Marc Walder Interview

Marc Walder continues to assist in the expansion of GBUK throughout the UKAfter returning to the UK from the Mundials this year with a second stripe to his brown belt, Marc Walder continues to assist in the expansion of GBUK throughout the UK; teaching out of Gracie Barra Essex, Marc invited me down to the club for a training session to round off a three day stay in the Big Smoke and, as ever, I managed to grab a quick interview…….

Marc, congratulations on the new stripe to the belt, when did that come about?

I got it after this year`s Mundials and have been a brown belt for a while now and have entered a few competitions and won a few medals and I think this has been my reward and recognition of my achievements.

Who gave you the stripe?

Mauricao. We went to Brazil for three weeks, I didn`t win any medals but I did well; I come from a country where the jiu jitsu levels are still at a low ebb. You`re going to a place where the Brazilians themselves need to qualify so you`re fighting the best guys around and I more than held my own and maybe my style doesn`t suit competition as you`ve got to be very aggressive and all out attack and I have a more relaxed style, but I`m working on the aggressive side of things now.

What were the guys like out there?

The standard in Brazil is just awesome and I`ve been lucky enough to train with the best people in the world, but when you go and train at somewhere like Barra, some of the blue belts are tasty, so you`ve got to watch your back you know, there`s no pretend belts out there, every one`s a fight for your life and if you make a mistake, then they`re gonna jump all over you.

When did you make the jump to Barra?

I wouldn`t say there was a specific time when things occurred, as I had been training with Mauricao for some time, four or five years; the position in the UK when I first started, when I came back from the US as a blue belt, was that Royce would come and visit here but it would be sporadic, every six months or eight etc. and the training schedule I had needed me to get regular proper tuition. The only person at that time was Mauricao and I actually gave him a call as I had a lot of people phoning me enquiring about training BJJ and Mauricao was closer than I was, so I got in touch because of that and I ended up meeting him and made friends and got beat up a lot by him, which was a good thing, it was something I needed, the only way to improve is to train with people who can kick your arse. The problem I had was that I had an association with Royce and then Royce`s commitments increased and it became difficult to get him over here and it was a number of things that occurred and as I`d been training a lot with Mauricao, I felt a bit hypocritical, saying I was in Royce`s network, when I was actually getting a lot of my training from the Barra camp. I decided to make the jump and I didn`t cut the association altogether and to this day still remain good friends with Royce and he still come to my school and he`s even been to Roger`s club, they`re good friends and there`s no animosity.

I see that Barra are now putting stripes on the belts; when did this occur?

In the belt syllabus there`s only four belts and there`s a long time between each belt and sometimes the disillusionment can come when you`re unaware how far you are from the next belt and what you need to do to get to the next step, but if you have a guide that tells you roughly where you are, it makes a difference to how you train and also to your commitment in class. I think in Brazil, they guys don`t really care that much about the belts but in the Western world we want to see progress and all that and want to gauge other people in the class and it`s important for the instructor to know where the students are at and helps keep an eye on the guys and know where they are at as well.

How did you get involved with Andy Smith?

Andy was a friend of mine from another style of jiu jitsu and he heard I was coming back from the US and opening a school and he came over and started training with me and when found out I was to open a school, he asked me if I`d like to share a property as he`d always wanted to open a martial arts store and train on the side and we came to an agreement that I`d do the teaching and he`d do the selling and we`ve been together about three and a half years, it`s not always been plain sailing I can tell you (laughs).

Quick comments on SENI `04?

I`ve got to be honest, we`re going to be even better, have more people fighting, there`s a few things I would like to change, but the response I had was awesome and was also let down at the last minute with some heavy duty scales, which would have settled a lot of arguments on the day, so that`s my must for next year. I did have the official score cards but the guy let me down at the last minute, which I wasn`t happy about, but next year I will have them. Other than that, all the helpers were great, the referees, the judges, the score markers all deserve a pat on the back, these guys did it voluntary and had they not been there, the event could not have gone ahead.

What`s the future hold for GBUK?

Organisation wise, we`re in a good position because we`re going to have better communication and organisational structures in place, which have been lacking, and we can start to build and grow from what we have now. The clubs can communicate better and get more inter clubs and National Barra competitions, which, we aim to stage this November. From this, we want to get together a competition team that can compete abroad, so it will be a selection competition as well, but only open to Barra clubs, as other associations have these comps, but there will be other events as well.

Marc, thanks for the time and best of luck with everything.

My pleasure.

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Carl Fisher