favor technique and execution over strength. It also teaches you how to use close ranges and control points to tilt the favor towards you,even if you are
weaker/smaller than an opponent.
11) What is the best technique to use in street self defense?
On the street I would recommend in terms of striking,elbows and knees,which are short range weapons. Especially if you aren't trained or smaller you can
break your hand or wrists throwing punches incorrectly. The elbows/knees are harder and won't result in injury in most cases. Also,things happen quick on
the street and you don't want to default to being in a longer range,your attacker might be bigger/have longer reach and tag you before you can get close
enough.Couple all this with a wrestling and/or Jiu Jitsu foundation and you're in a good place to defend yourself if you are dedicated enough to training. I'm
also a fan of Thai kicks to the legs/knees with your shin if you do happen to be in a longer range,the shins are also very hard won't break easily.
12) What is your training background, and please share what your workouts include?
I started off with Krav Maga and have an orange belt. I liked it but wanted to dive deeper in specific disciplines and also fight. Krav Maga is more street self
defense oriented and teaches bits and pieces of various martial arts,but not always in great depth. My strength was in my striking so I focused on Muay
Thai/kickboxing. I did that for about 6 years exclusively and have taught/coached along the way from kids to pros. I then wanted to broaden my horizons and
started Jiu Jitsu,which I'm now a purple belt. Early in my Jiu Jitsu training I fought MMA since I had trained in striking prior,so I transitioned quickly to
combining my previous training/adapting it for the cage. I now focus exclusively on Jiu Jitsu and now judo,which I recently received my brown belt. Thank
you for this interview.
1) About 15 years ago you were into anarchism and vegetarianism, have your views changed now
compared to then?
Haha not terribly much. Matured obviously. I happen to be vegetarian,but not very strict. I got into a bit of
lay Buddhism which inspired me to do so,I do it as a personal ascetic practice. I identify more as an explicit
communist now however,my theory and practice continues,I'm always trying to develop my politics and stay
up to speed.
2) What got you into fitness and martial arts, and how did you get so disciplined?
I grew up playing soccer and it was probably the only thing I was proficient in,at least in my eyes. In my 20's
I started playing again after a hiatus. I loved the sport and it always brought the best qualities out of me. I
then got into general fitness and road cycling. eventually I decided it was practical on all levels and,as a
radical,a necessity to learn to defend myself. I walked into a martial arts gym about 10 years ago and never
looked back. The discipline comes from not quitting. When you see your progress in the fight arts and how
you positively change as a person,so long as you keep going,it's a no brainer to keep getting on the mats.
The discipline is simply a prerequisite to my ambition.
3) What is the best way to find the right martial art school?
All martial arts schools should have a free trial class,shop around. Take your time and find gym that you
feel suites you. Go to as many area gyms as possible before you make a decision,keep into consideration if
you like a gym that the schedule/location will allow you to train with the frequency you want. If you're new to
martial arts/physical fitness etc,remember you're going to be a fish out of water no
matter what,don't let the out of place feeling deter you. Fighting isn't supposed to be
easy,but you need to make sure the instructors/gym culture have your interests as
much as a long time student,look for that. Ask about groupons, short term
commitments(1 month etc) so you can get your feet wet without breaking the bank or
making a year commitment if you're not completely sure. Don't feel pressured to sign
up then and there,take the time to weigh your options.
4) I've seen a lot of white belts from BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) get lower back injuries. Why
is this, and what's the best way to recover?
Just a guess,but it sounds like their core/abs need to be strengthened/conditioned.
They work to support general posture and equilibrium to the body by way of the spine.
When people are new to athletics or start a new activity that strength may not be
developed and the lower back takes a lot of the strain as a result. I'd recommend focus
time on the side or before/after sessions to abdominal workouts,even if it's just a few
sets at first. Stay consistent and expand on it if possible with time. For recovery, I'd do
lower back stretches,take a hot bath,use a foam roller on the back/shoulders and ice to
any hurt areas.
5) I notice you go to a lot of competitions. Is this to get frustration and
anger out? Why do you have so much passion for fighting? Can you tell us
about some of your experiences in the competitions?
the lifestyle of being a fighter overall has helped bring me peace more so
than the competitions alone.competing/fighting is the best way to test your
skills and your ability to implement them. Every second counts and working
against a clock and an opponent you are unfamiliar with sets a high bar
and keeps you honest. Maybe you beat people up in your gym but can't win
matches in competition. You then have to figure out why that's the case.
Was your cardio shitty? Too scared or nervous? Unfocused or lacking in an
area or technique? All this comes to the surface much more clearly during
competition.you'll learn more about a personal weakness in a few minutes
than in a month in the gym often times. It's glaring.Competing against
people who also practice the same particular discipline gives you confidence
knowing most people in general don't have much knowledge or experience
in fighting. It sharpens an already valuable skill set most people don't have.
Violence is apolitical,its inherent in the Samsaric cycle of life. The liberalism
of non violence politics is designed to weaken people. Anger,sex,violence
etc can be both empowering and abusive.
I choose to embrace and nurture my relationship with violence in a healthy and productive way. I love fighting people,even when I lose I'd rather lose a fight
than not fight at all or worse run from it. Fighting is an art that's objective. You either smash or get smashed. The stakes are higher in life itself.why wouldn't I
want to train to fight,to survive,so that I can walk away alive from the inherent violence of everyday life? As a radical I view the threats from socio-political
opposition as concrete, material entities,not scary ideas or abstractions.I'm simply doing what deem necessary for political success and to preserve my life in
an increasingly reactionary and neo-liberal environment. At some point when you fight and compete consistently,it's like going to your job. It's just another
day. You can stare at violence and uncertainty,embodied in your opponent and say: "I can't control everything in life,but I chose to be here, I'm not afraid.
Even if you best me I'm going to give my all and fight like hell and no one on this earth can take that from me." Losing happens to everyone,quitting is all on
you. The mats are my church. It's empowering to embrace something like violence that we are conditioned to fear.
6) What do the terms martial art mean to you?
It means self defense to me,plain and simple. The spiritual, health, and life benefits are a pleasant
surprise and a bonus. I practice martial arts by the end of the day to develop a greater capacity to beat up
people if needed. It's practical to me.
7) How do you define a healthy lifestyle (mentally and physically)?
It's subjective in a lot of ways but my answer would be it's a journey for yourself to discover. Fighting never
gets truly easier if you train right. Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone is a healthy mental practice for
anyone. Doing it regularly should be a part of any healthy lifestyle. Treating your body right through diet
and exercise opens up doors in your life that you never knew were there,and has positive affects on all
facets of life in my experience.
8) Are there any anarchists or punk rockers in mainstream MMA that we should know about?
I train,work and compete so much I don't really have time to follow MMA and be familiar with all
the personalities. Instead of following MMA,I'd suggest find a martial art and try it out. Watching
people do cool shit is boring.
9) Is there any punk rock or anarchist fitness groups or MMA clubs?
Not in my area,although I understand internationally there are radical clubs/gyms.i myself have
volunteered teaching martial arts with various community groups. Most recently I worked with
Level Ground MMA in Boston. It's come a long way from humble beginnings and serves
youth/young adults in low income communities. They teach Jiu Jitsu/MMA/Muay Thai and more
and help the kids on/off the mat with school,work and general mentoring.It continues to grow
substantially,I recommend checking them out and donating.
10) What is the best martial art to learn for beginners in their 40's and 50's?
I would suggest Jiu Jitsu. There's a lot of people who train in Jiu Jitsu who don't start until their
30's or later and still benefit greatly from it. It will keep you in shape and the principles
Interview with Sherman Austin
Interview with Echo
1) Out of all martial arts, why did you pick western boxing? Studies shows that it is very dangerous due to
constant head blows and long rounds. What was your motivation behind wanting to box?
There's something about boxing that just seemed to click with me. Being able to stand toe-to-toe and
exchange punches with your opponent can sometimes sound simplistic to a casual observer, but the art,
the science of boxing is just as meticulous as any other form of martial arts. I still have much respect for
other forms of martial arts and self defense systems such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, Wing Chung,
Nunchaku, etc. But boxing seemed to stick out to me as it's own beast. I realized right away it required a
different set of conditioning from head to toe and I was immediately addicted to the challenge. Taking
constant blows to the head can make it dangerous, but that's part of the challenge. It's part of the craft and
understanding the sweet science. My motivation for wanting to box I think just comes from life. The
challenges, battles and tests that were always in front of me taught me to always stay determined, warrior
up and work hard to get from point A to point B, regardless what was in front of me, regardless what the
odds were. There's a saying that a champion is someone who get's up when they can't. I think that's what
defines a true warrior regardless if that challenge is physical or mental.. I don't think you find boxing, it finds
you. I think that's the same for all other fighters out there across different forms of martial arts.
2) A long time ago, you were living at an anarchist info-shop and practiced a vegetarian lifestyle. How has
your lifestyle changed compared to that time? Has your diet changed as well? If so, how?
I practiced a vegetarian lifestyle for about 7 years. I stopped when I realized I wasn't getting enough
proteins and other essentials in my diet to keep up with my lifestyle. I think a vegetarian diet can be very
healthy and beneficial to practice, but I do not think I was supplementing properly during that period. My
diet now isn't all that much different now though. I don't eat a lot of red meat. Sometimes I go 1-2 months
without any red meat at all. I still eat turkey, chicken or fish, but not daily. I don't eat pork. I try to pay close
to attention to what i'm eating and how much of it i'm putting in my body. The main things I stay away from
in food are MSG (Monosodium glutamate), high-fructose corn syrup, high levels of added synthetic
sugars, high sodium, or anything too gassy.
3) I notice you've been in a few events where you fight in the ring. Have you been knocked out? If so,
what's it like?
I've never been knocked out or knocked down. But i've been hit hard a few really good times. A lot of
interesting things can happen when you take a hard shot to the chin or head. I guess it depends on how
your body, head, chin, neck and nerves react to the force of a heavy blow..
Some people loose their legs and can't stand for a few seconds, some blank out for a half second but manage to
stay on their feet, sometimes you hear a high pitched noise that feels like it shoots up from your chin to your
temples, sometimes you get dizzy and your equilibrium makes everything move side to side, sometimes you don’t
know where the hell you are for a couple seconds, or sometimes you wake up on the ground not realizing what
just happened. It also depends where you're hit. I've had my equilibrium rocked a few good times and I usually get
that high pitched noise if I eat a really hard shot. The thing about getting hit though is you're a lso learning how
not to get hit in the again.. You might have ate that hard left hook because you dropped your right, or you ate
that uppercut on your chin because you leaned forward too much, or you ate that cross right because you're
footing was off when you're opponent angled you, or you got knocked out because you lunged in with your chin
up. But it's lessons learned. It always takes some pain to gain. Sometimes you gotta pay to play. But you get
better. You learn to get hit less, and by doing so you learn to last longer. Eventually you also learn how to take a
punch where it doesn't have the same shocking effect on you as before. You learn to stay relaxed, breathe, stay
focused, make necessary adjustments and take care of business. You're defense get's better, your head
movement, slipping, blocking, catch and counter, and footing get better. You learn how to keep a poker face if
you do get hit hard so you're opponent can't smell blood and know that you're hurt. Sometimes getting beat up in
the ring is the best thing that can happen to you because it makes you better. That’s why it’s always good to train
with hungry lions.
The scary situations usually don't show up until after you've left the ring though. If you can't track your
eyes properly, feel nausea, or dizziness it's usually signs of a concussion or possibly something much more
serious if you don't get checked out right away. I've never been in that situation, thankfully. Like any other
fighter i've some injuries though.. bruised rib, busted nose tissue, jaw cracked out of alignment. But i've
always left the ring with a big smile.
4) Tell us about your work out routine?
5 mile run. 2-3 rounds of jumprope. 2-3 rounds of shadow. 2-3 rounds of ring circles. Heavy bag work.
Then sometimes 2,6,8 rounds of sparring depending on the day and who's available to work. Then more
heavy bag work, or double-end bag work. Then body work: sit-ups, push-ups and various drills to focus on
abs, speed, strength, etc.
Some days are different than others. Sometimes I focus more on high intensity hill runs, or an additional
5-10 rounds of intense jump-roping focusing on speed and different tricks. Running is a major part of the
workout. Boxing demands a lot of cardio vascular conditioning and the last thing you want to be in the ring
is tired and gassed out.
5) As I understand, if one uses boxing in a street fight (even if it's used in self defense) you can be sued if you knock someone out, or break their jaw.
How would you respond to this, and do fighters have to register like the black belts do?
Fighters have to register with the national boxing association or their state athletic commission to become a licensed fighter to compete. If you get into a
street fight and seriously hurt someone you can loose your license and face additional criminal charges from what i've heard. If I was in such a situation
(hopefully never) I would try to de-escalate the situation peacefully. If the only way to de-escalate the situation required some form of physical restraint, I
would try to do so without causing any serious physical harm which likely wouldn’t involve boxing. But if the situation was potentially life-threatening and
posed a real danger then yes like anyone else I would defend myself. Boxing, Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, have plenty of practical applications on the street.
Striking, elbows, knees, arm bars, it’s all on the table. The quicker it ends the better. I’m not a pacifist. And i’m not opposed to fighting fire with fire. But that
doesn’t mean I can’t find and and hold great value to peace, and be at peace within myself. Self defense doesn’t mean you go out and attack somebody, it
means you have the right to defend yourself when you’re in that position to do so.
6) What's your favorite strike on an opponent when you're in the ring?
The over-hand right!
7) Who is your biggest inspiration in boxing, and why?
I have a few, but my biggest would have to be Muhammad Ali. He was a warrior inside and outside of the
ring. When most people in his position would have kept silent for fear of persecution, he spoke up and
said what had to be said. He did what had to be done. And he didn't hesitate to put everything on the line
to speak up and fight for his people and all people of color who were being oppressed by this system.
8) What separates you from every other fighter in your division?
I'm told it's my speed, power and snapping jab.
9) What are some good punk bands to listen to when jumping rope, or working out?
Massacre 68, Inside Out, Anti-flag, The Exploited, Snot ...
10) What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your boxing career?
Someone who always came to fight and displayed tremendous heart, and never backed down from a challenge inside or outside the ring. Boxing can
sometimes be misconstrued as a dangerous reckless sport, but in reality i’ve seen it translating into powerful metaphors which inspire others to tackle the
challenges, personal struggles and injustices around them to achieve something great in life. I see this as a resource for our community, one particularly
that the youth can tap into as an outlet which can transcend into many other things. I’d like to always be a part of that outlet in any way possible.
Interview with Montserrat Conejoa Ruiz (Bunny)
1) How did you first get into Animal Liberation and how long have you not
1. At the beginning it was because I went to live in another city. Meat was
not a food I found in my new town. I also started to pursue a better
education and I slowly became more and more aware of the cruelty of the
animal industry and the way we treat animals, and I got to the point where I
became an ethical vegetarian/vegan firstly, and then having an intention
for the health benefits as well secondly later on. I have been
vegetarian/vegan for 1 year and 2 months now.
2) What made you want to do MMA and what is your fight record?
I was a part of the juvenile national wrestling team and practiced wrestling
for 5 years. I was injured in a competition that rendered me unable to
compete in an important tournament. I retired from wrestling to recover,
and decided that wrestling was not my passion. I wanted more. So, the first of
December of 2014 one of my old coaches from wrestling invited me to a
seminar of MMA in my home town Leon Guanajuato. There, I found my new
dream and passion. My record is 6-0-0
3) What is some good punk rock music to listen to while your working out?
La Polla Records, Eskorbuto, Dirt, The Exploited
4) Is it true that fighters get more injured in practice than competing? Any
advice on lower back pain recovery from Jiu Jitsu or Judo?
That's right, the trainings are pretty heavy in order to better prepare you for
the fights. You can be injured (not gravely) on occasion, because by mistake
or by excess of work. It's recommended to stretch well before and after
training, good rest and go to a sport medic in the case of experiencing
5) What kind of work out (exercise) do you plan?
My training plans consist of being active, always training and always being
prepared in case any opportunity or fight presents itself. I usually do shorter
harder workouts, conditioning, and specific strength work. If you work with too
much weight you get too slow sometimes, and if you have a fight coming up
that can affect in a wrong way in your performance. You have to develop other
parts like strategy, get to know the strengths and weak points of the other
fighter and also improve your own and develop a complete new training in
base of that.
6) What else do you do in life besides training in martial arts?
I'm an MMA instructor, and right now I am 100% invested in my career as a
fighter. Then there is music, movies and rest.
7) What is the Punk scene like in Mexico?
I'm not a punk, so I prefer others to answer that question on my behalf. I am
into punk, I really enjoy it and I learn a lot from its music, ideology and
community. I agree with many of its ideals.
8) Who is your favorite woman MMA fighter?
My favorite fighter without a doubt is Joanna Jedrzejczyk
and Nathan Donal Diaz "Nate".
9) Who are other women fighters from Mexico we should
Alexa Grasso, Irene Aldana, Monserrat "La Cabra"
Alvarez, Mely Martinez
Montserrat Ruiz "Conejo" Fight Record from Sherdog
Web site under construction. Much
more to come please check back at the
end of November