Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fred Ettish - Martial Artist

I have always respected Fred Ettish. I remember watching all the early UFC's live on PPV. I will never get that feeling back, that fear that you may actually see someone die, that you have no idea what will happen. So little information was available about the fighters, their arts, or what would happen. What happens when you put a lion in a cage with an alligator? It was that sort of fantasy dream match.

We all knew if any one of us stepped in there, we would get our ass kicked. Fred Ettish did not win when he stepped into the Octagon, he was a replacement for an injured fighter if recollection serves. Why he is remembered and ridiculed was because of how human he looked, he did what many of us thought we might do, which is just survive. He wasn't a star, like other athletes on TV were. He was human and normal, except he wasn't normal. He stepped into the Octagon during an era when it was actually possible to die. Sure you step into an octagon now and that earns respect, but back then, it was a lot more dangerous. It wasn't a sport, it was a spectacle.

He was the smaller, less athletic, slower man who truly believed martial arts would even the playing field. Like we all did at one point. He went out there and it wasn't a movie underdog finish, things played out the way it was supposed to.

He believed in his martial art, its tenets, and he went out and tested himself against the chagrin of traditional martial artists and mixed martial artists alike. And he kept training afterwards and at 53 he fought again and won.

"A strong person finds a way to overcome. I lost a physical fight, but I didn't lose the emotional fight. I will never lose the emotional fight - I will always find a way to overcome, always, no matter what it is." - Fred Ettish

People hated Fred because he reminded us of us, nothing special. I respected Fred Ettish because he was just one of us, normal A human in a tournament full of mutants.


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