Interview With Braulio and Rick Young

Braulio Estima is a man that requires no introduction on the UK BJJ sceneBraulio Estima is a man that requires no introduction on the UK BJJ scene; having wiped out the opposition in the recent ADCC Scandinavian Qualifiers in January this year, Braulio is back in the UK teaching in Birmingham and touring the UK for master classes and seminars. I had the pleasure of hosting my first seminar with Braulio at the new Barra Manchester HQ in Bolton and after the dust had settled, I managed to grab a few words with the main man……

Carl Fisher: Your first time at GB Manchester Braulio, what are your thoughts on the club and the day?Braulio Estima: Very impressive how soon the seminar filled up and the club is in a very good location with plenty of mat space to train on and the guys were very nice as well. The seminar went well, I showed some nice takedowns which could be used for both the whites and the blues and I showed sequenced moves so people did not become confused. I did the same in the no gi part of the class and showed a sweep from the guard and a nice defence from the sweep where you take the back and of course we all sparred.

CF: It was also nice to see Rick Young support the event.BE: Oh yes, Rick is a very good friend of mine and it`s always nice to see him and train with him and I am off on Tuesday to do a seminar for Rick in Edinburgh.

CF: You`re very busy this year travelling the UK doing master classes and seminars; what do you think of the standard in the UK, another year down the line?BE: I go to Bradford, London, Dudley, Coventry and many other places and the jiu jitsu is growing a lot. If you look back three years ago, there were not many blue belts but now we have many and I am looking forward to the SENI championships where there will be great competition and it`s very important for Gracie Barra.

CF: You had a great trip out to Sweden earlier this year and won the ADCC Qualifiers in fine style; what are your thoughts on the event?BE: Now I have an idea how much I need to train and what I need to train and I was very happy with my first event without the gi and my focus is now the Mundials and then I`m looking forward to competing in Finland next year for the next part of the ADCC trials.

CF: Braulio, that`s all I`ve time for, we have to leave the building; thanks for the quick interview and thanks for a great seminar. BE: Thank you Carl, it was a pleasure for me to teach and I wish you the best of luck for the club`s future.

Rick Young is one of the world`s most renowned and sought after martial artists; always eager to expand and adapt new training principles, Rick has travelled the globe to train with best, including Dan Inosanto, Erik Paulson, Rickson Gracie and Rigan Machado. Having been bitten by the BJJ bug, Rick has been busy training and competing at the grand old age of 42 and has since been awarded his brown belt from Mauricao Gomes. Rick brings to the table years of training with the very best and this can only be of benefit for the GBUK organisation and I had the pleasure of his company and support at the recent Braulio Estima seminar in Bolton, with Rick travelling down from Edinburgh just to train…………..

It gives me great pleasure in bringing you the Rick Young Interview.

Carl Fisher: It`s a great pleasure and privilege having you down on the mats in Bolton supporting the seminar, was it worth the trip? Rick Young: Thanks a lot Carl, it`s great to be here, I`ve enjoyed myself a lot. I`ve been training with Braulio since last November and am now making the effort to train with him as much as I can and that`s why I came down.

CF: What do you think of the club?RY: I really like it, I like gyms that have a good atmosphere, I like the old pictures on the walls and the pictures on the roof and the list of world and Olympic champions on the wall, it has tradition and history.

CF: When did you start on the BJJ path? RY: It was about July `89, I met Erik Paulson in North Carolina and he told me about a guy called Rickson Gracie and not many people had heard of him then, so I went to LA and met Rickson and had a private with Royce which was at the house, they didn`t have the Torrance Academy then, it was in the garage. I went there to train with Rickson with Paul Vunak and Rickson took all the classes and he was phenomenal, I can`t measure how good he is as I couldn`t touch him. In about `95, Dan started training with the Machados so I ended up training with Rigan, John and JJ and I received my blue from him in about `97 and I never really saw Rigan after that whenever I went back. My training in BJJ was kind of sporadic after that, I was mainly training Judo with Billy Cusack and Mark Preston, then I met Mauricao and he switched me back on to the BJJ, he didn`t hold anything back he was technically brilliant and I made four trips to Brazil since then and am under Mauricao and proud to be part of Gracie Barra.

CF: When did you get the brown belt? RY: Last year, I got my purple the year before; what happened is I`d been a blue for a while and Mauricao didn`t want to step on anybody`s toes, but I hadn`t seen Rigan for a while and I was training a lot with Mauricao and I ended up with the purple belt and I got the brown last year at the Mundials in Rio. The brown belts a great thing, but to be honest I still think of myself as a white belt, I`m always learning and trying new things and I think there are a lot of brown belts out there at a better technical level than myself.

CF: Regards the academy in Edinburgh, what`s on offer Rick? RY: We`re based in Leith on the port side of Edinburgh and I teach Muay Thai, JKD, Kali, Filipino martial arts and BJJ and no gi classes, as well as basic kickboxing. It`s been there for three and a half years and if anyone wants to travel to the club from this area they are most welcome, they can train for free.

CF: Scotland is one of the few places in the UK I have not trained at; what`s the BJJ scene like up there? RY: There`s another Brazilian brown belt called Ronaldo who`s just arrived and I think Royce Gracie has some guys as well, I`m sure they train in Glasgow. There are other guys that train around the areas but I don`t think they`re affiliated to anyone.

CF: Are you competing this year? RY: Yes, the Pan Ams in three weeks and of course the Mundials in August so I`ll be out in Brazil training with Mauricao to get myself ready.

CF: Braulio submitted everyone at the end of the session, taking out all the big guys with ease, there were some tough guys there today. What is it that you think set him apart from the rest of us, you know we train three four times a week and think ‘yeah I`m getting good` and then Braulio comes along and ‘bam` lights out? RY: I think it`s technology; number one you`re training in an art that`s truly evolved, it`s like someone firing a hand gun and the other guy has a machine gun you know. Better ammunition to use when sparring, the guys a naturally trained athlete, a motivated man who trains hard and trains with the best in the world. Put those together and you cannot help but be the best. You go to Gracie Barra at 9am and when I went it in in the morning I counted out six world champions on the mats that was in the morning. I rolled with Roleta for fifty minutes and it`s like ‘wow`. When you`re surrounded with quality like this you can`t help but elevate yourself and the problem in the UK is that this level of quality isn`t there yet, but once this base gets here we will progress. It`s like the Judo with the Japanese dominating the world and then Geesink beat a Japanese in `61 and then B J Penn beat a black belt in Brazil it`s kind of opened the floodgates. In another ten years there will be a massive change thanks to the work of Roger, Felipe, Braulio, Mauricao, Atalla, Roger Brooking and the quality levels will rise. If you keep getting Braulio up once a month and the others at different times you`re being touched by excellence so you can`t go wrong.

CF: Rick, your meal`s arrived, I`ll leave you in peace; thanks again for the support and interviewRY: Cheers Carl, it`s been a pleasure.

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Carl Fisher