- Shad D. de Guzman
Is this your first seminar? How do you find the Philippines so far?
No, this would be my fourth seminar. Philippines is great man, I like the people here. I like the food; and I like the weather because it's always hot like in Brazil. I like the Philippines, and that is why I like to come here all the time. Besides the guys, Fritz, Alvin being my good friends, it's a good place to come in and hang out a little bit.
Do you have any projects besides this ongoing seminar?
I just came from Japan last night; I'll be fighting in December in Pancrase and some of my fighters. We will be fighting in all those shows in Japan in December. Maybe Murad's going to be fighting in Pride FC, as soon as we close the deal. And we have a lot of things going on like URCC, and it's on the 20th, hopefully I think they want me to fight sometime in the future here in the Philippines. A lot of doors are opening in different aspects ... let's see how it turns out.
You have fought and won in competitions such as 2Hot2Handle and the Cobra Challenge. But there's this one match in MFC where you fought Musail Allaudinov and lost via decision. Do you think their decision was fair? What happened in that event?
Well, first of all, I don't like to make excuses you know. But I was supposed to fight up to seventy (70) kilos, when we arrived in Russia, he was seventy-nine (79) kilos. I was sixty-nine (69) and he was seventy-eight (78) point something almost seventy-nine (79) kilos. I didn't want to fight because of the weight difference, so they offer me more money and I said no. I don't want to fight because of the weight difference. But in the end I said, "Okay, let's fight, I'll fight." I beat the guy up, and I beat him. They have never gave me the videotape because I wanted to put it on the Internet, I really want to because I want everybody to see what happened. I kicked his ass for the whole fifteen (15) minutes; he didn't do anything to me. Actually, I took him down five (5) times, I was on his back for all the five (5) minutes punching his face, and when we finished the fight, his face was really all messed up, and I have nothing. How they gave it to him? I really don't understand.
No, because in Russia it's difficult. In Russia, I see people put a gun on someone's face to get you back in the ring. I saw it happened to Gilbert Yvel, he's my friend from Amsterdam and he fought this Russian guy, he walked out of the ring and they put a gun on his face. He had to go back inside the ring and fight the guy; he kept fighting after he knocked him out.
Among the following fighters, who do you think gave you the most challenge? Furdjel de Windt, Mario Stapel, or Scott Wozniak?
I think it's in my training, any of my opponents even Musail from Russia, they didn't give me no hard time at all. The hard one was my training with my partner, my teammates are a lot worst. Ten (10) times worst, like I've said in all my fights, I have dominated my fights, all of them. Even the one in Russia, I dominated that one. Like I've said, I wanted to put that videotape on the Internet. Yeah, because I wanted the people to see the reality when you go fight in Russia ... If you don't win or break the guy's arm or anything, you will never win. You'll never win, never.
How long did you train at the Gracie Barra Academy?
I've been in Gracie Barra since 1995.
Aside from Ground Fighting discipline, what else do you study?
I'm training Kali with Dan Inosanto, and Thai Boxing, I trained in Thailand. I went training Thai Boxing with Ramon Dekker in Holland, Freestyle Wrestling in Cuba, and the Olympic Team in the United States National Champion in college. I trained in Russia with the Olympic Team in Tbilisi, Georgia. A lot of older stuff that I can incorporate to my game.
As a young child, who did you look after? Did you have anyone to motivate you in your martial arts? Any inspirations perhaps?
Actually, when I was a kid, my dad played in the National Team Soccer Football in Brazil. He played with Pelé, and my dad wanted me to be ... you know follow his footsteps being a football player. I was really good at it, but I like to fight. Every game I got kicked out because I like to fight, if somebody followed me, it was a fight. There was no other way out, so I always got kicked out. He put me to train in Wrestling and Judo. And you know? I like movies; I like Bruce Lee. I love Bruce Lee, I still love him up till today and I think he's the greatest. And I always like those Chinese heroes that go "Whoa! Hiya!" and yeah I like that, it's really cool.
Being a California State Wrestling Champion, 2x World Champion, 7x Brazilian Champion, and 2x Pan-American Champion. What else is your goal?
My goal is to be able to spread more Jiu-Jitsu, and to be able to make out my fighting team that I'm producing right now, to be able to take them to big events, and to show the world my capacity as a coach, as a teacher. And more than anything, give the opportunity to my people. To show what they can do. You know the great athletes that I have at home, the people are really good fighters. They don't have the opportunity that the other people have. I just want my guys to have a little opportunity, so the people could see all these great fighters go to other places.
Will you be competing again in the near future?
Oh yeah, I'm always open for anything. I'm going to be fighting on December in Japan. That was one of the things when I was in Japan. I had to close a deal for December in Pancrase, or set in other shows in Japan. We are still closing the deals, but I think it's going to come through, because I really want to fight. Also, what I'm thinking about is training to go compete in the worlds, but my fighters are my priority. My priority right now is NHB fight, be able to test myself out there in the ring some more.
What do you think about our local version of MMA competition here in the Philippines?
Man, it's a big step forward all right. I think of the guys behind it did a great job. The video that I saw was that the public was really into it. The bottom line is that Asian, the Filipino people, they like fighting. They like martial arts; especially here in the Philippines they like Cockfighting. So I think they can relay to it, the martial arts is the same, going to the "no rules" thing.
The adrenaline rush?
Yeah they like it, they like the adrenaline rush of seeing two (2) people beating each other up.
Fritz Rodriguez is a Gracie Barra Academy representative, and he is scheduled to fight this coming 20th of September with Richie Lazaro who is a stand-up fighter. What are your thoughts on this? Will you be watching this event?
I'll be in the corner with Fritz, we got a big surprise coming up. You have to come and see it.
What do you think of the level of the Filipino fighters?
For what I can see in my team, every time that I come in here they are improving. They even know the fact that I'm not here with them all the time they improve on their own, they find a way to learn the techniques, they find the way to search, to find the way to make myself proud. They know how much I want them to improve, how much I want them to reach the level of black belt, to be known, to go out to the World Championship and to be able to place winners. Go to Pan-Americans and you know, that's one of the things that I see every time that I come here, I'm impressed about their capability to keep up on their own. To try to improve on their own, and that teaches you a lot of will, a lot of desire to improve the technique.
Would you consider having a bout here in the Philippines? If ever allowed, whom would you want to compete with?
Anybody my weight class, I'm really open for anybody my weight class. As long as it's seventy (70) kilos, we'll fight. I don't care whom.
Which do you prefer? The mat, the cage, or the ring?
It really doesn't matter; it doesn't matter as long as he's less than seventy (70) kilos, and then let's get it on. We both agree with the rules and let's fight.
Anytime, anywhere yeah. (laughs)
Can you please give us a list of your favorite fighters?
My favorite fighters, in MMA I like Minotauro because he shows a lot of real Jiu-Jitsu. Tito Ortiz, he's my friend, we wrestled together in college. I like very much Murillo Bustamante, he's very technical you know. Randy Couture and Wanderlei. Who doesn't like Wanderlei? He's a "Psycho Killer." And I like Murad Chunkaiev, nobody knows him. He fought in 2Hot2Handle in Russia, and he beat Andrey Semenov. He's my student, and to me he's the most amazing athlete I have ever seen, and I had the pleasure to train and teach him. If he's given the opportunity, a lot of people are going to know him. A lot of people ... trust me. (smiles)
Thank you very much Sir for the opportunity.
Hey thanks, no problem.