[It is mid-September, 1996. We are at the Commons, the one student dining hall on the campus of Drew University. Sitting at a long table against a window are Pete, Dustin, and Marcus. They are already finished with their meals and are now just watching the people walking outside.]
DUSTIN: …You can learn a lot by watching UFC.
MARCUS: Isn’t it just a couple guys beating the shit out of each other?
DUSTIN: No way, it’s very artistic.
PETE: Yeah, Dust is right. Although the main reason I watch it is because it’s two guys beating the shit out of each other. (laughs)
MARCUS: So what have you learned by watching UFC?
DUSTIN: Well mostly things about the nature of evolution?
DUSTIN: Right. At first all UFC was, was a bunch of fighters from different fighting styles going against each other. So you would have a kick boxer going against a karate expert, a wrestler going against a ninja, and on and on.
PETE (smiling): Yeah, don’t forget Joe Son Do.
DUSTIN (laughing): Right.
MARCUS: What’s Joe Son Do?
PETE: Just some guy named Joe Son who decided to make his own fighting style.
DUSTIN: But anyway, all of these individual fighting disciplines, with the exception of Joe Son Do, have been around for hundreds and in some cases thousands of years. Over the years they have individually evolved and developed into what they are today.
MARCUS: Ok, I’m following you.
DUSTIN: Well, in UFC, these individual fighting disciplines were pitted against each other for the first time. That’s when the evolution process was given a jump start.
MARCUS: How so?
DUSTIN: Well the kick boxers found they would have trouble fighting the wrestlers on the ground, and the wrestlers had trouble fighting the strikers on foot. And what happened was that they began borrowing from the other disciplines. Wrestlers learned how to kick, kick boxers learned ground technique. And before long a new discipline emerged, a much superior discipline because it combined all the best elements of every other discipline. That’s evolution. That’s what Ken Wilber was talking about.
MARCUS: Transcend and include.
DUSTIN: Exactly! That’s why I love this fighter Royce Gracie so much.
MARCUS: Who’s Royce Gracie.
PETE: Probably one of the best Ultimate fighters of all time. He won three of the first four UFC’s. He had to drop out of UFC 3 because my man Kimo fucked him up.
DUSTIN: And when you watch the first couple UFC’s, it is almost as if Gracie was the only one who knew what he was doing.
MARCUS: What was his discipline?
PETE: His family developed their own style of Ju Jit Su called Gracie Ju Jit Su.
DUSTIN: Right, and part of Gracie Ju Jit Su is this move called the Gracie Guard.
MARCUS: What’s the Gracie Guard?
PETE (starting to stand up): I can demonstrate it on you.
MARCUS: Uh, no thanks.
DUSTIN: What the Gracie Guard is, is when Gracie is on the ground on his back he would wrap his legs around your back and use his arms to keep you out of striking distance. I’ve seen fights where he’d be on his back for fifteen minutes just patiently waiting, as guys much bigger than him are trying to do anything to get out of it. Eventually the guy on top makes a wrong move, and Gracie is able to get in a submission hold.
PETE: Those fights are boring.
DUSTIN: Yeah, they may seem boring to watch because not much is going on, but if you realize what he is doing, it can be very beautiful, like art.
PETE: I guess.
DUSTIN: But anyway, soon every fighter was using the Gracie Guard. Even Tank Abbot, an undisciplined street fighter uses the Gracie Guard. It just works too well not to use it. And all these other fighters would not have known about it if it wasn’t for UFC, combined with the technology of television.
MARCUS: Ok, I understand that.
DUSTIN: Yeah, and Royce Gracie is such a classy fighter. He’s not out there just to fight, but to teach as well. After each fight he talks to the other fighter and it almost looks like he is giving tips on how to do better the next time. It’s like it is not only about winning, but also spreading and expanding the art.
MARCUS: That’s awesome.
DUSTIN: It’s like UFC did for fighting what the turntable did for music.
PETE: What do you mean Dust?
DUSTIN: Well no offense to you and all your guitar cronies like Joe Satch, but the turntable is the most evolved instrument in music, simply because it transcends all musical instruments and styles and includes them as its own.
PETE: I don’t know Dust.
DUSTIN: That’s why it is able to be utilized in so many styles of music- hip-hop, rock, techno. It’s the next step.
MARCUS: You should take to Noel, he’s talks a lot about the turntable, pretty much says the same thing.
DUSTIN: Well, he’s right. And it’s cool to think that it didn’t come out of Julliard or some other fancy music school, but from the streets of the Bronx from people who discovered it in Jamaica. Evolution starts from the bottom because they are the ones that benefit the most from change. It wasn’t the chimps who were big, strong, and fast who learned how to make tools and weapons first.
PETE: I have to play you some of Satriani’s latest album. Maybe that will change your mind.
DUSTIN: Satriani is good and all, but he’s going down a dead end. Even Jeff Beck started to use samples on his latest album.
PETE: Whatever, Jeff Beck can go piss on himself. You better not play him on our show tonight.