2010 has been the year for newly promoted 3rd Generation Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Fadi Khouri. With some outstanding showings at both local and national tournaments culminating to his 1st place, no points scored against him, finish at the US Open in October. We caught up with Fadi to get his take on training and his future plans.
You have a background in both Judo and BJJ. How do you feel the two arts complement each other?
This is an interesting question and the generic answer would be, Judo is the missing piece of the puzzle since it’s the “Throwing” part of the game……While that is true, the actual take downs under a BJJ setting can get a bit hairy if you rely purely on Judo. In a Jiu Jitsu tournament if you go in for a big throw and Miss, you can easily get penalized for missing (I have missed a few throws and my opponent was awarded the take down for doing nothing except falling on me). I rely heavily on foot sweeps to avoid exposing myself…..
From my point of view, the true value of Judo comes in from the balance and aggressive grip fighting that you learn from playing Judo! I hear it all the time “I competed against a wrestler and he had great BASE”. The same theory applies to Judoka’s, they have great base that will help tremendously when they are playing on top, the trick is to mold it with the BJJ style so they flow together well.
Do you view BJJ more as a sport or as a form of self-defense?
My main focus right now is Sport Jiu Jitsu, but it’s impossible to separate the sports aspect of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from the self defense aspect! I would say that 60% of the sport Jiu Jitsu techniques would not be ideal in a self defense setting, but at the same time sport jiu jitsu has a built in safety mechanism to prepare one to defend himself when needed. I would attribute three important factors developed from Sports Jiu Jitsu that will be valuble in a self defense setting.
a. Basic Tech.
Who have been some of the biggest influences on your game?
This is a more complicated question than it appears . The first response is always my instructor, I started my training at Modern Combat Academy in PA (Which since then has developed into its own association 3rd Generation Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) under the tutelage of Rosendo Diaz. His style of BJJ is a very technical one and even though I was a big guy I learned to focus on the technical part of BJJ vs. becoming a power player. The second response to this question is my training partners…..a player is only as good as his training partners decide to push him! I was fortunate enough to have very motivated training partners in the gym with me pushing me over the years and I would say that it’s a huge factor in influencing the way your BJJ is developed (I’d like to mention William Alford, David Harris, Alex Gotay, Evert Guetterez and Jeff Messina ).
You’ve competed in both small local tournaments and large scale such as the Pan Ams and the Worlds. Can you tell us the differences in how you prepare for these types of events?
For small tournaments I don’t really prepare, I just enter them as they come along for experience. Big tournaments are totally different though, there are a lot of factors that come into play when I start my preparation. I train 2 x a day , 5 x a week for 8 to 10 weeks prior to the tournament date. Here is a sample of my training schedule for the US Open (which is the same for all other major tournaments)
i. Sat: BJJ in the AM and Conditioning in the PM
ii. Sun: BJJ in the AM and Conditions in the PM
iii. Mon: Rest
iv. Tues: Weight training in the AM and Judo in the PM
v. Wed: Conditioning in the AM and BJJ in the PM
vi. Thur: Weight training in the AM Judo in the PM.
You teach in Houston at Bam Bam’s Martial Arts, tell us a little bit about the academy.
BamBam is a great training facility located in the West U area inside the loop in Houston. It’s a full training facility that provides its students with a full BJJ, MT, Boxing and MMA program. (the BJJ program has 3 black belts from 3 different lineages so come in and pick your style ) we are located at 4007 Bellaire blvd. Houston TX.
Any future plans for opening your own academy?
Not sure yet …..I think I have a few things to learn first before I can venture into that world LOL! But everything is possible, I am just happy that I can contribute back to the sport now, and would love to have an academy one day, when though I am not sure.
Tell us what your plans are for the upcoming competition season in 2011.
In 2011 I am hoping to do 4 to 5 big tournaments, my plan is to start in the Masters division first and test the waters! Gaining some experience as a black belt will be crucial for me, as it is shark infested waters…..I will probably start at the Pan American games in March and hope to compete at the Nationals, US OPEN and hopefully the Rio Masters tournament in Brazil.