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 Echo