The Virginian-Pilot
                             THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT 
              Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: Sunday, March 24, 1996                 TAG: 9603220243
                                             LENGTH: Medium:   70 lines


It was anything goes at Bayside High School when the area's first vale tudo matches came to town two weeks ago.

Vale tudo - which means ``anything goes'' in Portuguese - is a form of ultimate fighting with practically no holds barred. Vale tudo comes to us from Brazil and includes boxing, Muay Thai (kick boxing), wrestling holds, various martial arts, Japanese shootfighting and plain old street fighting tactics. Shootfighting is a form of grappling and has become popular in Asia.

The fights attracted a full house of rabid fight fans to the school's gym.

Vale tudo rules permit everything but eye-gouging, punching on the mat, groin kicks, kicks to the knee joint and head butts.

Fighters even used different dress and equipment. Some wore gloves, some didn't. Many entered the ring barefoot.

Most of the matches began with opponents upright, but quickly ended with a takedown and wrestling moves on the mat.

Ken Parham, who fought Scott Turner in a middleweight bout, explained: ``I feel as comfortable fighting from my back as I do any other way. I feel more comfortable wrestling than I do standing now.''

Parham is the reigning United States Middleweight shootfighting champion and has been using the method for more than two years.

``Shootfighting is more scientific than wrestling,'' said Parham. ``You can apply submission from your back.''

Several fighters actually did. In fact, seven of the first nine bouts ended with submission holds.

Mateo DeLos Reyes used a choke hold to force Todd Starkley to submit in the opening flyweight bout.

The second bout was an exception and a scary one. Sean Buckner caught Steve Ragner with a hard right cross early in the first round. Ragner went through the ropes, was knocked unconscious and required medical attention for several minutes. Ragner finally rose to cheers from the crowd and left on his own power, albeit with a goose egg around his right eye.

Mike Moses, Joe Prohe, Dave Womack, Jeff Ruth, Vance Richmond and Dale Comstock all won their bouts with submission holds from the mat.

Comstock is ranked No. 2 in the world in kickboxing and teaches hand-to-hand combat for the Army Green Berets. His opponent, Roy Burch, tackled Comstock and took an upper position early in their fight. Comstock bounced from the ropes, grabbed Burch from behind and applied a choke to win in the first round.

Jeff Ruth beat Jim Teachout in a similar manner. Although he was under Teachout, Ruth was able to get Teachout's right arm and shoulder and force him to submit.

Scott Turner won his fight with Ken Parham by submission in the second round.

Turner was one of six fighters from FDC Academy of Martial Arts to participate in the ultimate fight. Five of the FDC fighters took home wins, including two championships: Turner's middleweight title and John Taylor's heavyweight win.

Frank Cucci, director of the FDC Academy attributed his fighter's success to the methods taught at his school.

``Thai boxing, Jeet Kune Do and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu offer techniques that are as effective in the ring as they are useful on the street,'' said Cucci, a frequent participant himself.

Many styles look effective, but are designed for use in tournaments where the objective is to score points. Cucci's specializes in teaching self-defense in real-life situations.

``In real life, there are no rules, no time limits and no referees to break up fights,'' said the former Navy SEAL.

In other words, vale tudo. by CNB