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Sunday, September 22, 2013

No Holds Barred: Stephan Kesting of Grapplearts on MMA, Brain Damage, Concussions, and CTE 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, lifelong martial artist, writer, and producer of grappling and jiu-jitsu instructional videos, Stephan Kesting of Grapplearts.

He has also trained MMA fighters, so a recent article he wrote concerning that sport has garnered much attention: "Does MMA Make You Stupid?"

This lengthy article details the dangers of head trauma and brain damage, including the development of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and various forms of dementia, from combat sports and training where there is striking to the head. This important article has received a mostly positive response, and is being widely discussed.

We spoke with Stephan Kesting by phone Saturday about these issues and the future of the combat sports.

In this interview, he outlined questions that aspiring and current MMA fighters must consider: "Am I willing to essentially have Alzheimer's symptoms at age 40 if I do this fight, if I start fighting, and I start sparring hard with kickboxers and boxers and putting in the hundreds and hundreds of rounds in the ring that I need to develop those striking skills? Am I willing to pay that price?"

We discussed how MMA has evolved to emphasize striking more and more over grappling, the resulting short-term and long-term dangers to the fighters from this change, the need for fighters to make informed decisions about these risks, how this may affect the future of the various styles of grappling and wrestling as well as all the combat sports, how doping complicates the problems of head and brain injuries, and much, much more.

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ONE Fighting Championship. ONE FC is Asia's largest and most prestigious mixed martial arts event. ONE FC features the best Asian fighters and has initiated the ONE Asia Partnership Network, which includes most of the major MMA promotions and MMA gyms in Asia. For more information, go to their web site, at ONEFC.com.

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American Top Team. Whether you're a beginner or a champion, train with the champions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, wrestling, grappling, and mixed martial arts at American Top Team. Check out their web site at http://americantopteam.com/.

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