Dave Camarillo Interview

We did caught up with David Camarillo just after he got back from Europe. He was there building his Olympic Judo points fighting for San Jose State. We did caught up with David Camarillo just after he got back from Europe. He was there building his Olympic Judo points fighting for San Jose State. San Jose State is the US’s top Judo school. He was the only team member to bring home a medal. He took third place. That last judo player to bring us a medal from this event was Mike Swain. David is the only fighter in the world to be competing and winning on an international level in both Judo and Jiu-Jitsu. He has developed quite a reputation. Read all about it.

OTM: You recently returned from Europe. Tell us a little bit about the fights and what you were doing over there. DC: Well for the first week I fought in Italy. They were pretty tough fights but had a good performance, my game was on. I lost to Carlos Mindez from Puerto Rico who used to fight for the United States. He was very good. He was my only loss. Everything else went quick. I fought a guy from Belguim in the final for third. Did a lot of combinations. A couple guys I threw. Then I had three arm locks, one choke. My longest match was like three minutes.

OTM: How has your Jiu-Jitsu game been helping your Judo? DC: My Jiu-Jitsu helps tremendously in Judo just like my throws help in Jiu-Jitsu competitions. As soon as I hit the ground I’m always in position. The main reason it helps so much is that my Jiu-Jitsu is not slow. It’s not made for a slow match. That’s why it adapts so well in Judo matches. In Judo matches you don’t have much time, because if the referee doesn’t like ne waza, which is ground techniques in Judo, he could call mate’, which means stop. That’s where my quickness goes into play. I’m always in position. Even though I get the arm as the guy stands up and they call mate’, at least I am putting fear into the guy. It screws with his confidence, even though I did not get the win.

OTM: You have been putting a lot of flying arm locks on the guys? DC: In Italy I had two flying arm locks. One was right off the grip, and the other one was in the final for third place. For the final I fought this Belgium guy and I was down a couple scores because he threw me a couple times. They were pretty weak throws, but I traumatized this guy because I got his right arm twice as he stood up waiting for the mate to be called. That made him retract his arm to where it wasn’t very visible because it was hurt. He had to make up for that by extending his left arm to keep me away. He was winning, he just wanted to let the time run out, there was about two minutes left. With him extending that arm, I just flew up and took it and that’s how I won third.

OTM: Speaking of flying arm locks, a few years back you put a flying arm lock on Yuki Nakai, what happened there? DC: That was bad. I couldn’t finish it cause he turned his elbow. He’s very strong and I did not catch him quick enough. I am much quicker now.

OTM: Would you like to fight him again? DC: Sure. Anybody.

OTM: How long did it take for you to get your brown belt? DC: About three years.

OTM:You did a lot of Judo training while you were in Japan. What would you say the difference is between the way they train there and the way we train here? DC: In Judo, they train much harder over there and the technique is much cleaner. I have been there seven times. I trained there once for over 2 months at one time. I learned a lot. I came back with some pretty good technique, but most of all I learned how to train. It was mostly a mental trip for me. I went there when I was 16 and I understood how to train and that you should train hard, sometimes twice a day and as much as three or four times a day.

OTM: How is the training in Japan different than the training you did in Brazil? DC: In Japan, you are there two hours and you are 100% for those two hours, then you are out of there. You also have running and weight lifting which is mandatory. In Brazil, its tough as well but it’s a little more relaxed. You get there late or early and you just start training, you don’t even warm up. I like both.

OTM: Where did you train while you were in Japan? DC: At the university called Tsukuba. It is near Tokyo.

OTM: Where did you train while you were in Brazil? DC:I trained at Gracie Barra which is the main school where Ralph Gracie came from. But I also trained at two affiliate schools, Gordo’s and Roleta’s. I trained with a lot of guys over there. The technique is incredible.

OTM: Who are your favorite Jiu-Jitsu fighters right now? DC: Nino, Roleta, and Ralph. But I think Renzo is the best fighter out right now.

OTM: A lot of the guys are saying that you are redefining the way Judo is and the way the Judo game is played. What do you think of that? How does it make you feel? DC: I think it is true; As I was learning Jiu-Jitsu, I took time off from Judo. Then when I came back, they both came together because I started working on my standup, which had suffered when I was training strictly Jiu-Jitsu. When I came back to Judo my Jiu-Jitsu game was at its best. Like I said before, every time I fell to the ground it would be okay because I would be in such a good position or even now I don’t have to wait for when I’m in a good position, I just fly up and take the arm. The more training in Jiu-Jitsu the faster I was on the arm and that resulted in a lot of wins. Also, my Judo training has been okay. The time I took off, I did suffer, but it is coming through now which is why I have had some recent success. You cannot win in Judo if you do not have the stand up game. I would have to say about 80% of Judo wins come from Tachi Waza (throws).

OTM: Do you get a lot of support from San Jose State? DC: No! We get little funding. Which is pretty bad since were the most successful sport that school has ever seen. We have had Olympians come out of there and a tremendous amount of national and college champions. We used to have a trainer who helped us with injuries but they took that away from us too. They even stopped supplying us with tape to tape up injuries before practice. I even had this teacher tell me maybe I should drop out for this semester after asking her for help on missed quizes due to my Judo trips, which are very important for my Olympic points. I’m like aren’t teachers supposed to be helpful?

OTM: What kind of conditioning do you use for your training? DC: Basically, I train twice a day. We do circuit training Tuesdays and Thursdays, I run Monday and Friday. The circuit training is very hard. We are in the gym for about an hour and it is non-stop. If there is Judo practice, I go to that. Normally, I go to Jiu-Jitsu right after that. Right now I am doing more Judo than Jiu-Jitsu because of the tournaments coming up. The better I do in these tournaments, the more tournaments they want me to go to.

OTM: What are doing in your circuit training? Are you lifting weights? DC: It is a combination of lifting weights and a couple of Judo things. It is 14 stations; we do about 30 seconds each station. Sometimes the coach makes us go a little longer, it is about 7 minutes all the way through. We do about 4 sets of that, and then we do 3 sets of Burn Out. We do a couple stations where there are tires tied to a pole and we are pulling the tires Uchi-Komi, which is Judo techniques. then there are a couple other stations, some of which are lifting weights, some are jumping up and down on a platform, doing bench press. It is really good for endurance and strength, and I lack strength.

OTM: Wasn’t your father a famous judo guy? DC: He was real good. I definitely owe him a lot of respect. He is the one that got me into it. I would never be anywhere in Jiu-Jitsu without him putting me into Judo at a very early age. It is kind of funny, I used to hate Judo. He just made me do it. I think that was the best thing, because at the time, you don’t realize what you can do. A lot of parents they let their kids play the flute, the piano, and if they don’t want to do it any more, the parents say okay you can do this or that. My dad stuck with just the one thing. He did not let me play any other sports, not even football because he was afraid I would get hurt. He made me do the Judo. I remember a time when I used to hide my gis under my bed and he would be very upset, but he knew in the back of his mind that he had to gi ready to go to practice with me. He would be upset with me because he did not want me to do it again, then when we got to practice he would surprise me with a gi. So, I would be training either way. I owe a lot to my Dad.

OTM: Your dad implemented your discipline, to keep training and focused? DC: Totally, I would miss practice and get grounded, I didn’t understand why. I wanted to be like every other kid and horse around. Now I think of it and it was a lot of trouble I didn’t need. He kept me with just one thing so that I could excel at it. He wasn’t very happy about the Jiu-Jitsu in the beginning because he saw it as a threat. But now, of course, he is very happy that I am doing the Jiu-Jitsu because it’s helping me win. Judo is his big thing. It’s in the Olympics. I am trying to make the Olympic team. I have a good chance for 2004, but I definitely owe him a lot of thanks. I would definitely not be where I am without him, or without the rest of my family, my mom and brother, a lot of times my brother and I would train together and we would push each other. That was how it was growing up.

OTM: Do you take any supplements? DC: I don’t take any supplements. They say they work, I don’t know. I think if I train really hard like I do, I don’t have to worry about taking any supplements.

OTM: How did you develop your obsession for Asian women? DC: I don’t know how it got developed. I have been living in the bay area and there are a lot of Asian girls running around and they are pretty. I don’t know what really happened exactly, but to me they are just the most gorgeous women.

OTM: Are you going to tell your girlfriend about this interview? DC: She’ll read it. I teach her a little bit of jiu jitsu, but not too much, I want to stay a little dominant, heh heh

OTM: Do you want to see Jiu-Jitsu in the Olympics? DC: Yeah. I see Judo in the Olympics and I think Judo is a very excellent sport. But I think Jiu-Jitsu is the best. It is so technical. You don’t have to be super strong to excel in it. You see these guys who are very slender. You see the Brazilian body type is very slender and flexible. I think that shows the technique is there. To me, in any sport, technique is the best. Jiu-Jitsu, I believe, has the most technique of any sport.

OTM: What do you think it will take to get Jiu-Jitsu into the Olympics? DC: I think it will be tough cause Jiu Jitsu is primarily in Brazil. There would have to be a World Organization. It will take some time.

OTM: When do you plan to compete next in Jiu-Jitsu? DC: I will be competing in the world championships in Brazil. I am going to train for two months over there and hopefully, do well.

OTM: Who are the toughest guys you have had to fight in Jiu-Jitsu? DC: I haven’t fought much in Jiu-Jitsu. I should be in Brazil competing more; it’s just that I have been doing this Judo thing. I think now is the time when I am just going to switch back and forth. It is hard to do both, because the training is so different. I am doing well in Judo right now, but I think I am going to take a break and spend the whole summer in Brazil, hopefully compete in everything over there and every time I have a break from school, like in the winter time I am going to compete again. I haven’t really fought the big names yet. I want to get back into that. I fought Fredson. He was probably my toughest match even though I was just getting over from being sick. I did okay. I could have done much better. I like to test my self again and again.

OTM: That was when you fought on the same card with Royce Gracie and Wallid? DC: Yes that was. That was a crazy night being there. You here that stuff on the Internet. Over there I was a young Jiu-Jitsu guy. I was 2 years in and it was kind of cool being in the place everyone talks about on the Internet. You don’t have to go on the Internet to see all the posts, see kind of what did and didn’t happen. I was there. It was very exciting.

OTM: Do you have any plans to fight No Holds Barred soon? DC: No plans right now.

OTM:If you had a match against Nino and both his feet were tied together, how do you think you would do? DC: LOL I would probably have to go for a foot lock or something, I don’t know. No, I probably would do horribly. He still would beat me.

OTM: There has been a lot of talk about you hurting guys when you fight. You get them and they are tapping but you are still holding on. What do you think about that? DC: This is a thing I wanted to talk about. It happens a lot in more Judo than Jiu-Jitsu. In Jiu-Jitsu, first fighting another Jiu-Jitsu guy, I respect that a little more. Jiu-Jitsu guys are smart. The referees, they get in there, they understand the techniques because they are Jiu-Jitsu guys themselves. In judo, most referees don’t really understand the techniques coming in, There are a lot of good referees don’t get me wrong. But when I am sitting there doing the arm lock in Judo the referees are six feet away or something, they kind of know what is going on, but I am so fast with the arm lock, they are not used to that because Judo guys are not that fast with the arm locks. They are not explosive. I don’t so much as set things up as judo guys do I am just on the arm from every position. They are not that fast to call the ippon at the right time so when they call ippon, it takes me a little bit to slow down and stop because it is kind of like this; you get a car that is going 90 miles per hour and it hits a stop sign, it needs time to slow down. When I am on that arm, I am going 100%, not so I can inflict pain, but so I don’t loose the arm and win the match. Then I see a lot of people get upset at me or they make comments to me, and this is more in Judo, they make comments to me like why do I have to hurt everybody, why are you doing this or that. Even my opponents, they get mad at me. You know what, the thing is, I am sorry that you are hurt, but you know what you are getting into when you are competing in the tournament, you should. Second, you should not be upset at me; you should be upset at the referee. The referee is the one that takes forever to call the ippon, while you are tapping out. One time I had a guy in a choke and I am sitting there choking him and he is tapping the whole time and I am not going to let go, so the referee calls the ippon, and I let go the minute the referee calls ippon, which ends the match. We stand up in a line, and this referee is an ‘A’, top of the line referee, that kind of tells me it can happen to anyone, but we are sitting there, I am looking at the guy and I figure he is going to award me the win and my opponent stands up and says I didn’t tap. The referee says you didn’t tap, okay, restart. I could not believe it. I am sitting there thinking this is ridiculous. How many times do I have to make this guy tap to win the match? Never do you throw the guy ippon. Then the guy goes I did not land on my back. I have never heard of such a thing. After that I ended up hurting the guy in an armlock and his coach was all upset at me. So with me, when I get an arm or neck I am going 100% in a competition. Training is totally different but I am going 100%, just to win the match because I do not want to loose arms, especially when it is an important competition because that could mean Olympics or not Olympics and that is very important.

OTM: Do you think in Judo referees are old school and just don’t understand your game? DC: That is a perfect way to say it. They are old school; I have a lot of respect for them. They just don’t understand it, they don?t see it. Sometimes I will be very close to finishing a guy and they stop the fight because they don?t understand the position I am in. I have already heard they are talking about me in Europe because of my armlocks. Even though I never got a penalty. You would never think I did anything wrong on the mat, but after the competition, I have heard people talking about how they are going to watch me because I am holding the arm too long. You know what I have to say to that; they need to call ippon faster. The ippon ends the match, that’s when I end the arm lock, and then there is no more injury. It just seems that when something comes along that’s new, and not traditional with old school methods, that it is looked down upon and I think that is what is happening.

OTM: What happened between you and Jimmy Pedro? DC: I fought Jimmy for the first time ever in the 1999 senior nationals. I ended up third in that. I was arguing with the referees that his gi was not legal. Normally, I don’t argue, but in judo, more than Jiu-Jitsu, it is very important that he wears a gi that is legal. They are very strict about that and that is for a reason. If the guy is wearing a small gi then I can’t get a grip, and if I can’t get a grip, I really don’t have a fair fight. I know he is world champion, he is incredible. He is a nice guy. He is an incredible guy; he has a good ground game, and a good top game. But I would want a fair match against him. Not go all that way training, go over there and have a fight with a guy who is wearing a gi that is so small that I can’t get a grip. That kind of takes me out of it and it actually took me out of my mental game for the fight, I was very upset. Afterwards, a couple things were said, yes we were face-to-face and mad at each other. The thing is I have no problem with him; I was upset at the referees for how he is treated because he is a world champion. I think he is treated at a higher level than anyone else. He gets away with a few things that other people wouldn’t get away with. I think it should be fair. You train so hard; it should be a fair fight.

OTM: It is almost the opposite way for you. In Jiu-Jitsu, I saw a couple of tapes where you had a leg lock on somebody, the guy was tapping but he had one leg out of bounds so they restarted it. DC: It was the fight before Garth in the open class. I was sitting there and I went to sweep right to knee lock and the referee, I don’t understand, he was like okay restart. I don’t get that one. He is sitting there tapping the whole time, I don’t understand. I’m used to matches in judo where they stop the fight. I thought in Jiu-Jitsu you never stop the fight.

OTM: They stop the fight in Jiu-Jitsu, you prefer they stand you up or pull you back into the middle of the mat? DC: Pull back into the middle of the mat. They should not be interrupted. Just like a real fight. UFC should never be stood up; at least that is what I think, unless there is absolutely no action. Definitely in my fights I am always moving, I think they should just pull them back in. That happened against Garth when I was fighting him. I threw him a couple times and both times they restarted us standing and I had really good position both times and I wanted to finish and I think I could have had a good chance of finishing it.

OTM: Do you like submission grappling tournaments? DC: Yes, I think they are good.

OTM: We heard some rumors on the web that you might fight in Grapplers Quest after the Mundial. Are you open to that? DC: Definitely. I was talking to the guy. I think the second half of my trip to Brazil I am going to train a lot of no gi for that. I train a lot with my friend Cameron, he is excelling in no gi competitions.

OTM: You have your own school now too; tell us a little about that. DC: It’s not really my own school. I teach in Modesto, Ca. It just started and it has about 10 to 15 guys. It is at Dynamic Karate. The instructor over there is a karate guy. His name is Paul Mendoza; he is a good friend of mine and a blue belt from our academy.

OTM: Who cuts your hair? DC: It’s that bad, is it. Actually my girlfriend’s sister cutts it. I don’t go to a barber. I just shave it. I have no style so I just let it grow, then I shave it.

OTM: How would you describe your style of fighting? DC: I just try to make everyone tap, even in Judo. I think those are the best wins. Sometimes I can sometimes I can’t. A nice throw is pretty beautiful too, but I think a really good arm lock is just as great.

OTM: What kind of music do you listen to? DC: Pretty aggressive stuff. I like Rage Against Machine, Tool. I have seen their concerts a couple of times they really get me going, especially before tournaments. I am also getting into some hard-core rap like Ice Cube and DMX.

OTM: Heard you were hanging out a little bit with Maynard, right? DC: Yeah, I actually taught him a private over at his place. He brings mats everywhere he goes because he trains. He trained with Rickson and he is a super nice guy. He is really cool. He gave us back stage passes. I saw a show in LA with Rage Against Machine as well, and that was awesome.

OTM: Do you like Maynard’s new band Perfict Circle. DC: Actually, I have never seen them. I am always out of town when they come into San Francisco. I heard they were coming June 7th and I am going to be in Brazil. It’s Maynard so you can’t go wrong.

OTM: Heard you got a new car? DC: Yeah, I got an Integra. It’s a fast car.

OTM: Heard you drive like an asshole? DC: What, were you behind me?

OTM: No, in the passenger seat DC: When I come back from Brazil it gets a lot worse. They are crazy over there.

OTM: I heard you were down there hanging out with Ryan. What do you think of all the bullshit he is going through now? DC: I don’t know. I like Ryan. He is a cool guy. I hope to be hanging out with him this summer.

OTM: Do you have any sponsors? DC: Yeah, I would like to thank HCK, I am actually looking for more sponsors, but I would like to thank my number one sponsor, my mom and dad, I am actually thinking about getting a couple of patches made. They are the best because they finance all my trips, I wouldn’t be anywhere without them. They finance all my Europe Judo trips and this summer to Brazil. They are my number one sponsors.

OTM: Anyone you’d like to thank? DC: Yea Of course Ralph Gracie for showing me more then just incredible Jiu JItsu Techniques. He’s taught me a lot about life. My Jiu Jitsu Teamate Cameron for pushing me in training and Kurt Oisander for training with me and teaching me so much. And my coaches as San Jose State, Sensei Yamada, Ali Moghodas, and David Williams who help out a lot with my standing technique and coaching me in tournaments. I’d like to thank the hardest training guy at San Jose State Judo Jose Bencosme for battling with me everyday. And my parents! Without their money I mean support I wouldn’t be where I am !!!

It’s funny that everybody in Judo is scared of David’s na waza and everybody in Jiu-Jitsu is scared of his stand up. I guess people in general are just scared of him. Dave is looking for some sponsors to help him get to the Mudial this year. No doubt he’ll kick ass down in Brazil again. Show David’s sponsor some support and click the banner below. Howard has a new line of Kimonos coming. On the Mat will have a full product review of these new gis.

A quick note to his opponents. Jump to your guard, watch your arms, and tap verbally so the referee can hear you.

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