Roger Huerta is Awesome!

•September 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Roger Huerta Visit

Roger Huerta is a professional MMA fighter who competes in Bellator.  He fought in the UFC for a while and had some insane fights agains guys like Alberto Crane, Lenard Garcia, and Clay Guida.  He is also famous for beating up some football player who was hitting a girl.  To me he’s kind of a real life super hero.  And maybe coolest of all, he played Miguel Caballero Rojo in the Tekken movie.  A few days ago he took time out of his training for a big fight with Eddie Alvarez (the Bellator Champ) to visit the LCC wrestling room.  That’s just the way he is – he loves kids and has a special charity for helping kids who are having a hard time, like he did when he was a kid.  My Sensei happens to be his manager, and he arranged for Roger to come by.  He saw me do a couple of things wrong when I was going live and got on the mat and showed me the right way.  It was amazing to roll around with one of my all time favorite fighters.  The wrestlers were pretty surprised to see him come in and our Coach was pretty excited too.

Roger brought his friend and trainer Dave Menne with him – in case you didn’t know he was the first ever UFC Middle Weight Champion and beat Carlos Newton, Chris Lytle and about forty other guys!  What can I say – stay on his good side!

UFC Middleweight Champ Dave Menee

My dad gets advice from Roger sometimes on my wrestling and training that is very helpful.  When I hurt my shoulder, he told us not to rush back and he was 100% right!  Roger is such a cool person that you can’t understand it unless you meet him.  I know one day when he retires from fighting and acting he will train kids in wrestling and MMA.  Sign me up!

AACC Japan

•September 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

With Coach Abe at Abe Ani Combat Club Omori

I had to punch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming! After wanting to train in Japan for so long, I was actually at the Abe Ani Combat Club in Omori Japan!  For about six weeks I stayed at my grandparents home in Chiba.  The gym was about an hour and thirty minutes from their house, but I went four times a week anyway.

Coach Abe and Emi

AACC is run by vetaran MMA fighter, Coach Hiroyuki Abe, who is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, judo, and karate.  He’s been in the cage with Urijah Faber and fought in Shooto, Pride FC, Deep, K-1, King of the Cage, Shootboxing, and Cage Rage. Even though he could kill you in a heartbeat, he is one of the nicest, gentlest people you will ever meet.  The gym has a true family atmosphere and tons of kids train there along side pro-fighters like Caol Uno and Josh Barnett.  My three year old sister would run on the mat during warm-ups, but instead of getting mad he would play with her.  They have kids there as young as three training wrestling!

AACC no Tomodachi!

I already knew some of the kids at AACC, because during spring break five of them came to San Diego.  Every kid at the gym was an amazing wrestler.  They went to Japan Nationals two weeks after I came and six kids took first, one kid got second, and one kid took third.  Besides training really hard, we did fun stuff, like the time we ran from the gym to the city pool in the middle of the blazing summer through the streets of Tokyo!  Although the run was long, it was worth it, we got to hang out at the pool for five hours!

At the pool in Omori

I made a bunch of cool friends at AACC and it was a great experience for me to be coached and have to communicate in Japanese!  After training, we could take a shower and then jump into the ofuro (traditional Japanese bath) and goof around. It wasn’t all fun and games either.  These guys train very hard, and if the coaches think you’re slacking – BAM! – you’ll get smacked with a shinai.

Megumi "Mega Megu" Fujii

Another highlight was being around the best female fighter of all time, Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii.  I respect her skills so much! She is just as cool a person as she is an amazing fighter!  I hope she will come back to the USA and fight in Bellator again.

I had a great time in Japan this summer mostly because of AACC!  I really miss everyone there and can’t wait to go back.

Kendall Cross Olympic Gold Medalist

•May 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Olympian Kendall Cross

OK, when you’re a wrestler what is your highest goal?  No it’s not a WWE Championship Belt – Randy Orton already has that.  It’s an Olympic Gold Medal!  Me and about a hundred other kids had a chance to work with 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Kendall Cross.  Oh yeah, he is also a 3 time US Freestyle National Champion, 1989 NCAA Champion and a thrre time NCAA All-American.  Not too shabby.

The Boys and Girls Club arranged a wrestling clinic with Coach Cross.  I had a bad wing from getting suplexed, but my training partner Oscar took it easy on me so I could learn some moves.  And one of our coaches was there to help us understand the moves – it was a good thing cause some were not that easy.  Thanks Coach Nellis!

Besides the moves we learned, Coach Cross talked a lot about the mental side of the game.  It reminded me of what I had heard a couple of years before from Lee Kemp.  It was a different take, but I realized that if you want to make it to the top your going to need more than muscle and technique.

You know what’s tight?  I’m now friends with him on Facebook.  Can’t wait until he does another clinic in SoCal!

2010 California State Championship

•March 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Sweet Victory!

On March 19  I drove up to Fresno, California for the 2010 Kids Folkstyle State Championship at Selland Arena.  I was dying on the car there because I had cut almost 10 pounds!  It was the first time I had cut more than a few pounds, but last year when I didn’t cut, I was way too small for my bracket.  Lots of kids I wrested during the year where in the bracket below me.  Losing sucks, so this year I decided I would cut!  I made weight at 70 lbs in the Novice division.  I had wrestled at 75 for most of the season.

After weigh-in, I went to eat pancakes and eggs with my teammates Jacob, Jayden and  Zach.  Of course the wrestling dads were there too!  After we ate we went back to the Holiday Inn and got some rest for the tournament.  The service at the hotel in the morning was super slow, so by the time we finished breakfast and got to the Selland Arena, there was no time to warm up.

I got off to a slow start and lost my 1st match 8-4.  That kid wound up taking 2nd.  At the state meet, it’s two and your barbecue.  There was no room for error.  Somehow, I was able to win seven matches in a row over the the two day tournament and took third.  It was the first time I placed at folkstyle state and it felt great!  My teammates Oscar and Bernie both took 2nd, Joe took 3rd too, and little Chuy took 5th.  No Mercy did so well, because we put in the work and we have great Coaches!  No way I would have placed without them.

Training with Stephen Abas

•March 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

With Coach Abas at The Arena

Early February 2009 Stephen Abas had a clinic at Poway HS.  I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to learn from an Olympic Silver medalist and one of the 15th greatest college wrestlers eva!  He was named to the NCAA 75th Anniversary Team along with Tom Brands, Dan Gable, John Smith, Yojiro Uetake, Lee Kemp, Kurt Angle, Cael Sanderson, and a few others.

It was a fantastic clinic where we learned the Iranian and a few other excellent moves.  As luck would have it, Coach Abas decided to get into MMA and my Sensei Jeff Clark became his manager!  As he’s always done, Sensei Jeff helped me out by arranging some private lessons with Coach Abas.  Coach Abas was training for his MMA career at The Arena, probably the top MMA gym in San Diego, with guys like Joe Duarte, KJ Noons, Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, Rani Yahya, Rich “Super” Power and a bunch of other cool fighters train.

I was fortunate enough to have a couple of private lessons with Coach Abas and he taught me some great moves.  He showed me his awesome single leg and I still watch the tapes my dad made of our sessions.  In case you missed it, Coach Abas was a four-time Division I All-American in his time at Fresno State University with a ridiculous record of 144-4.  What is even crazier  to me is that he finished his high school career with a 190-10 record , was a three-time state champ, and holds the national season takedown record (406) and national career takedown record (1,246)!  Coach Abas was super nice to me and I know he will be a great MMA fighter!  He’s already 2-0.

CAGWA Wrestling Tournament

•December 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Hendo

Meeting Dan Henderson

On Sunday, December 12, 2009, I went to L.A. with my team, No Mercy School of Wrestling, and wrestled at the CAGWA tournament.  CAGWA stands for California Age Group Wrestling Association and it covers Covina, El Monte, Fontana, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Norwalk, Phelan, San Bernardino, San Dimas, Santa Ana, Temecula, Ventura, Victorville, and surrounding areas.  The tournaments are tougher than the ones we have locally, so we went there to test ourselves against the best competition.

My first match I won 14-0.  My second match, I wrestled a National Champion and lost 12-3.  He’s considered the best wrestler in the country for his age and this was the first time I actually scored on him without just being cut.  He’s an amazing wrestler and raises the bar for everyone in his bracket.  I feel very lucky to be able to compete with him!  I came back from that loss pinning my next opponent, putting me in the semi-finals for 3rd and 4th.  I lost against the champ’s training partner, who’s a tough wrestler himself, in a very close match.  I’ve beat him once and now he’s beat me twice.   My wrestling team did a lot better than me in terms of placing.  Most of my team ether took 1st or 2nd, and everyone placed!  Hopefully we will do even better next week.

Even though I hate to lose, my coach was there to see my mistakes and help me improve.  Coach Ruben worked on many of the stuff I did wrong the week after the tournament.

The bright spot of the day was meeting Dan Henderson the ex-Pride Champion who is now fighting in Strikeforce.  He was also in some big tournament that they call the Olympics or something.  He was very cool and friendly, just like he was on UFN 17.  Can’t wait to see him fight Fedor!  His young son is now wrestling and he was up there to coach him.

It was a good day to wrestle, but I need to work harder!

Las Vegas is MMA

•August 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment
Thierry Sokoudjou and me at the WEC Weigh Ins

Thierry Sokoudjou and me at the WEC Weigh Ins

During the last two weeks of summer vacation my Ojisan (お祖父さん) came from Japan to visit us and we took him to Vegas! On Saturday my parents took me to Extreme Couture to train with their Kids Club. Everybody was very cool and I learned a lot even though I only went once. The trainers were excellent and the kids were extremely talented. My favorite part was the obstacle course we ran at the end of class. My time was the second fastest in the group. What an amazing place to train. They have a boxing ring, an octagon and a large mat area with heavy bags where I trained. On the wall they have the actual ring mat from Jay Hieron’s fight with Jonathan Goulet. It was supposed to be the bloodiest fight in UFC history, and the mat is soaked with blood! If I lived there that’s the place I would go!

Too bad Randy wasn’t there, but I had met him about a week before at the San Diego Comic-Con. He did a special appearance to promote his movie Scorpion King II.

Randy was super friendly and took a lot of time to chat with all his fans. My dad said he has a lot of “charisma,” so I guess that’s why he’s good at acting. I was surprised, because he was not as big as I imagined him to be. That just made me respect him even more, when you think about what he did to Tim Sylvia.

After training at Extreme Couture, we went to the WEC 35 weigh-ins at the Hard Rock Cafe! It was packed with fans waiting to see the fighters. Poor Marcus Hicks was a pound over at first and had to go back into the steam room. I met Frank Trigg, Thierry Sokoudjou, Dean Lister , Hiromitsu Miura and Brian Stann. I got to talk with the “African Assassin” for a while. When I told him that I train Judo at San Shi Dojo, he told me that he also trained at San Shi back in the days when the Flores Brothers were tearing it up there. And his parents back in Africa still don’t know he is a MMA fighter. Dean Lister was also very chill, but he’s from the 619 so what do you expect? He remembered us from the time we met him at the Chuck Liddell Book Signing. He’s at a new gym in Point Loma now and I hope to go over there soon to train with him.

I think my favorite fighter that day was Hiromistu Miura. When he walked by with his crew we spoke to him in Japanese and even though he must have been super hungry and thirsty from cutting, he took the time to chat with us. My grandfather, a Tai Chi master, was happy to meet another Japanese martial artist. We told Miura-san we were his biggest US fans. I imagined that it must be very hard to go to another country, where you don’t know many people or the language, to compete. Miura-san was very gentle and humble, but his fight with Condit was one of the best I’ve ever seen and he pushed Condit like no other. With all due respect to Karo, I think Miura-san’s judo throws from the clinch are the sickest I’ve seen in the Octagon! Hiromitsu Miura has the true samurai spirit and I can’t wait to see him fight again!

If you want to see pics of me at Extreme Couture and the fighters from the WEC 35 weigh-ins check out my Las Vegas album.