Sunday, October 07, 2007

Discovery Channel's Last One Standing

The Discovery Channel has come out with an outstanding series called Last One Standing. The premise is that these six athletes from the U.S. get to travel to various remote villages and train with the natives in the indigenous warrior games, after which they get to compete against the tribe's enemies. Tonight the episode (perhaps the pilot?) was about this ethnic wrestling style in Brazil. One thing that really interests me is how the game of grappling changes when you change the ruleset. Well, in these contests, there were three ways to win:
  • get your opponent in a rear control (i.e. rear bearhug)
  • get your opponent's back on the ground
  • get control of one of your opponent's legs
It looked like the rules were loosely enforced, I guess based on whether or not the fight was interesting to the observers and referees. For instance, there were instances of someone getting a single leg pick and the match continuing into a double leg pick and bodyslam similar to teguruma. There were also instances where legpicks were broken and didn't stop the fight.
Three of the Americans were such noobs that the Chief disqualified them from the competition to keep them from embarrassing his village. The three that fought did pretty well.
I would have liked to see a good collegiate wrestler pancake some of these natives and I would have liked to see how a BJJ guy would have fared naked in the dirt with greasy body paint and alien rules. And I'm not picking on the BJJ guys, I just think it would have been interesting to match some Brazilian JJ guys vs. these Brazilian natives.
Next week's episode is about Zulu stick and shield fighting. In the trailer I saw a clip of several stick-wielding natives chasing a white guy down in the bush, apparently whipping him for turning and fleeing. I aslo saw a guy's head laid open to the skull with one of these canes. Should be good watching...


  1. This looks like the Discovery Channel's answer to the History Channel's show, "Human Weapon".

  2. I saw the show. Very interesting. I think that a Judoka would do very well, as would a Greco Roman wrestler.

    I'd agree that a strict BJJ player would have problems in this particular ruleset, because so much of what we do plays counter to the rules. In order to win in this contest, I'd have to rely on what wrestling we learn.

    Interesting show, though. I like how they're focusing on remote/primitive cultures. I get the sense that this largely will comprise very ritualized combat under focused rulesets, but I guess we'll see.


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