I grew up on the awesomely badness of Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, with Bloodsport being the Citizen Kane of Van Dammery. I’ve seen the movie more times than I’d care to admit, and I caught it on TV the other night. As I was watching, I couldn’t help but notice striking parallels between the movie and conferences, so I thought I’d share the similarities with my hopefully equally Van Damme/cheesy 80s action movie loving audience.

Vegas = Kumite (pronounced “coo-mitt-tay”). SES Chicago is no contest–everyone wants desperately to attend Pubcon in sintacular Vegas, elite and noob SEOS alike…much how all fighters big and small want to participate in the Kumite to show that they’re the best fighter in the world.

Strut your stuff as the wise, determined SEO. Be the Frank Dux of SEOs and strategize. Everyone may think you’re a big joke–a small pup in a big pond (or something like that), but prove them wrong by flexing your muscles from Brussels (in this case, your SEO knowledge) and earn their respect by proving you can roll with the big boys (in drinking prowess, vast networking ability, mad SEO skills, and winning personality). Also, be able to do the splits on command, Van Damme-style.

Your bosses will chase after you as you sneak off to awesome parties. Forest Whitaker and some other dude played military officers who chased after Van Damme throughout the movie because he went AWOL in order to attend the Kumite. Likewise, your bosses will probably try to get you to turn in early so you can be a good little employee and attend all the sessions bright and early every morning. Evade them! The Kumite is what matters (in this case, networking with some of the biggest names in SEO at parties and clubs). Also, don’t let them try and taser you, or if you do, be sure to deflect the prongs with a trashcan lid so they hit some Hong Kong guards.

Someone will try and mooch off you to score him/her an invite to an exclusive event. Some blond reporter mooched off Van Damme’s character so she could sneak into the Kumite and write a story about it. If you’re a well-known SEO, expect the same to happen to you–people will be all buddy buddy with you so they can score an invite to the Playboy suite at the Palms Casino. Be sure to play it smart and know their true intentions!

Cocky SEOs beware! You’re about to get Chong Li’d. Van Damme’s friend in the movie was a cocky American fighter played by Donald Gibb (who played Ogre in the Revenge of the Nerds movies). He was all “No problem, I can take down Chong Li” and then he got his ass stomped and ended up in the hospital. Don’t be cocky! Be laid-back and cordial with folks you meet, and don’t brag about how much money you make or how bad-ass you are, because a Chong Li will come by and put you in your place.

Work on your senses in case you get sight-handicapped. Van Damme honed his other senses by pouring tea blindfolded, because that’s how you train for a full contact martial arts tournament. You pour tea. Anyway, it’s a good thing he did because that asshole Chong Li threw salt in his eyes like a major D-bag, temporary blinding our Belgian protagonist. He was able to win anyway because of his mad tea pourin’ while blindfolded skillz. Similarly, you’re going to be staying up and partying hard for four straight nights in Vegas, where the air is dry, the casinos never close, and the hookers are likely to spit on you. Your eyes will definitely take a beating, so I recommend bringing glasses or improving your sense of smell or something.

Remember to FIGHT TO SURVIVE! Pubcon (and other conferences) can be long, energy-draining events. You gotta fight to survive a week of too much drinking, too little sleep, and too many new names and faces to remember. Keep in mind the wise words of Paul Hertzog, who wrote the super awesome Kumite montage song in Bloodsport: fight to sur-viiiiiive!

I know this was an exceptionally obscure post, but trust me, the advice till holds true even if you a) haven’t seen the movie, b) have seen the movie but don’t remember it well at all, or c) have seen the movie but nonetheless think I’m a huge moron for devoting an entire blog post to a corny 80s martial arts movie. For those of you who have seen Bloodsport and are attending Pubcon next week, I’ll be more than happy to have one or more drunken conversations with you about the fine (meaning compellingly cheesy) Van Damme filmography. As for you non-Bloodsport viewers and non-conference attendees, next week’s a good time to have a little movie marathon so that you’re prepared to conquer the Kumite when the next conference rolls around. Ku-mi-te, Ku-mi-te!

By Rebecca Kelley

Rebecca Kelley is the Director of Marketing for This or That Media. She also runs Mediocre Athlete, a hobby blog about exercising and training, and My Korean Mom, a blog about her harsh but amusing Korean mother. In her spare time, Rebecca is a freelance blogger for hire, loves food and movies, and trains for marathons and triathlons.

60 thoughts on “How Pubcon is Like the Kumite”
  1. Great weblog, probably the best one among those writing about online money making! Of course it goes into my favorites right away. And the question: is it possible to translate a couple of articles I like most into my native Russian and publish them on my own blog?

  2. pubCon rocks.

    There will be a Moniker live and online domain auction there on the 5th of December. Some really good names like Copiers.com, Banners.com, Debit.com, Communication.com, ConsumerElectronics.com, ePayments.com, Taxes.com and others are being auctioned off.

    I expect a lot of interest in the domain names.

  3. I am going to be like the Asian guy in the final fight (If I remember it correctly), who looks really tough, and then gets punched in the stomach so hard that he vibrates in slow motion, and then his guts like explode inside. (You don’t actually see this in my faded memory of the movie, but it is implied), and then he dies, (or at least looks like he is about to)

    Or maybe I will be like Van Dam and think I just really won a fight, but actually realize that it was just a movie.

    I just hate it though when I vibrate in slow motion, and then explode inside. Just hate it! P.S., you are very invited to my Poker Tournament. Your quick wit will add the appropriate spice to the event. Besides you are welcome to come dressed as your favorite Blood Sport Fighter.

    🙂 dk

  4. Haha I love that movie! I bet I have seen it at least 100 times. I watched it over and over and over again as a kid. Even today I still own it and watch it every once in a while. I have it memorized! But I must admit I never saw the internet marketing angle to itl thanks for pointing that out.

  5. Awesome film! Shame my boss (the wife) has banned me from ‘social’ events until I’ve bought her lazer eye surgery. She can still pour tea though so that probably makes her as hard as Van Damme.

  6. Comparing Jean-Claude movies and conferences? That really takes a lot of imagination Rebecca 🙂

    Bloodsports 🙂 … those were the good old days of Van Damme.. The guy really dropped low in the following years…

  7. That was pretty much the greatest post on this blog ever. Seriously, Bloodsport is one of my favorite martial arts/action movies ever, though Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever might be the best. Maybe if you did a post about how SEO was like the movie Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, that would become the greatest SEO post in the history of search blogging.

  8. I’m aging myself here but you got to watch some BIlly Jack movies. He’d white hat SEO the heck out of Van Damme.

  9. Yeah well, I’m not right in the head. I rang in the new year one year by seeing Sudden Death in the movie theater. 😀

  10. Dude, that Russian Euro-Mullet guy totally got Chong-Li’d by Dave Naylor at SES London back in February!

  11. taxes seems like it could go big… debit as well. i would put 5-10 g’s on them and I wouldn’t know what to do with them…

  12. They just don’t make good movies like that anymore. I wish they’d make more vandammit! What ever happened to him anyway? I don’t watch enough THS.

    Hillarious post Rebecca, wow you dug deep into the obscure scenes to make your point. I don’t remember the Taser part, was that in the movie? LOL!

  13. Yeah either tell us how you make money or show us how much you made. Nothing else 😉 Or post bathroom office pics or pec flexes or you favorite books. Wait this post is on point for this blog. Nevermind, ignore me.

  14. My option is “c) have seen the movie but nonetheless think I’m a huge moron for devoting an …” 🙂 🙂 🙂
    No offense, but I hate to Van Damme and I think he is a terrible actor. But your post is funny.

  15. wow that was an awesome post. I actually caught that on tv too, which is odd because I will usually never watch movies on channels with commercials, but I am in a hotel so no choice. Go Frank Dux!

  16. great posts rebecca – very clever and adapted so well.

    I’m going to bring an extra suitcase just to take care of myself better. Bottled water, protein drinks, red bull, jolly ranchers, those yummy starbucks drinks, bottle of bourbon, and Great Lakes Brewery beer so that I don’t feel too homesick.

  17. My earnings report would be a joke compared to Shoe’s, though I’m willing to bet my “pec flexes” will garner more interest than his…

  18. I believe it’s called “guest blogging” but you can be a tool about it if you’d like.

  19. No offense, but I find your writing style hard to follow. I grew up on Van Damm too. This post seems to be written in the dunken monkey style if you know what I mean.

  20. You’re right about SES. I worked as an SEO for about five years and folks were always asking me how many times I’d been to SES.

  21. I just didn’t like one of her comments on this blog supporting her buddy Dax/Dick Masterson humiliating an overweight woman on the crowd of the Dr. Phil show .

    Anyone who thinks bullying other people is cool deserves the same treatment.
    It’s called poetic justice.

  22. Rebecca,

    Don’t listen to the haters. Your writing is clearer than theirs and your comparison is so dead on that anyone who would disagree is proving they’ve never been.

  23. I think that by sitting in the Dr. Phil audience with hopes of having a “sassy” comment to someone on the show means that you should be prepared to take any abuse that the guest gives back to you. If she didn’t want to get humiliated, she shouldn’t have volunteered to make a comment on national TV.

  24. […] How Pubcon is Like the Kumite, ShoeMoney […]

  25. Ahhhh the memories!

    I loved the Van Damme stuff and Bloodsport was a classic. Apart from the Tea Pouring crap that Shoey pointed out, how bad was the kid that played Van Damme in his younger years. Talk about retarded, it’s a wonder the kid every grew up to take down the Bad-Ass tournament in the end.

    Some of the monkey fighters are pretty hilarious too, oh and the fighter that looks like a wanna-be porn star, had the handle bar mo, and was a kick boxer I think

  26. I think I am going to ride that bungee thing on the top of the Stratosphere during the domain auction.

  27. At least he didn’t throw salt in her eyes when she wasn’t looking for it.

  28. […] and it is about paid links. Obviously, it’s a loose tie-in, but whatever, I’m good at stretching analogies. Anyway, if you’re willing to humor me and my semi-topical post, read on. If not, brainstorm […]

  29. […] and it is about paid links. Obviously, it’s a loose tie-in, but whatever, I’m good at stretching analogies. Anyway, if you’re willing to humor me and my semi-topical post, read on. If not, brainstorm […]

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