We’re always told to listen to our elders as if those of advanced years also have advanced knowledge by virtue of their age alone. I’ve found that to be untrue in all manner of situations. Shoplifting for one, driving for another. Older people are no better at these things than most others, unless of course, they have been in training for years. Elderly shoplifters are crafty as hell, and they have more pockets than you would believe.
Experience is the only indicator of advanced knowledge and when you talk about mixed martial arts, they don’t come much more experienced, or indeed craftier that Gene LeBell. The man who taught judo to Karo Parysian and Ronda Rousey is not only a 10th Dan in Judo, he’s also a stuntman, stunt coordinator, MMA referee and judge who officiated the Muhhamad Ali vs Antoni Inoki bout back in 1976. When a veteran such as ‘Judo’ Gene LeBell talks, you ignore him at your own risk, especially when he is giving his recommendations for the improvement of judges and refereeing in MMA, as he told MMAFighting.com.
“In MMA it’s flavour of the month and everybody wants to be a judge or referee. I see a lot of referees that could use a little bit more instruction… I think it should be mandatory for these judges that want to do MMA to go to Muay Thai schools, go to Judo schools, go to Greco Roman schools, go to freestyle wrestling schools, Kempo, Shotokan, Taekwondo, all those schools and learn a little bit of everything. You want to know if a body slam hurts more than a left hook, and how much damage can something get? You have to be on the mat or in the ring to know the difference. It’s my humble opinion.”