This was actually a really interesting read, thanks
I finally have a free moment, and since HUNTER's relationship with his laptop has (literally) degenerated into this:
YouTube- TV commercial film for American Tourister Luggage 1970
I am going to continue posting the material I have. Unless he starts posting from the library, it will be a while before we hear from him again.
Below the line = Arce's voice again
After the Marine Corps I returned to LA and began driving out to Gracie Torrance with my Iranian wrestler friends from school. This was a long haul, and when one of them suggested checking out Avi Rubins new gym (BHJJ) in 1994, we all went down and signed up. Back then BHJJ was $100/mo for unlimitted training. The staff at the time consisted of several guys teaching either alone, or with the assistants listed:
Oleg Taktarov (with Andreh ANderson)
Rob Kaman (occasionally with Peter Aerts)
Marco Ruas (with Pedro RIzzo and occasionally Joe Morrera and/or Chris Brennan)
and BJJ specific instruction by (current owner) Marcus Vinicius.
Others also there frequently to train (not teach) were Tyoshi Kosaka, Frank Shamrock, Henderson, Marrio Sperry, VItor Belfort, Matsui, Genki Sudo, Takada and Sakuraba. It was a unique place, and had clear advantages over Torrance Academy besides location.
We paid our $100 and signed up and got on the mat. This was a free rolling time slot, and we got to go at it with pretty much everyone. At the end of the day Avi approached me and offered me free membership if I would be an official sparring partner for the guys on staff training for fights. This became my primary gym for the next 3 years, and I got to roll with, learn from, teach and observe many of the top guys in the sport on a dialy basis.
(Interviewers note: There are many interesting stories about this mismatched group of Alpha males beating the crap out of eachother on a daily basis, including one hilarious one involving Hunter, Ruas, Taktarov, a bottle of Vodka, and a giant turd. I will let him choose which ones to tell when he returns)
Pecking orders were quickly established and were IMO as follows:
For pure Vale Tudo/NHB Ruas was king. Nobody wanted to spar him as he was known for turning up the heat to 11 if he started to come up short. He had no problem turning an MMA sparring session into full Brazillian Vale Tudo if he needed to. Rob Kaman refused to spar MT with him because Marco would do the same thing, and Rob was not a Vale Tudo guy.
For straight Muaythai, the pecking order was probably
above Marco and Bas, who stopped sparring each other after full fights broke out twice.
Oleg and Marco would not spar or even roll together due to their competition history.
Kerr did spar standup, and would get brutally owned by everyone (except Oleg of course)
If you ever wondered when and where the transition from NHB to modern MMA happened, it was in these years and at this club.
I heard rumors of these stories I'm glad they've been confirmed.
Missing posts moved here: Extraneous all stars - No BS MMA and Martial Arts
THunter, you mentioned seeing the shift from NHB to MMA, when did you notice the transition from the NHB/Vale Tudo style to modern MMA? Who were the first people you saw who displayed that difference and how so? Was it Frank Shamrock or was there someone else that was an early adopter of this methodology? Thanks for filling us in on all this.
More questions for THunter:
- How did the early players react to the gradual introduction of various rulesets which imposed more restrictions legal submissions/strikes?
- Was there a lot of opposition to the rules? Or were the rules generally accepted as a way to help the sport go more mainstream?
After the "goat intercourse" of a "superfight" between Gracie and Shamrock in UFC 5, there was no doubt things had to be changed. The Gracies saw the writing on the wall and sold the company at that point.
That, and the bad press the event was getting is clearly what began the move from NHB to MMA.