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MMAで戦うのなら、いますぐギ を焼き捨てろ!

 (If you are going to fight MMA, burn and throw away your gi right now!)

--Eddie Bravo

Eddie Bravo Interview 

(The original interview was conducted and published in 2004 in the Japanese Mook, 柔術王, pp. 43-47. English translation and commentary published June 1, 2019)

Posted June 1, 2019 (JST)

 

Interview by Hinerin (ひねりん取村). Photos by Kurao Tsuruta (鶴田倉朗)

Translation (Japanese-English) and Comments by Roberto Pedreira

*Comments by Roberto are in brackets [ ].

 Rubber-Guard, Transforming MMA (ラバーガードがMMAを変える)

 Introduction:

-The man who submitted Royler Gracie.

-An "ordinary man of his time" whose great accomplishment at Abu Dhabi in May 2003 [actually it was the Abu Dhabi Tournament in Brazil] and at the same time introduced a revolutionary technique called "rubber-guard" and became known to billions of people [probably not literally billions].

-And, his face became familiar as an interviewer and commentator in the UFC and KOTC broadcasts.

-His radical remarks often caused ripples.

-He is the revolutionary kid of the American MMA world.

-He is a man who shook things up.

-We paid a visit to his new dojo in the heart of Hollywood, where he shared his thoughts with us.

Eddie Bio: Born May 15, 1970 in Los Angeles, California. He's 172.5 cm tall and 65.6 kg. He took third place in the 2003 Abu Dhabi in 65 kg division. He is attached to 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu.

Interview

Q1. Recently, you had surgery on your hip (), right?

Eddie: Ah. One week ago I had an operation for a hernia. I can't train for one month. But today I will be demonstrating some techniques for the Japanese readers. It's super-unbelievably painful. But I will throw myself into it despite the agony! Like a kamikaze, you know.

Q2. Ah, thank you very much. Well, first of all, I think I'd like to hear you talk about your personal history. Before jiu-jitsu, did you have any experience with some other type of kakutōgi? (格闘技)

Eddie: Yes. I did wrestling in High School for two years. When I was 22 I trained karate for one year. After learning jiu-jitsu, I learned the Dan Inosanto system from one of Inosanto's students named Kasu Maguda (カス・マグダ), for two and a half years beginning in 1994. 

Q3. When did you begin jūjutsu [jiu-jitsu is translated throughout the interview as 柔術, correctly pronounced "jūjutsu]?

Eddie: It was after I saw UFC 2. A friend of mine saw the commercial for the UFC 1 and so "hey, should we order it?" I said, "no, it must be fake (インチキ), it's a waste of money." So I didn't watch it. After the tournament the same friend said "It looked real". According to my friend an Iranian guy choked out all the opponents one after the other (Eddie demonstrates with his hand). 

Q4: An Iranian person!

Eddie: When the UFC 2 happened, I understood. The Iranian guy was really a Brazilian. He used "choke sleepers" on the necks. After I saw it I thought "I gotta learn this shit" ("これを習うぞ.  

Q5: So, after that, you entered the dojo (道場), of Jean-Jacque Machado?

Eddie: No. I didn't understand that the Japanese style of jiu-jitsu was different. I started by checking out Japanese jiu-jitsu. I watched a class. They were wearing black clothes,  standing up and grabbing the wrist joint, doing ninjitsu. There was no ground at all. I'm like  "WTF, this is jiu-jitsu?" They told me, "what you want to learn is taught in Los Angeles by cousins of the Gracies, called "Machado." I didn't want to offend them so I just said, "cool, but I want to learn this style too" . But inside I was thinking "Machado!, Machado!, Machado!" Then I joined the Machado dojo.

Q6: Is that so? Then can you tell me what is the content of your normal training?

Eddie: Me, I train three times a week in the morning with Jean-Jacques. After that, I teach in my own dojo three afternoon classes per week and five evening classes per week. And also for the past one a half years I have been doing "weight training". Because in order to win last year's Abu Dhabi qualifiers, I had to fight the best fighters in the world. I trained for this fight (with Royler) for seven months. As a result my fight was a totally different thing, ok. [Eddie closed his fist and pointed at the camera-man]. Hey, take a picture! 

Q7: Well, can you talk about your impressions about the fight with Royler. In Japan you are known as the man who defeated Royler by submission.

Eddie: Whoa, really!? Can I make a lot of money in Japan? What do you want to know about the fight with Royler? 

Q8: Let's look back at your opening move in the fight. In the first half, Royler had you pinned in a "half mount".

Eddie: Aaa. In the first half, I was worried. In the second half I was finally able to sweep him, but I couldn't do it again. At that moment I could do it. Before that, I couldn't do it even one time. I thought, "Can I do it? Against Royler, using a technique that I developed myself? But, I'll go for it!". That's what I felt. It worked! 

Q9: You had Royler in half-guard and he got an under-hook. You felt you still had a margin of safety?

Eddie: That's right. Of course, if I can't get an under-hook it's a problem. But half-guard is my go-to position. As long as a have half-guard I always feel completely safe.  Royler continued to try to pass, but when he did I used a "move" that I developed myself called the "jail-break" [explained in translation as 脱獄, literally to escape from a prison] and recovered my guard. When he stuffed my right knee,  I shoved my left foot in.   

Q10: After you recovered the guard, were you looking for a technique from rubber-guard?

Eddie: That's right. I always aim at "omoplata" from rubber-guard. But this time it was different.  After the sweep I executed previously, I was looking for Royler's neck and shoulder. But I knew that he was super-flexible in the shoulder-joint. Do you remember the "kimura" that Sakuraba applied on Royler? Royler's shoulder was fucking flexible, man (柔らかすぎるんだよ). So when I got Royler in my rubber-guard I was thinking there's no other way than "triangle" (三角締めiしかない). So an opportunity to apply a triangle arose when Royler was trying to pass. I didn't like that (マズイと思った) but it turned out well, because I did another "jail-break" and recovered my guard again and then applied a triangle. 

Q11: When Royler tapped your shoulder, how did you feel?

Eddie: After Royler tapped and then stood up, I was like "hey, look what I did" (どうだ見たか), while proudly walking around. I knew that I had really accomplished my goal. I broke down into tears (泣き崩れた). I never cried when I was happy before. It was a strange thing. I never cried before when I felt happy.

Q12: It is a little surprising to hear that you were so happy that you cried [Japanese males are allowed to be, even expected to be, tearful on certain occasions, but not usually when they are happy]. You seemed to be boasting when you wrote on an internet forum that, "I'm going to Brazil to beat Royler. I'm confident! (”俺はホイラーを倒すためにブラジルに行く. 自信はある!". [The interviewer is suggesting that Eddie expected to win so the result was not surprising and therefore not so emotionally charged as to justify tears].

Eddie: Aaa, because I knew that I won. [Eddie is explaining why he was happy. The reasons for public crying are different in America vs Japan. Eddie cried because he was happy because he won. The interviewer got that Eddie was happy because he won, but didn't connect that to the tears]. Next because Royler probably thought he would own me, but I had a chance to win too. I believed I could beat anyone in the 145 lb (about 65-68 kg) division. I was totally confident for Abu Dhabi (いままでにないほど自信〕があったんだ). But I felt apprehensive about my next fight, with Leo Vieira. In the Royler fight, I had used up all of my spiritual and physical strength (感情的に肉体的にも全くを出し尽くしていた). I had to fight the top athletes in the world. It was the "super-bowl". In the waiting room when I was pouring champagne on myself, because I was so happy, suddenly someone said, "hey you have another fight!" [Eddie demonstrated how gassed (いかに脱力した様子で) he was]. I felt, like "oooooo". I had no spirit () left. But he (Leo Vieira) didn't submit me. And I was only a brown belt at the time.

Q13: After Abu Dhabi, did Jean-Jacques congratulate you?

Eddie: He didn't say anything (何も言わなかったよ).

Q14: uh. Not even "congratulations", not even one word?

Eddie: Of course, no. Not even that  (それすらも言わなかったね).  But he hugged me. It wasn't necessary to say anything. He already knew I beat Royler. Kid Peligro (writer for ADCC News, jiu-jitsu black belt, and close friend of Jean-Jacques told him that it would be better if Royler and Eddie were not entered in the same block, because Royler would submit Eddie. According to Kid that was the Gracie's opinion. They were predicting that outcome. They were super-pissed off.  They thought Royler had an insurmountable advantage ( 一方的に有利比率). Royler and I were entered in the same block. So I won. Jean-Jacques always gives me good advice. That's all.

Q15: There must have some repercussions from what you did at Abu Dhabi?

Eddie:  Aaaa. But I still don't have two nickels to rub together (でも俺はいまでも文無ししたよ). A lot of people know what I did,  that made it possible for me to quit my job. It became possible to make a living from jiu-jitsu. Between my dojo and seminars, somehow I can manage to live. 

Q16: Did you receive any offers to compete?

Eddie: I did. From ZST. But I didn't like their rules. You can't use closed guard. Ground is limited to 30 seconds. I don't have an interest in working for a group that has a "stalemate-break" rule (膠着ブレイクルール). The necessity for the stalemate-break rule originates in wrestling.  It's originally for guys who don't have excellent guard skills (優れたガード技術を持ったない者). The stalemate-break rule is needed for them. I don't need a stalemate-break rule, and I don't need a time limit. I go for the submission and my opponent should go for the submission, that's all.

Q17: I understand. By the way, what is the meaning of the word "rubber-guard"?

Eddie: It's a type of guard style. Like open guard, closed guard, spider guard. In a gi-match, it's easy to use "high guard" [translated as "a closed guard in which the legs are lifted high"]. But in a no-gi-match with sweaty legs, high guard is difficult. Therefore when my legs are high I use my own hands to hug and reinforce them. To the extent that your hips and knees are flexible you can have a strong guard. It seemed to me that people whose knees are extremely flexible could use rubber-guard.  My knees bend like rubber. So I called it rubber-guard.

Q18: Rubber-guard is used for no-gi, isn't it.  Is it also effective apart from MMA? 

 Eddie: That's right. I began developing my own style in 1995. I thought it might someday be used in MMA. If it did, I didn't want to change my fighting style. You understand? It's necessary to train "hard" in striking styles (打撃) and wrestling so at that time (I thought) it would be smart for jiu-jitsu to improve its methods of training. So I made my style of jiu-jitsu the foundation of MMA. So far I have no MMA experience but by fully implementing my system the chances of getting punched are low and the chances of getting a submission are high. 

Q19: Comparing the advantages of rubber-guard to other guards, does it help to prevent taking punches in MMA?

Eddie: That's right. In MMA there were originally only two guards to chose from. If you use rubber-guard or a guard used by Minotauro (Nogueira). Minotauro's style was good. He got punched a lot but he had a strong chin. So he could fight with that kind of guard. Grabbing both wrists and controlling the opponent's hips in open guard. As for me, I don't know if my chin is strong and I don't want to have to find out by testing it. I want to minimize the probability of getting punched. The mighty power (威力) of this position can be demonstrated even against an excellent wrestler. It doesn't matter if he's a Russian or an Olympic medallist. Against anyone my own size, if I use rubber-guard, he's going to tap. I've seen too many jiu-jitsu blacks pull guard and then lose to wrestlers. In Abu Dhabi many jiu-jitsu black belts pulled guard on wrestlers.  But they were accustomed to grabbing the collar and lapels but there was no collar to grab. Without the gi they were lost (ギに依存した仕掛けしか持っていない). Look at black belts in PRIDE and UFC. They couldn't sweep and they couldn't got the submission. Only hugging and holding (抱き付くだけだ).

 

 

Eddie at Bomb Squad Gym

Q20: Well, in your opinion, to become stronger for MMA, it will be necessary to train specifically no-gi grappling? 

Eddie: That's right. Only no-gi. Training with the gi will make you stronger at ground fighting, but it's a huge myth that training with the gi makes you better at ground. It's the training not the gi that makes you better. You would be even better still if you trained without the gi. For example, someone who trains for six years with gi, in a MMA fight will be at the same level as a person who trained six years wearing a tuxedo. What would make him better for MMA is training without the gi. Anyone who wants to succeed in MMA should burn and throw away their gi (MMAをやると決めたら, ギは焼却すべきだ).

Q21: That means a person who trains with no-gi for six years will definitely be stronger in MMA than person who trains with-gi for six years, doesn't it?

Eddie: No. It depends on the teacher. A guy who trains with gi under a good teacher could beat a guy who trains under a bad teacher for six years. The only important thing is whether the teacher is good. Anyway, after the decision has been made to participate in MMA, the gi should not be worn during training.

Q22: I see. In addition to rubber-guard there is another famous technique, the "twister". Since when have you been using it?

Eddie: It's originally a wrestling technique. I learned it when I was wrestling in high school. But in wrestling it was called "guillotine". I developed various ways of applying it. In wrestling there is only a method to take the back [i.e., nothing to do there] but in jiu-jitsu taking the opponent's back is difficult. I figured out ways to apply the twister from side-position. After years of research I mastered six different ways to apply the twister from side-position. Such as when the opponent comes in for a double-leg tackle, or when I'm myself going for a low "guard pass", and so on.

Q23: I know that you have taught your personal technique system to many top fighters in California. Xavier Vasquez, Chris Brennan, Bao Kuachi (バオ・クアーチ).....

Eddie:  And also Mark Laimon. He skillfully integrated many of my techniques into his own repertoire of techniques.

Q24: Among them, who has best mastered your system?

Eddie: Gerald Strebendt (ジエラルド・ストリベント). He is my most excellent pupil. But at the present time, I'm also bringing up a fighter named Beast Ozeinga (ビースト・オゼインガ). He is six feet and three inches (190 cm), and he weighs 222 pounds (about 100 kg). And he is even more flexible than me.

Q25: Oo!

Eddie: So far I haven't been teaching him for even 6 months. After a year and a half later, his preparation will be complete. I brought him with me to Japan. He will own Japan. He will have completely mastered my system. He will be the first warrior in the heavyweight division. He will have a big impact in Japan. The Japanese will be amazed.  Among heavyweights now, there are only two who have technique: Minotauro (Nogueira) and Josh Barnett. But he [ヤツ, meaning Beast Ozeinga] has 50 times more technique than they (Minotauro and Josh Barnett) have. 

Q26: Did the Beast previously train kakutōgi?

Eddie: No. he only played basketball in college. He's only a blue belt now but he already has more technical knowledge than a blue belt and he has won many no-gi tournaments, such as the Chris Brennan Tournament, and he entered the Grappler's Quest. 

Q27: His future will be interesting. By the way I know that you did UFC interviews.

Eddie: That's correct. But now, it's back to informal scoring system for television. I score the round as an announcer [interviewer: "well, this is what Eddie Bravo thinks"]. I  give my score and a comment. Matt Hughes vs. B.J. Penn, or Randy Couture vs. Vitor Belfort ended in the first round so I didn't really work much at all.

Q28: Concerning your newly opened Jūjutsu dojo (柔術道場) what is the origin of the name 10th Planet?

Eddie: In the oldest Bible [Eddie refers to  シュメール語 or "shume-ru-go"; it is unclear which book of the Old Testament this is supposed to be], it is written that there are ten planets in the solar system. On the tenth planet there were people or humanoid-creatures but their civilization was several tens of thousands of years ahead of ours. They came to this planet and forced people to be slaves to dig for gold. [The Japanese text indicates that Eddie is not sure whether this story is true or not]. Then, Japanese jiu-jitsu was born. After than, Brazilian jiu-jitsu came about. And now, there's my jiu-jitsu. It's as if the most advanced jiu-jitsu came from the tenth planet.

Q29Do you have students?

Eddie: A few. Because I've only been open for eight months. In one class, between 15 and 20 people come. No-gi only. 

Q30: By the way, what is your impression about Japan?

Eddie: I can work because of PRIDE PPV. PRIDE 11 and PRIDE 12. I was the commentator for the English language broadcast. At that time I trained a little at Takada dojo (高田道場) with Matsui (マツイ). The flight was long which I don't like but Japanese people love kakutōgi so I like Japan very much. Here in America a lot of people don't like kakutōgi (ここアメリカでは格闘技への反発も多いからね).

Q31: Are there any Japanese athletes that interest you?

Eddie:  I like Takase (タカセ). Because he is polishing his guard. He is aiming at "mission control" [a rubber-guard position for controlling the opponent, shown on page 47]. He probably saw my match with Royler. In his fight with Anderson Silva his triangle attack from side position was marvelous. Otsuka (オオツカ) and Matsui's guard skills seem to be improving. 

Q32: Do you have any plan to participate in NHB?

Eddie: Only if the money is really good. I'm not interested in $5,000 or $10,000. I would need $25,000. For MMA you need to train 3-4 times a week wrestling and kicking. I can make a living now from jiu-jitsu classes and seminars, but wrestling and kicking coaches cost money. If someone isn't going to pay me [enough] then I don't need to fight MMA.

Q33: Then what about a jūjutsu match, or submission wrestling match?

Eddie: I can do that. I don't need $25,000. However it has to be no-gi, no-time limit, and no points. I go for the tap and my opponent goes for the tap.

Q34: Then, do you have a final message for the Japanese readers?

Eddie: Sooner or later, you must master rubber-guard. You will be astonished. MMA will be more exciting. If fighters study guard, deadlocks will be less frequent. Learning is a long road but after Beast Ozeinga fights in PRIDE everyone will want to learn guard. Ground grappling (寝技) will be more exciting and will help MMA.

Q35: I understand. Thank........[Eddie interrupts]

Eddie: I have one more message. There are producers in Japan who are interested in electronic music, aren't there? This is the most important thing for me. Music, because I am primarily a musician. It's why I went to Hollywood. The reasons I got into jiu-jitsu was to maintain a cool physical appearance (柔術はそのためにカッコイイ体を維持したくて始めただけなんだよ). I'm a musician. My songs are "Kurisutaru Messodo" and "Eniguma". They're awesome (本当にいいぞ).

Q36: Are you thinking about sending a demo tape to a Japanese producer?:

Eddie: Yes, I'm planning to. Between jiu-jitsu and music, my priority is music. Maybe in a record company someone who likes jiu-jitsu will hear my music and thereby I'll get a chance. Just like Bruce Lee. He became a star in the movie world after teaching kakutōgi. In my case, I will become famous in the music world through kakutōgi.

Q37: Are you saying that music is more important than jūjutsu?

Eddie: Music is much more important to me than jiu-jitsu. Music is a thousand times more important than jiu-jitsu. I can't earn money from jiu-jitsu. With a music contract, I'll earn a lot of money and be attractive to girls. Girls are important.

Q38: Surely, submitting Royler made you attractive to girls?

Eddie: No, it didn't. Beating Royler was good, but at best only three times [it isdn't clear what Eddie meant by this: せいぜい3回くらいだ]. [Eddie laughs]. Anyway, for anyone in Japan who is interested in my music or jiu-jitsu seminars or my new DVD, send a note to eddiebravojapan@hotmail.com. My Japanese agent will explain. My DVD includes my fight with Royler and a total of 17 matches with commentary. Many of the matches end with submissions by "twister". It is packed with cool and rare content. I star in it and it includes comedy. 

Q39: That's extremely interesting. Thank you very much.  

** 

Also included is a photo lay-out (below) with Eddie demonstrating five positions and techniques: (1) rubber-guard take-down; (2) grip, (3) perfect control (4) mission control and (5) Invisible Collar (見えないえい).

 

Eddie introducing Japanese MMA fans to his "Rubber-Guard" System 

Comments

Rubber-guard is described as a "style" or "school" of jiu-jitsu (a ).

 

Eddie Bravo's Rubber-Guard: Rickson Gracie's Opinion

 

(c) 2019, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved (英語の翻訳だけ).

 

 

 

 

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