52 Blocks(Cont'd): Part Deux

Okay, here is a continuation thread from the original 52 Blocks thread. Now we can start posting without getting lost or having to scroll down a mile on the original...lol.

Maybe the BEST move is to match THREE 52 guys vs. three BJJ guys all at the same time in a ring/octagon -- I always wanted to do that anyway during UFC...I used to imagine it called "Brooklyn vs. Brazil"...with Riddick Bowe and Tyson and someone like K versus a trio of Gracies. Whoever is freed up after taking someone out gets to jump on the next guy who's already dealing with an opponent. Wouldn't that prove the real street element while simultaneously allowing BJJ to prove if it can win? Essentially each BJJ guy is responsible for one guy, let them see if they can keep it one on one.
I am confident BOTH sides would feel comfortable in that kind of matchup, as the BJJ guys would feel sure they would win, and the 52 guy could feel that even if one of his guys got taken out he still had the tools to deal with being outnumbered. And I'm sure he'd love a chance to step over and kick a Gracie in the head to prove his point about going to your back during a street-style melee.

RULES No eye gouging and no biting. That's it. Because, let's face it, while those may be tenets of the 52 (thus making a sacrifice for the 52 guy to not have them available) it would also give him a lot of stuff current MMA guys don't have used against them -- groin shots, throat strikes, small joint manipulations and all that merry stuff that probably is very prominent in the 52.

It would probably be very illegal. You might have to do it on an Indian reservation or in the Cayman islands or something. But maybe some rich benefactor would be interested in hosting it just to settle some points of this argument once and for all.

There are also plenty of dudes that would do it for chump change - you might have to dig up some big BJJ dudes like Hugo Duarte (250-lb. guy that fought Vale Tudo and in UFC) to make the size close to equal, but it could be done. Getting fighters wouldn't be a problem, and hell, who wouldn't buy it?

I see you points Snuff, and yes something like this would go over nice. removing the vitals will not make 52 week. But these can be bread and butter shots to a fighter. I sure a MMA would love to use them too. The biggest differences that I see is the ring vs the street. If a person gets slamed he might not have much fight left in him, while in the ring the fight may just be beginning for some. All types of fighter should be welcome to play as they can say we had at it too. I'm sure there are some cats who would jump at this cause they love to fight. But we we're talking about K who is willing to show, But to throw him with a cat he doesn't know won't jell with him. As they both might forget that it just a show. You can't over look pride, sport cat compete all the time, so they can use sportmanship. If you have been doing your fighting behind bars how do you just turn it off for a role? This is likely to happen because people want it. And it's enough cats in the hood that have some skill that would jump at the chance to be on tv.

It's an interesting hypothetical, and given the likelhood that somebody would get permanently damaged, will probably only exist in the realm of "what if?"

But in the meantime, I'm trying something a little bit more practical.

I'm trying to hook a group of interested people up with K so they can see his authenticity face to face. You see it in his eyes, you hear it in his explanations of the origins, and you certainly can see it when he's going through the moves.

This really is an apples an oranges debate anyway.
No one ever said 52 Blocks is a sports form of fighting or mixed martial art. I've always said it was a completely raw form of prison self defense.

Dark Thought

Put a gracie in an american prison and a 52 blocks guy in a Brazilian prison and see who lasts longer.

All I know is, I'm very much looking forward to checking out the demo of 52. The mere fact K is willing to show it to people is pretty cool.

"BJJ dudes like Hugo Duarte"

Duarte is not BJJ. He is Luta Livre.

My bad lunatic, I knew that, but I usually use BJJ in that phrase because "luta livre" not as many people know what it is.

FYI - there is a book I just saw at my local Borders
called Martial Arts of the World II - it covers (duh)
various martial arts of the world. There are at 3-4
chapters devoted to Dennis Newsome in which he
showcases Capoeira, various African stick fighting
arts and "Jailhouse Rock".

The "Jailhouse Rock" sequences that he shows
resemble Pentjak Silat (lots of in your face elbow
work and puter kepalas) and/or dirty boxing with
puter kepalas thrown in. The funny thing about the
sequences are the "uniforms" that Mr. Newsome
and his assistant are wearing...striped "convict"
outfits straight of Buster Keaton and Keystone
Cops films complete with little striped beanie
skullcaps. I half-expected a half-drunk overweight
Irish cop with a billyclub to go chasing them
around while they ran away carrying a big sack with
a big "$$$$" written on it in some of the

lol... awesome

LMAO @ Flash Gordon

I'll have to check the book out myself and take at look at the section Dennis did for the book.

What I saw in the "Jailhouse Rock" section resembled the Panantukan and Pentjak Silat that I've been exposed to. However, I do have to admit that it's difficult to get the full flavour of an art from just a series of pictures. I was a bit disconcerted by the "uniforms".

Just as a follow up to the other thread (since this seems to be the new thread)...

I talked to theRykers prison gaurd this weekend.

He's never heard of 52 or jailhouse BUT - he did say as he knows that different prison gangs have developed their own combat systems.

now a video series, that's a good idea.....

You guys should check out the book - half the chapters are devoted to the arts that Dennis Newsome teaches.

I am not kidding about the Keystone cops convict uniforms. They were wearing the same striped get-up that Elvis's boys were wearing in that movie where he sang Jailhouse Rock (I think it was the movie that begins with Elvis punching a wife-beater to death in a bar and then ends with him getting out of jail and becoming a rock star).


A million thanks. Wow. That's quite an endorsement, and I do appreciate it. *Do I owe you a commission, or should I offer to hire you as my press agent?*


The heyday for 52 Blocks style fighting on Rikers Island was like back in '77, '78 times. So unless your friend is some real oldtime C.O. (generally they hate the term "guard" by the way), he likely would never have encountered it. They no longer fight much hand to hand on Rikers or in any prison in N.Y. As your friend can can tell you, it's generally a very fast stabbing now with a homemade knife.

When I went up to Fishkill prison to write my Details article and K was allowed to show us his 52 Blocks for about an hour while being photographed, the two female corrections officers who'd brought him out of the cell block were just standing there and staring. They'd never seen anything like it, either.

The only corrections officer I found who knew anything about it at all is a guy named John Julian, a c.o. down in Tennessee who was quite knowledgeable. He's seen several New York guys locked up down there using 52 Blocks in jail fights.

I know a weird question Doug, but being that shanks and homemade weapons have always been in prison, why their prevalence now in jailhouse conflicts? Is it the simple absolutism of conflict resolution, much as kids today don't fight in gang rumbles anymore, but shoot each other or whatever?

In a way it makes you wish for the old order of things...that two guys could thrown down, shoot joints, or whatever, settle it, and move on.


I'm not 100% sure the answer to that question, but it seems parallel to what's happened on the street too. Guns were always around through the 60s and 70s, but everyone says that the "downfall" of the real fist-to-fist art was when guns took over -- basically with the crack epidemic. And then young guys no longer had to learn from the older dudes how to really fight; they had their guns to settle the disputes.

The other thing that most definitely changed was that most prisons began to charge inmates with new cases for assault after fights. So fighting has basically vanished. Every dispute goes straight to cutting with razors or shanks.
These are the sorts of things I know K can answer better than me. Guys of K's generation from Brooklyn get almost nostalgic for the period when guys had to "show and prove" with their fists. A lot of the guys K's age, mid-30s, have no respect for the younger generations' lack of hand skills, but funny enough they think of their older brothers' skills as being much better developed.


Yeah, that's pretty much what he said - it's mostly shanking systems.

What else he said:

back in the old days, co's used to carry blackjacks (this is where the term 'new jack' comes from) and the special pocket for them is still built into the uniforms.

Also, old-timers would carry a bandana around instaed of a kerchief, so's you could drop keys/spare change/an ashtray/whatever and make yourself an improvised sap (the soap in the sock trick is still in use).

I hope someone can bring a video cam for this get-together...