Talks about K-1 vs. Pride Matches
and his training Ray Sefo
From SRSDX January 24, 2002
Translated by Roberto Pedreira
As soon as Royce enters the room, he
started to watch Hase Kyo's recently released video (Hase Kyo is
the nickname of Hasegawa Kyoko, a girl TV "talent"
who usually provides the "cuteness" element on K-1
Q: Do you like Hase Kyo? (laugh)
Royce: Oow, hahaha, kawaii [Royce said it in
Japanese. It means "She's cute!" But he laughed after
saying it]. (laugh)
Q: She is cute.... (laugh) Did you meet her during
your stay in Japan this time?
Royce: I met her at K-1. We are just having a
little talk but, 'kanojo pureetay! Berry Pureetay ["She is
pretty! Very pretty", in English but with the Japanized
pronunciation.] We just had a little talk, but she is very pretty, isn't
Q: That's right. In our last interview, you said that
you were in a vacation mode. Let's do it with a vacation mode this time
Royce: Ok.. If you set up a movie for me to
work with Kyoko, my mood will be better. (laugh)
Q: I will tell her about it. (laugh) I want to
hear about what you are doing with Ray Sefo [K-1 fighter], but first can
you tell me your impressions of the recent K-1 Grand Prix?
Royce: At any rate, they are tough. They punch and
kick hard. I couldn't believe how tough they are. That was my
impression. Actually, even though it's the first time I saw K-1 in
person, [Ernesto] Hoost most impressed me. I like his strategy and style
very much. His shrewdly planned strategy was great. And [Francisco]
Filho was smart too. He did well in controlling the pace. Other
fighters get dragged into aggressive exchanges, but Filho was different.
His opponent seems to be winding down. Maybe for Filho, it looks
like that he is moving in the slow motion. He is good at developing a
fight like that, I think.. And there was Mark Hunt. Hasn't he been
knocked out before?
Royce: Tremendously tough guy. I like it very much.
These three guys' fights impressed me.
Q: Well, uh, now, the Ray Sefo who you are teaching
ground fighting to has beaten Mark Hunt by decision.
Royce: That's true (laughs) Ray Sefo is a marvelous
student. Guudo! [Royce says "good" using the Japanese
pronunciation, and continues speaking English like that: and I'm a
" berry guudo teecha"]. And I'm very good teacher too. Guudo
Cheem. In other words, we are a "good team". It is natural
that something good will come out of it.
Q: What is the good thing about Ray Sefo?
Royce: The most important thing when you learn
something from someone is if you can relax or not. It is difficult
to maintain that condition, but he can do it. It means that
his instinct of fighting is sharpened to the highest point. His reaction
to any situation is good. It is not his way to think and then move after
thinking, but rather his body knows what to do and does it in any
situation. He has the instincts for natural movement. And above all,
Q: Well, is it enjoyable teaching him?
Royce: I always like teaching. But especially
this time I'm enjoying it. (laugh) And one more thing,
it's my own challenge though, to teach him in a short period as much as
he can absorb.
Q: Does Sefo learn new techniques quickly?
Royce: Yes, he does. He learns quickly.
Q: So you have a feeling that you can teach him a lot
during this a short time, 6 days?
Royce: We are similar. He can learn by
watching. And he can apply what he learned. His learning capacity is
Q: Really, good team! Now, what kind of training are
Royce: Basically I'm teaching how he can keep his
specialty of stand up. The most important thing for him is to fight his
own fight. My teaching focuses on how to survive if he gets taken to the
Q: So defending on the ground is what you are
Royce: .Yes, you can think it that way (laugh).
Anyway, I appreciate his instinct, so I don't teach him in a systematic
way. I'm teaching something more practical according to his personal
Q: Goodridge is a high possibility as an
opponent of Ray Sefo. What do you think is Gary Goodridge's strong
Royce: Gary is a very experienced fighter. His ground
technique is improving, and I think he'll be a good test for Ray. Gary
is a hard puncher, but it won't be easy for him to fight Ray standing
Q: We have an impression that Goodridge is a striker
Royce: No. Goodridge is also good on the ground. I
saw him moving like a cat with such a big body in a previous fight.
Q: Are you talking about the fight in K-1 vs. Inoki
Royce: That's right. Gary has been
training wrestling with Coleman. Tackling with such a big body is
his strong point.
Q: Well then, what was your impression of the fight
between Takada and Miroko in the last Pride?
Royce: Takada should have fought more assertively. I
think he should have taken more initiative to tackle Miroko to get him
to the ground. I think laying and waiting was his strategy but in my
opinion, I don't like it. I don't like to fight passively like that.
Q: About that fight, recently some people are saying
that Takada wasn't bad, because he fought according to his strategy.
What do you think about it?
Royce: I dislike that kind of strategy. I can't agree
with it. Imagine that in K-1 vs Pride fights, the K-1 fighters don't do
anything but the standing up and the Pride fighters don't do anything
but the ground work. Then the show will be the pits [saitei], won't it?
Q: Yes, it will.
Royce: Takada is a ground fighter, so he should have
imposed his game by taking Miroko down. If people appreciate his way of
laying down and waiting for the K-1 fighter to come to the ground, it is
an insult to every grappler.
Royce: Besides, Takada is known as a grappler. I
think it was a mistake to choose that kind of tactic.
Q: I totally understand. What about the Tom Erickson
vs. Matt Skelton fight?
Royce: Tom Erickson is a dinosaur! Jurassic Park!
Q: That fight wasn't appreciated so much
because it finished so soon without any real struggle. Previously
you said that fights between ground fighters who can't strike and
strikers who can't grapple make the worst kind of show. From a
different angle, the Erickson vs Skelton fight was bad because it had no
ups and downs, no drama, because the grappler grappled and the striker
striked [he seems to want to say that Takada vs. Miroko was bad because
nothing happened, but Erickson vs. Skelton was bad because it was too
one sided, because Skelton didn't know how to defend on the ground.]
Royce: No. For fighters, winning is the most
important thing. Therefore, that kind of fight is good, I think.
Q: I understand that opinion. By the way, this time,
everyone wants to see an interesting fight from Ray Sefo. So they hope
he will be good enough at ne-waza that he can put up a fight on the
Royce: The basic concept is to mix grappling and
striking so if Pride fighters only grapple and K-1 fighters only strike,
it goes against this concept.
Q: So it shouldn't be like that.
Royce: That's why the fighters should both attack
doing what they do best to make it a good fight. Takada vs. Miroko fight
wasn't like that.
Q: Because Royce was selected as Ray Sefo's coach, we
expect, and we hope, that Ray Sefo will sweep Gary Goodridge, for
Royce: We can't say whether he'll sweep Gary
Goodridge in the fight. We don't know that Ray will be the one who is on
the bottom (laughs). And like I said before, Ray has a great learning
Q: You mean he might be able to meet up to our
Royce: Fu fu fu [fu fu fu is the sound of laughing in
Japanese]. Anyway, it is sure to be a good fight. (laughs).
Q: That's the most important thing, but in the space
of 6 days, how strong do you think you can make Ray?
Royce: Uuw ha ha ha! He's already enough (laughs).
He's strong enough already.
Q: In other words, that is, there's four more days
remaining. You can make him even more stronger?
Royce: That's right. Expect it.
Comment about Ray Sefo
Ray leaves nothing to be desired as a
student. All I have to do is improve his natural
instincts. He has an instinct for ne-waza. Ray already knows
how to win. I am teaching him how not to lose. Ray's opponents
don't think they can win by exchanging blows with Ray. So they
know they will have to take the action to the ground to win.
That's what I'm teaching [how to avoid that]. Who does he want
to fight? There won't be any easy opponents, but maybe Fujita,
Coleman, or Kerr.
Comment about Royce Gracie
Royce is the greatest teacher. He knows how
to teach in a way that I can learn easily. I can learn by
watching him move. It gives me confidence. Now I am practicing
escaping, imagining the techniques my opponent will use. I
just started practicing ne-waza but so far I haven't seen any
techniques that are difficult. I just have to get used to the
positions. What joint locking techniques have I learned? It's
a secret. You'll see when the time comes. Royce is the best
teacher. I'm lucky to have gotten this chance to learn from
him. I believe I can conquer the world.
Other Interviews with Royce Gracie on GTR:
(after Sakuraba's loss to Vanderlei Silva)
(with Rorion, after loss to Sakuraba)
(from Herois dos Ringues)
(c) 2002, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.
Gracie in Action
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