During my recent trip to London, I spent a few days training with the UK`s new Royler Gracie/David Adiv affiliate instructor, purple belt Eddie Kone
During my recent trip to London, I spent a few days training with the UK`s new Royler Gracie/David Adiv affiliate instructor, purple belt Eddie Kone; Eddie`s laid back approach to training, combined with a fine eye for technical detail made for an eye opening two days and after the hard work on the mats, I managed to grab a quick interview with the man himselfâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦
Firstly Eddie, where is your academy based?
At Wanstead Leisure Centre, which is in the East of London and train there Mondays and Fridays and we do a Vale Tudo session at a place called Langden Park, again in East London on a Sunday.
How`s the club progressing?
It`s coming along nice you know, the club hasn`t been open that long; the first session I had fourteen guys down and the best turn out I`ve had saw thirty three on the mats so yeah I`m happy with things for now.
What`s the level on the mats?
We`ve had a few guys from Gracie Barra coming down to train and help out, mostly blue belts, but all the guys and girls are white belts, beginners.
Can you tell me how you became involved with Royler Gracie and why you`ve chosen your path with him?
Two years ago I went to Brazil with Marc Walder, when I was training under the Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu network, my first visit there and had previously trained once with Royler prior to the trip. Back in Brazil I trained again with Royler and he`s my weight and size and I think he`s a very good fighter and an amazing guy; I went there with Marc and trained with Royler and came back to the UK and I`d always wanted to open my own academy. There was already GBUK, RGJJN and other affiliations in the UK, but no Royler Gracie networks, so I contacted David Adiv at the start of this year and visited him twice this year and we talked about opening an affiliated club to which they agreed, and whilst I was out there last, I was fortunate enough to get my purple belt from David, who`d talked to Royler about it and he was cool with it, so it was on David`s recommendation that I received my purple belt and I went back to the UK and the RGDA UK was born.
Are you the sole representative then?
We`re the only National RGDA affiliate outside the US and Brazil, the first in the UK.
Can you tell us a little bit about David Adiv?
David is based in New Jersey and he`s the head of the RGDA in the US and a black belt under Royler and has been training for about twenty years and has been involved with the Israeli Special Forces; he first met Royler through Rickson and David`s competed in many events and won the most technical fighter award at the first Rickson Gracie event, the guy`s an awesome black belt.
Have you any plans to get the guys over to the UK?
We`re in talks right now and I would like to get Royler and David over as well as Saulo Ribeiro, a lot of the guys from the Humaita camp, Royler`s black belts, but first I`d like to get Royler and David over first.
What about your competition background?
I`ve been in BJJ for the past four years, initially training under Marc Walder and the RGJJN and entered the inter club comps there in Dagenham; I competed in the Gracie Invitational in 2002 where I won the silver in my division and the bronze medal in the blue belt sixty four kilos and above. I fought in the Absolute and didn`t do too well and have been in six VT matches, losing two out of the six. I competed in Grapple and Strike and the majority of my matches were in Malmo, Sweden. I entered the Malmo Carnage event in `99 and walked away with the title belt and I entered that evening, I was invited and won two fights and that`s about it.
How did you get over to Sweden?
I lived there for a while for about a year and a half and trained with Lars Besand and a group of other guys, it wasn`t anything special for me, just training outside of my studies, but it was good fun. I returned to the UK in 2000 and as soon as I came back I joined up with Marc Walder
How was Marc when you made your decision to join Royler?
Marc was fine about it, he`s supported me 100% on this, I have a lot of time for Marc, he`s an awesome teacher and a good friend; the good thing about the UK is that the politics aren`t there like they are in Brazil.
Who did you train with in Rio?
I`ve been three times and been to Royler`s academy and Carlson`s academy; Gracie Barra and the Gracie Camp and trained with the best man, Marcio Feitosa, Rolker, Ralph and when I went to New York I met Renzo and have trained with David Adiv, the list goes on. I trained at Rickson`s place but he wasn`t there, but it was a memorable time anyway, I managed to roll with some top guys.
Plans to compete this year?
My opinion is that you can`t be a good competitor and a good teacher, you have to be one or the other and right now my club`s at a very early stage, so I want to nurture the guys and give them a good grounding in the basics and maybe think about competing next year. I`d like to form a RGDA UK team and get these guys out on the mats when I think they`re ready.
You`ve also managed some sponsorship for the club?
Yeah I`m sponsored by Evolution Fightwear and have known Andy Smith a number of years, he`s a great guy who offered me sponsorship and I took it.
What do you think about the current UK BJJ scene?
It`s getting there, GBUK`s the prominent movement at the moment and I could have easily approached these guys and joined on board, but I wanted to add something different to the UK and I want to bring Royler`s style to the UK, so people can have a look at it.
Do you think Royler`s style of fighting will suit bigger guys, as you`re about the same size and weight as Royler?
Oh yeah; if you look at guys like Saulo Ribeiro and his black belts, a lot bigger guys, then yes it works; learn the basics and blend it to your personal style.
Looking around your house it`s clear BJJ`s a big part in your life, there`s gi`s all around; how does the wife feel about this?
She puts up with a lot and is my backbone, she supports me 100% and as long as that`s there, the rest is irrelevant. When I first started off and told people my plans, they laughed and said it would be pointless, there`s lots of teachers about, but she`s been behind me from the start and that`s been a great help.
One last thing, you also teach at a local Police station?
It`s something I`ve been involved in for a while; a number of officers came to my academy and saw what I was doing and I ended up teaching them and the next thing I`ve got about thirty guys wanting to learn and they have their own facilities; it`s an informal thing and I teach them the basics of jiu jitsu. Talking to the guys they tell me a lot of the time on the streets they end up on the ground with an assailant, trying to handcuff them for example and they`re not going to break out in arm bars and omoplatas and they can`t strangle and I`ve shown them the differences in strangles and chokes and restraints and they`ve taken things on board and getting on with it
Eddie, thanks for the time and a cracking two days training.
Here are a couple of quotes from his studentsâ€¦
`I have been training with Eddie for three months and he`s an amazing guy, he`s a good all round guy and great teacher` Mark Quinlavan.
â€˜I`ve been here for about a month and he`s a nice person, knows how to teach people and is very approachable, which I think`s a good thing.` Gary Black
For more details contact Eddie Kone on 07960 932 224.