Monday, May 16, 2016

Is it a sport? Just plain crazy? Both?

When it comes to the sports I pay attention to, I’d have to say that Mixed Martial Arts/Ultimate Fighting would be scraping along the bottom of the list. Never have watched it. Never will watch it. Oh, I’m sure there are even worse sports – like bare-knuckle cage fighting, which, come to think of it, is part of MMA. (Not that I ever do actually come to think of it.) Truly, I’d rather watch a tiddly-winks tournament. Or even a bunch of gamers gaming. Maybe even, and this is going some, watch the Masters, with all its reverential commentary on the sacred green jacket the winner dons.

Mostly I’m a baseball girl. This past weekend I watched parts – the good parts – of two spectacularly interesting Red Sox games. Slug fests, my favorite kind. (My husband preferred pitching duels. I’d meet him halfway. I like good pitching on the part of the Red Sox and rotten pitching from their opponents.)

The term slugfest may sound violent and harsh, but my interest in slug-festing is confined to watching sluggers slug a ball with a bat. As long as no one gets hurt, I’m not opposed to an occasional bench clearing brawl, but I really don’t like the sports designed to intentionally and directly inflict serious bodily harm.

But even though the purpose of Unified Weapons Master is to avoid serious bodily harm, I have to say that UWM may well be the new bottom of my sporting barrel. UWM is the brainchild (more or less: using that word is probably an insult to brains and children) of Australia’s Chiron Global. UWM goes MMA one better by putting authentic weapons in the hands of the martial sportists. Or artists. What Chiron Global came up with is a way to let folks play blood sports without drawing any blood.

“Until now the opportunities for weapons martial artists to compete in true, full combat have been limited due to the fear of serious injury, and the inability to objectively determine the outcome.” (Source: Chiron Global/UWM)

What a breakthrough! Athletes can whack away at each other with mace and pike without getting splattered with brain matter.

What makes this all possible is Lorica, an armor system chocked full of sensors. The armor system protects the wearer. The sensors detect the force and location, analyze the data, and report to the judges just what would have happened if there was no protective layer in place. So the winner can be declared without the spectacle of his (and I’m guessing this is mostly a “his” kind of thing) arm, leg, or noggin sitting there in a pool of blood. Fighters could keep on fighting – think Monty Python’s Black Knight, only intact.

“Not since the age of the Colosseum have large-scale audiences been able to watch live, full contact, weapons combat in a dynamic format. UWM will change this forever.”

Christians to the Lions! Lions to the Christians! Bring on Russell Crowe! Off – virtually, of course – with their heads.

Cool use of technology, I suppose. On the other hand, what exactly is this? A sport? Just plain crazy? Both?

All I know is that I won’t be watching. I’d much rather see Big Papi blast out a walk-off double. Now that’s my idea of sport!

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