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In-depth analysis of Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida


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I don't know if this have been posted here before, but I've found this really interesting even if you don't like Lyoto Machida. Anyway... I've try to translate this article for you guys!


PS: My english is bad, but I hope you all understand what I've wrote. (I'm brazilian :D)

PS2: If many people like it, I can try to translate more of this kind of article and informations from Brazil.


Here it goes:


Lyoto Machida, I believe, is one of those genius that show up just a few times in a whole generation of athletes. But what takes to build a guy with such skills? Analyzing the history of this brazilian, we realize that it's a combination of different factors. On this article we will talk about some of them.

It's impossible to not find parellel between the history of Gracie's jiu-jitsu and Machida's karate. Helio Gracie and your brother Carlos, from Belem do Para, learned japanese jiu-jitsu with the arrival of an japanese imigrant - Mitsuyo Maeda, Count Coma. They had weak physical strength so, because of that, they adapt all that technique, creating what we known today as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). They taught that new martial art to their children, which in a quest to improve even more that technique, created the sport that we known today as MMA.


Sensei Yoshizo Machida was born in Japan and moved to Brazil in 1968, at very same Belem do Para of Gracie's brothers. Master of Shotokan Karate, black belt 8th degree, Machida felt the need to improve his technique because of his small body structure. So he created his own style, that many call Machida's Karate. He taught that to his children Shinzo, Kenzo, Take and Lyoto. Some time ago a research came up trying to reveal the secret of successful people. First conclusion was that pure talent does not exist, but a lot of hard work. All genius studied used to practice their art for at least 10 thousand hours before became an adult. Second fact appointed by that article was the importance of the childhood challenges. These "genius", when child, or got through huge challenges or had close and strict parents. Lyoto Machida is someone who can prove this theory.


Yoshizo raised his children by samurai's discipline. He began to teach karate really early. Lyoto was 3 years old when he started to wake up at 6am to practice with his father, something that he still does. Being late was never an option. On UFC Countdown (just before UFC 98), he summarized that discipline in a phrase which everyone with goals can write by the side of his alarm clock:

"You won your first battle by just getting up"

With that routine, Lyoto must have got around 6 thousand hours of practice before 21 years old. We can speculate that more 3 or 4 thousand hours of practice must have been taken in his father's dojo by the afternoon. Besides that, Yoshizo conditioned his son to constantly seek his goals. With that background, Lyoto could have been a karate genius. But there's something more that makes who he is today: humility. When Lyoto, at 15 years old, saw Royce Gracie on the first edition of UFC, he didn't try to convince himself that his father's karate was superior. Instead of that, he went to learn Gracie's Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). Years and thousand of hours later, Lyoto got his black belt in BJJ. Before that, Lyoto used to practice Sumo, art that he began to pratice at 8 years old and was runner-up on brazilian championship 10 years later.


Those facts show some differences between Lyoto and the regular athletes. Many traditional martial arts athletes believe that your own art is above the others and because of that they're not open to spend a lot of hours practicing other techniques. That's why such individuals don't do so well in MMA, despite of being masters in their own martial arts. Even most of Gracie's family members don't even cared about mastering another technique other than their own. The outcome was clear, they didn't catch up with the evolution of the sport and, as consequence, no one of Gracie's family is a top MMA fighter nowadays.


The early Lyoto's humility seeking another techniques in other martial arts made him, since the beginning, interested in the basic components of MMA and as he learned those new things, he got it all toghether with his father's technique, making him this outstanding fighter he is today. Lyoto became an adult with a great background in karate, sumo and brazilian jiu-jitsu. It took a lot of hard work and for sure more than 10 thousand hours of practices. But his formation as a fighter was not finished yet, it was time to enter in MMA world. On that moment, he meets Antonio Inoki.

As this history goes, Inoki is the third japanese that arrives in Brazil. With great strength, athlete and champion in many modalities, Inoki began to fight in early 60's, when he returned to Japan with his legendary tutor Rikidōzan. In 1972 Inoki has founded New Japan Pro Wrestling. This organization started to promote exhibitions, but soon Inoki created a professional way of fighting that worked in real fights. So, he created the Shoot Wrestling, another component of today's MMA. Inoki challenged many athletes and was the first to recreate a training system that combines ground fighting and stand-up exchange. Antonio Inoki took Machida as his student, and Lyoto didn't waste that opportunity. He moved to Tokyo, got in the most experient training center of that days and started to practice wrestling for MMA with one of the biggest specialists in that art.


The technical analysis of Machida's way of fighting are countless over the internet. All of them are worth to better understand this phenomenon, but we need to avoid a shallow analysis here.

Lyoto is not just a "karate guy", he is a prodigy of sport, master and pan-american champion of modality. Lyoto is not an ex-TUF that began to practice BJJ yesterday, but a black belt that study that art for 15 years. Lyoto is not that good against wrestlers just because he has a good stance, he started to train for that at 12 years old with Sumo and after that he was student of one of the guys that just invented MMA's wrestling.

Finally, is good to remember that Lyoto has been in Thailand to train Muay Thai and recently started to train with big names of brazilian MMA as Anderson Silva, Rodrigo Minotauro and Vitor Belfort, being part of the extinct Black House, and later in closed sessions with those fighters.


To summarize, Lyoto is the definition of virtuous, genius, the guy that work extremely hard and master all basic concepts of his sport. Lyoto is not just master of stance, kicks, being evasive and karate counter attacks. He's also clinch, takedowns and submissions. He is what you can call: a true, or complete, MMA fighter.

This brief history above show us that Lyoto Machidas can't be manufactured. Just a few have luck of having a father that is a karate genius, who loves and cares for his children. This same luck is observed as he was exposed to the two basic components of modern MMA: Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Shoot Wrestling. But all this potential and the opportunities that life gave him could have been wasted if it was not his will to become who he is now. Maybe others could had opportunities like those in the past, but there's just one Lyoto Machida.


Written by Alexandre Matos and Antonio Oliveira. Source: http://www.mma-brasil.com

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...Great article : I believe Lyoto will retire undefeated, but his career will have a hole in it if he does not fight Silva .... I do not understand why they cannot fight & still remain close friends ... (this is not life or death, its a sport) . I think Spider detects a real problem w/ Machida's style & does not want to deal with the aftermath of losing !

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yea hes introduced a entirly new style to the ufc, but the thing about being a technical fighter is someone can figure you out and counter your gameplan. I see someone beating him sometime in the next year or two, wether thiago silva gives it another go (maybe he will be better prepared), or maybe Rampage or Rashad, or possibly even Jon Jones who has an equally unorthodox style as lyoto in my opinion.


Oo and yea good post

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Thanks for that dude. I think people that see Machida as boring, not good to watch will read this and look at Machida in a new light and see that he is going to be one of if not the best champion mma will ever have. And in my opinion there is nobody in mma that can put a stop to him.

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