UFC Ready for Explosion

bencole

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Seeing how we always seem to come back to these same arguments of "martial arts" vs. "martial sports," I thought it would be nice to preserve this link.

http://msn.foxsports.com/other/story/5373408?print=true

This article is a fascinating look at how the introduction of rules and government oversight have helped UFC grow into a legitimate SPORT.

-ben

-=-=-=-=-

UFC conducts its bouts under rules that are becoming widely accepted as industry standards in commission states. Here is a partial list of UFC do's and don'ts:


What's legal

Punching
Elbowing
Kicking and kneeing standing fighters
Wrestling takedowns and throws
Olympic judo-style chokes
Submission joint locks

What's not

Head butts
Eye gouging
Hair-pulling
Groin strikes
Strikes to the spine or back of the head
Kicking, kneeing or stomping a grounded opponent
Holding the fence for leverage
Throat strikes
 
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bencole

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Please note that this thread was started because there seems to be a never-ending debate over whether certain types of training, such as sparring, are appropriate for those pursuing Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.

Those supporting the "pro-sparring" stance believe that sparring and competitions, such as those practiced in MMA, build skills that mirror real life encounters. They claim that if you cannot handle yourself in a ring, then you cannot handle yourself on the street.

Those supporting the "anti-sparring" stance believe that sparring and competitions, because of the banning of certain techniques (e.g. no hair-pulling) and the adherence of rules (e.g. no throwing sand in the face of your opponent, or no hiding knives behind your thigh), actually do a poor job of mirroring real life encounters.

The "anti-sparring" group, of which I am a card-carrying member, believe that sparring teaches a mentality and encourages habits that are detrimental to one's development in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.

As an aside, the front page of the Wall Street Journal today (3/15/06) has a similar article about how UFC is replacing boxing as the fighting sport of choice.

Regards,

-ben
 

Grey Eyed Bandit

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I'm no card-carrying member of the vale tudo crowd, but I still think Rorion Gracie had at least one good point when he said "you can't even handle one person, why are you worrying about more?"
 

heretic888

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Dale just posted this article over at Martial Arts Planet recently. It was so damn good, I thought it beared repeating here:

Assumptions

Posted by Toby Threadgill on March 14th, 2006

Recently I was introduced to a gentleman interested in martial arts training. He was not really aware of what I teach or of what constitutes Nihon Koryu Jujutsu. He just assumed that because I taught it, that I must believe it to be “the best”. When I told him I did not believe the art I taught to be “the best”, an uncomfortable silence ensued. I finally broke this taciturn moment by explaining that there is actually no such thing as a “best” martial art. Despite a noble effort to grasp what I was talking about, the gentleman in question eventually regressed, unable to shake the impression that if I was not convinced that what I taught was superior to all other forms of martial arts, that I was somehow unworthy of teaching him. I politely encouraged him to look around, consider what I had said and contact me again if he had any further questions. A few days later I received an e-mail from this gentleman in which he explained that he had indeed found someone convinced that they taught the ultimate style of martial arts. It was called “mixed martial arts” because it embodied only best of all the styles. I just smiled to myself as I politely responded, congratulating him on his fortuitous discovery.

An ultimate martial art, huh? Now there’s an oxymoron for you. Every martial art is ultimately based on assumptions. In fact any training program formulated to address conflict is based on assumptions. It’s kinda like the old joke about bringing a knife to a gun fight. No matter how good you are, your assumptions define your training paradigm. Narrow your assumptions and you specialize, gaining the opportunity to excel at one task. Broaden your assumptions and you might be able address many different situations but at what level of expertise? It’s an intriguing dilemma isn’t it? Specialize, and be defeated by someone outside your strengths. Be a generalist and some specialist will hand you your head on a platter. What’s a martial artist to do?

Years ago my teacher Yukio Takamura taught a seminar which touched upon this topic. The seminar subject was a comparison between sport budo and classical budo. During the lunch break a young karateka & wrestler, I’ll call Donny, loudly dismissed Takamura Sensei’s teachings as antiquated nonsense. In response to this pronouncement Takamura shook his head and chuckled while fiddling with his shoes. Donny, rather brash and full of bravado turned to Takamura Sensei and said, “Now don’t get me wrong old man, your stuff is fun to watch and all but your jujutsu is no match for my karate and wrestling. Takamura flashed a devilish smile at Donny and said, “Okay, show me”. Donny backed off a bit at this unexpected challenge and said “Well, I’m not going to fight you, you’re too old. How about him” pointing at Dave Maynard. Takamura responded “No, you were talking about my jujutsu, not his. I want you to show me.” Rather pensively Donny strolled out onto the dojo mat with Takamura Sensei as a hushed silence overtook the room. At first Donny appeared reluctant to do anything but when he noticed that all eyes were on him he revved up his courage and proceeded to execute a very nice double leg takedown, climbing up on what at first appeared to be a rather startled Takamura Sensei. As Donny attempted to continue his seemingly successful offense we noticed something flick around Donny’s neck. Suddenly, Donny tried to pull away, his head turning as red as a ripe tomato. In a few seconds he fell over wheezing. At that point we realized that a shoelace was resting tightly around Donny’s neck. Where had it come from? Takamura had secreted the shoelace in his sleeve and then executed a simple choke with it. As he revived Donny from his impromptu slumber he explained to the stunned witnesses that Donny had missed the point of the seminar altogether and made a dangerous assumption. He assumed that this was a contest with rules and that Takamura sensei was unarmed. The most interesting thing to me about this whole incident was that Takamura had deliberately pulled the shoelace from his shoe, placed it in his sleeve in plain sight and not one of us noticed. What a lesson rich incident this was.....

Now I’m sure that some MMA proponents will roll their eyes at this interlude and remark that it proves nothing. They will say venues like Pride and UFC prove you must do everything in budo well and that Takamura Sensei with a shoelace couldn’t defeat the likes of Matt Hughes or Sakuraba. That’s probably true and sounds convincing enough but such a dismissal misses the point. The truth is that to be successful in a venue like the UFC your time is best spent training to confront the challenges you ASSUME you will meet in the ring. Training outside such an assumption is a waste of time. However, drop a Portuguese knife fighter into the UFC ring and the mixed martial arts guy will realize he’s really not a mixed martial artist after all, but instead a specialist in unarmed sport conflict who hasn’t “mixed” expertise in knife fighting into his supposedly mixed martial art...

Those nasty old assumptions ....

Now don’t get me wrong, I greatly admire the technical efficacy and extreme level of physical training the serious MMA practitioners like those in Pride or UFC display but outside the paradigm they train for they can be just as vulnerable as anyone else. It’s not the individual version of MMA itself that made guys like Rickson Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Sakuraba or Matt Hughes champions. It’s really their creativity within each venues rules and the extreme level of training they have devoted to obtaining their skills. Each of these guys within the paradigm of what they do has trained himself to an extreme level. That’s the real secret to the best style of budo.....Training intensity!

So don’t get hung up in training in the ultimate martial art. You will be chasing assumptions forever. Instead pick an art that makes assumptions in line with what you value or desire and then train with a level of dedication equal to what you expect to get from your martial art. If you’re a police officer this will probably be a very different from a college professor.

In the case of the gentleman who contacted me in search of the ultimate martial art, I guess it is human nature to seek out someone else’s version of what’s best when one has scant experience to base an opinion on, but it is amusing to note how many people studying martial arts beyond a beginners level fail to progress beyond the myopic view that there could be any such thing as an ultimate martial art.

Remember, the only accurate assumption in budo is that your assumptions are never 100% correct.

Toby Threadgill
Takamura-ha Shindo Yoshin-ryu

Laterz.
 

Monadnock

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bencole said:
Please note that this thread was started because there seems to be a never-ending debate over whether certain types of training, such as sparring, are appropriate for those pursuing Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.

Those supporting the "pro-sparring" stance believe that sparring and competitions, such as those practiced in MMA, build skills that mirror real life encounters. They claim that if you cannot handle yourself in a ring, then you cannot handle yourself on the street.

Those supporting the "anti-sparring" stance believe that sparring and competitions, because of the banning of certain techniques (e.g. no hair-pulling) and the adherence of rules (e.g. no throwing sand in the face of your opponent, or no hiding knives behind your thigh), actually do a poor job of mirroring real life encounters.

The "anti-sparring" group, of which I am a card-carrying member, believe that sparring teaches a mentality and encourages habits that are detrimental to one's development in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.

As an aside, the front page of the Wall Street Journal today (3/15/06) has a similar article about how UFC is replacing boxing as the fighting sport of choice.

Regards,

-ben

Do you think this is true for all martial arts, or just BBT? If you do not want to comment on other martial arts, I'd be just as happy to know more on why you think it is so for BBT, specifically, what part of the pratictioner's development?

Thanks,
Mike
 
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bencole

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Monadnock said:
Do you think this is true for all martial arts, or just BBT? If you do not want to comment on other martial arts, I'd be just as happy to know more on why you think it is so for BBT, specifically, what part of the pratictioner's development?

I will not comment on the role/efficacy of sparring in other martial arts (despite my experience in several arts). My concern is with practitioners of other arts (usually MMA guys) who insist that practitioners of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu MUST spar or they will get killed in a "real fight." In their eyes, sparring is the "closest thing" to a real fight and so the exclusion of sparring means that BBT=crap. We frequently see similar questions from noobies to the Bujinkan arts, who have experience in other arts, and question why their teachers do not actively spar. Here is my response to such inquiries:

In Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, we teach you how to respond, rather than react. There is a huge difference between the two. The only specifics anyone can give you is to point you to all the practitioners who have used Taijutsu in their actual lives in order to avert or survive potential disasters.

For me, it would be my friend who got hit by a taxi in Tokyo while on a bicycle, was thrown fifteen feet sidewise and rolled right up unscathed. Or my friend who successfully defended a family trapped in their car from a large group of weapon wielding punks. Or a friend who "unbalanced" a crazed druggie in a hotel lobby merely through words and body language. Or perhaps that man from Eastern Europe (Croatia? Serbia?) who had his leg blown off by a landmine and crawled miles, bleeding all the way, to get help. After a several hour trip, on his belly and in later by vehicle, he survives to this day because of his sheer strength of will to live. All of these examples embody the teachings of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu and NONE of these could be attributed to sparring.

In my opinion, and in the opinions of people with vastly more skill and experience in our art, sparring creates a mentality that there is only one way to resolve an issue. Sparring creates habits and reactions; it gets you to think within a box and within a framework.

Before you got into the toe-to-toe situation, what brought you to this point? Were you situationally aware? Were you an egotistical ******* or did you simply find yourself in the wrong place by happenstance?

Once you do end up toe-to-toe, when you are focused intentedly upon your sparring partner, have you forgotten that guy behind you who just came back from the bathroom and has found his friend facing off with you? Did you remember him? Did you notice that he had come in with your adversary at all?

Once fists are flying, are you focusing on trying to "get techniques" to "win"? Have you forgotten that you could put an ura gyaku on anyone with greasy pinky fingers, if you would just focus on controlling the kukan? Did you know that at the highest levels of BBT, there truly are no "openings." That's because you are the one molding your fate, in real time.
The world is much more complex than sparring would have you believe. It takes a lot to get into a fight, make it through a fight, and avoid jailtime after a fight. If you want to learn JUST how to fight, there are far faster ways to learn than through Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. If you want to learn how to live and survive, it will take some time, but we've got some things that we'd like to show you."


-ben
 

Cryozombie

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Damn Ben.

:asian:

I hope someday, I am 1/2 that wise.
 

DWeidman

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bencole said:
In my opinion, and in the opinions of people with vastly more skill and experience in our art, sparring creates a mentality that there is only one way to resolve an issue. Sparring creates habits and reactions; it gets you to think within a box and within a framework.
-ben

I agree with the above as long as the wording is lightened a bit: Sparring doesn't "create a mentality..." - but rather it MAY create a mentality...

Not everyone who spars regularly is trapped by these issues - just as there are plenty of people who handle themselves well despite no full speed training.

Slow training *may* create effective habits that can be used in real time (full speed) encounters...

Sparring *may* create mental boxes (boundaries) to the detriment of the individual practicing the art...

This isn't black and white.

-Daniel Weidman
Bujinkan TenChiJin Guy...

PS> I am even ok with the wording "tends to"...
 

Flying Crane

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I think DWEIDMAN has raised a very valid point. One of the biggest problems that I see with the never-ending debat over reality-testing your fighting skills is that absolutely nothing is guaranteed one way or the other. Many methods of training exist, all designed to develop competent fighting skills. These methods do not work equally well for everyone, for a variety of reasons. But they all work, in their way.

Would an experienced MMA fighter prevail in a fight on the street? Quite possibly, but it's not guaranteed.

Would a traditionalist who practices technique application in a controlled dojo setting prevail in a fight on the street? Quite possibly, but it's not guaranteed.

Would a traditionalist who practices mostly kata, but intellectually understands the application of the kata prevail in a fight on the street? Quite possibly, but it's not guaranteed.

Would a sport tournament fighter prevail in a fight on the street? Quite possibly, but it's not guaranteed.

And the same is true in reverse. COuld any of these people be defeated in a fight on the street? of course, but it's not guaranteed.

No matter what method one uses to develop their fighting skills, true combat is always a step up. You cannot practice for combat using real combat. People get seriously injured and killed in combat. So we do our best to prepare in what way seems most appropriate and reasonable, and this will differ from person to person, but understand that when it comes down on the street, IT WILL BE DIFFERENT, and you can never fully prepare for that. That's just reality for ya.

I just don't see a need for the constant arguing over whether or not this or that method is adequate. It both is, and it isn't. It depends on the individual, and it will also depend on the circumstances on the street.

This argument seems to be happening on several threads right now, so I just thought i'd put in my thoughts.
 

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bencole said:
All of these examples embody the teachings of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu and NONE of these could be attributed to sparring.

In my opinion, and in the opinions of people with vastly more skill and experience in our art, sparring creates a mentality that there is only one way to resolve an issue. Sparring creates habits and reactions; it gets you to think within a box and within a framework.

Before you got into the toe-to-toe situation, what brought you to this point? Were you situationally aware? Were you an egotistical ******* or did you simply find yourself in the wrong place by happenstance?

Once you do end up toe-to-toe, when you are focused intentedly upon your sparring partner, have you forgotten that guy behind you who just came back from the bathroom and has found his friend facing off with you? Did you remember him? Did you notice that he had come in with your adversary at all?


-ben

This is true and these are good points. I think a lot of this is left out of most schools as the focus is more on points, staying toe to toe, and winning. Not surviving. The physical part is usually the attraction to a lot of new martial artists. They need to be entertained, or are there to stroke their egos. A good school will offer more. Anyways, thanks for sharing.

Mike
 

Don Roley

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Nimravus said:
I'm no card-carrying member of the vale tudo crowd, but I still think Rorion Gracie had at least one good point when he said "you can't even handle one person, why are you worrying about more?"

Depends on how you define "Handle" does it not?

One of the first guys who used me to thank Nagase for teaching him stuff that saved his life talked about the time he tried complaining about a loud party, only to find it was being held for some convicts just out of prison. It got violent and it ended up with four guys going back to jail.

He did not defeat them, splat them or anything like that. But they never got their wish of splatting him either.

In the UFC, the motive is to defeat the other guy. In taijutsu, the idea is to get home in one peice. Running? Great idea! But not for the UFC. The UFC and competitions build up habits of going after someone and defeating them. You can't defeat more than one person unless you are really, really good. But you can keep them from pounding you.

I can't remember a time when I had a session with Hatsumi that he didn't end up having us be attacked in the middle of the previous technique by a third attacker. That tends to build up habits, and not ones you need for set rule competition. I think many Daikomyosai tapes show this type of thing if you need examples.

And I would point out that I said competition. I know some Bujinkan members use a little free play as part of their training. Most of them tend to have different rules or situations to avoid getting into one training mode. So the debate about sparring is the subject of another thread.

This thread kind of seems to be in counter to the line used by many that if you do not do well in a UFC, you art is not usefull for the real thing. Considering all the restrictions listed at the beggining of this thread, you see that the UFC is not the street and there is no way a general practicioner can do well against a specialist on the specialists home turf.
 

Grey Eyed Bandit

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Not going to say anything about the other "fouls", but in regards to eye gouging, fishhooking, hair pulling and biting, you simply cannot rely on those tactics saving the day for you. Doesn't matter if it's the street or in a match, you've got to be able to move around and utilize leverage (i.e. taijutsu).
 

Don Roley

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Nimravus said:
Not going to say anything about the other "fouls", but in regards to eye gouging, fishhooking, hair pulling and biting, you simply cannot rely on those tactics saving the day for you. Doesn't matter if it's the street or in a match, you've got to be able to move around and utilize leverage (i.e. taijutsu).

Ah, but there is the other side of the coin in terms of rules. When you have rules, things can't be used against you. And you get used to the idea of things not being used against you and fall into those habits. A case may be where you train in a situation where attacks agains the eyes are not allowed. You don't cover them up in your training and you don't get negative feedback. You can do better against those that waste their time trying to cover something that is off limits anyway. You train that way and that is the habit you build up for a real situation.

So if you train only under certain rules, you may find yourself surprised in a situation where the other guy won't feel restrained about breaking them. You train yourself to leave open things and make moves that work in the rules but leave you vulnerable when the other guy is not playing nice. That is a bad thing, a very bad thing.
 
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bencole

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Nimravus said:
Not going to say anything about the other "fouls", but in regards to eye gouging, fishhooking, hair pulling and biting, you simply cannot rely on those tactics saving the day for you.

Um... I disagree. I used to wrestle in high school and so I have a fairly decent double leg takedown. After I started training in Taijutsu, I was instructed (along with a few others) to attack a senior student in precisely the same way that Don is describing.

Being the type who always complained about how Bruce Lee's assailants would attack one after another, rather than all at once, I turned to my partners in crime and said, "I'll go low and give you time to get in on him."

Three seconds later, I almost blacked out from confusion. I got in on my opponent's leg (as expected) but my brain suddenly shut down when my opponent thrust his hand into my mouth and yanked me off him by the inside of my cheek!!! HOLY MOLEY that was painful!!!

THAT was something I had NEVER EVEN CONSIDERED as an option given my training. Had he had a weapon in his other hand, my five-second state of delirium would have put me in GRAVE danger.

When you train with expectations of what is acceptable and what is not, you leave open holes for the sake of efficiency. Why cover something if it will not be in danger?

I've seen Soke choke Mark O'Brien with his pony tail, for example. Is that hair pulling? I don't know. But it certainly was effective and led to Mark wearing a bandana from that day forward.

%-}

-ben
 
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bencole

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DWeidman said:
I agree with the above as long as the wording is lightened a bit: Sparring doesn't "create a mentality..." - but rather it MAY create a mentality... (snip) This isn't black and white.

Well, seeing how this is *MY* opinion :) and the opinion of others that I have heard, it is black and white. No "may."

I have NEVER met anyone who has incorporated "sparring" regularly from Day 1 of their training who has achieved the level of understanding in our art that I would consider "good." From what I have seen, all it leads to is crap movement and big attitudes.

If you know of anyone that I have missed, please inform. PM/email is okay.

-ben
 

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bencole said:
Well, seeing how this is *MY* opinion :) and the opinion of others that I have heard, it is black and white. No "may."

I have NEVER met anyone who has incorporated "sparring" regularly from Day 1 of their training who has achieved the level of understanding in our art that I would consider "good." From what I have seen, all it leads to is crap movement and big attitudes.

If you know of anyone that I have missed, please inform. PM/email is okay.

-ben

You just changed your statement. Now it has to be from Day 1? And what is "regularly"?

How can anyone determine if someone else has a level of understanding that you would consider "good"?

Would you consider Nagato in this statement? He started sparring early in his career - and has a pretty decent knowledge base. How about Soke? Before Takamatsu - Judo has a decent amount of sparring in it...

Just playing devil's advocate on this.

And without the additional verbage of "regularly" and "Day 1" - I still think you are myopic on this topic.

-Daniel Weidman
Bujinkan TenChiJin Guy...

PS> I still agree with the reason for starting this thread - in that the UFC isn't the "proving grounds" for real budo...
 

Grey Eyed Bandit

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bencole said:
Three seconds later, I almost blacked out from confusion. I got in on my opponent's leg (as expected) but my brain suddenly shut down when my opponent thrust his hand into my mouth and yanked me off him by the inside of my cheek!!! HOLY MOLEY that was painful!!!

I've been able to successfully hold down people stronger than myself in a kesa gatame while they tried fishhooking me in the mouth. I've also unsuccessfully tried to use the same tactic myself. There are no guarantees, especially not if adrenaline enters into the equation.

bencole said:
When you train with expectations of what is acceptable and what is not, you leave open holes for the sake of efficiency. Why cover something if it will not be in danger?

As with Don's post, no objections.
 
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bencole

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DWeidman said:
You just changed your statement. Now it has to be from Day 1? And what is "regularly"?

Fine. Retract those points. Still doesn't matter. I'll repeat *MY* opinion for you, Dan:

Sparring is bad for your development in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. The end.

How can anyone determine if someone else has a level of understanding that you would consider "good"?

I can. Others can. Don't know why you couldn't, Dan, if you know what you are doing.... :D

If the purpose of your training is to GET GOOD in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, then you should NOT spar, IN MY OPINION.

Again, I have never seen ANYONE who has used sparring to better their Taijutsu IN A WAY THAT *I* AND *SOME OF MY SENIORS WHO ALSO HAVE AN EYE FOR "GOOD TAIJUTSU"* could see.

Would you consider Nagato in this statement? He started sparring early in his career - and has a pretty decent knowledge base. How about Soke?

Yup.

Neither Soke nor Nagato would be where they are today IN TERMS OF THE MOVEMENT IN BUJINKAN BUDO TAIJUTSU had they NOT given up their sparring practices of their youth. Granted there is no way of "proving this" because you don't buy that there is actually a way of saying what is "good" and object to me placing further refinements in my statement.

I feel consoled that both Nagato-sensei and Hatsumi-sensei agree with this assessment BASED UPON MY PERSONAL CONVERSATIONS WITH THEM. That, combined with my own subjective assessments of "goodness," is good enough for me.

And without the additional verbage of "regularly" and "Day 1" - I still think you are myopic on this topic.

Not myopic, dogmatic. :D I've seen enough and been through enough to NOT be myopic about this issue.

-ben
 

Cryozombie

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Gentlemen,

Before this heats up, I just want to remind everyone posting here to keep the conversation polite...

This can be a heated issue, and I just dont want to see it spark into a full fledged flame.

Thanks!
 
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