This is Part 2 of the Marcus Brimage interview about DBZ and MMA. Click here for Part 1 of the DBZ and MMA interview
DEREK: You stated that Dragon Ball Z is the greatest action anime of all time. Why do you feel that way?
MARCUS: Because, man! No fillers baby! They got straight to the point. The action!
They had one filler, and that was the Garlic Jr. Saga. Which wasn’t that bad! It was a nice little break, like 5 episodes, and then they got right back to Future Trunks and the Androids. They got right back on it.
And they had a little fun with Goku and Piccolo trying to learn how to drive, you know, that little bullshit, but for the most part Dragon Ball Z stayed the course, it always stayed focused on the action.
Fuck No you wouldn’t! Because Krillin and Yamcha are the fucking weakest ones, you don’t care about them. I mean, they’re great to be the gauge for the enemies strength, but if I had to watch The Adventures of Krillin and Yamcha, I really wouldn’t be watching it. I’m trying to skip that. It’s like that whole saga of Bleach, like, c’mon, really?
DEREK: Yeah, I haven’t watched the last 20 episodes of Naruto because it’s all been filler.
MARCUS: Right, right that’s what I’m saying! After Sasuke left, it was like 30 episodes of bullshit. There was like 5 episodes where something happened in the Sand Village where Gaara’s student got kidnapped. They should have just skipped all that shit and gone right to the kidnapping and then bam, go right into Naruto: Shippuden. It was just so much and I was getting tired of it.
And the other reason I was like, “Fuck Naruto,” is because I was buying these motherfuckers! I didn’t know about animefreak.tv and the torrent sites, I was buying them. I was like, “What the fuck?!” After all that. Spending $39.99 on this, and then all of a sudden, it’s like, “Okay, that was fucking pointless.” And that shit pisses me off. That’s money, dude.
DEREK: Yeah, the crappy filler episodes wasting your money.
MARCUS: See, that’s what I’m saying. You go right now and buy Dragon Ball Z Uncut Season 1 and you’ll be all, “Holy shit. I’ve got to buy Season 2. Holy shit. I’ve got to buy Season 3.” It doesn’t stop because it keeps you into it. It never loses your focus.
DEREK: Yeah, I absolutely agree. So as an expert martial artist, how would you describe the fighting styles in Dragon Ball Z?
MARCUS: Hmm. I would have to say it’s more traditional, but at the same time they utilize their own skill. Especially with Goku and Master Roshi. I didn’t have to do half the stuff Goku did because I didn’t start off with traditional martial arts. I started off in MMA and I focused a lot on boxing.
In boxing and MMA gyms you don’t have the whole respect culture that the traditional martial arts have. I felt I was adapting to it because I was partaking in Brazilian Jujitsu now, and to the Brazilians I was all like, “You won’t hit me once I figure out how to tie my fucking belt.” It took me like an hour, you know?
At the same time, while I didn’t like it, it taught me to respect the belt.
You know, in boxing there is no belt. You get better by beating this dudes ass. That’s how you get better at boxing. Same thing in MMA.
But traditional martial arts, they teach you how to respect the mat, how to respect the belt, respect your Gi.
DEREK: So there’s a different type of ethics to it, or a martial morality?
MARCUS: Yeah, like the Goku – Master Roshi experience, it’s more traditional. Even though he has surpassed his master, he still has a relationship with him. And Goku is so open minded, he’s like a mixed martial artist. After he learned what he could from Master Roshi, guess what, he went to King Kai after that.
DEREK: Actually, it was Karin, Mister Popo, Kami, and then King Kai.
Like when he grabs Vegeta and then like, I just saw this on the Uncut, which pisses me off because Cartoon Network cut the Vegeta and Goku battle in half. They made it look like Vegeta barely lost to Goku. No, Vegeta got his ass whupped! If I had seen that in high school, it would have completely changed my whole perspective of Vegeta.
Haha. He utilized it because it was there, you know what I’m saying?
DEREK: Some fans I’ve spoken with have noticed a difference in the fighting styles of the original Dragon Ball and then Dragon Ball Z. It seems like the original one is very traditional Chinese, a little Japanese, fighting styles with deep stances, very Kung Fu.
MARCUS: Exactly. It changed though because of their ability to fly. Because you can’t do an iron horse stance in the air.
DEREK: How would you describe the changes in the characters fighting styles as the series continued?
MARCUS: They had to adapt because these are more powerful enemies. I mean, fuck, Freeza destroyed a planet with his finger. So of course he might not be as active as he should be. Especially with the aerial attacks, because in Dragon Ball Z they fought a lot in the air.
Like I said, you can’t do a traditional stance in the air. An iron horse stance, you’re drawing energy up from the ground, you plant yourself. Like when a boxer throws a punch, it’s all connected because he throws it from the hip. The power comes from the hip, which is drawn from his feet being turned when he pivots his foot on the ground.
Now when you’re fighting in the air, there’s no ground to touch. You have to use the forward momentum of your flight to make your punches harder.
DEREK: I never thought about that before. That’s a really good insight.
MARCUS: Yeah. You know I know my Dragon Ball Z!
I noticed it, the difference between the two. I liked every minute of the original, but it was different because they were fighting more on the ground, like humans.
But then in Z they’re fighting against aliens, and all these guys have flight abilities. It changes the whole scenario when a guy can fly.
Just like on Avatar, Nickelodeon’s Avatar. You remember how he defeated the blind girl, the earth bender? He flew. Then he wasn’t on the ground anymore and she didn’t know where that shit was coming from. That changes the game when you know how to fly.
DEREK: Absolutely. Good insight. So let me ask you, if you could have one of the supernormal abilities depicted in Dragon Ball, those really advanced techniques, which one would it be?
MARCUS: Which one would it be? You know what, mine wouldn’t be that advanced, because I would have the Saiyans ability to not age.
MARCUS: Yeah, see, they maintain their youth as they fight. That’s just their race.
DEREK: Wow. Good wisdom. I did not expect that answer. I think it’s a great one.
Okay, I have a few questions that don’t really flow together, so I’ll just ask them.
Who do you think is the best fighter in Dragon Ball?
MARCUS: Are we talking hand to hand combat, ki blasts?
DEREK: I’m going to say over all, your subjective opinion of who’s the best.
MARCUS: It has to be Goku. Goku is constantly evolving. And guess what, [in GT] he got turned into a fucking kid. And now he has the knowledge of a 40 year old, in a 10 year old body. So guess what, when he grows up to be a 25 year old as a youth, he’ll have a completely different mentality. Could you imagine? Have you ever said, “Man, if I was 10 years younger and I had this mind, I’d do this!”
DEREK: You’re right. It would be a totally different perspective on life. A lot more experience and wisdom.
MARCUS: Exactly. And he was already constantly evolving as a fighter, as a grown man. Now that he has reverted back to a kid. I mean, at the beginning of GT, I’m just like Okay. But when he grows up again, he’s going to be even stronger. And at the end of GT the dragon balls absorb into him, so we don’t even know how powerful he is.
DEREK: Right. A lot of fans have wondered what that meant. And if they do another series, what that would be like.
MARCUS: Whatever happened to that Dragon Ball AF series? I was going crazy looking for it.
DEREK: Yeah, it’s actually not real. But there are fan made versions called Dragon Ball AF. There’s a really good comic by a guy named Toyble. It looks just like Akira Toriyama’s drawings, it’s really well done. That is essentially what happens after Dragon Ball GT. It’s good. I would recommend it. You can find it free online. But there is no new animated series.
Now there’s another rumor out there of a series called Dragon Ball Hoshi. And a lot of people are going frantic for that one. But that too isn’t real. It’s just like Dragon Ball AF.
So it’s like every 4 or 5 years another rumor starts, “Oh, another Dragon Ball series is coming out.” But there isn’t one. And unfortunately everybody wants it, but they don’t have it.
The only thing that is coming out, they got the new video games, and there’s another one coming out soon called Dragon Ball Online, which is like World of Warcraft meets Dragon Ball. You can make your own characters and play online. It’s a whole world.
MARCUS: Damn. Daaaaaaammn. I can’t play that. I would never train.
DEREK: I know. You can actually play it in Korean and Chinese right now. They don’t even have a Japanese or English version yet. That should be coming to the States within the next year or two, hopefully.
MARCUS: That’s going to change the game. The whole World of Warcraft, they don’t have a fucking chance after that.
DEREK: Haha. So, are you a fan of the English dub, or the Japanese sub?
MARCUS: I’m more of an English dub guy. But the thing is, with the English dub they cut out a lot of the dialogue. The only way you can get a true Dragon Ball experience is to watch the Japanese version. Because the uncut American version…
I’m more a fan of the English uncut versions, but the thing is, they take so fucking long to get out.
I’m starting to get over this, but I’m not going to lie, I hate the Japanese voice. [Does a high pitched scream]. Agghh! It ruins it for me! In the American version, we do a better job with the voices.
And the fucking music! I just remember the music when Gohan is doing the father-son Kamehameha against Cell and is walking forward. Dude, that music, it traps you into that moment. But when you hear the Japanese version, it’s like… cooky. It’s like, I don’t know, the song doesn’t fit that moment. The soundtrack that the American’s put into the English and the uncut, man it just really pulls you into that scene. It traps you.
DEREK: Yeah, still to this day there’s a huge debate between the American music and the Japanese music, and people are… It’s so divisive. There’s no middle ground! People take sides.
MARCUS: The music is so different. And I’ve got to admit, some things you can read, but it doesn’t get you as crunked as when you hear it.
For instance, when Imperfect Cell was fighting against Vegeta. You remember he was getting frustrated because Vegeta was beating his ass. “This is impossible. I’m Cell. I am the most powerful person in the world!” Vegeta’s like, “You are nothing.” Then he knocked him out.
DEREK: I would have to agree with you. Did you know that Blu-ray just came out? Dragon Ball Z on Blu-ray.
MARCUS: Yeah, man, but I’m going to stick with my DVD’s. I’m already at Season 3, and I’ll go ahead and buy 4 through 9, they’re uncut. And right now I’m getting my path on becoming a member of the UFC, so I don’t have money like that, for a fucking Blu-ray. So right now the DVD’s are tight.
And you know what, that goes to show you something. I love Dragon Ball so much I refuse to download off the internet. That is fucking love. Naruto? I’ll fucking download all them hoe’s. But Dragon Ball Z? No. No. I have to pay for them.
Also you know, when you go on porn sites, they have something where Dragon Ball characters are fucking Sailor Moon characters. I won’t even watch it. No. No. You’re messing up the integrity of Dragon Ball! I won’t even watch it.
DEREK: That’s an interesting segue. I want to ask you about some spirituality questions.
The Dao of Dragon Ball is a book that talks about Buddhism, Daoism and how it relates to the series. Dragon Ball is a Japanese creation and it’s related to Journey to the West and all these ancient cultures, the spiritual energy and all that stuff.
Do you feel, personally, that Dragon Ball has a spiritual aspect to it? And if you do, how would you describe it?
MARCUS: I never saw Dragon Ball as a spiritual outlet. I always believed in my God. I never really saw that in Dragon Ball.
And I saw that all that came from the inner workings of Goku, Vegeta and how Goku just wouldn’t stop. He had to. His love for his family was the reason he trained so hard. So he could protect them. I never saw the spiritual side of Dragon Ball.
Personally, I have a tattoo on my chest that says, “I can do all things through Christ, Jesus, that strengthens me.” Yeah. And that’s honestly how I feel about my spirituality as a fighter. A lot of people told me you can’t do this, you can’t do that. I was like, you know what, if I believe in Jesus I will. And guess what? I’m on the show. I’m the first person from Alabama to be on The Ultimate Fighter.
I hate to say this, but some of it’s true. Alabama just got boxing commission. It’s been a world renowned sport for centuries but why are we just now getting boxing commission? Where I’m from had a lot of drawbacks, but it had some good things to, like I’m a leading child, so I have a strong commitment to family, to my religion, all that stuff, I grew up in the church.
DEREK: Really? That’s a very profound statement.
DEREK: You mentioned on one of your video blogs, that while everybody else on the show was raiding the fridge and having a barbeque, you were off in the corner reading your Bible. You are a Protestant, correct?
MARCUS: Yeah, Protestant. I’m Baptist, but Protestant, for some reason not Catholic. That’s why I have to put time into the military. Haha.
DEREK: Would you consider yourself to be a spiritual man? And if so, how does your spirituality interact with your life as a fighter?
MARCUS: It keeps me motivated. You think about where you come from, how did you get this far. I was so scared to move. I was so unhappy in my home state of Alabama. One day. This is the weirdest shit ever. One day I was driving and I felt really bad. I pulled over and was fucking crying. Really bad, like somebody just shot my dog or something. I can’t describe it. I think that was the Lord telling me it was time to go. “You’re not happy here. Time to go.”
I just graduated from college. I was 25 years old. I was in the military and had a job, it honestly wasn’t that bad, but I had to go. People were telling me that I needed to go to succeed at MMA, and there were other hints.
DEREK: Because you are so… Christ is in you to such a degree, but you’re not familiar with Eastern cultures, like energy, spirituality and all that. How do you explain the supernormal martial arts of Dragon Ball?
That’s all they needed to advance. You saw that the harder they trained the better they got. When they went into the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, that was the equivalent of a years’ worth of training in one day.
That’s how I understood that in order to be the best, you have to constantly train. And that’s what I saw in Dragon Ball, Goku was always training, Vegeta was always training. They were always training to be the best at all times. And training became an everyday regiment of their life.
That’s how I understood that I have to train, I have to push myself past that limit. I got to this point. Tomorrow I need to pass that point. I need to get to a new point. Everyday, life is about the regiment of training.
DEREK: I agree. That reminds me of a saying, “How you live your days, is how you live your life.”
DEREK: I think that is really true. And a person who is always training and improving is going to always be transcending their former self and rising upward. I think that’s a really great way to live your life, as long as you have balance.
So if training allows you to keep improving and rising up, the eventual endpoint of that might be some type of superhuman ability, it just goes beyond normal. Do you believe that human beings can fight like the characters in Dragon Ball, using those types of supernormal abilities?
MARCUS: To be honest with you, I don’t think humans will evolve to that point no time soon. But ain’t it a damn thing to try? To strive for that?
Just to strive to be that type of fighter, like Goku, it’s going to put you above everybody else. Goku is such a high standard, he’s such an elite athlete and fighter that you will surpass people as you try to catch him.
DEREK: Absolutely. That reminds me of another question. Another Dragon Ball fan in the community wanted me to ask this one. He wanted to know, how do you mentally prepare for a match?
MARCUS: Really, it’s a whole bunch of visualizations, like what am I going to do? A lot of that has to do with your corner. I’m getting my iPod, blasting rap music like Lil’Jon to get me amped, and then my coach in the background is saying,
You don’t understand how your corner gives you trust, love and respect and all these things. He believes in you, which fortifies your belief in yourself. That mental preparation is so important to me. Some people like to sit and meditate, but I need some amount of love, trust and somebody to tell me what I’m going to do to this man. That’s my mental stimulation.
“You going to throw a jab? What you gonna do? You gonna throw an uppercut, a cross, you gonna knee him, you gonna hit the ground, you gonna ground and pound, you gonna throw a triangle, you going to escape, you going to knee rise, then you gonna punch him in the face.” As he’s telling you this you’re visualizing it, and because he believes it, you believe it. You believe it even more because he said it.
DEREK: Yeah. Wow. It really gives me a feeling for what it must be like to be in that cage and to have somebody in front of you, it doesn’t matter who they are, you’re just going to go through them, and you are so confident and have that support. It’s a team and you’re doing it together. I think that’s really amazing.
It’s also very similar to the Dragon Ball spirit. It’s not like what Vegeta had going on. It’s not about being strong by yourself. You have to have other people that are with you and support you. That’s where strength comes from.
MARCUS: Yep. Exactly.
DEREK: What do you think of Vegeta when he let himself be possessed by Babidi to gain more power? And this is kind of a silly question, but would you ever let that happen to you, if it meant you could become the most successful fighter in MMA history?
MARCUS: Man, that is a tough question.
Vegeta sold his soul to the devil in order to get stronger than Goku. And that’s the thing about being lower than being the best. If you dangle that in front of somebody’s face for a long time, they’re going to cave. If you’re hungry and starving and I have this steak: “You want the steak? Well why don’t you just sign this contract and you can have as much as you want. And a glass of cold water.” It’s tempting. It depends on that person.
Now Goku never fought for himself, he always fought for his friends. Along with his friends, they’re like, “Nah we don’t need that.” But Vegeta always fought for himself, and to see somebody like Goku, who first of all, was supposed to be a low class Saiyan, surpass him. All of a sudden this elite Saiyan gets surpassed, works hard to get back up to Goku’s level, and then Goku surpasses him again.
And you have to remember, everything that Goku did, Vegeta did. Because Vegeta thought that if he had a family, he would be strong like Goku. But he had Trunks and Bulma, and nothing happened. “Why is he so much damn stronger than me?” It was pissing him off. And now he’s got this temptation: “You want to be stronger than him, sell me your soul.”
You don’t think [about the ramifications] like that, because you think that it’s all you want to be. “It’s all I want. I have one dream, to be the best and be better than him.” And someone offers you that… Would you take it? To be honest with you, we’re all human. We’re all human.
DEREK: Right. Do you see a corollary there between Vegeta’s choice… I see a corollary between Vegeta’s choice and the Temptation of Jesus in the desert, where it’s like, “I know you want this, here it is, I’ll give you whatever you want.” And Jesus says no, I didn’t come here for those things. And like Goku, he can’t be tempted because his heart is pure. But Vegeta can be tempted, and then he actually welcomes it. He tells Goku later, “I chose to let Babidi possess me to gain more power.” Do you see that as well?
MARCUS: Yeah, it’s just like that. And it shows just how strong God is, how strong Jesus was, because he was offered it and he said hell no.
DEREK: So that would never… we’re all human, like you said, but yeah, that’s a crazy scenario to be in where it’s like, there’s your dream, there’s your chance. That’s tough.
I have two more questions.
When you hear the title The Dao of Dragon Ball, what does this make you think the book will be about?
MARCUS: From what I read, it’s going to talk about everything. How Dragon Ball relates to real subjects, spiritualism, religions, training ethics, dreams, temptations. And how all of that that we go through in our daily lives is all reflected, the sentiments of that are in your Dragon Ball book.
And the way you just said how Vegeta was tempted, and how Jesus was tempted, that’s a great correlation. So I would like to see how if I read something about Dragon Ball, I can see how Goku was going through that, when this happened.
DEREK: So it’s really the relatable aspects of individual people and what makes them human, and how Dragon Ball helps you to see that and look within? Got it.
What made you excited to read this book when you found out about it? I tweeted you to let you know about it, and you wrote back saying that you wanted a copy. Why was that?
MARCUS: Because it’s Dragon Ball. I love anything Dragon Ball. I am so a fan. I love it. Anything that is Dragon Ball. I can’t describe it. Dragon Ball is the greatest. Hands down.
There’s a book that somebody is trying to relate our everyday lives and what we go through to a Dragon Ball saga? I’m like, “Okay I have to read this.” And then when you made that correlation, I’m like, wow, what the fuck else have you thought about?
DEREK: Haha. Yeah. I’ve been thinking about this… for a long time.
That was all my questions. Thank you! Is there anything else you’d like to express?
MARCUS: I just want to express my love for Dragon Ball. And I would also like to apologize to the Naruto fans out there. It’s not fuck Naruto. It’s fuck Naruto fillers! I just don’t like the fillers. Let’s get to the meat. Stay on focus with the task.
Naruto is actually a great action anime as well. But I just didn’t like the fillers, so just be to sure tell all your fans, I LOVE NARUTO, Naruto fans!
And Rock Lee is my favorite. I love Rock Lee. They don’t show him as much in Shipuuden. But Naruto is getting badder. And I can’t wait to see that final battle between him and Sasuke, because now he’s got the toad sage powers.
DEREK: Well okay. Do you have any questions for me?
MARCUS: Who is your favorite MMA fighter right now?
DEREK: MMA? I’ve been out of watching it for so long, honestly, I don’t even have one.
MARCUS: Well since you don’t have one, you can start with this person right here, Marcus Brimage! Get started with me. And you follow my career and I will follow your career. Hopefully we can make something happen. Maybe a real Dragon Ball movie. Although honestly I don’t think Dragon Ball should ever be made into a movie, because some things just can’t be done well.
DEREK: Yeah. Well if they ever do I hope that I get to be a part of it somehow, and make sure that it stays true to the series, because they just did not stay true to it at all, and that’s why it failed.
MARCUS: Exactly. I was like, why are people going to watch this? It looks fucking horrible. I boycotted that shit. I’m sorry. Please put that in your book, that I boycotted Dragon Ball Evolution.
DEREK: Haha. I will, I will. I might not name you specifically, but I will mention that.
Oh, I do actually have one last question. Do you have any inspiring words of wisdom for anybody like you who has seen Dragon Ball and has been so motivated that they want to become a fighter, but they don’t know how?
MARCUS: Tell those guys to believe in themselves and pray. Then go for it. That’s it.
DEREK: Very good advice. I guess it really is that simple too, if you can do that and make it.
This has been great. I really enjoyed this and you’ve given me so many great quotes, it’s going to be hard to choose. I feel like I’ve met a true fan of the series.
That’s one of the goals I had in writing this book. To meet other people… like me, really, so we can talk about it and enjoy one another’s company.
Dragon Ball is one of those things that brings people together no matter who they are, no matter how old they are, what race, financial background or anything, I think Dragon Ball can unite people. And I really enjoyed this. So thank you very much.
MARCUS: Thank you so much for thinking about me for the book. I greatly appreciate that.
DEREK: You’re welcome, and thank you for the interview!