TOKYO, April 4, 2006 -- Since its inception, K-1's 70kg (154lbs) World Max weight class has garnered a tremendous swell of fan interest both in Japan and internationally. As World Max enters its fifth thrilling year, each of the four Champions remain serious threats to repeat, but to do so they must get by a new and hungry crop of challengers.
Last week, Royce Gracie appeared live on Sports Corner, a nationally-syndicated radio show hosted by Fred Wallin. Gracie took time out from training for his May 27 fight with Matt Hughes. His last fight -- a 20-minute epic with Hideo Tokoro at K-1 Dynamite! -- will be televised on iN Demand Pay-Per-View on Friday, April 7.
The fierce fighter spoke about the evolution of MMA styles over the last decade. Not just the fighting styles, said Gracie, but fighters have a background and so that helps, whether its karate or judo or Gracie jiu-jitsu. Its been a big help for the martial arts community.
Times have certainly changed, he said. When MMA first started in the United States, we proved that Grace Jijutsu style was the best style, the most complete one, he said. These guys were double my size, double my weight and back then, ten years ago when we first started in America, it was a tournament, an eight man tournament, no gloves, no time limit, no rules, everything goes. So I proved myself that my styles the best.
Athletics have taken over the brute force aspect of the sport. Today its a little different, its the athlete whos better prepared, because everybody by now has learned Gracie jiu-jitsu. You see grapplers knocking people out, boxers -- everybodys cross training -- so you see stand-up guys choking people out.
Though he is 39 years old, Gracie has no plans to retire any time soon. Im just getting ready for a marathon, he said. Actually, the way Gracie jiu-jitsu is, its a self defense art, so you dont need to be young or fast, you just got to know what youre doing and use leveraging.
When hes not fighting, Gracie stays in shape in part by conducting seminars for police departments, Army units, and womens groups. On the road six months every year, his seminars average about 50 people every session.
He told Wallin that his style has become popular with womens groups. If somebodys going to attack a woman, youre not going to punch or kick her, you are going to try to grab her, youre going to start up the whole aggression, start with a hug, or someones trying to get his hands on her, get your arms around her, he said. Youre not throwing punches or trying box with her right off the bat. With this Gracie self-defense style, it shows how you can escape from any situation.
K-1 Dynamite! will air April 7, 2006 at 9 p.m. To order, contact your local cable company.