Warrior scholar: A Jack Slack primer

This guy has been killing it for so long as a martial arts writer, that if you don’t know about him, then you need to know about him…

JohnClark

This is John Clark, not Jack Slack, but that’s besides the point

One of my favourite martial arts writers. Ok, my favourite martial arts writer, at the moment is the one who goes by the nom de plume of “Jack Slack” and he writes for Fightland. His name is a tribute to bare knuckle boxers of yore, but his analysis of modern fights is bang up to date. Jack’s speciality is breaking down the games of modern MMA fighters with one eye on the past, so he can pick up where techniques have originated, where slips and feints first came to prominence and who were the known Southpaws of their day in boxing, wrestling, judo, jiujitsu, karate, you-name-it-he’s-probably-watched-it tournaments since the year dot.

While most MMA articles consist of nothing but vacuous gossip about which fighter might have failed a drugs test, or who said what to who, Jack gets down to the meat and bones of fighting. Reading his stuff makes you smarter – you’ll learn something every time. He’ll show you how Conor McGregor makes his opponents look stationary, how Anderson Silva can move in bullet time and why Ronda Rousey lost so badly to Holly Holm. In short, he’s a ring craft specialist.

Jack grabbed my attention again recently with a left of field article on animals fighting – in particular how the Mongoose is nature’s greatest outfighter, and, typically for a Jack Slack article, it contains a great quote:

“There is a famous line in the Bubishi, the ancient Chinese text that shaped the way karate developed on the island of Okinawa, relating to the generation of power through the use of weight. It remarks that the tiger does not bring down its prey with its claws, they are just the instrument through which it applies its weight.”

You see? I told you you’d learn something interesting. Just think about that quote in relation to Tai Chi… In fact the whole article is about watching the ways that animals hunt and fight, and what we can learn from them, which is something most traditional martial arts are based on, particularly XingYi.

If you’re not familiar with Jack’s work then here are some of my favourites from his most recent articles for you to get acquainted with (the old ones are good too, but a lot of the image gif links are now broken):

Why Garry Tonon Is the Most Exciting Man In Grappling
Garry Tonon is the hottest commodity in grappling and he might be coming to MMA. We take a look at some of his best moments.

Rebuilding the Web: Anderson Silva’s Shot at Redemption
Anderson Silva is coming back to England for the first time since his Cage Rage tenure and it’s a huge deal. And you know what is even more interesting? Michael Bisping might just beat him.

Stephen Thompson and the Wonderful Art of Head Kicking
Four years after he lost his second fight in the UFC and was written off as just another striking savant who couldn’t grapple, Stephen Thompson had worked his way up to the welterweight top ten. We take a look at the techniques and tricks of the Wonderboy.

Wushu Watch: Lessons to Learn from Aikido
Aikido is the punchline of every joke in MMA but maybe there’s something more to it. We examine the flaws and principles of the Japanese martial art.

The Path of Conor McGregor: Rising Through the Ranks
After winning two belts in Cage Warriors, Conor McGregor was signed to the UFC. His first UFC fights did more to make people talk than anyone in UFC history as he climbed from the preliminary card to the main event in just three bouts.

He’s also started a videoblog called Ringcraft. Check it out:

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