Henry looked across the mat at the Kung Fu black belt standing at the other end of the room. Weighing only 160 pounds, Henry looked scrawny wearing a white belt next to his 185 pound, black belt opponent.
During the early years of the UFC, students at the Gracie academies could be called upon to fight a Vale Tudo (anything goes) match against anyone who wanted to challenge Jiu-Jitsu.
Today that challenge came from “Kung Fu Joe,” the nick name the visitor earned while doing Kung Fu katas on the sidelines during Jiu-Jitsu class.
The instructor ignored the visitor’s snarky comments, but he drew the line when Kung Fu Joe started throwing ninja stars into the walls of Rickson Gracie’s academy.
“It was crazy,” Henry said with a laugh as he told the story about the visitor to their Jiu-Jitsu academy. “The guy was a nutcase.”
The instructor offered to let Kung Fu Joe join the class, but when he declined, the teacher asked if he was there looking for a fight.
Joe had been studying Kung Fu for 15 years, but it was only Henry’s second month of Jiu-Jitsu. Regardless, when the instructor gave him the nod, Henry was anxious to step up to the challenge.
“The guy was so disrespectful,” Henry said. “Someone needed to beat his ass.” Continue reading