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Sunday, May 18, 2014

No Holds Barred: Malcolm X and the Martial Arts and Combat Sports 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman reposts a commentary from May 2013 about the legacy of Malcolm X and its meaning for the martial arts and combat sports.

Plus, added is a new introduction which discusses Malcolm X's emphasis on continuing to learn, adapt, and change, and how this applies to the martial arts and combat sports, especially for the reviving sport of catch wrestling and for those sports which produce repetitive head trauma and brain injuries.

On March 29, 1964, at a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in New York, Malcolm X repeated what he had said many times about the importance of the martial arts: "If you're interested in freedom, you need some judo, you need some karate, you need all the things that will help you fight for freedom."

That building now houses the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, at 3940 Broadway, New York, NY 10032, where one of the many celebrations of the 89th anniversary of Malcolm's birth will take place this Monday, May 19.

Malcolm X also explained the importance of martial arts training in "The Autobiography of Malcolm X", and how the values they teach are part of the overall training in values which "are vital in a person, a home, a community, a nation, and a civilization," and not only the aspect of training in self-defense. The book also discussed his relations with Muhammad Ali, when he won the heavyweight boxing championship of the world from Sonny Liston in 1964.

But the type of positive values which Malcolm advocated are today often not being promoted, particularly in combat sports like MMA and wrestling, and this is discussed.

So the lessons taught by Malcolm X about the martial arts and combat sports are still valid. It is up to us to learn this legacy, and to apply it to what we do today.

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