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Global Training Report



Royce Gracie

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  broadcasts).

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 she? (laugh)

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 too. 

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?

Q:  No.

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, he's tough.

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 great. (laugh) 

Q: Really, good team! Now, what kind of training are you giving?

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 ground. 

Q: So defending on the ground is what you are concentrating on?

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 style. 

Q:  Goodridge is a high possibility as an opponent of Ray Sefo.  What do you think is Gary Goodridge's strong point?

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 up. 

Q: We have an impression that Goodridge is a striker in Pride.

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 troops?

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.  

Q: Insult.....

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 ground.

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 example. 

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 ability.

Q: You mean he might be able to meet up to our expectations?

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.



Royce Gracie's 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.   

Ray Sefo's 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: 

Royce (after Sakuraba's loss to Vanderlei Silva)

Royce (with Rorion, after loss to Sakuraba)

Royce (from Herois dos Ringues) 

(c) 2002, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.

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