Eddie Kone speaks to the Fighting Photographer!
Eddie Kone is the UK and European representative for the Royler Gracie/David Adiv Association; a very technical and gifted BJJ brown belt and accomplished MMA fighter, Eddie travelled up from London to Bolton, to take a three hour no gi class at Combat Base Bolton academy. After the class, Eddie was whisked away to a local tapas bar, La Tasca in Bolton town centre, where the Fighting Photographer made interview history, conducting his first ever interview via candlelight!
Hear what Eddie had to say in between courses!
Carl Fisher: Well Eddie, four years since we last met in London, who can believe it eh?
Eddie Kone: Yeah man, where’s the time gone (laughs)
CF: Exactly mate; have to say thanks once again for a great session, did you have fun?
EK: Yes I did, it was great to come up and show the lads, a good level of jiu jitsu out there, saying you’ve not been going for a year yet, good guys, very impressed.
CF: Thanks Eddie; I believe you were showing off some very up to date moves on the mats this afternoon?
EK: Yeah, some of the stuff was from Washington, USA where I was about a month ago and some of the stuff was from Royler, when he was in the UK last year and we just keep drilling and refining the techniques. The whole idea about our jiu jitsu is not to keep it from anyone, we’re not hiding anything, it’s there for everyone to see.
CF: Who was at the event in the US?
EK: The event was Royce Gracie’s second annual gathering and the seminar consisted of about 200 students, with Royler, Royce, Ralek and Rodrigo all there, together with Saulo and Xande Ribeiro. Royce promoted six people to black belt over the weekend, it was a great training experience.
CF: How did you fit in to all of this Eddie?
EK: I went there with one of the guys from the London academy and went there to refine our training and see what’s new out there and keeping in touch with guys you know, keep the finger on the pulse. It was very beneficial to the pair of us.
CF: Who did you train with out there?
EK: Everyone, especially Ralek, spent a lot of time with him on the weekend, he’s a monster, if you think Roger Gracie is a big, strong guy, Ralek’s a beast! I’ve never seen this guy before, only in the magazines you know, when I rolled with him, he was like a solid brick wall, the guy was insane. Royler’s a class act as well, I’m a fan of all the Gracies, aside from being a teacher, I’m a fan as well. I’ve known Royce and Royler a long time and they are great guys and are even greater teachers.
They are always looking for ways to handle things quicker and more efficient; Royler summed it up when he said that ten years ago, we would do moves that would take five steps to finish, now we’re down to ending the move in one or two steps.
CF: Are these moves easy to assimilate into your own teaching methods?
EK: It’s a great way to look at the guys who have been doing the jiu jitsu from birth and how they do it; my teaching will never be like Royler and Royler’s will never be like mine, everyone is unique. I think it’s incredible, I mean I could have chose any instructor to learn from and personally to me, Royler and David are the pinnacle for me personally, I just happened to choose the best in my personal opinion.
CF: Any more seminars lined up Eddie?
EK: I don’t see these sessions as seminars, I just see it as showing the RGDA way of teaching, this is our style of jiu jitsu; it’s still a small organisation in the UK, we’ve been around for about five years and we have two other clubs in Europe and I think our jiu jitsu is very different from other styles in the UK. It’s not a big guy teaching you jiu jitsu, both Royler and I are small guys both at 65 kilos, so it’s very technical, it has to be (laughs).
CF: What have you been up to since we last met?
EK: I was promoted to my brown belt four years ago, not long after we met in London; I haven’t been competing regularly since I was promoted, just for the fact if you look at what we’ve achieving in the UK as an association. In addition on the European scale, there was no BJJ in Romania, a war torn country recently out of Communism. I received an invite out there, went over and met with the guys and hooked up with a blue belt guy out there and we have now put together a new NHB fight team, called Bloodline and have had a lot of success fight wise.
CF: You have helped prepare Sami Berik and Paul Daley for fight duties?
EK: Yes I have, Sami has been with us for some time, he came to us with a 5-0 record, all via submissions and he went away and did some other stuff and came back to the team and is back training with the team. Paul rung me up and asked me to help him prepare for his fight in Bodog against Dwayne Ludwig and a few other notables come through, but it’s early days at the minute.
CF: How did you feel when Paul won his Bodog fight?
EK: It was like ‘wow’ what happened? Everyone was surprised at the outcome and obviously pleased with the result; Paul could have trained with anyone, so I felt very privileged and honoured that eh came down to train with me for the fight. He’s the most humble and down to earth you could wish to meet and we still keep in touch and I think he’s returning back to London in a while, so look forward to seeing him again.
CF: Are you still teaching?
EK: Actively teaching six days a week in my academy, 152 Lower Clapton Rd, Hackney, East London and train alongside the KO Thai Boxing School. Our stand up coach is Paul Murut, a former Thai champion and I do the BJJ, no gi and the NHB side of things at the club. A good mix up there.
CF: How often does Royler come over and how often do you get training for yourself, a common problem for guys in the UK?
EK: Yes you’re right there; for me to maintain training, I go to the States twice and year and Brazil twice a year with Royler and when ever Royce is in town I train with him and he’s over in the UK in May and will be the first Gracie to teach in Romania. I always try and stay ahead of my game, hard work and dedication is the key.
CF: Where’s David Adiv teaching now?
EK: He’s in Jersey right now; if you look on our site you will see the network is expanding, with more clubs opening up around the world. Last year we arranged the first summer camp in Europe, in Romania, it was incredible and we have another one this year in July and every year we try and maintain links out there. We had the Romanian Cup with the RGDA, who put together their version of SENI, the Gracie Invitational. I am back and forth out there, making sure they are kept up to date with the latest training techniques.
David will be over in September and maybe Royler before, I’m not sure, as with Royler, if he accepts a fight, David is part of his training team and so I lose two guys instead of one.
CF: Eddie, the coffees are here, time to end the interview and get back to chilling out with the other guys, thanks for the interview.
EK: My pleasure.
For more RGDA info check out www.rgda-uk.com