I was invited, at the last minute to an Eddie Bravo Seminar. I knew the name, “The Rubberguard”, I have classmates who are devotees, and love utilizing the “Twister”, a mean spirited move. They have seen every youtube video, bought every DVD, read every book and article. I thought it could be educational, fun to watch, and participate in. So I signed up.
I was taken by surprise when I walked into my school Taurus MMA Long Island to see that it was filled with about 50 extra people jumping out of their skin. I overheard grown men giggling and telling each other how excited they were, and they hoped that Eddie would pick them for the great honor of being twisted into a pretzel until they tapped. In walked an unassuming guy with a ready smile and a mop of black hair. He then proceeded in a laid back California cadence to drop some serious knowledge. During four hours of continuous training, drilling and teaching, he never looked annoyed or bored. A true professional Just excited to be there sharing what he knew. I suddenly understood the fellas desire to perform well for him, and win his approval. I of course, went spastic and did almost everything backwards when he was looking. He patiently smiled corrected my mistakes, and didn’t once ask me to leave. At the conclusion of the seminar Eddie stands for photos and autographs with attendees for a very long time. I was at the end and he was as warm to me as to the guy who knocked everyone out of the way to be first. (Seriously dude chill, you know who you are.) I asked if He would be amenable to doing an interview. He gave me his contact info and four days later we were on the phone.
At 10th Planet Jiu jitsu out of the Legends gym in Hollywood California there can be up to four women in a class. There are almost a dozen affiliate schools around the world. He says the most women he has seen are from the Canadian schools. I asked how to get more women on the mats here and he said, “this is a sport made for women, it certainly makes more sense than taking kickboxing, as far as self-defense .” Self defense, a way to get women in the gym? I was a little discouraged, I think of women in combat sports as athletes same as men. Eddie went on to say the magic words “Then women can get addicted to BJJ” and that there are some women coming out of his system fighting and winning. Meegan Thomas from the Springfield, MO 10th Planet school boasts an amateur record of 2-0. Jennifer Weintz purple belt from the 10th planet system has spent time playing BJJ in several countries including its birthplace Brazil. Eddies old school love and respect of the art in martial arts, is surprising from someone who is considered so controversial in the sport. For his lead in morphing it from traditional Bjj to a no Gi game. In the process creating a business model envied for its success. His weekends for the foreseeable future are going to be spent travelling, teaching packed seminars, over flowing with students and devotees passionate about his system and its value as a part of a fight game plan, and self defense. A future website that will have live feeds, 100’s of new videos, Q&A and possible closed circuit video into classes. The Yale University of online BJJ schools. A tournament is in the works with different point valuation more in keeping with his system.
We discussed music his other great passion, specifically his label The Twister Records. He currently represents four bands and has an active role in all. Eddie is an accomplished musician and song writer on his own right. Musically his bands run the gamut from Hip-hop to Rock, and Pop/dance music. You can almost hear his eyes twinkle when he talks about a time when he will play out more and travel for seminars less. I think my sharp exhalation provoked him to clarify that He will never give up learning, transforming and teaching. That you can serve two masters. I believe him.
Finally I asked how he felt about women fighting professionally on the cards at the big shows, Eddie is all for it. When recently fighters haven’t made weight, a serious lack of professionalism (my opinion, not his), he was very generous in saying that he understands how there are issues women face that men don’t and perhaps they should have a better mastery of their calendars. He’s funny.