Sumo Kaboom 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Leslie Collins and Laurie Collins of Sumo Kaboom

We spoke with them by Skype Sunday.

The Sumo Kaboom podcast offers a unique and entertaining take on the ancient and still thriving sport of sumo. Mixing discussion about the latest bashos (tournaments) in Japan with sumo history, new developments in amateur sumo in the U.S. and elsewhere, and, of course, comedy, this weekly podcast is both an introduction to the sport and an education in it. And it keeps your interest from start to finish, regardless of how much you know or don't know about sumo. 

Laurie Collins, joined by her sister Leslie who both often talk over each other and laugh as they each speak, explained about the reasons they started a podcast on sumo.

"Initially it was just an interest. And we started this podcast earlier this year," in March, said Laurie Collins. "I sort of pitched it out there to Leslie because I was like, 'I need a creative project.'"

Their choice of a topic for the podcast was obvious: "Sumo is just incredibly fascinating to me."

At this point, Leslie Collins chimed in.

"I would never have gotten it done. She's more of the person who has an idea and follows through. And she actually gets things done. I was like, 'Sure I'll do it.' But then things fall apart. It was mostly her," Leslie Collins said, as they both laughed.

Laurie Collins described more on their decision to do a sumo podcast.

"Let's do this. Let's do it weekly. It might be absolutely ridiculous. But you know what? The more I look into the sumo coverage out there in America, there's not as much as I would like. I have a lot more questions about sumo that are not being answered. So, let's answer them," she said. "And I think I only found one other female voice in the sumo media, which was Sumo Mainichi [from Australia]."

Thus, ergo, and therefore, they reasoned, "Why not? Let's try this thing. And if it fails, if it doesn't go anywhere, that's fine. But at least we're going to have fun trying, and we're going to learn something in the process."

We discussed more on their fascination with sumo and the wrestlers, discussing the sport while in the U.S. and during the coronavirus pandemic, how their travel and jobs as performers and comedians helped prepare them to embrace and cover sumo, the Japan Sumo Association and the International Sumo Federation, the need to expand the role of women in sumo at all levels, their emphasis on the culture and history of sumo and not simply analyzing the matches, how they are not experts on sumo but fans, thoughts on how to grow sumo in the U.S., and much, much more.

If you are able to, please make a donation to support No Holds Barred so that the truth can still be told. You can do so at PayPal.me/nhbnews.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on these sites and apps: 
  Google Podcasts 
  Amazon Music 
  Apple Podcasts 
  Stitcher 
  Spotify 
  Anchor

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The 2020 3rd African Martial Arts Web Seminar is coming November 24-25 

The International Centre of Martial Arts (ICM), based in Chungju in the Republic of Korea, was established on December 19, 2016, under an agreement between the Korean government and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), one of the most prestigious organizations in the world. ICM is striving to become a central hub for world martial arts, and thus has been holding events, seminars, and training camps in many parts of the world.

ICM has also contributed to the revival of interest in African martial arts. In 2018, they held the 1st African Regional Martial Arts Congress in Nairobi, Kenya, mainly aimed at the East African countries. The 2nd African Regional Martial Arts Congress was held in 2019, in Accra, Ghana, mainly aimed at the West African countries. A 3rd African Regional Martial Arts Congress was planned for this year in Harare, Zimbabwe, mainly aimed at Southern African countries, but like so much else those plans had to be revised because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In place of a live international congress, there will now be a live online webinar.

It is called the 2020 3rd African Martial Arts Web Seminar and its theme is "Martial Arts for African Youth and Women".

The 2020 3rd African Martial Arts Web Seminar is a two-day event and takes place November 24-25, for three hours each day starting at 4 PM Korea Standard Time, which is GMT/UTC +9. The starting time is optimized both for Africa, where it will begin at either 8, 9, or 10 AM depending on the time zone, and Korea. Thus, for those in the U.S., it will mean the live event takes place in the wee hours, since Korea is 14 hours ahead of U.S. EST and 17 hours ahead of U.S. PST.

The seminar will be live on ICM's YouTube page and Facebook Live. If you cannot make the live event, the recorded video is expected to be left up on those pages.

ICM has announced the scheduled speakers for all four sessions over the two days of the event. They include about 20 experts on various aspects of the martial arts, mainly from Africa but also some from Korea.

The latest information and updates on the program for the 2020 3rd African Martial Arts Web Seminar is here.

Since this is a webinar, anyone can register for it here.

ICM's YouTube channel is here.

Their Facebook page is here.

Their Instagram is at here.

Hopefully many people from the martial arts and combat sports communities around the world can view this important webinar, either live or on the recorded video.


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Monday, November 09, 2020

No Holds Barred: Martin Stark on World Gay Boxing Championships 

 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Martin Stark, the founder and CEO of the World Gay Boxing Championships

The plan is for the inaugural World Gay Boxing Championships to take place in Sydney, Australia, in February 2023, coinciding with Mardi Gras and World Pride in that city. The World Gay Boxing Championships are open to all LGBTQ people but are also straight-friendly, and thus open to anyone.

We spoke with him by Skype Monday (Sunday in the U.S.).

The origins of the World Gay Boxing Championships are directly related to Martin Stark's own story.

"It literally started last year when I was in the hospital. I have the rare autoimmune condition Addison's disease, which basically means my adrenal glands do not produce cortisol, which is the same condition that President JFK had," he said.

"Now, last year I had hospitalization because of my disease. And to motivate myself, I contacted the Gay Games in Hong Kong to inquire about the boxing program. And they came back saying unfortunately boxing didn't make the list of sports for the next Gay Games" in 2022.

"So I came up with the idea with, well, I've been boxing for a period of time now and I wanted to compete. But I wanted to compete in an LGBTQ sporting environment. So I decided to create the first world, the world's first-ever LGBTQ boxing tournament, and called it the World Gay Boxing Championships."

Next he had to see if there was significant interest in this idea.

"It was just an idea. I started sharing my idea on LinkedIn, and friends started supporting me," he said.

"So that's how it all started."

Since then, the World Gay Boxing Championships was set up as an Australian not-for-profit organization.

In October of this year, Boxing Australia, the national federation for amateur boxing in Australia, announced that they are supporting the World Gay Boxing Championships and will assist with the organization of their events. The amateur boxing rules of AIBA, the Olympic boxing federation, will be used in these fights.

But the goals of the World Gay Boxing Championships go much farther than just organizing another boxing competition.

Part of what they are doing, said Martin Stark, "is to disrupt homophobia, biphobia, interphobia, and transphobia, so that people feel safe to compete in the beautiful sport of boxing, an amazing sport of boxing.

"And I have said repeatedly that by the end of this decade," he added, "I set up the organization to no longer exist. There is less hatred in sports."

Of course, he realizes that this goal remains to be achieved.

"We're not there yet. And we've made some great progress this century, but there's more work to do."

We also discussed plans to increase funding for the World Gay Boxing Championships, plans to develop more grassroots boxing clubs and participation, plans for smaller fight nights leading up to the event itself, and much more.

If you are able to, please make a donation to support No Holds Barred so that the truth can still be told. You can do so at PayPal.me/nhbnews.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on these sites and apps: 
  Google Podcasts 
  Amazon Music 
  Apple Podcasts 
  Stitcher 
  Spotify 
  Anchor

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Monday, November 02, 2020

No Holds Barred: Charles Farrell on Boxing's Stars of the Lighter Weights 

                             

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with our colleague, correspondent, and the award-winning boxing writer, Charles Farrell. 
We spoke with him by phone Sunday. 

While the coronavirus pandemic is still raging in many parts of the world, there nevertheless have been many notable fights involving top boxers in recent weeks.

Among those fights we discussed were: Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Carlos Cuadras 2 and Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez vs. Israel Gonzalez on October 23, and Naoya Inoue vs. Jason Moloney, Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz, and Oleksandr Usyk vs. Derek Chisora, which were all on October 31.

Estrada, he said, "may be the best technical fighter fighting today. He does everything beautifully." His opponent in their rematch, Cuadras, "is brilliantly talented." This exciting, even matchup, where the outcome was in doubt until the very end, made this "the best fight I've seen in the last couple of years," he said.

The impressive knockouts on the same night by Naoya Inoue and Gervonta Davis have invited comparisons between the performances of these two boxers.

"I thought Inoue was the fighter of the night," said Charles Farrell. "I'm impressed with Davis's performance, but I was impressed with Santa Cruz's performance, too."

He added, "We already know that Davis can punch." But he cautioned, "I would say that, anybody that size who is hit with a punch like that, it would have the same effect. He'd knock them out cold. But I do think that some questions opened up that maybe we didn't have before."

After discussing more on all these fights and the current state of boxing, we moved on to Charles Farrell's memoir, which is due out in June 2021. It is entitled (Low)life: A Memoir of Jazz, Fight-Fixing, and The Mob. That led us into examining the connections between boxing, jazz, and the mob, and how boxing can only be understood as part of culture and not just a sport.

All this discussion of these fight of the year and knockout of the year candidates, as well as what might happen in 2021 in boxing especially with the heavyweights, makes this lengthy show the boxing podcast of the year.

If you are able to, please make a donation to support No Holds Barred so that the truth can still be told. You can do so at PayPal.me/nhbnews.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on these sites and apps: 
 
Google Podcasts

Amazon Music

Apple Podcasts

Stitcher

Spotify

Anchor 

 The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Friday, October 02, 2020

No Holds Barred: Jackie Silva of the #LetHerRun Movement on Caster Semenya and Gender Discrimination in Sport 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Jackie Silva, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist for Brazil in women's beach volleyball, of the #LetHerRun Movement

We spoke with her by Skype Tuesday, Sept. 29. 

Because of regulations devised by the Olympic federation World Athletics in 2018, all three medalists in the women's 800 meter finals at the 2016 Rio Olympics are presently barred from competing in this event at the Tokyo Olympics: gold medalist Caster Semenya of South Africa, silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, and bronze medalist Margaret Wambui of Kenya.

The excuse for banning these three Black African women is that they were all born with naturally higher than average testosterone levels than most women, and have sometimes been described as being intersex although they all identify as women. World Athletics wants them either not to compete, to compete in other events than those in which they specialize, or else to take unproven and likely dangerous drugs to lower their natural testosterone levels.

This racist, sexist, outrageous, and discriminatory regulation was upheld in 2019 both by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. Numerous groups and individuals in world sport, as well as advocates for human rights, have denounced and protested against these decisions.

"The Let Her Run movement, the objective, is to allow Caster and the other two runners to run in the Tokyo Olympic Games, in their natural, physical condition, just like any women can run. That's why we started with this movement," said Jackie Silva.

"And the plan is to take the movement to all over the place, all of the people, to know and understand better their situation."

We discussed how all these three women runners "identify as women"; how male athletes' natural testosterone levels are never considered to be too high; the sordid and abusive history of sex testing of women in the Olympics; why sport should be about "inclusion" and "bigger than everyone"; trans athletes and those with "no gender" and how sport should "respect their human rights"; the need for athletes and their supporters to speak up and unite on all these issues; and much, much more.

If you are able to, please make a donation to support No Holds Barred so that the truth can still be told. You can do so at PayPal.me/nhbnews.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on these sites and apps: 
  Google Podcasts 
  Spotify 
  Amazon Music 
  Apple Podcasts 
  Stitcher 
  Anchor

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Sunday, September 13, 2020

No Holds Barred: Brendan Schwab on the Execution of Navid Afkari, Human Rights for Athletes, Black Lives Matter, and Caster Semenya 



On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Brendan Schwab, executive director of the World Players Association.

The World Players Association, part of UNI Global Union, is the exclusive global voice of organized players and athletes across professional sport. It brings together 85,000 players through more than 100 player associations in over 60 countries.

We first spoke with Brendan Schwab by Skype Thursday, Sept. 10. But on Sat., Sept. 12, we all got the horrifying news that, despite a worldwide campaign on his behalf, Iran had secretly executed Navid Afkari on the trumped up charges for which Iran's courts had convicted him. We thus spoke again with Brendan Schwab Sat., in a much shorter discussion, about this execution and its implications for world sport and the place of Iran in it.

So, to keep us all up to date, the first segment you will hear is the shorter discussion of Sept. 12 with Brendan Schwab. After that is the longer discussion of Sept. 10, when again we all had hoped that Navid's life would be spared.

"There needs to be the highest level of accountability in sport for this type of behavior. We need to make sure that Navid has not lost his life in vain," he said.

"There's no doubt that we regard this as a repudiation on the part of Iran of its desire to be a member of the international sporting community. And of course our position is only made stronger by the devastating events of today."

He added, "We now need to see a very strong statement that global sport condemns the use of the death penalty, the use of torture, the use of inhumane and degrading treatment on any member of the Olympic movement, on any athlete, on any person who's affected by the Olympic movement."

In the first part of our discussion, Brendan Schwab emphasized that, while the rising tide of athlete activism is gaining popular support, there are still many sports organizations, especially in the Olympic movement, which are trying to block athletes from expressing their views. That itself has become an issue in this fight for human rights for athletes.

"If you're going to really understand any civil rights or human rights movement, and what does that mean, it really basically comes down to two fundamental aspects," he said.

"The first one is the right of freedom of expression, the right to freely state your genuinely held political beliefs. And the second, of course, is the right to freedom of association.

"And these are two rights that the Olympic movement really struggles to come to terms with. Because what it is trying to be is an organization that is inclusive, and therefore it believes it needs to be autonomous, that is it's self-governing, and it needs to be politically neutral. It tries to avoid the tough questions. It tries to avoid the uncomfortable conversation.

"And that can actually put it at odds with these two essentially inalienable rights, freedom of association and freedom of expression."

These issues have particularly come to the forefront with the worldwide upsurge in the struggle against racism and white supremacy, as athletes around the world are more and more joining in this struggle.

"We are living in very, very important and historic times," he said.

"We have seen with the Black Lives Matter movement and with other causes of social justice in sports in recent times, including gender equality, that athletes will not stick to sports, that athletes are insisting that sport is truly a force for good, and that there will not only be human rights and athlete rights respected within sport, but sport will be a vehicle for social justice beyond sport."

We also discussed:

-- The hypocrisy of the International Olympic Committee, which claims it is for human rights but enforces its Rule 50 which prohibits athlete protests at its events.

-- How the human rights of Olympic and world champion runner Caster Semenya of South Africa, who has naturally high testosterone levels for a woman, are being violated by those entities which are trying to deny her the right to compete as a woman, and force her to take dangerous drugs.

-- What can be done to further the cause of human rights for athletes.

-- And much, much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Podcasts.

Also, No Holds Barred is available at Apple Podcasts.

No Holds Barred is also available on Spotify.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Monday, September 07, 2020

Labor Day 2020 


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Sunday, August 23, 2020

No Holds Barred: Rob Koehler on the Boom in Athlete Activism and Sports at a Crossroads 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Rob Koehler, director general of Global Athlete.

We spoke with him by phone Thursday.

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic upending sports, the massive Black Lives Matter anti-racist protests since the murder of George Floyd, the uncertainty surrounding the postponed Tokyo Olympics, and a host of other relevant issues and factors, the result in recent months has been a marked increase in activism by athletes around the world. And that, said Rob Koehler, is a good thing.

"I think we're seeing some really good stuff coming from athletes," he said. "More than ever I've seen athletes speaking up on issues. They are not taking the status quo anymore. They are standing up on issues."

More and more, athletes are forming their own independent organizations.

"We're going to see it more. And the more athletes speak up, I think the more athletes will come forward, because power in numbers makes a huge difference," he said.

"Everyone wants to see sports succeed," he noted, while pointing out what else needs to be done.

"It's time to change. We're at a real crossroads here, in terms of do we make sports look different? Do we make sports stronger? And how do we do that?" Key to that is "engaging athletes, empowering athletes to have independent collective voices."

For the future, Global Athlete has some ambitious plans.

"We're going to continue advocating and continue to work with the various athlete groups across the world that are standing up on issues," he said. "We really want to see more organizations and want to help support and assist development of more organizations like the Athletics Association, where they are operating independently. We are working with three other sports right now, athletes in three other sports, to move forward and establish a similar structure.

"So I think for us, that's the way we'd like to see things move forward, where athletes get together, they develop their own structure, and they make it a global representation on an international level. That's the way I see the future going to the mid- to short-term."

We also discussed the growing athlete opposition to the International Olympic Committee's Rule 50 which bars podium protests; why athletes are humans first and athletes second; ensuring that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is implemented and enforced in world sport; why countries with a bad human rights record should not be permitted to host international sporting events; the upcoming case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport about Russia's state-sponsored doping program and its being banned from the Olympics; how in light of the ongoing pandemic there must be a realistic roadmap for the return to training and competition in preparation for the Summer Olympics; how a cancellation of the Summer Olympics will have an adverse effect on athletes; and much, much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Podcasts.

Also, No Holds Barred is available at Apple Podcasts.

No Holds Barred is also available on Spotify.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Sunday, July 26, 2020

No Holds Barred: Nate Jackson on the Founding of the Black Wrestling Association 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Nate Jackson, a two-time All-American wrestler at Indiana, a current assistant coach at Princeton wrestling, and a founder and president of the Black Wrestling Association (BWA).

We spoke with him by phone Thursday.

The founding of the Black Wrestling Association is a direct product of the mass anti-racist uprisings in America and the world following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and other Black people. This led to several Black wrestlers including Nate Jackson having discussions about how to respond.

"We were kind of called together, brought together through tragedy. So after the Ahmaud Arbery murder, we sought different ways on trying to bring awareness to Black men and Black people in general being brutalized in our country through overt racists," he said.

Then on May 25 George Floyd was murdered, with the excruciating scene captured on video which was seen by millions around the world. That led to a series of protests, which are still ongoing, against racism, white supremacy, and police violence and murders, which have had the widest support and participation than any such protests since at least the 1960s and perhaps even more than occurred then.

For Nate Jackson and the Black wrestlers with whom he was already speaking, more decisive discussions took place.

"George Floyd's murder was a paradigm shifter, especially in public discussions, just because everyone that I talked to and that I saw around the Internet, everybody reacted the same way. Everybody was in shock," he said.

Now the circle of people participating in these discussions widened.

"We devised a call. And on that call there was about 60 other wrestlers of influence, wrestlers that we thought should be on that call. And this call was facilitated by myself, and we had moderators, most of the founding members. And we had just open discussion," he said.

"And at the end of the call, guess what? We all felt exactly the same about these issues. And in feeling the same, we had a responsibility to do something.

"So after that call came and went, the founding members -- myself, Kerry McCoy, Kevin Jackson, J'den Cox, Kenny Monday, James Green, Gabriel Townsell, B.J. Futrell, Kyven Gadson, and Mark Hall -- we decided to create the BWA.

"And our mission is to inspire, to connect, empower Black wrestlers and allies to grow wrestling through representation, equality, and opportunity," he said.

That was in June. In the brief time since, the Black Wrestling Association has been developing plans to build and strengthen its organization.

We discussed more of what those plans are; how they plan to use their platform as wrestlers to change wrestling and the world; how Black wrestlers need more representation in what is "a pretty insulated sport"; how they are involving some of the Black wrestlers of the past as well as college and high school wrestlers while creating role models for the youth; working to grow the sport of wrestling while striving to do all this; the priority of involving women wrestlers in the BWA; the sad recent passing of wrestling legend Carlton Haselrig; and much, much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available at Apple Podcasts.

No Holds Barred is also available on Spotify.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

No Holds Barred: Steve Nelson on Shootfighting, Sambo, and Wrestling 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Steve Nelson, who fought in and ran the Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation (USWF). In the 1990s, the USWF ran a series of successful events, mainly in Amarillo, Texas, using shoot wrestling rules which allowed open-handed strikes, submissions, kicks, and knees.

Steve Nelson wrestled at Oklahoma State, won two world silver medals in sambo, had a judo background, came from a family of pro wrestlers, and fought in MMA. He was also the longtime head wrestling coach for both the boys' and girls' wrestling teams at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo.

We spoke with him by phone Wednesday.

Some two decades after USWF stopped running shows, there has been a recent revival of interest in it.

"All of a sudden we've got this revival of the USWF. People are wanting to write books on the USWF, write books on Evan Tanner," he said, referring to the USWF heavyweight champion, Pancrase Neo-Blood tournament winner, and later UFC middleweight champion.

"Gong Magazine just did a six-page layout on myself and the USWF in Japan," he added.

While he finds it "hard to believe" that so many people are interested in a fight company that ceased to exist so long ago, he did offer some insight into why USWF remains intriguing to people.

"I think a lot of people miss it," he said, "and it might have to do with some of the stuff that's going on now and how the USWF was handled. We tried to be a company with class, and you don't always see that in today's companies. That's how we tried to handle the USWF because I knew all those guys were role models."

While there are no plans to revive the USWF or its style, he is interested in recent developments in the sport of sambo.

"I'm surprised that sambo hasn't grown more than it has," he said, especially in the U.S. That, however, may start to change. He noted that there are three sambo schools in the Arlington-Dallas, Texas, area, with plans to establish a professional sambo league. If problems such as lack of funding and the need for more sambo schools are resolved, "I think the United States would be in a very high level of everybody else if all this was funded," he noted.

We also discussed more on the history and legacy of USWF, the many obstacles to sambo being included on the Olympic program, and much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available at Apple Podcasts.

No Holds Barred is also available on Spotify.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Friday, July 10, 2020

No Holds Barred: Chris Baldwin on Training in the Pandemic, All Black Lives Matter, and Athlete Activism 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Chris Baldwin AKA the Fight Goddess.

We spoke with her by phone Thursday.

With the coronavirus pandemic still raging and cases of Covid-19 continuing to surge in many places in the U.S., including in Southern California, she has had to change how she conducts personal training.

"I had a mobile training business for the last 12 years here in Los Angeles, and that business came to a screeching halt once the lockdown order came from my Governer Newsom," she said, a lockdown, by the way, which she supports. She thus has had to shift gears and focus more on her Skullz punching bag product.

"Now I've had to do more virtual training," mainly outside, she said.

"It's taken a toll. It's definitely mentally, physically, emotionally, it's definitely taken a toll."

While the pandemic has yet to subside, and there are still a record number of new cases in the U.S. almost every day now, the fight against racism, white supremacy, and police murders and brutality has mushroomed to all parts of the U.S. and around the world. One of the largest and most important of these marches and rallies took place on June 14 under the slogan "All Black Lives Matter," which she attended. The march focused on both the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the fight for LGBTQ rights.

The "All Black Lives Matter" slogan was chosen for an "emphasis even not on LGB, but on the T. So our transgender family members are being murdered, our brothers and sisters are being murdered every single day at an astronomical rate."

While some in this growing Black Lives Matter movement exclude transgender people or even are offensive to them, she opposes such a stance.

"We can't have that," she said. "Your values, our values need to be aligned with unity."

We also discussed the call by unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua for athletes to form a union to fight racism; the recent formation of the Players Alliance by over 100 Black current and former pro baseball players to fight racism and white supremacy inside and outside of baseball; how viable are sports without fans present; the controversy around a proposed Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua fight being arranged by accused gangster Daniel Kinahan; and much, much more.

(Photo by Marna Deitch.)

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No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Combat Sports Equipment, creator of the patented Skullz Double-End Bag, is the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Combat Sports Equipment - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://instagram.com/skullzcombatsports and https://facebook.com/skullzcombatsports.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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