06-05-2013, 03:28 PM
BJJ Black Belt
06-05-2013, 08:41 PM
Great news! And congrats on your recent successes!
23-05-2013, 10:05 PM
BJJ Black Belt
I am going to tell my favourite story of all time.
It's a story i haven't really told in its entirety before because of those involved-but enough time has passed now.
Cut to a film set in Malta in 2001.
I had worked with Guy Ritchie very early on in my career,and i knew him also from growing up in West London,and the party scene and nightclub scene.
In those days pretty much everyone knew everyone.We weren't mates though-just blokes with different sets of friends all descending on the West End or the Kings Road
trying to nick Chelsea girls.
We became mates on his first film,which was also my first film.
A year later and we were making Snatch.It was 1998.Guy told me about this Jiu Jitsu thing,and i said i knew about it because i had seen the UFC.He wanted to try training in
BJJ,but we couldn't find anyone to teach us in London,and quite honestly i was more interested in trying to get my Black Belt in Taekwondo,i had been studying it since
Anyway,during the making of Snatch,Guy who was a very highly ranked Karateka from the famous Budokwai found out that the Judo boys did a Ne-Waza session (groundwork)
on a friday night,and so we started going to it.Jason Statham used to come too,but Vinny Jones refused saying "I ain't scrapping for fun you didlo's,i'll end up biting someones
hooter off if i get the 'ump" LOL.
The Budokwai sessions were fun but i only carried on for about 6 months after we finished Snatch due to coming off my motor bike and hurting my elbow and wanting to
carry on with Taekwondo (I was still kidding myself Royce's wins were a fluke!).
I got called to work in Malta on a film with Guy in 2001 and when i arrived Guy was very excited.He told me he had been living in L.A. for a bit with his new missus and had started
training with Rickson Gracie.He called over a fella standing in the background and introduced me to Todd Fox.Todd was a very unassuming looking man-28 years old,5ft 8inches
and 75 kilo's but there was a slightly scary look in his eyes.Guy told me he had met Todd at Ricksons and Todd was going to be his assistant on the Film.
Guy said we were all going to learn Jiu Jitsu with Todd.I said that i was doing really well with my TKD training and i wasn't sure i wanted to start a new art.Guy said
"Purple,Taekwondo is for poofs,you're gay and you need to stop mincing around doing ballet".I replied that it was good and it worked.He said that Todd would kick my arse
with BJJ and i said,sure if we are grappling but i would kick him in the face.Guy said "Come on,we've got some mats",so we walked round the back of the studio to some mats
in the burning sunshine and i had a little friendly spar with Todd.I threw a couple of kicks and he moved back,then he immediately dropped into a double leg and took me down and choked me.
Then he did it again.Then again.And again.And again.I said "Okay,teach me this Jiu Jitsu stuff then".
There were about 6 of us on the crew that wanted to learn it,so Todd went off to the nearest Martial Arts store and bought 6 cheap Judo Gi's and we started training in the sun,right next to the sea
every lunchtime for an hour and every evening for 90 minutes.
I found out over the next few weeks that Todd was a Purple Belt under Rodrigo Vaghi,one of Rickson's few Black Belts.He came from Missouri.He lived in LA and trained with Rickson
and actually lived with Ricksons best Brown Belt (i think his name was Henry Akins..........JSho can find out?).
Todd was an ex US Marine who had seen active seervice in Africa and South America and had done a lot of stuff it is rude to talk about.His Jiu Jitsu school was one of the toughest in the U.S.
and Rodrigo Vaghi students were taught real old school BJJ for No Holds Barred and anyone with Blue Belts and above were expected to fight in the cage if they trained there.(Todd had more MMA
fights than BJJ comps on his record).He was a f.ucking nightmare.
We had been training for about 10 weeks daily and had all formed a real bond,and become hopelessly addicted to Jiu Jitsu.
One night i was in the bar everybody was drinking in and a bloke i had't seen before came up to me.I didn't really drink much (i am now completely teetotal) and i'd only had a bottle of lager.
This fella was a bit pissed."Alright mate-you Simon Hayes then? I heard you're mates with the director and you do all of that wrestling together.Bit suspect isn't it?"
I asked him who he was and he said he was an extra technician drafted into help with a few big scenes we needed to do.He was about 27 and a bit loud.
"So go on,tell me about this poofy wrestling"
I told him he should come and have a go,as it was really fun and a great workout.
"Nah mate,i'm a Thai Boxer,I like to smash people with me elbows and smash 'em with me knee's!"
"oh really-i know a few thai boxers where do you train?"
"I train in Thailand mate"
"Yeah-i lived there for 3 months and did it everyday-now i've got a bag in me back garden and i train on me jack jones"
You should try the Jiu Jitsu,it's good.
"No mate,i aint rolling around on the floor-i smash people with me elbows and smash 'em with me knee's"
EVERY TIME HE SAID THIS HE DEMONSTRATED AN ELBOW AND A KNEE=People in the bar were starting to look at him like he was a tool,and i was guilty by association.
"My mates call me The Pitbull cos i'm always the last man standing".
At this point i politely made my excuses and went home for an early night.It was a day off the next day and i had to get up early for training.
Although it was a day off for some crew the next day,others were working to prepare the set for the next weeks filming,
so when i turned up at the studio complex at 10am to train the next morning,Todd had set the mats up in an old dark
studio (really like an old aircraft hanger-a bit damp and smelly and shadowy.At a complete contrast to the exterior just outside the doors,
in bright sunshine,85 degree heat and the sea 100 feet away.
I got in there and the boys were there already,i said quietly to one of them that i had met a right tool the night before,and he said loudly,
'oh yeah,that fella-the pitbull-he drove us all mad-what a plonker'.
Well Guy heard us laughing and asked whats up.I said 'Nothing',he said "whaddya mean nothing-what you laughing about".
My mate told him the story,and Guy said "No,i'm not having that,you must be exaggerating-Purple-is this true?"
I said "I'm afraid it is Guy-we've got a Pit bull on our hands".Guy started laughing and said to one of the drivers-
"go and get this geezer".The producer who was also there said "No,he'e working today,he can't come"
Guy said "No,he's having a bit of time off-go and get him".
Off went the car.
Guy said "Right,we're going to ask us if he wants to join our Jiu Jitsu class today-and if he does,furry muff-but if he starts all of this
'last man standing,pitbull bollocks' we'll ask him if he wants to fight no-rules with Todd".
I looked at Todd at this point and he looked wistfully into thin air with a slight grin but a demented look in his eyes shone through.
Try and picture Jack Nicholson as he grins just before shouting "Johnny's Home!" and attacking the door with the axe in 'The Shining'.
Todd said "If you you want me to fight this man thats fine,but i'm warning you i will hurt him,For all i know he is a champion Muay Thai fighter,
and i'm not going to fuck around with him-i will finish him real fast and it won't be with Jiu Jitsu".
Guy said "Don't worry Todd-He'll be fine.He's a Pitbull apparently".
Some minutes later,the fella's boss came into the dojo.At this point Todd had been rolling his neck around and generally doing scary warm ups continuously.
The fella's Boss said "Guy i hear you want my lad to come down-i need him today-he can't".
Guy said "Don't worry Terry,we won't keep him for too long mate-you'll manage-send him down"
Terry dissapeared looking none too pleased.
Another few minutes passed and in walked 'The Pitbull'.
Guy said "Hello mate,i'm Guy.I heard you were a bit of a Martial Artist and we are all learning Jiu Jitsu,do you want to join in?"
The Pitbull said "Hello mate,nah i don't really rate the wrestling stuff,for me its all about the knock out-i like to use me elbows and Knees and you can't in Jiu Jitsu can you"
Guy said "Well not if you're training normally mate,no-but we could relax the rules if you want to go a bit harder.Todd here has done a bit of Thai,and if you want a full
contact fight with him thats fine-you can show us some elbows and knee's,but its more fun to just train submissions without striking".
The Pitbull replied
"No,i'm like a duck out of water on the floor.I finish fights standing,but if your man wants to have a go with me thats fine".
I then said "No,Don't be stupid mate-you've got no gloves,you'll break your hands and your face'll get messed up"
As i said this i looked out the corner of my eye and Guy was trying not to laugh.Todd was breathing in and out ,in short breaths quite loudly.
'No,my hands will be fine-they've only been using gloves in Thailand for a few years,i don't mind fighting without them'.
I sighed.'Are you sure mate,it doesn't sound like a good idea,lets just show you some Jiu Jitsu moves"
'No it'll be good practise for my Thai to do stand up".
Guy said "Purple-shut up".
I said "okay then,You start standing,there are no rules apart from no eye gouging,no groin shots and no biting or fingers in eyes.The fight will continue until
someone taps or screams,do you understand?"
The Pitbull said 'Yeah thats fine'.
I said "You do understand that you can stop the fight anytime by tapping or screaming".
He said "Yeah alright mate-i heard you the first time".
23-05-2013, 10:06 PM
BJJ Black Belt
I decided at that point i had given him enough chances to get out of this,and it was his problem.
We were in a dark aircraft hanger about to see a real Vale Tudo fight.
The Producer (Who was about 37 and a mental ex Royal Marine -in fact the youngest Captain ever i think)
"Gentleman,i can't allow this to happen,someone will get hurt" in a very authorative posh accent.
Guy said "It's too late now-its all agreed." Adam the Producer said "Very Well,good luck my good man" to the PitBull and smiled.Oh Fuck.
They came together in the center of the mat and i said "This fight can stop at anytime there is a verbal submission or a tap out,Do you both understand that".
Neither man answered and i shouted "FIGHT!".
The Thai Boxer bounced up and down a couple of times and Todd just stood there.I was expecting a few low kicks,but what came next was the biggest,
most telegraphed,head height Thai shin kick i had ever seen.It was almost like slow motion,but that could have been my adrenaline.LOL.
As it arched its way towards Todds head he brought his arm up,to parry it and as it struck his forearm he reached over the top of it and grabbed it,trapping the leg under his arm.
He then shot forward overbalancing his opponent and the thai boxer hit the ground.Todd immediately took mount and (i was expecting a choke,like we had been practising,
or an armbar) proceeded to punch him in the face,full power.He punched him with a right,a left,another right and another left.He then brought his right elbow down into the guys eye,
and his eyebrow split with blood going everywhere.He then immediately dropped the left elbow.At this point i felt a shove and Adam the Producer ran past me and pushed me out of the way and dived on Todd knocking him off mount shouting "Purple-what sort of bloody refferee are you-this man is hurt",to which i replied "But he didn't tap...................."
The Pitbull went straight to hospital and,to his great credit,returned within the hour with 6 stitches in his eyebrow,to where we were still training and asked if Todd would teach him Jiu Jitsu,and if he could train with us.We called him "The Poodle" for the rest of the film,but accepted him for a while until he was seen at Lunchtime on his own practising Nunchuka's.
My biggest regret is no one filmed it.
28-05-2013, 11:00 PM
Thanks Simon! Amazing read, thank you for sharing!! Osss
Pedro Bessa BJJ Bristol. Sweatbox MMA.
Originally Posted by God of CW
29-05-2013, 10:05 AM
Looking forward to reading that in a bit!