Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Life lights a fire under Anthony Johnson

Originally posted on Fight Magazine

Anthony Johnson loves anything involving the likelihood of getting hurt. At the age of six something compelled him to emulate a trapeze artist. He tied a rope from one end of his swing set to the other, and while bouncing on a trampoline attempted to catch the rope with his teeth.

That didn’t work.

“I felt my mouth and my two front teeth were gone,” Johnson says.

He’s fallen out of trees. He’s jammed his neck in failed attempts at back flips. His kneecap has met fiberglass, denting the passenger’s side door of his grandfather’s truck. “I had a lot of stuff happen to me that I’m surprised I’m even living to tell half of it,” Johnson says.

That was years before Johnson channeled his pent-up aggression into martial arts. Now instead of back flips and circus tricks, Johnson burns off excess energy with shark bait drills at Cung Le’s Universal Strength gym in Milpitas, Calif. Picture yourself sparring not with one partner, but four fresh bodies rotating in one-minute integrals to test your standup game or take you to the ground to where you can no longer take a breath.

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