Interview With Gael Coadic
SFUKU: M. Coadic, thank you for agreeing to this interview, Id like to start by asking you a few questions about your background in Martial Arts
How did you first start/become interested in Martial Arts? What was the first Martial Art you studied and for how long?
Gael Coadic : I had very bad health when I was young and my parents made me practise judo in 1972.It pleased me and I began winning competitions. Its was Bruce Lees period and I decided to practise others M.A. Then I did ju-jitsu, karate, taekwondo, boxing, aîkido, kung-fu. I competed in Full-Contact competitions and got black belts in Judo, ju-jitsu, kibudo, Full-Contact, Yellow Glove in French-Boxing, Savate
SFUKU: What prompted you to make the change from traditional Martial Arts to MMA?
Gael Coadic : I have always been looking for a "total" M.A. and not doing punches (boxing), kicks (taekwondo), throws (judo, wrestling), locks (aîkido), groundwork (BJJ) separately. In the old time the M.A. were complete and realistic. Today some M.A. are therapeutic, philosophic or aesthetic but not efficient. On the other side, competing in modern sport is a very good experience but mostly rules are not free enough and spirit is absent.
I think that what Im doing is M.A. with modern aspects (free fight competitions) and traditional aspect, spiritual and philosophic. As I use to say, Samuraïs didnt train for pleasure but for war ; they had to be efficient. Today there are no wars, but competition with free rules can put fighters in a very stressful situation.
SFUKU: How did you meet the Machados and become their European rep?
Gael Coadic : 5 years ago (I was 36) I heard about UFC and BJJ. I was selected in the French Team for the 1st BJJ World and stayed 2 weeks in Brazil training under Royler, Carlos Jr and Renzo, Marco Ruas I realised that BJJ was the best groundwork system and continued to work with european champs like Remco Pardoel, Bas Rutten and brought Robin Gracie to France. I contacted Machado Bros. 2 year ago but no one was free for coming. I tryed again last year and contacted Carlos who has left California for Dallas. Finally he came and it was a great moment. I felt something I didnt feel with the Gracie Brothers : Pedagogy and the human aspect of the man, humility All that with jiu-jitsu level that we are not used to see here. Machado jiu-jitsu has something different
SFUKU: What is Bugei?
Gael Coadic : First of all Bugei is a Martial art, not a sport. Competition is a part of the whole system. Self-defence, and particularly police self-defence is another part with an important proportion of Grappling techniques. We compete in total fight and in grappling but most students do not compete.
SFUKU: What are the rules of your competitions?
Gael Coadic : In Bugei the rules are very simple. All submission techniques are permitted and there is no time limit in ground work. In Class C (beginners), no gloves but no punches to the face. For higher level : open gloves and punches to the face. In groundwork, strikes are permitted except to the face. In grappling fights, its the same but no strikes at all.
SFUKU: How did you create Bugei?
Gael Coadic : I have created Bugei by taking the best of each M.A.. I have join again what has been separated. We can test the effectiveness of techniques in war or in the street, but our laboratory is competition. Thats why our rules are very free. But we also want to preserve the health of the fighters and there is the important job of the referee.
Bugei is a progressive system. We keep on improving it, taking new techniques and letting useless ones. Thats why we must keep on learning.
SFUKU: Have you or your students entered any other competitions other than those run by yourself?
Gael Coadic : Of course ! How can you know that what you are doing is good without confronting you to other styles. With the only condition of an honest refereeing . Our inner competitions are only made to prepare fighters. I only send fighters in events if they have the level for it. Thats a very important thing. We take part in vale-tudo, shooto, BJJ, pancrace, kenpo, pankido, the Golden Trophy and other championships. We have good results.
SFUKU: You have run Bugei competitions in the past, tell us a little about how they went?
Gael Coadic : I have organized 3 Bugei championships and we have regularly young fighters showing good skills. When you see your students showing what youve taught in a fight you know your work hasnt been useless. But I am always afraid of bad injuries during fight. Thats why Ive imposed a rule which is the most important for me : The fighters must "control" their submissions. Thats mean that if a fighter break an arm or a knee without giving his opponent time to "tap" (give up)he will be eliminated.
SFUKU: Was it an open competition or was it only for your students?
Gael Coadic : I invite other styles. Sometimes they come, sometimes no.
SFUKU: What type of Martial Artists/Styles entered?
Gael Coadic : Shooto, pancrace, kung-fu, lutte-contact.
SFUKU:How did the other Martial Artists match up against your own students?
Gael Coadic : My students and the students of my students usually fight like me (except if they have trained in another style during a long time before) : Strikes to wear the opponent down (to tire), take-down and waiting the opponent tiring to take the opportunity and submit. But, in fact, the principle is to always do the opposite of what the opponent is waiting for. The best example is Florentin AMORIM, one of my best instructor. Against a World champion of French Boxing, in spite of moving forward and clinch, he has moved back and clinched when his opponent was trying to strike him.
Last year at the golden Trophy, he fought against a Japanese shooto fighter, so he didnt stop striking his opponent who didnt succeed to submit him and was badly damaged after the fight.
SFUKU: What are your plans for Bugei in the future?
Gael Coadic : Nowadays MMA/NHB/Free-fight competitions are forbidden in France, so well only organise grappling and BJJ championships, and send our fighters outside of France. The only problem is the lack of money, the lack of sponsor. So we only send fighters if the travel is paid. One of my instructors, Patrick LEBRETON won the pancrace world championship title in Portugal and will fight soon in Switzerland. Hopefully, the travel are paid, but we are still looking for sponsors to help us.
Grappling and Machado JJ will perhaps enter the Judo French Federation soon and I hope Bugeï will be taught soon as an official self-defence method. Time will tell us.
2001 Paris Open Grappling competition
SFUKU: The competition is in April, why have you decided to run a Grappling competition rather than Vale Tudo Style?
Gael Coadic : As I said, NHB/vale tudo style is forbidden here and I dont want to have any problem, so Ill wait for that. Grappling is the most important part in a fight and a lot of associations are organising BJJ events (next one is the BJJ open on February 24th) so I made the choice of organising a big Grappling Open. I know a lot of fighters from Judo, Wrestling, sambo, pancrace, BJJ here and now outside of France and I love the concept of getting together fighters from all styles in a friendly meeting.
SFUKU: Have you had a lot of interest from fighters in France?
Gael Coadic : Yes I have, but itll be better when well be an official sport. Well benefit of the help of the Sport Governing Body.
SFUKU: Have you had a lot of interest from fighters outside of France?
Gael Coadic : We have now some interest from outside of France and its getting better and better. A French proverb says : "Nobody is prophet in his own kingdom".
SFUKU: We have a lot of Professional and Amateur fighters visiting our site, there may be some who are interested in fighting in your event. Is it a pro or amateur event?
Gael Coadic : Amateur (but if pro fighters want to come )
SFUKU: What is the prize (money)?
Gael Coadic : No money but trophies and a BJJ Gi for winners (or same price in M.A. equipment) and other prizes (T. Shirt, magazines ) but I am still negotiating.
SFUKU: What information do you need to register?
Gael Coadic : Style, country, club, weight, age, level (grades, titles)
If anyone would like to register to compete in this event please send the above details to SFUKU@sfuk.net before April 20th
Mixed Martial Arts in France
SFUKU: We know there is a Pancrase Club under Bas Rutten in Paris, and there is also your own club, are there a lot of other clubs in France at the moment?
Gael Coadic : There are some MMA styles in France : pancrase (Bas Rutten Academy), pankido and kenpo (groundwork limited), lutte-contact (its best known event is Golden Trophy, but groundwork limited to 20/30 seconds and no strikes in groundwork) and Bugei. We are looking for clubs outside of France, representing Bugei.
SFUKU: Are there a lot of events in France?
Gael Coadic : Except the Golden Trophy, which is not really NHB, there are no great events in France. Pankido made a little one recently.
SFUKU: A number of French fighters came to the UK to fight recently in a Pancrase event, can you give us your opinion of them as fighters, if you are familiar with any of them
(These are the French fighters who fought in the Pro Pancrase event and James Zikics opponent from ROT3)
Gael Coadic : Some of them have fought in the 1rst Grappling Open and Loic is a friend since the beginning of MMA in France, 5 years ago. He was coming from Taekwondo and we met in a club close to my home, when Remco Pardoel came to France for the 1st time. I think his lads are better in strikes than grappling. Ledroumaguet is the best grappler of the team (3rd last year).
SFUKU: Besides your event, do you plan to enter your students/fighters in any other events in France or in the rest of Europe?
Gael Coadic :The first event will be the BJJ Open (Paris April 24th), the Shamrock Invitational (Sweden in March) if we find sponsors for the tickets, and another grappling open in UK on the same day, a BJJ team championship in Cognac (France) in May, a great NHB event in Russia in May, a grappling open in Belgium (October) and probably an Ireland/France in October in Dublin and we are looking for other things, but I am very busy giving seminars in Paris, Marseille, Rennes, Ireland (April 14th) and Geneve.
SFUKU: Thank you M. Coadic, hopefully we can work together in the future
Gael Coadic : Thank you for all, Darragh.
SFUKU 23 February 2001
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