Laura D’Auguste Interview

Laura D'AugusteOn June 5th, 2003, I sat down to interview Laura D’Auguste. She is a laid-back, very nice woman known for her aggressiveness in the ring. She loves the sport of MMA but does not follow the sport. Other than being a busy mother to a very cute little girl, she holds a full time job as a registered nurse that has her working 12 hour shifts at the number one ranked hospital in the country. She owns a 2-0 MMA record. Who will she fight? Anyone! Lets find out more…

On June 5th, 2003, I sat down to interview Laura D’Auguste. She is a laid-back, very nice woman known for her aggressiveness in the ring. She loves the sport of MMA but does not follow the sport. Other than being a busy mother to a very cute little girl, she holds a full time job as a registered nurse that has her working 12 hour shifts at the number one ranked hospital in the country. She owns a 2-0 MMA record. Who will she fight? Anyone! Lets find out more…

BH: Where were you born and raised?
LD: I was born in Brooklyn. Raised in Long Island. Moved back to Brooklyn and then moved back to Long Island where I am now.

BH: How old are you? (She looks about 23)
LD: 32

BH: Your height and weight?
LD: I’m 5’5″ and I weigh between 130 and 135. I fight at 135…even if I weigh 130. When I start to train, my weight drops even though I try to gain weight. That’s why I am usually around 130. I just burn everything off.

BH: Who is your trainer?
LD: I train under Sensei Peter Guzman, Shihan Master Schulman (Daniel “Tiger” Schulman) and I train under Shihan (Ron) Schulman.

BH: Who is your manager?
LD: Shihan Master Schulman

BH: And obviously you fight out of Tiger Schulman Karate…
LD: Yes.

BH: What inspired you to take up Martial Arts and then to take it to the next level of MMA?
LD: I went with my nephew to watch him do Karate, doing some sparring. And I said I want to do this. So I took actually a Woman’s Safety Class and from there I just continued. And as I progressed I watched different fights and I started to do sparring. No grappling because here, at one time, you didn’t grapple until you are like a green or brown belt in stand up. Now you can come into the school and they start you from the beginning. And I saw a bare knuckle tournament, before you had to put on gloves, and I was like, “I am going to do that!”. And there were no women that did it. Eventually I told my instructor that when I am ready I would like to do that…

BH: Bare knuckles?
LD: Bare knuckles. But now they put gloves on. What’s the difference? You are going to get hit anyway.

BH: What age did you begin Martial Arts at Tiger Schulman?
LD: 25

BH: You have done NAGA and Grappling Quest. Are you going to do more of those tournaments?
LD: Yeah.

BH: And you have no idea of your record?
LD: No. Sometimes I come in first, sometimes in second and other times in third.

BH: They teach grappling, ground fighting, here at Tiger Schulman’s. Is it Tiger Schulman’s own technique?
LD: His own style. Yes. It is a hybrid style. Similar to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. We have kickboxing, grappling and karate. But when we start to learn, we start standing up. You have to learn how to fight standing up and then you get to the ground. Because really, you don’t want to go to the ground as a woman if someone attacks you. The style is more self-defense for the street. I want to be able to hit someone and get out of there if I am in that situation. I think it is better to first learn how to fight standing. But this style also teaches you that if you are on the ground, how to fight.

BH: While you were grappling in tournaments, obviously you had the two matches against Shannon Logan. Can you tell me about the one you lost and the one you won?
LD: The one I lost I think she got me in an armbar. And I didn’t even know what was happening. So I stood up, and of course it made it worse. She just rolled over. I should have never gotten myself in that position. It is not a good place to be. But she got me, and it will never happen again. So I have to thank her for teaching me. She is very skilled. The people I was working with at the time, never caught me in the hold, so I never had it happen to me before. When I grappled her the second time, I did not know it was her until after the match was over and realized it was the same person who got me. And I really did not know who Shannon Logan was. I was not into the circuit of who the grapplers are. I just went there to get more experience and practice and see what I can do and can’t do.

BH: So how did you win?
LD: I won by, what’s it called…advantage points.

BH: So after grappling against her to a draw, did you purposefully set the rubber match up to be your first MMA fight?
LD: No. I did not know I was going to fight her until they asked if I wanted to fight Shannon Logan…I said OK! I mean, I believe when you go into the ring you bow in or touch hands, or…I don’t really shake hands, I nod. Thats how I say “hello.” I used to shake hands with people but they would pull their hands away. So I don’t shake hands anymore, I nod. We are used to bowing. When you go in, it is what you can do. When you get out, its over. I don’t hold grudges. If someone beats you, they beat you.

BH: You are a true sportsperson.
LD: Well thats what you gotta do.

BH: So going into the fight, you were thinking, on the ground we were basically even. I would assume that you knew that she was basically jiu jitsu trained and you were more of a stand up fighter…
LD: What happened was, people told me she faught in Japan, she trained in stand up, Moon Thai so I thought it would be a lot of knee kicks and things like that. So I was practicing for knee kicks. But I knew she was very good on the ground. So I was prepared for stand up and ground.

BH: Were you confident going into the fight?
LD: When I go in, it does not make a difference if I win or lose. I go in and try what I trained to do. And, hey, you are fighting a person, not God. So whatever happens they can not destroy you. You can always say, I had enough. And my instructor trained me for her. He told me she would try to take me down and thats exactly what happened. It was like choreographed. Exactly how she did it was exactly how it happened in class. In class he would try to take me down, take me down, take me down… and I would work on sprawling. It was exactly how it happened. I was like, WOW!

BH: After the Shannon Logan fight, what did you know you had to work on?
LD: I thought I had to improve my standup. I thought I should have knocked her out. Because I was looking at the tape and her head was back and I didn’t hit her with any uppercuts. Even with Del Greer, I watched the tape and said…where was the uppercut?

BH: Then you went on to fight Del Greer. What were you expecting in this fight?
LD: I knew she was a really good standup fighter. Better standup fighter than on the ground. I never met her before, but one of the girls told me who she was when I was at a grappling tournament.

BH: Did you know she was bigger than you?
LD: Yes, I knew she was bigger than me. They told me to gain weight. I tried but couldn’t. I would eat like hamburger and french fries. But when you train it would just come off.

BH: So she weighed in at 140…
LD: 142

BH: And what did you weigh in at?
LD: 132

BH: But you were still ready to go? The weight didn’t matter…
LD: Didn’t matter. Well, I saw her down ion the bathroom and she told me she doesn’t think she can make weight. And I asked her how much she weighed. She told me and I told her doesn’t make a difference because I am still going to fight you. My instructor still wanted to see if she made weight. I told him there was no way she was going to make weight. He said I dont have to fight her if she doesn’t make weight. I siad, what do you maen I dont have to fight her? I just trained for this fight. Win or lose, I wanted to fight her.

BH: I read it was the best fight of the night!
LD: Thats because we are females!

BH: But it was a tough fight!
LD: She was a tough girl! When we first started fighting, she hit me…I was not even near her yet! She had such a long reach. I was like “How the hell did she do that?” That threw me off a little bit the whole first round.

BH: So you were hell-bent on fighting, then you go tin the ring and she surprised you with her size, strength and reach?
LD: I really had to feel her out a little bit. Its a little strange. Once you hit me, I don’t care what happens after that. But it was funny, before I fought her my instructor told me no one will hit you as hard as I do and when she hit me, I was like, You freakin liar! What were you talking about! That hurt!

BH: And you were finally able to take her down in the third round…
LD: I got her down a couple of times. Actually I got her down and I went to the side and I did not realize you could not knee kick. They said we could knee kick and I did not know once you were down we could not knee kick to any part of the body. But I knee kicked her and hit her in the head. And they stood us up and took a point away from me.

BH: So you did not know about the rule?
LD: No, they said you can’t kick the fighter when she is on the ground. But you could knee kick on the ground, but I did not understand you could not knee kick to the head. And I trained knee kicking and knee kicking to the head.

BH: Good that you brought it up, because someone in the Fightergirls forum described it as “cheap.”
LD: She kicked me once when I was on the ground. They didn’t say anything about that. (Laughing)

BH: And you don’t touch gloves, you just give a nod. That’s enough for you, right?
LD: Yeah. And I actually heard people saying it is rude not to touch gloves, but I never touch gloves for the reason I told you about before at the 4 NAGA tournaments. At the Tiger Schulman’s tournaments we bow, and I not going to do that!

BH: So you are 2-0 in MMA. What’s next?
LD: My next fight. Whoever it is.

BH: Whoever?
LD: Yeah.

BH: At 135?
LD: At 135. I just cant gain weight to fight bigger girls. I don’t believe in weight lifting. I think it makes you stronger but it tightens your body up and you aren’t as flexible, especially for grappling. I think it slows you down. I could get bigger but I would have to lift weights and I wont do that.

BH: Do you do any strength training?
LD: I bag train, I run. Some pushups. I just do martial arts. If you want to get good at grappling, you have to grapple. You want to get strong at stand up, you gotta do it. And cardiovascular wise, I don’t get tired.

BH: would you go down and fight at 125?
LD: No. I would be anorexic at 125.

BH: Would you ever go to Japan and fight?
LD: Yeah!

BH: Any female fighter you would not want to fight for any reason?
LD: NO. I don’t know anything about other female fighters. It does not make a difference. When I go into a fight, I know their skilled, but I don’t hold anyone above me or below me. I just see them as a person and I just want to do my best.

BH: And you leave it up to your trainers to get the fight and then find out the tendencies of the fighter and train for it.
LD: That’s right. They are the ones that get me ready. My job is to do what they tell me to do.

BH: So you don’t know any females fighters out there?
LD: No.

BH: So my next question is totally a moot point…who do you think are the 3 best female fighters.
LD: Right, I don’t know who they are.

BH: How do you feel about women fighting in the UFC?
LD: I think it would be great! You have to go into the ring to test yourself and the art you train in. I found that my style works. I beat a girl who is very good at standup and I beat a girl who is very good on the ground. So I feel like my style is well rounded. It is a good combination of standup and ground.

BH: You don’t know any of the female fighters, do you know any of the male fighters?
LD: No.

BH: So you just don’t follow the sport, you just participate in it.
LD: That’s right.

BH: You are a nurse? Full time?
LD: Yes, at the number one rated hospital in the country.

BH: Where in the hospital do you work?
LD: I am a cardiac nurse. Critical care.

BH: So you went to nursing school? While you trained?
LD: Yes. It was hard. And I am a Mom!

BH: You are a Mom! Does she train?
LD: Yes, at Tiger Schulman. She is 10 years old. Matter of fact she was at my last fight (the Del Greer fight). She told me to try my best!

BH: So you are way to busy to be following this sport…
LD: Yeah.

BH: In the sport, what do you want to accomplish?
LD: I really want to come in first place in the Men’s Advanced Division. But they are in reality too strong. But I am working on it. To make them submit. Make them go tap, tap, tap!

BH: And in MMA?
LD: In MMA, I will stick to the women. I don’t think any man is going to want to punch a woman in the face. And he shouldn’t want to. Even if it is in the ring.

BH: So you would want to take on all 135 pound female fighters out there?
LD: Whoever wants to fight, just call up Master Tiger Schulman. Or have their manager call and set it up. I am looking for a fight for the tournament that is coming up, but did not find anyone. I want to fight in July at the next Ring of Combat 4. And we are looking.

BH: Do you have a boyfriend?
LD: No. I don’t have time for a boyfriend.

BH: Outside the sport, what do you want to accomplish.
LD: I want to go into the intensive care unit. And I am thinking of taking a class in the coming months, Accelerated Life Support Systems to get there. It is intense. It takes a lot of critical thinking. And MMA and grappling helps because you have to think throughout the match to quickly react to your opponent.

BH: Favorite music?
LD: Deep house.

BH: (Showing how hip I am) Deep house? I have never heard of them…
LD: (Rolling her eyes) Sigh*

BH: Oh, deep house, as in, house music…got it.

BH: Favorite food?
LD: Bagels.

BH: With or without cream cheese?
LD: I like it with tuna salad.

BH: Favorite color?
LD: Black

BH: What other sports do you like?
LD: I like to run. I like to swim. I used to play soccer. And I was a dancer. I did ballet and jazz dance. I gave that up for martial arts.

BH: Does that help you balance and coordination?
LD: Yes.

BH: Last question: When are you going to go online and put your profile on fightergirls.net?
LD: When am I going to do that? Right away.

BH: Thank you Laura for your time!

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