An Interview with Eddie Bravo ’10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu’
By Justin Bolduc
PunchDrunkGamer’s Justin Bolduc had a chance to sit down with grappling sensation Eddie Bravo to talk about his fight with Royler Gracie, 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, and Mastering the Twister.
PDG: First of all, your 10th Planet brand of jiu-jitsu is beginning to expand quite a bit. Do you want to talk about that at all as far as other schools picking it up?
Eddie: It’s spreading. I have maybe four or five affiliates right now, but I’m hoping to get fifty to one-hundred – do it Gracie style [laughs]! Those guys have hundreds of affiliates, and I want to get into some of that. People seem to be interested in that and want to be associated with 10th Planet and they want to be ranked in the 10th Planet system. It is about expanding and having fun.
PDG: Looking back five years when you faced Royler Gracie in ADCC, what was it like trying to use the techniques you generally used through your jiu-jitsu career against a standard Gracie jiu-jitsu guy?
Eddie: Back then I was a brown belt when I went against Royler, and I had a lot of good stuff – a lot of go-to moves. The triangle was one of them. I was just putting the rubber guard together back then – it is way different now, way more advanced and crazy then ever before, and way more polished and dangerous. I look at that fight and I’m like wow, I was barely putting everything together. There is so much more to my system now. It was pretty crazy – like facing off when he was on one end of the mat and I was on the other, it was very strange. He was an idol of mine, I love that guy. It is weird that since that match that a rivalry [with the Gracies] has started, you know [laughs]? I used to worship those guys. Now they look at what I am doing as anti-jiu-jitsu, when in fact what I’m doing and have done is pro-jiu-jitsu. I am trying to get jiu-jitsu back on the map, and the way to do it is to put together the best no-gi system. That is the only way to put jiu-jitsu back on the maps in the MMA circles. I am doing this for jiu-jitsu, yet I became known as a traitor when nothing could be further from the truth. The Brazilians should be helping me! Let’s make jiu-jitsu as strong as possible without a gi. I was like first we have to get rid of the gi – I didn’t think saying that would be that big of a deal but it has caused so much trouble. It is very strange.
PDG: Yeah, that’s very odd. I mean I’ve heard you say that the rubber guard and twister side control and stuff isn’t always going to work – you need the basics too. It’s not like you’ve said throw out the basics and just jump into your system.
Eddie: Yeah. The basics are very important.
PDG: The expansions you’ve added are like when they originally “created” Gracie jiu-jitsu by expanding off of what they were learning, and developed a solid system.
Eddie: Now jiu-jitsu is turning into one of the traditional martial arts that they used to make fun of.
PDG: You had some success with Mastering the Twister – the book, and with Mastering the Rubber Guard as both a DVD and a book; what can you say about Mastering the Twister as a DVD?
Eddie: Oh yeah, that is going to come eventually. I haven’t started to work on it, but it is coming out. I just wanted to take a break. It took so long to put that Mastering the Rubber Guard video together – it took forever. I just wanted to take a break and not have any deadlines for at least six months. But I’m thinking about it again, it’s going to happen. I just have to get into work mode, but right now I’m not there as far as putting out some more jiu-jitsu products. I’m fine there for a while, I’d just like to focus on my music and build on the affiliates.
PDG: When you do it, will it be along the same format as Mastering the Rubber Guard, or more light-hearted like The Twister?
Eddie: It will be in the same vein as Mastering the Rubber Guard. Everything that is in the book and the latest tweaks and versions will be there. It will be a little more advanced than the book – things change all the time. They are always getting better. It is going to have all the technique, and of course there are going to be music videos and random shit that I have filmed over the years. I have so much footage man – I couldn’t fit it all in Mastering the Rubber Guard because it’s all just a ton of crazy footage. I filmed a lot of stuff two weeks before I went to Abu-Dhabi like a mini-documentary, but I never released it. Everyone thought I was milking the Royler win and all that kind of stuff – so I didn’t want to put out a documentary [laughs]. But it is pretty interesting, showing the way I trained and flying out to Brazil with [Joe Rogan]. There is a ton of crazy stuff, like cutting weight and the crazy random stuff in Brazil on the way back. I am going to put that into the next twister DVD too though, so it will be cool stuff.
PDG: Yeah, I was curious because The Twister was a very funny video, on top of being able to watch matches with commentary – I don’t know why nobody ever adds commentary to videos! It was a very funny video though and I’m wondering if you want to put out anymore comedy stuff as far as videos go?
Eddie: I don’t know. All of the stuff in between [footage of matches], like the parody of Cribs, was not supposed to be [on the DVD]. All I wanted was one of my students – because I’m a retard when it comes to loading video into a computer and then turning it into a DVD and making copies. But in every school there are two or three computer wizards, and I had mine and asked him if he could take all my matches that I’ve recorded over the years and make copies so I could start selling them at seminars – that was the original plan. He said he would do it, and then I had an idea – I thought every time I show one of these fights to friends I feel like I have to set it up and give the back-story. I noticed that when I do that it makes it more interesting to watch, so I decided to do some commentary for the back-story. When we did it we thought about recording it somewhere cool. A buddy of mine had a giant Hollywood hills house, so we did the commentary there, relaxing. When we did that we brought a video camera and were fucking around, we got stoned. We sat down to record just audio, then they kept the video going and I was walking around doing the Cribs thing not thinking it was going to be on the DVD. That was never the intention; that was just fucking around. A week later the guy goes “hey man, I decided to put that Cribs stuff in between every one of the matches.” I was like “no, no, no, no! No way, don’t put that shit in there, don’t embarrass me!” He says it’s pretty funny and I’m like no way – “let me see it.” I didn’t want to put something on my DVD that I was going to regret and make me look dumb. I didn’t need any comic relief in there, but then he let a couple people watch it and they called me up and they thought it was funny ass shit. I didn’t want it in there, but other people did so we put it in and people seemed to enjoy it so it wasn’t a mistake after all – but it could have been!
PDG: Of course you are really into your music and I want to give you a chance to talk about that; what are you up to as far as music goes right now?
Eddie: I brought an engineer on board now – I was going to release the soundtrack to Mastering the Rubber Guard a few months ago but decided to hold off and work on the production a bit and make it beautiful. It is hard to keep up with the latest technology and know how to use it, so I’ve brought an engineer on board, and he’s just a wizard with all of that stuff. Now the production is just insane, so I’m taking my time and working on a lot of new stuff. There is a lot of new Compella and the Twister as well. I’m just taking my time, making sure everything is radio ready and club ready. Everything is coming.
PDG: Is it something you want to take on the road, or just do the studio thing?
Eddie: I’m not going to struggle on the road. I don’t need to do that. I’m just going to keep producing movies and play live when there is a demand for it. I’m going to burst into the mainstream first and then tour later. I did the whole pay-to-play thing. You have to call your friends and convince them to come down, and sell tickets. You could be on a major label and on the road struggling, broke – I’m not doing that. I’m lucky enough that I have money coming in from jiu-jitsu and jiu-jitsu is paying for everything. It is making it so that I can do everything at my pace and do what I want – I’m the boss. I have my jiu-jitsu audience and a lot of them seem to think my music is pretty damn good, so I will do my own thing until something pops on a soundtrack. That is my main focus – do my music at my pace. I don’t want to have to answer to anyone – unless there is big money involved [laughs]. Compella and the Twister is going to put together a live act in the next six weeks. The Viper Room has new ownership, and the guys booking bands are huge fans. They want us to play and it won’t be pay-to-play, so we will probably be playing there in two months. We have to produce the live set first because it is hip-hop, so a lot of stuff will be running through the boards. We’re not going to have a full live band.
PDG: Back to jiu-jitsu, a lot of people see your system as a major evolution of the style; what do you think is next for it?
Eddie: Everything is so small and incremental. It is so hard to predict the future.
PDG: Do you think we are going to start seeing more twisters in MMA?
Eddie: Yeah, they are coming. People just have to learn how to do it [laughs]. It is coming though. The rubber guard is coming, the twister is coming, d’arce chokes….the level of no-gi jiu-jitsu has been pretty bad over the last few years, but it is getting better at a rapid pace now, so I think we will start seeing some serious high-tech jiu-jitsu in MMA on a consistent basis.
PDG: Why didn’t you ever jump into MMA?
Eddie: I never wanted to do MMA. MMA was something I was preparing for just in case it was between going back to working construction or doing MMA. If I was at a point where I needed money I would have done MMA, but I didn’t want to – music was my passion. That is where I want to make it. I have no desire to make it as a UFC champion. I want to make huge, gigantic amounts of money – you can only make so much money being a lightweight contender. It is a dead-end there. And I don’t want to work out all day – I like doing jiu-jitsu once a day and I’m good. I don’t want to work out all day – that seems like torture. Those guys work out like Olympians. That is not me at all. I just like choking people out and I’m fascinated with jiu-jitsu. I love watching MMA, but MMA would suck if there was no jiu-jitsu. I was going to fight before my match with Royler – I was planning on it. I was working and hated it and wanted to quit – be my own boss. I was looking into going to Shooto. Luckily though I tapped out Royler, then opened my own jiu-jitsu school and I’ve made enough money doing that. I make more than I would fighting in a show making $2,000 to show and $2,000 to win – how much can you make off that? So I opened a school and was able to focus on my music. I got lucky – [tapping out Royler] was huge [laughs].
PDG: Do you feel like back then before everyone was a fine-tuned machine athletically that your unorthodox style would have given you success in MMA?
Eddie: I don’t know. If I did MMA, I would be training my ass off and would take it seriously. I think I would do alright. I know my jiu-jitsu is great, but who knows if I could take the fight to the ground? Maybe I would get knocked out [laughs], who knows? My wrestling sucks and my striking sucks so I could probably get crushed. If the fight hit the ground every time though I know I’d be alright.
PDG: Obviously you’re aware of Marcelo Garcia, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, and Roger Gracie; what do you think of their transitions into mixed martial arts?
Eddie: I think they will be fine. I think they will be known as some of the greats in MMA. The reason that they are really good in jiu-jitsu is they figured out how to get to the tap there, and they will figure out how to get there in MMA too. They also have done very good in Abu-Dhabi – without the gi. They have found a way to become champion with the gi, without the gi, and I think they will figure it out with MMA as well. There are guys who are champions with the gi, but they aren’t without it and they are the ones who probably won’t figure out how to be champions in MMA.
PDG: I’ve heard that the guy Marcelo recently fought (Dae Won Kim) was affiliated with 10th Planet?
Eddie: Yes, he actually was. [Kim] took the fight on two weeks notice. I didn’t know who he was – the only names I know are like Choi and Dong-Sik Yoon. It is very hard to keep track of names. But they are Team Tackle, and they do 10th Planet jiu-jitsu there. They called me up when they took the fight and asked what training strategy they should use. I’m like “have a guy on on your back and do rear naked choke defense all day. Master the rear naked choke defense.” Honestly, I really didn’t think he would win – I thought “wow, Marcelo is just going to get this guy.” Marcelo is like the greatest grappler ever, and [Kim] took the fight on two weeks notice. He was able to survive though and cut Marcelo. It was a very big win for him.
PDG: Do you think Marcelo will have a hard time getting a fair-shake with developing his game in MMA because of the status of his name?
Eddie: Yeah, that is a problem. I don’t even want to talk about it, but in his second fight K-1 wanted him to fight some really good fighter. I don’t know what they are going to do now. He wants to do it for the money though. If he wanted to take his time and develop, he should just not worry about the money and fight in low-level shows, under the radar for next to nothing just to get his feet wet. He has such a huge name in the jiu-jitsu world that he could demand some serious money – but when you demand serious money they are going to throw some animals at you. He is in a very fickle position.
PDG: You could see it with Brock Lesnar, although he’s not known for his combat ability; he did have an impressive wrestling career in college. K-1 threw someone out there for him, but the UFC wasn’t really giving him an easy guy for the amount of money they were paying him.
Eddie: Exactly. Very similar situations.
PDG: Another guy I wanted to ask about who recently caught the attention of a lot of people – you obviously saw the fight between Ivan Salaverry and Rousimar Palhares; what do you think of Rousimar?
Eddie: He looks pretty awesome. His jiu-jitsu looks unbelievable, and Ivan is very good on the ground. [Rousimar] looked so strong, and his technique is so sharp and he has good takedowns. He is going to be a definite force. He has really good jiu-jitsu and takedowns – and he has really good leg locks too. He gets leg locks in a lot of his fights. He has some serious game – he’s going to be a star.
PDG: Wrapping things up, is there anything else you’d like to say?
Eddie: It’s all good, just check my website www.TheTwister.tv, and that’s it.
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