He Was Deadly in Cha-Cha, Too

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It should surprise no one that the actor Cole Horibe, cast asBruce Lee in David Henry Hwang’s new play, “Kung Fu,” about Lee’s remarkable career, was a contestant on the reality show “So You Think You Can Dance.” Lee’s fighting in movies like “Enter the Dragon” that established him as a martial arts legend always mixed brutality with a balletic elegance. And Lee himself was a dancer, even, believe it or not, winning a cha-cha competition in 1958.

Directed by Leigh Silverman with choreography by Sonya Tayeh, this Signature Theater production does not include songs, but rather uses martial arts, Chinese opera and dance to tell the story of Lee’s life, which was startlingly short. After starring in only a few movies, he died at 32. Doctors concluded it was a brain edema that was a reaction to a medication, although considering his fame, it’s inevitable that this news sparked a cottage industry of alternative theories, ranging from conspiracy to curses.

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From Easy Mark to Street Fighter

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“MOVE slowly,” the instructor cautioned as students of the Krav Maga Institute, grouped in twos, moved menacingly toward each other. “We don’t want to hit our partner.”

Krav maga, meaning “contact combat” in Hebrew and pronounced krahv ma-GAH, is a hand-to-hand martial art that has been used in Israeli military training since the 1940s. Classes in New York teach the grappling moves, but with more of an emphasis on urban self-defense and exercise. At a Midtown studio one recent weeknight, a class focused on escaping chokeholds.

The instructor, Josh Greenwood, had demonstrated a rapid sequence of movements that would break the lock of an attacker’s grasp and disable that person. The routine — throw up the arm, twist out of the grasp and send ahammerfist punch to the attacker’s face — included the bare basics. But Mr. Greenwood encouraged students to add another punch or two for good measure. (“Anything after the hammerfist is icing on the cake,” he said.)

The routine was exacted in slow motion, each step mimed with deliberate intensity, and concluded once the attacker was subdued and the defender had moved safely out of the way, scanning for other possible threats.

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Krav maga classes come with a cardio workout. Melanie Fidler for The New York Times

The sole woman in the class, Pallavi Pal, 23, an analyst at a credit-rating agency, got into it quickly, accidentally knocking her partner in the face. (In intermediate and advanced classes, like this one, students usually wear mouth guards and protective cups.) At 5 feet tall, Ms. Pal was the shortest person in the room by at least a head, though fiery and intimidating in her own right.

“In movies, you never see small, petite people, who look defenseless, being able to defend themselves,” she said. “But for a lot of these techniques, you don’t necessarily have to be ripped and buff and really tall to pull them off.”

While many krav maga classes focus on aggressive defense moves — how to deflect a knife or gun attack, and when to use a kick to the chest or a knee to the groin — all come with some cardio workout, stretching and games meant to keep the class social and fun.

Often the drills and games are precursors to the techniques being taught, a subconscious warm-up of the muscles and reflexes.

“That way, when they start work on the technique, they’re halfway there,” said Patrick Lockton, who founded the Krav Maga Institute in New York two years ago.

“People never join for just the fitness,” Mr. Lockton said. “They want to learn something. The workout is a byproduct.”

This holistic approach appealed to Brian Lieberman, a 30-year-old security consultant who took up krav maga because it was intellectually and physically engaging. “I used to get bored running and weight lifting,” he said.

The moves are meant to be instinctual and easy to pick up, as time for training is limited in the military. When that training is adapted to day-to-day life in New York, it gives people practical knowledge for dealing with dangerous situations, Mr. Lockton said.

“You can defuse or walk away from 90 percent of situations,” Mr. Lockton said. Krav maga, he added, “is for that other 10 percent.”

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Dana White backs bid for ban on TRT

LOS ANGELES — UFC president Dana White is “thrilled” by the Association of Ringside Physicians’ call for the elimination of testosterone replacement therapy in mixed martial arts.
White still believes the UFC can’t be solely in charge of eliminating steroid users from its bouts, saying government athletic commissions should close the TRT loophole permanently.
“The doctors came out and said they want to ban it? Well, that’s the answer,” White told The Associated Press on Monday. “It’s legal in the sport. The commissions let you do it. You get an exemption, and you have to be monitored and all the stuff that’s going on, but if they’re going to do away with it? There you go. It’s a problem solved.”
The ARP is an association of ringside doctors involved in boxing and MMA — the so-called combat sports. The organization’s consensus statement calls for the elimination of therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone, a thorny issue in MMA circles for years.
“Steroid use of any type, including unmerited testosterone, significantly increases the safety and health risk to combat sports athletes and their opponents,” the ARP’s statement said. “TRT in a combat sports athlete may also create an unfair advantage contradictory to the integrity of sport.”
Several UFC fighters in recent years have been given exemptions by athletic commissions to use synthetic testosterone before their bouts, including veteran stars Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort and Frank Mir. The exemptions were granted ostensibly for medical reasons, including a supposed deficiency in naturally occurring testosterone caused by hypogonadism — a diminished function of the gonads.
Well before the ARP added its influential voice to the chorus against TRT, many medical professionals have questioned the legitimacy of such exemptions, particularly for professional cage fighters.
“The incidence of hypogonadism requiring the use of testosterone replacement therapy in professional athletes is extraordinarily rare,” the ARP’s statement said. “Accordingly, the use of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone in a professional boxer or mixed martial artist is rarely justified.”
White knows the UFC’s next showdown with TRT use is imminent, and he hopes the Nevada State Athletic Commission won’t grant an exemption to Belfort, who is scheduled to fight Chris Weidman for the middleweight title in Las Vegas later this year.
The 36-year-old Belfort, who failed a steroid test in Nevada several years ago, has improbably revitalized his career with three spectacular stoppage victories in his native Brazil. Belfort knocked out the 43-year-old Henderson with a head kick in the first round last November in Goiania, Brazil, earning a title shot.
Belfort has been open about his TRT use for the past year, while Henderson has acknowledged it for several years.
“He drives me crazy, and me and Vitor were not on good terms a few months ago,” White said. “Just because this whole TRT thing, I think, is unfair, and I said we’re going to test the living (daylights) out of him (during training). And we have, and he has complied, and he has been within the limits he’s supposed to have.”
Although the UFC tests its fighters when they sign contracts and adds additional in-house testing before certain fights, White said he’s wary of completely stepping in front of government regulators on the issue. When the UFC stages fight cards in areas with no appropriate athletic commission, the promotion acts as its own regulator.
“We couldn’t be more proactive,” White said. “Drugs hurt us. Hurts our sport. Let alone our perception in the media and everything — it destroys great athletes. Drugs destroy great athletes, because once you start on them, you can never get off them. You’re on them for the rest of your career.”
Other prominent fighters believe the UFC should be doing more.
Georges St-Pierre, the UFC’s longtime welterweight champion before stepping away from the sport late last year, re-ignited the public discussion of drug testing in MMA earlier this month with criticism of the UFC’s current testing policies, calling them ineffective and beatable. St-Pierre believes performance-enhancing drugs are still a major problem in MMA.
Tim Kennedy, a rising UFC middleweight and former Army Green Beret, hailed Monday’s statement from the ARP in a post on his Twitter account: “So the Association for Ringside Physicians supports elimination of TRT in MMA, the fighters want it gone. Only the cheaters want to keep it.”
UFC middleweight Bubba McDaniel echoed Kennedy’s sentiments in a post on his Facebook fan page: “If you have abused Steroids so long that you need TRT to remain normal. Your time is up because you’ve CHEATED long enough!!”

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UFC Fight Night 35 Preview

The Sport Addiction

ufc_fn35The year continues for the UFC with the second event in 2014 and the first meant for North American viewers. With the better time frame for fans in North America the UFC has put together a fight card full of up and coming fighters that will all look to make an impression at UFC Fight Night 35. Two of these fighters will face off in the first North American fight looking to start their years off with wins. Luke Rockhold and Costas Philippou will be hoping to take advantage of a new look middleweight division. The end of 2013 would bring a new era in the middleweight division as Anderson Silva would fall for a second time. For the first time since 2007 a new year will start without Anderson Silva holding the Middleweight belt. Instead Chris Weidman is taking his turn at the top of the division and is…

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Jon Jones plans next defense April 26

A light heavyweight title fight in Baltimore between Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira has been booked for UFC 172 on April 26.

UFC officials on Friday confirmed a report by the Baltimore Sun that Jones’ seventh title defense will come at Baltimore Arena.

The fight was previously linked to multiple dates and venues, including Newark, Las Vegas and Dallas. Rumors of the Baltimore location surfaced last month.

Ranked as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by ESPN.com, Jones (19-1) set a UFC light heavyweight record for consecutive title defenses with a unanimous decision win over Alexander Gustafsson in September.

The fight was closely contested, and the UFC expressed interest in an immediate rematch.

Jones eventually requested to move on to Teixeira (22-2), who is on a 20-fight win streak that includes a 5-0 mark in the UFC. The Brazilian has finished four of the five opponents he’s faced since signing with the UFC in 2012.

Gustafsson will face Jimi Manuwa in March.

By Brett Okamoto | ESPN.com

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Run Run Shaw, Movie Mogul Seen as Creator of Kung Fu Genre, Dies at 106

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Run Run Shaw, the colorful Hong Kong media mogul whose name was synonymous with low-budget Chinese action and horror films — and especially with the wildly successful kung fu genre, which he is largely credited with inventing — died on Tuesday at his home in Hong Kong. He was 106.

His company, Television Broadcasts Limited, announced his death in a statement.

Born in China, Mr. Shaw and his older brother, Run Me, were movie pioneers in Asia, producing and sometimes directing films and owning lucrative cinema chains. His companies are believed to have released more than 800 films worldwide.

After his brother’s death in 1985, Mr. Shaw expanded his interest in television and became a publishing and real estate magnate as well. For his philanthropy, much of it going to educational and medical causes, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and showered with public expressions of gratitude by the Communist authorities in Beijing.

Mr. Shaw enjoyed the zany glamour of the Asian media world he helped create. He presided over his companies from a garish Art Deco palace in Hong Kong, a cross between a Hollywood mansion and a Hans Christian Andersen cookie castle. Well into his 90s he attended social gatherings with a movie actress on each arm. And he liked to be photographed in a tai chi exercise pose, wearing the black gown of a traditional mandarin.

Asked what his favorite films were, Mr. Shaw, a billionaire, once replied, “I particularly like movies that make money.”

Run Run Shaw was born Shao Yifu in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, in 1907. As a child, he moved to Shanghai, where his father ran a profitable textile business. According to some Hong Kong news media accounts, Run Run and Run Me were English-sounding nicknames the father gave his sons as part of a family joke that played on the similarity of the family name to the word rickshaw.

Evincing little interest in the family business, Run Run and Run Me turned instead to entertainment. The first play they produced was called “Man From Shensi,” on a stage, as it turned out, of rotten planks. As the brothers often told the story, on opening night the lead actor plunged through the planks, and the audience laughed. The Shaws took note and rewrote the script to include the incident as a stunt. They had a hit, and in 1924 they turned it into their first film.

After producing several more movies, the brothers decided that their homeland, torn by fighting between Nationalists and Communists, was too unstable. In 1927 they moved to Singapore, which was then part of British colonial Malaya.

Besides producing their own films in Singapore, the brothers imported foreign movies and built up a string of theaters. Their business boomed until the Japanese invaded the Malay Peninsula in 1941 and stripped their theaters and confiscated their film equipment. But according to Run Run Shaw, he and his brother buried more than $4 million in gold, jewelry and currency in their backyard, which they dug up after World War II and used to resume their careers.

With the rise of Hong Kong as the primary market for Chinese films, Run Run Shaw moved there in 1959, while his brother stayed behind looking after their Singapore business.

In Hong Kong, Run Run Shaw created Shaw Movietown, a complex of studios and residential towers where his actors worked and lived. Until then, the local industry had turned out 60-minute films with budgets that rarely exceeded a few thousand dollars. Shaw productions ran up to two hours and cost as much as $50,000 — a lavish sum by Asian standards at the time.

Mr. Shaw went on to plumb the so-called dragon-lady genre with great commercial success. Movies like “Madame White Snake” (1963) and “The Lady General” (1965) offered sexy, combative, sometimes villainous heroines, loosely based on historical characters. And by the end of the 1960s, he had discovered that martial-arts films in modern settings could make even more money.

His “Five Fingers of Death” (1973), considered a kung fu classic, was followed by “Man of Iron” (1973), “Shaolin Avenger” (1976) and many others. Critics dismissed the films as artless and one-dimensional, but spectators crowded into the theaters to cheer, laugh or mockingly hiss at the action scenes. To ensure that his films were amply distributed, Mr. Shaw’s chain of cinemas grew to more than 200 houses in Asia and the United States. “We were like the Hollywood of the 1930s,” he said. “We controlled everything: the talent, the production, the distribution and the exhibition.”

Other Hong Kong producers, directors and actors called Mr. Shaw’s methods iron-fisted. In 1970, Raymond Chow, a producer with Mr. Shaw’s company, Shaw Brothers, left to form his own company, Golden Harvest, which gave more creative and financial independence to top directors and stars.

Mr. Chow’s biggest success, and Mr. Shaw’s most notable loss, was his decision to bankroll Bruce Lee. Mr. Lee initially approached Shaw Brothers, which turned down his demand for a long-term contract of $10,000 per film. Golden Harvest then offered Mr. Lee creative control and profit-sharing.

“The Big Boss,” better known as “Fists of Fury” (1971), was Mr. Lee’s first film with Golden Harvest, and it broke all Hong Kong box-office records. Other big-name actors and directors flocked to Golden Harvest, breaking Shaw Brothers’ virtual monopoly.

But Run Run Shaw had already expanded beyond the film industry. His investments in the new phenomenon of Asian television were to prove even more lucrative than his movie productions. In 1972 he began Television Broadcasts (TVB), and he soon gained control of 80 percent of the Hong Kong market. TVB churned out 12 hours of its own programming a day, much of it soap operas and costume dramas that riveted Chinese television viewers on the mainland and throughout Southeast Asia.

As his fortune grew, Mr. Shaw donated generously to hospitals, orphanages and colleges in Hong Kong, for which he was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1974 and a knighthood in 1977. In 1990 he donated 10 million pounds to help establish the Run Run Shaw Institute of Chinese Affairs at Oxford University, where his four children had studied. In 2004 he established the Shaw Prize, an international award for research in astronomy, mathematics and medicine. As Hong Kong’s days as a British colony dwindled, Mr. Shaw stepped up his philanthropy in China. He contributed more than $100 million to scores of universities on the mainland and raised money in support of Chinese victims of floods and other natural disasters. Chinese leaders toasted him for his generosity at banquets in Beijing.

Mr. Shaw’s philanthropy did not extend to the United States, but he was once viewed as a white knight in New York. In 1991, when Macy’s was on the verge of bankruptcy, he bought 10 percent of its preferred shares for $50 million, becoming one of the largest shareholders in R. H. Macy & Company.

The investment had a personal aspect. Ten years earlier, Mitchell Finkelstein, the son of Macy’s chief executive, Edward S. Finkelstein, had married Hui Ling, a Shaw protégée who appeared in many of his movies. Mr. Shaw met the older Finkelstein at the wedding, and they became friends.

In later years, the aging mogul himself seemed in need of help to keep his media empire intact. Concerned with the rise of cable and satellite television, he sold a 22 percent stake in TVB to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in 1993.

Mr. Shaw had intended to maintain control over his media business by balancing his one-third share in TVB against Mr. Murdoch’s 22 percent and the 24 percent held by Robert Kuok, one of Hong Kong’s richest entrepreneurs. But the balance of power shifted when Mr. Murdoch sold his equity to Mr. Kuok shortly afterward. Then, in 1996, in Hong Kong’s first case of a hostile takeover, Mr. Kuok forced Mr. Shaw to sell him his shares in TVE, the lucrative publishing, music and real estate subsidiary of TVB. The deal reduced Mr. Shaw’s TVB stake to 23 percent.

Mr. Shaw’s business situation was also hindered by his inability to groom credible successors. His sons, Vee Meng and Harold, were at one time heavily involved in the family enterprises, but their relationship with him had become strained.

Even after turning 90, Mr. Shaw maintained a powerful presence in the Hong Kong film world through his control of Shaw Studios. But a newer generation of independent producers came to dominate the Hong Kong market with their own violent brand of police and gangster films.

 

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UFC Fighter Quinn Mulhern Retires

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UFC fighter Quinn Mulhern on Saturday night called it a career.

After seven years in the fight game, Mulhern came to the realization that he had taken his career, for the most part, as far as he felt it would realistically go.

Could he still get better? Yes. But would he compete at the UFClevel and become a championship contender? He seems to think that he likely would not, and would rather refocus his energy elsewhere.

Mulhern is coming off of back-to-back losses in his move from Strikeforce to the UFC. His overall professional record stands at 18-4.

Mulhern announced his decision via his Facebook page:

Hey guys. First, just let me express how grateful I am for the love and support of a whole community of people. Especially those folks who have been with me from the beginning of my MMA career. I love you all, thank you.

The dust hasn’t settled exactly so I wouldn’t normally do this now…but it feels like it’s the right time: I am retiring from MMA.

This camp was as perfect as they come. Everything fell into place, mentally, physically…my weight cut was a success. I got to a place of mental focus where I have never been before. But when I got in the cage I just didn’t have it. It wasn’t nerves, I didn’t freeze…I just didn’t have the physical gifts or skill [to get] the win. Bottom line is that I could put in years of continued work but I won’t be competitive at this level. Perhaps I’d get quite a bit better, but I think if rather spend that time on something new. I feel this in my bones.

So this is not a tantrum of self-pity. In fact, I feel very clear and good about this decision. I’m so grateful to have done what I’ve done. I’ve gotten to travel all over the world and to fight professionally over twenty times. But this is it.

Now what to do next is the question. I’ll leave that alone for a while. But I’m hopeful and excited for the next step.

The phrase that was the theme of my training camp was “All in due time.” I think that phrase is quite fitting, even now.

Love.
Quinn

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Anderson Silva Breaks Leg vs. Chris Weidman, Is This the End for ‘The Spider?’

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NY Minute: Mixed-martial arts may have new supporter — if more regs included

 

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Rory MacDonald, of Canada, left, exchanges punches with Robbie Lawler during a UFC 167 mixed martial arts welterweight bout in November in Las Vegas. Lawler won by split decision. A New York state lawmaker, who has formerly opposed mixed-martial arts, is backing a bill that would allow it into the state — along with extra regulations.

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Collaboration and Cross Marketing By Carrie Riedel

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