As part of my study of martial arts, I read a lot. This post continues my What I Read series. This series lists the authors, articles, and blogs that I enjoy reading. Each one is highly recommended.
For this entry, I decided to put up the author who I read the most. Jack Slack, currently, blogs at Vice’s Fightland site and has worked for Bloody Elbow. His own website, Fights Gone By, has more of his writings and books you can buy from him. Most of his articles are dedicated to mixed martial arts (MMA), which makes sense because the UFC has a sponsoring interest in the Fightland website. Mr. Slack’s articles focus on striking, but he doesn’t limit it to only MMA. He’ll also cover boxing, kickboxing, and traditional martial arts. Some articles take a historical look at combatives. as well.
I read Mr. Slack’s articles because they are very high level breakdowns. He excels at technical analysis, and his use of GIFs increase the effectiveness of the articles. In addition, Mr. Slack is a good writer. Not just a good blogger but a good writer as well. He has good pacing and knows the right balance of analysis to exposition. I try to learn how Mr. Slack views striking so I can start applying the same detailed analysis to my own art. Hopefully, by examining my own art closer, I’ll be a better teacher as well.
Below the line, I list some of my favorite articles of his.
Manny Pacquiao: The Man Who Reinvented Boxing is my favorite article so far. I’m not as big a fan of boxing as MMA, but this article made me more interested in the sweet science. It is a technical article on a great fighter. I did more research into Pacquiao after this and am now a fan because of it. This article breaks down his technique and movement in very understandable ways. I recommend this to anyone who is a Pacquiao or a boxing fan. This article really is also when I became a fan of Slack and started reading him regularly.
These GIFs are examples from Jack Slack’s articles. There are many, many more of this quality. Please, click on them to open the article they came from. Again, these are re-blogged from the Vice website.
Jack Slack: How TJ Dillashaw Killed the King is another of my favorites. It breaks down TJ’s impressive underdog victory against Renan Barao. TJ put on a master performance, and I looked forward to Mr. Slack’s article. He pointed out a few things that I didn’t quite get watching the fight in real time.
Not all articles are about sport combatives, though. The Fighting Motive series looks into the history of striking. Fighting Motives: The Kingdom with No Weapons was a great primer for me on Okinawan martial arts. These articles tend to teach me history that I didn’t know I was interested in learning.
Finally, I am looking forward his upcoming series on how to enjoy a fight. I know some people don’t understand how I can watch two adults hurt each other on purpose. Maybe this series will help convey the artistry in the violence in the ring.
I can’t recommend these articles enough. While they aren’t a one-to-one translation to the arts that I study, they have helped me look at my own techniques more closely. They have me thinking deeper about my own martial art.
Who do you recommend to read? Please, let me know in the comments.