Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast and the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog.

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

No Holds Barred: Renzo Gracie and Malaak Shabazz on MMA, Malcolm X, and Grappling 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA legend Renzo Gracie, and human right activist Malaak Shabazz, who is the youngest daughter of Malcolm X.

We spoke with them Wednesday at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York. We spoke with them before the announcement Saturday that Renzo Gracie would face Matt Hughes in a superfight at the upcoming ADCC World Championship on September 22-24, 2017, in the Espoo Metro Areena, Helsinki, Finland.

We began discussing with Renzo MMA in Asia, including his classic Pride fight with Sakuraba in 2000, as well as the more recent growth of Rizin and ONE Championship. He noted that these are all "amazing Asian events." We also talked about Tuesday's MMA Symposium at Columbia University.

A few minutes into the discussion, Malaak joined us. She discussed her recent trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and what she saw in the favelas.

She also has known Renzo for a long time, and vowed to return to training.

"Even though I had a leg injury, I am still a grappler," she said.

We discussed her father's support for training in martial arts, and how she and her five sisters had to have training in martial arts and piano.

Malcolm X's advocacy of martial arts training saw it as a component part of the freedom struggle for human rights.

As Renzo pointed out, "You can't demand freedom without knowing how to fight. And he knew that. He was a fighter before anything else."

We also discussed how what Malcolm X advocated was training in both striking and grappling, in other words, in what is today called mixed martial arts.

We also discussed how urban kids, both boys and girls, want and need more martial arts programs; the need for people in the combat sports to study sports management programs in college; plans for hosting more events; and much, much more.

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