Column: Koco’s Corner #8 – (My Fave 5 London 2012 Olympic Events)

I have a confession to make, I am a huge mark (fan) when it comes to the Olympics. My life almost comes to a stand still during the Olympics every 4 (now 2) years. I had the privilege to go to two different Olympics the one in Atlanta and the winter games in Japan. Every Olympics, I always tell myself I want to go next time. If I had a bucket list (I need to make one) I would want to go to as many games as possible.

Olympic Queen Meme

My claim to fame or my greatest memories at the Olympics I went to in person was I was in the building when Combat Sports Hall of Famer Kurt Angle won the Gold in Atlanta.

The second was a drunken blur and the so-called facts in this story are pasted together by really drunk Marines. In Nagano me and a few of my buddies got to go to the games, we had no tickets to any events except free tickets we would pick up in the Olympic Village, I got to see Women’s Ice Hockey and fell in love with curling.

John LeClair Team USA

“John LeClair, wants to kick my ass.”

One night we got to party in a bar the same as the NHL players that played that year. I accidently bumped in to one Mr. John LeClair of team USA. He was angry and yelled at me or at least that is how the story was told. I just stood there too drunk to realize what was happening. I just turned to my friend all giggly and said “John LeClair, wants to kick my ass.”

Security stepped in between a giant hockey superstar and a skinny drunk teen Marine. I probably should have been more scared now that I look back on it. My friend after the fact it’s over and he is on the other side of the bar says you should say something.

So I scream out across the bar “My brother is a huge Flyers fan.”

My friend not that, something like I will would kick you ass.

So I scream “Scott Stevens will get the cup.”

My friend dumbfounded said, “What does that even mean.”

My reply: “Oh, he knows…”

For all I know if I was sober all he might have really said was watch out little buddy. But the lesson to be learned here kids is don’t get drunk around athletes that can kick your ass and that is why I choose a CM Punk lifestyle now.

Ok, this column took a weird turn; let’s get back on track.

My Fave 5 Olympic Events from London 2012

London 2012

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad, also known informally as London 2012, began in London, United Kingdom, on 27 July and will continue until 12 August 2012. Around 10,500 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees are expected to participate.

1. Judo

Japan's Kaori Matsumoto

I know our editor Gerry and some of our old school readers are going to kill me for putting Judo number one. It was very close as the Kocosports community we are trying to rebuild are huge wrestling fans.

Any other year it would have been wrestling, but living in Japan and going to Judo watch parties has been too awesome, maybe if I wrote this column towards the end of the games during the wrestling events maybe, wrestling would be number one.

I hope after the games as our site grows and we build it to what we dream it can be we can cover Judo more often.

Judo (柔道 jūdō, meaning “gentle way”) is a modern martial art, combat and Olympic sport created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the object is to either throw or takedown one’s opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue one’s opponent with a grappling maneuver, or force an opponent to submit by joint locking or by executing a strangle hold or choke. Strikes and thrusts by hands and feet as well as weapons defences are a part of judo, but only in pre-arranged forms (kata) and are not allowed in judo competition or free practice (randori).

The philosophy and subsequent pedagogy developed for judo became the model for other modern Japanese martial arts that developed from koryū (古流, traditional schools). The worldwide spread of judo has led to the development of a number of offshoots such as Sambo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Judo practitioners are called judoka.

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2. Wrestling

I feel bad saying wrestling is number 2 so lets call it 1A. Can’t wait for the matches to begin.

Amateur wrestling is the most widespread form of sport wrestling. There are two international wrestling styles performed in the Olympic Games under the supervision of FILA (Fédération Internationale des Luttes Associées or International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles): Greco-Roman and freestyle. Freestyle is possibly derived from the English Lancashire style. A similar style, commonly called collegiate (also known as scholastic or folkstyle), is practiced in colleges and universities, secondary schools, middle schools, and among younger age groups in the United States.

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3. Boxing

Boxing would be way higher on the list if it weren’t for shady judges. I know all the events have shady judges; I just need more time, as I can’t forgive what they did to Roy Jones. Damn… Corrupt judges.

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Amateur boxing is an Olympic and Commonwealth sport and is a common fixture in most of the major international games – it also has its own World Championships. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of one to three minute intervals called rounds. The result is decided when an opponent is deemed incapable to continue by a referee, is disqualified for breaking a rule, resigns by throwing in a towel, or is pronounced the winner or loser based on the judges’ scorecards at the end of the contest.

The birth hour of boxing as a sport may be its acceptance by the ancient Greeks as an Olympic game as early as 688 BC. Boxing evolved from 16th and 18th century prizefights (detailed further down the page), largely in Great Britain, to the forerunner of modern boxing in the mid 19th century, again initially in Great Britain and later in the United States. In 2004, ESPN ranked boxing as the most difficult sport in the world.

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Dream Team USA Basketball

Basketball should be on my list. I watch all of Team USA games but I don’t know if I enjoy them, all I do is scream at my TV how much better the first and only Dream Team was. Every time there is a missed shot or bad play I yell you are no Larry Bird, MJ or Magic to the newer players. It must be hard for the new players to live in the shadow of greatness. 

4. Taekwondo

Taekwondo

Most of my Judo buddies in Japan make fun of Taekwondo and give me a hard time for liking it, but I do enjoy it. I wish more martial arts were in the Olympics. Maybe my next column will be on the sports I would like to see added to the Summer Games.

Taekwondo (태권도; 跆拳道; Korean pronunciation: [tʰɛɡwʌndo]; /taɪ.kwɒn.doʊ/) is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae (태, 跆) means “to strike or break with foot”; kwon (권, 拳) means “to strike or break with fist”; and do (도, 道) means “way”, “method”, or “path”. Thus, taekwondo may be loosely translated as “the way of the hand and the foot.” The name taekwondo is also written as taekwon-do, tae kwon-do, or tae kwon do by various organizations, based on historical, philosophical, or political reasons.

It combines combat techniques, self-defense, sport, exercise, and in some cases meditation and philosophy. In 1989, Taekwondo was the world’s most popular martial art in terms of number of practitioners. Gyeorugi (pronounced [kjʌɾuɡi]), a type of sparring, has been an Olympic event since 2000.

There are two main branches of taekwondo development, which are not necessarily mutually exclusive:

“Traditional taekwondo” typically refers to the martial art as it was established in the 1950s and 1960s in the South Korean military, and in various civilian organisations, including schools and universities. In particular, the names and symbolism of the traditional patterns often refer to elements of Korean history, culture and religious philosophy. Today, the Kukkiwon, or World Taekwondo Headquarters is the traditional center for Taekwondo in Korea.

“Sport taekwondo” has developed in the decades since the 1950s and may have a somewhat different focus, especially in terms of its emphasis on speed and competition (as in Olympic sparring). Sport taekwondo is in turn subdivided into two main styles; one derives from Kukkiwon, the source of the sparring system sihap gyeorugi which is now an event at the summer Olympic Games and which is governed by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). The other comes from the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF).

Although there are doctrinal and technical differences between the two main styles and among the various organizations, the art in general emphasizes kicks thrown from a mobile stance, employing the leg’s greater reach and power (compared to the arm). Taekwondo training generally includes a system of blocks, kicks, punches, and open-handed strikes and may also include various take-downs or sweeps, throws, and joint locks. Some taekwondo instructors also incorporate the use of pressure points, known as jiapsul, as well as grabbing self-defense techniques borrowed from other martial arts, such as hapkido and judo.

Olympic Beach Volleyball

I do love Women’s Beach Volley Ball but not for the right reasons. Let me be honest here I just wanted to use a pic of a hot girl in my column.

5. Fencing

Olympic Fencing

It was a toss up for the last spot.

I almost gave it to Archery because the high school I use to teach at had one of the best teams in all of Japan. Different styles of Archery are considered a martial art in most Asian countries.

But I went with fencing. It reminds me of curling once you learn the rules you get hooked and become a fan for life. I had a great opportunity to try the sport and it is crazy fun. If you ever get a chance to play this sport the right way is a must.

Fencing, which is also known as Olympic fencing to distinguish it from historical fencing, is a family of combat sports using bladed weapons. It is usually practiced with the help of a sword or mini-blade.

Fencing is one of five sports that have been featured at every one of the modern Olympic Games, the other four being Athletics, Cycling, Swimming, and Gymnastics. The sport of fencing is divided into three weapons:

Foil — a light-thrusting weapon that targets the torso, including the back, but not the arms. Touches are scored only with the tip; hits with the side of the blade do not count, and do not halt the action. Touches that land outside of the target area (off-target) stop the action, and are not scored. Only a single hit can be scored by either fencer at one time. If both fencers hit at the same time, the referee uses the rules of right of way to determine which fencer gets the point.

Sabre — a light cutting and thrusting weapon that targets the entire body above the waist, excluding the hands. Hits with the edges of the blade as well as the tip are valid. As in foil, touches which land outside of the target area are not scored. However, unlike foil, these off-target touches do not stop the action, and the fencing continues. In the case of both fencers landing a scoring touch, the referee determines which fencer receives the point for the action, again through the use of “right of way”.

Épée — a heavier thrusting weapon that targets the entire body. All hits must be with the tip and not the sides of the blade. Touches hit by the side of the blade do not halt the action. Unlike foil and sabre, Épée does not use right of way, and allows simultaneous hits by both fencers. However, if the score is tied at the last point and a double touch is scored, nobody is awarded the point.

I beg of you to leave a comment on your favorite Olympic Events from London 2012, and we plan on to cover more Judo after the Games; should we also cover fencing?

I AM OVER!