I really want to take one of these to go.

Buakaw Por. Pramuk – a retrospective

“Hey, I’ve got something on my foot, can you take a look at it?”

2012 just hasn’t been a good year for people.  And from the looks of preliminary reports, we can add one more to the list of growing obituaries.  The career of the “White Lotus”, Buakaw Por. Pramuk (Sombat Banchamek).

As some of you already know, I’ve always been a fan of the martial arts.  I started out my martial arts life as a taekwondo fighter, eventually moving on to Judo and Wing Chun Kung Fu in college.  It wasn’t until I my breakup went down that I started Muay Thai and boxing.  My brother and my cousin Charlie (His name is popping up quite a bit) were fans of K-1 kickboxing, so naturally I gravitated towards that at first.  Charlie suggested that I join the “Boxing Club” in San Diego, which I did.  I started learning Muay Thai from Kru Caine Gayle, boxing  from Coach Ron Casper, and training from all the other coaches at the gym.

To supplement my training, Charlie would sit me at his computer and play fight videos from Thailand and Japan.   Buakaw Por. Pramuk was one of the fighters I would constantly watch.  When Buakaw would fight, people would be broken.  Not just KO’ed.  Broken.

Buakaw’s rise to fame was as storied as his accomplishments.  Born in the province of Surin, Buakaw started fighting at the age of 8.  He then joined the Por. Pramuk Gym at the age of 15, and took the gym’s name as his own (Thai custom).

Before I go any further, allow me to list his accomplishments as a Thai Boxer:

  • 2011 Thai Fight Tournament champion (-70 kg)
  • 2011 WMC World Junior Middleweight champion
  • 2010 Shoot Boxing S-Cup World champion
  • 2009 WMC/MAD Muaythai World champion
  • 2006 K-1 World MAX champion
  • 2006 WMC Super-Welterweight World champion
  • 2005 S-1 Super-Welterweight World champion
  • 2005 K-1 World MAX 2005 Finalist
  • M.T.A World Muay Thai Champion
  • 2004 K-1 World MAX champion
  • 2003 KOMA GP Lightweight champion
  • 2002 Toyota Muay Thai marathon tournament 140 lb. class winner
  • Omnoi Stadium Lightweight champion
  • 2001 Professional Boxing Association of Thailand Featherweight champion
  • Omnoi Stadium Featherweight champion
  • Final Record- 203W/51 KO – 21L – 12 NC

Yes.  He won the K-1 MAX championship twice.  That’s how badass he was.  In fact, K-1 had to change the clinch and knee rules since Buakaw kept destroying lives when he fought.

Recently, some details came to light about his relationship with the Por. Pramuk gym.  Basically, Buakaw would fight for the Por. Pramuk gym, and the gym would take the lion’s share of the profits, leaving Buakaw with a pittance.  This went on for a while until Buakaw had enough.  He eventually tried to leave the gym, but his contract was binding.  He just fought under the THAI FIGHT promotion and scored a 2nd round KO against Rustem Zaripov.  Amidst all this controversy and lawsuits from the Por. Pramuk gym, he announced his retirement earlier today.

Buakaw isn’t that much older than me, so I know he’s got some years left in him.  It saddens me to hear about the career of someone as epic as Buakaw being cut short due to lawsuits and legalities.

With the help of Yokkao boxing apparel, he was able to open up a Muay Thai gym in his native province of Surin.  Hopefully he’ll be able to train another champion in his likeness, without all the petty lawsuit bullshit tying him or her down.

I really want to take one of these to go.

Let’s draw…Jenny!

The artists wanted to get their stuff warmed up, so I told ‘em to draw Jenny in 15 minutes.  Here’s how it turned out.

Bruzewayne’s used to drawing under pressure.

Jinxhand’s got a unique approach to Jenny’s armor.

Two different artists, two different approaches. Either way, I’m getting hyped for our comic’s launch.

I really want to take one of these to go.

Twitchy’s Videogame Rocking Chair – Bust a Groove/Bust a Groove 2 Dance Tengoku Mix

Shit’s gettin’ real. Shorty’s dancing on Japanese letters.

First off, a quick shoutout to the peeps at rhythmemotion, ‘cuz they’ve covered Bust a Groove already.  However, I’m going to add my own sardonic wit to this entry, like I always do.

Geeks…normally can’t dance.  I’m no exception.  I can do martial arts just fine.  Throw me into a ring and I can shuffle around with the greatest of ease.  Throw me onto a dance floor and I start tripping over my own damn shoelaces.  Plus, like most other filipino-american youths at the time, I was thrown into obligatory piano lessons.  I had a teacher that would hit my wrists whenever I screwed up a note or two (Vince, Richie, you know who I’m talkin’ about).  Suffice it to say, music and I weren’t homies.

You know who was my homie though?  Forreal?  Videogames.  They provided a way to escape the normalcy that was my childhood/adolescence.  I could kill robots, kill goombas, beat up Chun-Li, people with whips, goblins….(I could go on, but I don’t want to)  It wasn’t until Parappa the Rapper and Bust a Groove, that I started liking dance and rhythm games.

Dancing?  In my videogames?  At the time it was more likely than I thought.  My cousin Charlie let me play Bust a Groove, and boy was I hooked.  How hooked?  More hooked than a crackhead on his second 8-ball.  Check out this clip and it’s easy to see why.

(SHOOOOOORTY!!! MY FAVORITE CHARACTER)

Leave it to Japan to combine an animé aesthetic with some jammin’ tunes and a wonderfully simple, easy to control game to make something mind-blowingly FUN.  This game was FUN.  F-U-N. YOU HEAR THAT SQUARE ENIX?! YOU USED TO MAKE FUN GAMES BEFORE YOUR MERGER!  BRING BACK BUST A GROOVE!

*ahem*

The fun didn’t stop there.  Oh no no no, they later released Bust a Groove 2, or in Japan, Bust a Move 2: Dance Tengoku Mix.  I picked up a copy of this game in the Philippines, back when Playstation games cost $0.50.  Seriously.

They tweaked up the gameplay, making it flow better with better variety.  The animations were smoothed out as well.  And as for the music, well, there are some tracks I like more than the Part 1 counterparts, and some that I could do without.  Plus that final stage….hoo boy.  Psychotic ballet panda.

There are people that have an irrational fear of Pandas.  I don’t blame them.  Fuck this panda.

When I turned 21, I was disappointed when I walked into PB Bar and Grill for the first time.  There weren’t any dance battles that involved fire dragons, giant cakes, spaceships, or house dancing mad scientists.  

Games like Bust A Groove paved the way for rhythm games to come.  Later we had Dance Dance Revolution and the Bemani series of games…which I’ll cover at a later issue.  Until then, loyal readers!

-Francis

I really want to take one of these to go.

Twitchy’s Videogame Rocking Chair – The “Soul” Series.

The sound of a creaky rocking chair fills the room you’re reading this in.  Suddenly, this song by Suzi Kim kicks in and you’re transported to a time when fighting was commonplace.  Tales of souls and swords were eternally retold, and you would watch the intro sequence over and over again to watch Sophitia get naked.

I’m talkin’ about the “Soul” series of fighting games.  Nowadays people know them as the “Soul Calibur” series of fighting games, but us old folks call ‘em the “Soul” games.  For me, the first one’s my favorite.  Soul Blade.  (Or Soul Edge if you’re reading this from Japan or Europe.)  Tekken with weapons.  And boy howdy was it ever.  The game was so fun to play, easy to pick up, and the different play styles of each character meant that there was a character for anyone and everyone to use.  My personal favorite?

Seung Mina(Later Romanized to Seong Mi-Na).

The story?  Some swords exist that promise untold power to whoever wields them.  And everyone in the game is trying to find the swords for their own reasons.  Simple.

That’s why I loved this game so much.  Everything about the game was simple.  The game didn’t get too wrapped up in itself, and it provided hours upon hours of crazy gameplay.  My cousin Charlie and my brother spent a good part of our childhood playingthis game.  In fact, they both banned me from using Seung Mina, since I would just keep knocking them out of the ring.

When Soul Calibur came around, the Soul franchise successfully made the next-gen jump.  And was it awesome.

Things are still pretty simple.  Though they introduced a grip of new characters (my personal favorite was Xianghua).

Then things started getting weird….

(Which one doesn’t belong?  I’ll give you a hint.  GREEN.)

Still weird..

OKAY WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS I DON’T EVEN

Which leads us to this intro.  SCV.  I don’t know what the flyin’ fuck is goin’ on anymore.

Somewhere along the way, Namco lost their Soul.  The games were fun, don’t get me wrong, but after Soul Calibur II, the games lacked a certain “something”.  I cared less and less about each sequential installment, until I got to part 5.  I haven’t even bought it yet.  I’m going to wait until it gets cheap, and from the looks of reviews and word of mouth opinions, I won’t have to wait long.

At least, I can use my Assassin’s Creed II skills here.  DOUBLE BLADE ASSASSINATION!

Maybe now that I’m older, I can truly appreciate just how good things were “back in the day”.  Or I need to take off these nostalgia goggles.

-Francis

Mushroom Kings…huh?

What the hell is that gold thing? Guile? ok so now there’s a doll house. nope thats a real building…Tanks now. wait Sub Zero?…are they on Rainbow Road from Mario Cart!? What the shit!? I’m confused. Maybe Guile and his army invade a town owned by Bison and free a golden calve which contains the power of pandora (SFVT)…i dont know. I do know that we can all agree that Street Fighter is the coolest right? That’s a big HYFR or Hell Ya Fuckin Right to you lames. NY based animator Jonathan Monoghan is no stranger to this knowledge either: as shown in his animated short Sacrifice of the Mushroom Kings. Jonathan re-purposes Street Fighter IV character models and Super Mario iconography to produce some haunting and bewitching results. At the moment, it seems that only a few clips exist online, but I just couldn’t resist sharing this any longer. I always knew M. Bison had big plans for all that Shadaloo money: no amount of Hadoukens can stop an army of 80 ft. golden calves.

I really want to take one of these to go.

Abraham Lim – Glee Project Season 2!!

So one of my friends is on The Glee Project.  He’s a damn talented singer, and he’s got really cool red hair.  You might’ve seen him at MinSokChon back in the day, but he’s moving on to bigger and better things.  Still, he makes the best Hello Kitties this side of San Diego.  Who am I talkin’ about?

Abraham Lim.  So, by the CEO powers vested in me at Team Mixed Nuts, we officially support Abraham Lim’s bid to be the winner of the Glee Project Season 2.  Go Abraham!

And yes, I secretly wish I could climb an escalator like Abraham.  He found out, though.

-Francis