Dawadah has never had a gym—just a heavy bag and a wooden training dummy stored in an East Harlem community room closet. For ten dollars a class, he'll train anyone with an interest in Jeet Kune Do, the hybrid martial arts system developed by Bruce Lee.
Fightland travels to Kabul, Afghanistan, to meet Rohullah Mohammadi, a five-time kickboxing gold medalist who's devoted his life to teaching the kids of his war-torn country the art of MMA.
For two years now, Ottavia Bourdain's friends and family have been witnessing her descent down the jiu-jitsu rabbit hole. So, she figured, why not show them what it's all about and treat them to an introductory lesson?
Mar 9, 2013
Mixed martial arts is unique in sports in having a major percentage of its outcomes decided by a choice: to endure pain and risk injury or to tap out. The science of how pain works within the body is widely understood. What is less clear is what happens
Feb 24, 2013
My husband likes to say that when we first met I was a delicate flower. I think he's just trying to rationalize how he could find himself in a relationship with a woman who could kick his ass. Truth is, there was nothing delicate about me when we first me…
Feb 1, 2013
When I first enrolled at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City I would hear people say how Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a way of life, how it made them better human beings, how they wouldn't ever stop or trade it for anything else. I thought these people we…
Jan 19, 2013
The story is as crucial as crucial could have ever been. We're talking Grimm's fairy tale crucial. A family goes out one day, in this instance to a beach, and a boy, their boy, falls asleep, face down in the sand. Then the boy wakes up to the complete and…
Dec 26, 2012
The Elite Football League of India launched this summer to yawning indifference from audiences in the sub-continent and curious derision from observers in the US. Importing American football—shoulder pads, helmets, down markers, and all—to a country where…
Dec 10, 2012
Four years ago, heavyweight veteran Jeff Monson squared off with riot police at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Here's the story behind one of MMA's best photographs.
Dec 8, 2012
Recently I decided the reason I'm such a huge fan of mixed martial arts—beyond my affection for blood-splattered knockouts and tactical submission battles—is because it gives me the only opportunity I know of to witness a sport becoming itself.
Nov 20, 2012
The perpetual nature of MMA's "fighting season" means fans can't luxuriate in their opinions about fights and fighters for too long. Events like Saturday's UFC come around with enough regularity to turn predictions into dust.
Nov 8, 2012
Junior dos Santos, the current UFC heavyweight champion, is reportedly in talks with Nike about an endorsement deal. The Nike deal would be great for dos Santos for any number of reasons, and not all of them monetary.