Deep in the North of Brazil along the Xingu river, a tributary of the mighty Amazon, live the Kamayurá an Indigenous tribe of the Amazonian Basin.
Like so many Indigenous peoples around the world they had been nearly wiped out after their lands had been “discovered”. A measles epidemic brought to their area by a rapidly expanding Brazilian population reduced their numbers in the 1950’s to just 94 people. But like many Indigenous peoples around the world they are showing while they may have had their backs against the wall, they will always fight back and their population has doubled in just the last 8 years to be now 600 strong.
A fighting spirit is something deeply connected to who they are and they have practiced the ancient art of Uka Uka (traditional wrestling) for longer than modern history can recall. So when UFC Middleweight Champion and undisputed P4P king of Mixed Martial Arts Andreson “The Spider” Silva had a opporunity to visit his countrymen and learn an art form he jumped at the chance.
Silva a man to hold both the longest winning streak in UFC history and the record for the most title defenses has been described by many as “the greatest mixed martial artist ever.” Most agree that a fighter like Bruce Lee or a Boxer like Ali would not last 30 seconds against the Spider. But the ever humble Silva always has his mind open to new things. Not content with being a Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Black belt in Judo, Black belt in Taekwondo, Black belt in Muay Thai,
Yellow rope in Capoeira and training boxing with Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach he ventured into the Jungle of his home land to learn Uka Uka from the Indigenous Kamayurá people.
As he says, to be the best the mind must always be open to new things, new experiences and sometimes the best new thing is something that has been around for centuries. So is this not yet another example of what we as greater Australia are missing out on? Imagine how many thousands of old tricks we could be taught by the Indigenous peoples of Australia if we had the same humble heart and open mind as the greatest fighter on the planet!
Pressman: “The celebration at the Kamayurá’s Tribe is for receive a warrior. Anderson Silva got out of the Octagon and went to the north of the Xingu River, at (Brazilian State) Mato Grosso, to exchange experience with Indian. Experts in Uka-Uka, a kind of wrestling, practiced by the tribes of the region.”
Spider: “The mind is like a parachute, always open.”
Pressman: “With an open mind, the philosopher Anderson Silva heard the stories of Indians. The tradition of the indigenous fight is millennial and was adapting over time. All very different from the glamor of the UFC. In the UFC, Anderson Silva has been making history. At the Kamayurá’s Tribe, simplicity and dedication, which begins at the 13 years old.”
Indian: “We spent two and a half years in commitment, preparing to be a fighter, scraping the skin and passing roots.”
Pressman: “Anderson didn’t have to do this, but here is a tradition that no Uka-Uka warrior can escape, have to turn a beast.”
Indian: “We’re painting him as one ounce.”
Pressman: “He didn’t convince like a ounce. He will try to convince us fighting. Take the kids out of the room and register that historical moment. What was seen is unbelievable. Anderson Silva was neutralized, was knocked out. And only after being “beaten”, he began to learn the technique. So, Anderson Silva has returned to be Anderson Silva.”
Spider: “It’s different the way they fight. The techniques used are very strong. As my current coach says, the mind is like a parachute, always open.”
Pressman: “Was late for the philosopher to speak again. And there are more “open minds” in the Tribe. And Anderson became a coach.”
Indian: “I liked that stroke.”
Spider: “What stroke? I’ll teach you.” (Anderson teaches some moves to the Indian)
Pressman: “In the end, a great celebration to thank the visit of a great idol of the world, and the union of MMA with Uka-Uka. Everyone won. And, of course, was a lesson, the mind always open!”