A Month’s Time
After Baki’s extensive training and hellish battle on Yasha Crag, he returns to civilization. In his absence Yuri has become stronger and is planning on challenging for the World Heavyweight Title. The young Hanma pays a visit to Yuri’s gym, but not to challenge him. He explains to Yuri that there is a big difference between “sports” and “martial arts,” to which Yuri asks, “You are saying boxing isn’t a martial art.” Compared to martial arts, Baki touts, boxing is a joke. Boxing is extremely limited: you may only punch, and there are restricted target areas. When kicking, elbows, knees, throws, submissions, and a variety of commonly considered “fouls” are allowed, straight boxing falls to the wayside. This troubles Yuri, but Baki congratulates him on attempting to take the Title and hopes that he will win.
Sports vs. Martial Arts
The differences between “sports” and “martial arts,” at least in regards to this anime, are numerous. First, sports combat is well defined– there are rules, the fight will take place at a given time against a set opponent, and there are officials to protect each of the fighters. However, in “martial arts,” (which is to say, real fighting) there are no rules, the fights take place whenever and wherever they happen, against an often unknown opponent, and there is no one to stop you unless the police show up. That is not to say that the skills learned in sports combat do not carry over to real fighting (most often, they do), but that they are not sufficient if one wishes to either defend one’s self effectively or seeks to walk the road that Baki is walking.
Yuri vs. Hanayama Kaoru
On the way from the warm-up room to the ring for his Heavyweight Title match, Yuri’s path is cut off by Hanayama and his gang. Hanayama initiates a fight and Yuri throws a flurry of punches to the giant’s head, but to no avail. There are some people out there that are just built differently. Hanayama is built for absolute raw power and, even though Yuri lands blow after blow, he is unable to knock out or damage the “young master.” However, the 15-year old unveils his special technique. With his massive grip, Hanayama grabs his opponents arm, squeezing so tight that he actually forces the arm to explode due to blood being trapped. Yuri is undeterred and continues to fight with only one arm, but is thrown back with a single punch by his larger opponent. He gains strength through a vision, where his grandfather tells him that as long as his mind/spirit does not break, he will not lose. To him, it’s more of a matter of pride. If he continues to stand and take the beating, even if he is broken or dies, he will not have admitted defeat.
Baki and his mother are watching the fight on television and, when they hear the news of what has happened, Baki stretches and says he’s going home to go to bed. In reality, he goes straight to Hanayama’s place and lays down a challenge.
The strength of mind is often far more important than strength of body. No matter the power possessed by a person, if he is not of strong mind, he may be easily broken, either by pain or a difficult situation. It is the strength to persevere that allows a person to accomplish things of immense difficulty. Also, being unafraid to tackle the obstacles in front of you and determined enough to look for new challenges will help you to become stronger. Seek new opponents to spar with, strive to learn new skills and techniques, make your body strong and fast through hard training, and be disciplined enough to conquer the massive task of mastering what you already know. Work with what you have. Don’t say to yourself, “I’ll wait until I have a place to train better,” or “I need someone to teach me.” You can train anywhere there is space. You can throw punches, kicks, knees, whatever. You can do push-ups, sit-ups, squats, pull-ups, etc. There are so many options. If you know absolutely nothing, use the internet (it has a wealth of knowledge), go buy some books, actively look for an instructor, or find a friend who can teach you something. If you want it enough, you’ll find a way.
There wasn’t much to this episode today, but the next one will have much more to dissect. Good luck and happy training!