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May 22, 2009

Bushido-Tyler Toner Fighting In Japan

Amal Easton

Bushido-Tyler Toner Fighting In Japan

Bushido actually comes from a combination of words. “Bushi”, which means “Warrior” and “Do”, which means “Way” (Gaskin & Hawkins 1994). To simplify, you can say it means “the way of the warrior”. Bushido, though, is not a very simple concept, especially when seen through a “modern”, Western perspective. Another way to interpret Bushido, is that it is a “way of preserving peace through the use of force” (Binder 1999).
My father enrolled me in Martial Arts lessons when I was age eight. At the time it wasn’t my choice, but he felt it was necessary. Being bullied was the norm for a “gringo”, as we were called, and he wanted me to learn to stand up for myself.
In martial arts classes, Bushido was always referred to, as the most important characteristic a person could have. To me, it meant doing the right thing, acting in an honorable way and standing up for what was correct.
I remember an interview with Rickson Gracie where he was asked what situation might warrant physical action. He responded that if he ever saw a man hit a woman, he felt obligated to take action.
During my time in Brazil, I remember watching members of the Gracie family and thinking of the obligation they had to uphold the family name. Renzo always stood out, as he seemed ready to take on any challenge, no matter how great. He would fight three times in a single month, traveling the globe from Brazil to America and Japan. Then he would go race horses in the desert of Abu Dhabi against pro riders and actually finish the race. He always greeted you with a warm smile and genuinely seemed to care, even though hundreds of students and people constantly vied for his attention. To me, that was Bushido.
On the 29th of May, Tyler Toner leaves for Japan to take on a fighter named Kenichi Ogata. I’ve never heard of him before, but he is rumored to have over a hundred fights, including draws and wins against some of the legends of the sport. To say Tyler is the underdog is an understatement.
When I first spoke with Eliot about the fight, we both agreed that it was not a good fight for Tyler. We felt the pay was not enough to take a tough fight like that, especially on short notice.
Professor Ludwig and Tyler, however, had other ideas. It was decided that the fight will happen and they depart for Japan next week.
When I spoke with Tyler about his decision, I am happy to say, he changed my mind. It was nice to see, that although he was acting contrarily to how I thought he should, I do not believe he is wrong. Many fighters take only fights they know they will win and while Tyler is certainly the underdog, he seems very much at peace and is looking forward to the challenge in the fight to come.
Some years back, a relatively unknown Duane Ludwig, took a fight with the very famous Jens Pulver. In what could have been looked at by many, as a similar situation, Duane KO’d Jens and went on to become a prominent fighter known by any true fan of the sport (Mauy Thai, or MMA).
Tyler, win or lose, is someone who comes to mind when I think of Bushido. He’s off to defy the odds and whatever happens, he is looking forward to and ready for the challenge.
I watch him train with the likes of Eliot Marshall, Duane Ludwig, Vellore Caballero, Cody Donovan, Brendan Schaub, Shane Carwin, Alvin Robinson, just to name a few. He is often outweighed by 50 pounds or more, yet he is there day in and day out. Over the last seven years or so, I’ve watched him grow tremendously into a strong competitor, teacher and team member and it makes me proud to see him out there representing!
Whatever happens I know Toner is going to learn a lot and grow from this experience.
Go get ‘em Toner!!!
To see more on Tyler Toner’s opponent, check out Kenichi’s site at:
Another great warrior who is always up for a challenge, is my long time friend Alberto Crane, who will be facing Thomas Denny in three weeks at King of the Cage.
Good luck Alberto!


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