KP - Tell us a little bit about yourself? Your background etc
SK - I was first introduced to the grappling arts by the way of Judo at age 14 thanks to my Mum (every time I see a young boy come thru the gym door with his Mum I always think what a great thing she is doing for her son).
I received my Black belt in judo just as I turned 20 having competed for NZ and winning the Oceania Judo Championships.
I trained on a semi regular basis after moving to Australia due to work commitments, but still tried to stay on the mat. There was boxing gym close by so I tried that for a few years as well, then it closed and I found practically the only BJJ School in Sydney at that time (1997) just around the corner although I had never heard of BJJ. The school was under Anthony Lange who was a blue belt at that time and a real pioneer and respected teacher of the sport in Australia.
I received my Black Belt after 6.5 years of training from Anthony Lange and Fabricio Martins (6 degree BB under Osvaldo Alves) in Brazil after winning the Brown Belt Absolute division at the International Masters Seniors.
Since then I have won the Black Belt Absolute division twice and several times my Division at the International Master Seniors in Brazil. I currently hold Black Belt 2nd degree in both Judo and BJJ. I have competed at most of the major IBJJF comps and in Japan and Australia.
I moved with my Filipino wife to the Philippines in 2004 and have since been putting up competitions from that time onwards, running my own school and working in our business. We also work with IBJJF as I am the first person to put up a recognized Federation under IBJJF (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation of the Philippines) in the ASEAN region.
KP - How did you join ADCC
SK - We where introduced to the ADCC by Kang Yong hee (Official ADCC referee) who came to the Philippines and assisted us as in a BJJ comp and took the time to train with us as well. I saw this as a way to keep growing and promoting the sport for the good of the players.
KP - What do you like best about ADCC
SK - I like the concept of the qualifying events, which really sets up a Universal World Championships.
There is a big motivation for competitors to qualify and by providing assistance to compete at the Worlds it allows many players that may not have the resources to compete to have this opportunity.
I also like the Super Fight concept, it is great to see these match ups and I feel it is good that the focus for all the competitors is to win by submission.
KP - What are the plans for ADCC Asia short and long term
SK - We are very fortunate to have this opportunity to put up the ADCC Asia –Pacific Qualifying Championships in the Philippines on November 3-4. Our plan is to continue to stage events in this country and ensure we become part of the recognized International circuit of the ADCC.
Competitions are the lifeblood of the Sport; we intend to work closely with the teams in the region. We also have to train the referees but fortunately ADCC will provide them for this event.
KP - What are the plans for the event?
SK - The ADCC Asia – Pacific Qualifiers will be held at the SM Mall of Asia, Manila, which is the Worlds Third largest Mall. We expect to have 15,000 – 20,000 spectators over the two-day event (free entry). Possibly the largest audience of any Grappling event in the world. The location is unique and SM Super Malls has been a great supporter of the sport which we very much appreciate.
We have new mats and electronic scoreboards purchased solely for this event.
Everyone in the region is happy to see this event closer to home. We are looking for Sponsors so we can offer additional prizes to the competitors. We asked ADCC and where given permission to stage a Beginners, Master, Juniors and Female comp to coincide with the Advanced Qualifying competition so more people would have the chance to be a part of this event and introduce the ADCC competition format to more competitors. Elite competitors can also bring their students and friends, both have a chance to compete at different levels and watch the event.
KP - How has the growth of Submission Grappling been in your Country and in Asia
SK - Japan and Korea have the biggest base of players in Asia, but outside of these countries the Philippines would be next. The sport here is popular and fits the culture well, most Filipinos like fighting sports i.e. boxing. Everybody here watches the UFC as it is free to air on TV and it seems like they have all have heard of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
In most of the other Asian countries expats are a big part of the sport, they help raise the level and make up a lot of the numbers. In the Philippines it is the locals who are the greatest in number and when you think that the Philippines has close to 90 million people we have a lot of potential to grow. Since we started competitions in 2005 we have offered both Gi and No Gi formats so everyone can join in. Not everyone can afford a Gi here or train in one.
KP - Who are the top grapplers that we can expect (or would like) to see in the event
SK - We have some Mundial medalists here such as Ralph Go, and some good Black belts in the region but I would expect a few unknown players who have not had the opportunity to compete in past events held in Australia to surprise everyone.
The Philippines is really well located regionally and a cheap place to visit so I am sure we will also have the top competitors from Australia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Guam, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines etc join in.
KP - How can the people contact you for the event or to be a part of ADCC Asia?
SK - Our goal is to propagate the sport of BJJ /Submission Grappling here in South East Asia especially the Philippines and provide a venue for the competitors to hone their skills so they can be competitive at the major comps.
The competitions showcase the sport and lift the standard of the players.
We are very fortunate as the coaches get along well in the region and are very supportive of our endeavors and of each other. We still have a long way to go but we can only do this by co-operation, respect and understanding.
It is also personally important to me that the local players in the Philippines have the opportunity to test themselves against overseas competitors without having to leave the country. Few are able to secure the required visa’s to the places like the US, Australia and Japan or possibly have the financial resources. This is also a problem for many other South East Asian residents they are unable to compete at the top-level competitions so we have to bring or create these events here. Many people are surprised by the standard of the competitors in the Philippines , having regular International events has played an important factor in this.
On a different topic we are also looking for 2nd hand gi’s to distribute to the poor provinces for free, we are happy to link up with anyone who can help.
In summary I encourage everyone to join the Asia – Pacific World Qualifying Competition in the Philippines sample the culture and the innate hospitality of the people, I am sure everyone will have a great time.
ADCC Asia - Pacific World Qualifying Trials.
For the first time the ADCC Asia - Pacific World Qualifying Championships will be held in Manila Philippines Sat and Sunday November 3-4, 2012.
This is the selection trials for the 2013 World ADCC Championships.
The winners of the Advanced divisions will receive free accommodation and airfare to compete at the ADCC 2013 World Championships.
Entry for the Advanced divisions competitors are restricted to the passport holders from the eligible countries listed( Asia - Pacific region , Guam residents must bring a drivers license and passport, all advanced competitors must show their passport). The Beginners, Female, Juniors and Masters divisions (over 35 years) are open to all competitors from any country. There are no passport or country of origin restrictions
To foster the sport the ADCC Asia - Pacific Championships will be held in conjunction with an ADCC Beginners event open to BJJ White and Blue belts or wrestlers with less than 36 months experience. Weight classes below