(If you are going to fight MMA, burn and throw away
your gi right now!)
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
Roberto are in brackets [ ].
Transforming MMA (ラバーガードがMMAを変える)
-The man who
submitted Royler Gracie.
"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
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
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.
Q1. Recently, you had surgery on your
hip (腰), 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
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
Eddie: It was after I saw UFC 2. A friend
of mine saw the commercial for the UFC 1 and said "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
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
I 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
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.
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.
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 (心) 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.
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
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
Q18: Rubber-guard is used for no-gi, isn't it.
also effective apart from
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
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
black belts 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
hugging and holding (抱き付くだけだ).
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,
Q21: That means a person who trains with no-gi for
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
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?
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.
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
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
Eddie: That's correct. But now,
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?
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.
Q29：Do 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
Q30: By the way, what is your impression about Japan?
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
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
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
Eddie: Sooner or later, you
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
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
I'm a musician. My songs are "Kurisutaru Messodo" and "Eniguma".
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
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.
submitting Royler made you attractive to girls?
Eddie: No, it
didn't. Beating Royler was good, but at best only three times [it isn'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 email@example.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.
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）.
introducing Japanese MMA fans to his "Rubber-Guard"
Rubber-guard is described as a "style" or
"school" of jiu-jitsu (a 流).
Eddie Bravo's Rubber-Guard:
Rickson Gracie's Opinion
(c) 2019, Roberto Pedreira. All rights
Revised May 17,
2021 (minor typos corrected).