by Carl Fisher 3 July 2003
the final leg of my Scandinavian tour, I found myself in Oslo and in the company
of Thomas Hytten; Hytten runs the Oslo branch of Shooters International, headed
by August Wallen and I had the pleasure (and pain) of training with Hytten and
his team mates for a few days. As I have realised in my travels, the level of
MMA training in Scandinavia is very high, each academy has a different approach
to training but one constant remains, the desire to win and finish fast.
is typical of all the main teachers I have trained with, in that they all compete
a the highest level and walk the walk; a veteran of M-1, Shooto and many other
high profile MMA events throughout the world, one thing is certain, we are just
beginning to feel the presence of Thomas Hytten
Fisher : Lets start with your fight in Japan; can you talk about the fight?
Hytten : It wasnt my recent fight, but I didnt feel I fought
as good as I could have, after the fight I told my corner Id had more conditioning
left and could have easily gone a few more rounds. I lost the fight to decision
against Murahama, whos ranked number ten in Shooto, so it would have good
if I had beaten him. I did not have any fight material on him prior to the fight,
all I had heard was that he had been training with Genki Sudo and he was a tricky
fighter and he liked to stand up. When the fight started, we traded blows and
he went for the takedown straight away and the first time that took me off guard
as I did not expect this to happen so soon; then he went for the giant swing to
leg lock which hed done to Chris Brennan in an earlier fight, so I knew
what was coming and had to wait until he started the move and had to wait for
my escape. I dont recall all the details, but after that technique, I received
a minus point as I hit him in the face as I thought he was standing, but he was
going to his knees and when he did I connected hard to his face; that made me
a little put out and I knew I had to do my best and finish him. I had some moves
I wanted to pull off and wanted to do the rolling knee bar, but the first time
I did it, I was too close to the ropes and could not get the move, but I had exposed
my game to him and he was better prepared for it the next time I tried it. Trying
the technique put me out of my usual clinch work and I think thats why he
managed to take down a few times, as I am not that easy to take down and a lot
stronger, so he scored on his takedowns, but I felt he didnt want to strike,
he was controlling more on the ground and it was hard for me as I had to wait
for him to start fighting and suddenly the fight was over, and Im thinking
shit Im still ready to fight and I was very disappointed on
did Murahama say to you after the fight?
Hytten : I tried to find him in the locker room but could not find
him and after that he was gone, but Manabu had spoken to him briefly and hed
said I was a good fighter, so that was it really.
did you end up fighting in Japan?
Hytten : It was through Marko Leisten, as I fought in the Cold War
event in Finland and there must have been a little secret that the winner between
Per Eklund and myself would fight in Japan and that fight ended up a draw, so
we had wait while they sent the tape to Japan, so they could decide who would
go and luckily I got the chance.
you enjoy the experience?
Hytten : Very much, very much the one thing I wasnt so happy
about was the short notice I had to prepare; I had fought in the UK a month previous,
then two weeks after that I had to fight in Finland and then two weeks after that
I had to fight in Japan, too close I thought.
fought on the same bill as Hansen v Sato; did you see the fight?
Hytten : Yes, I saw the fight, it was a very good fight and I am pleased
for Joachim, I think he can go all the way.
you get to meet any other fighters in Japan?
Hytten : Yes, we were staying at the hotel and trained at a nearby
gym with all the other foreign fighters and met Shonie Carter and Brian Gassaway
and after the fight the next day we went to the Ksets Factory where the fighter
that beat Jani Lax trains and he was there and trained with us and a few other
pro fighters, so it was a very good experience.
you hope to be back in Japan in the future?
Hytten : I hope so yes I do.
there any signs any rumours that they are interested in you again?
Hytten : The impression I got after the fight and talking to people
involved, is that there is a very good chance I may get invited back in the future
and I really want to go back so I hope this can happen. Maybe the problem is that
there are too few Shooto shows to prove ourselves and show we are good enough
to go to Japan, but hopefully I will get the chance to fight again in the fall
in Finland and get another ticket to fight in Japan.
been a very busy fighter this year, fighting in Europe and the UK; can you talk
about the UK fight?
Hytten : (laughs) it was for us, not a very good experience, there
were a lot of things I think werent handled in a professional way, so the
first impression of the UK fight scene wasnt that good for me and my partner
who also fought there.
this bad experience, would you fight here in the future, on a better show?
Hytten : Of course, but without saying too much, it would definitely
have to be another show.
has also been a destination on your fighting journey?
Hytten : Yes, I fought in the M-1 Russia against the World; I was in
contact with Stainslav and we had some correspondence and I said to him I had
a few guys who wanted to fight in his show and it was myself, Stale Nyang and
Thomas Rahders the heavyweight guy, as they wanted a big guy to fight plus they
wanted me to fight there as well. I am not so heavy and they only have a weight
category from seventy to eighty, which really isnt my weight group, but
they had an opponent who fitted the bill, so I had the chance to fight. I must
say that M-1 is one of the most professional events to fight in, all the fighters
were treated well and the show was also a high standard. The guy I fought was
Maxim Rudenski, I believe he was last years Combat Sambo champion, so I thought
he would be good on the takedowns and leg locks, but other than that I did not
know that much about him.
did the fight go?
Hytten : It ended rather quickly for me, I caught him in a triangle
just after a minute into the fight
did you feel after the fight?
Hytten : I felt really good, as I was very focussed in the fight and
I knew what I wanted to do and after the fight I felt very good with the performance.
did the Russians react to the win?
Hytten : I think they like it and I think they may want me over there
again to show off more of my skills and I think they liked us.
you get chance to train at the Red Devil Gym?
Hytten : No, we came down two days before the match and we just rested
and we left the day after the fight, so we didnt have time to do anything.
last fight was with Shooters?
Hytten : That was in Stockholm at Fighter Extreme 3; I was supposed
to fight one of the up and comers from the Lions Den, but had to cancel
due to injury, but the promoters Marko and August got me a fighter from Shooto
Holland, Vincent Lahtoe, who had more or less the same experience as I had as
hed also fought in Japan. The fight went good, as before the fight I was
really interested to see how I would fight in Shooters rule after fighting VT
rules for so long but it felt easy to go back to these rules and I won with a
kimura from the top after about two minutes.
the fight I found it was very easy to switch back to these rules, they werent
hard to adapt and change, but my main back up is my stand up and in the start
of a fight I always try to mostly stand up and see how the fight develops, its
OK for me to go to the ground and its OK for me to stand up, I dont
need to change my game too much.
is your weight group?
Hytten : My natural weight is 68-69K, so usually fight minus seventy
but can go down to minus sixty-seven.
are the main teacher for Shooters here in Oslo and fight under the name of Ookami;
how long have you been teaching?
Hytten : We only used to do Thai here at the gym and a friend of mine
from Sweden was one of Augusts students and he told me to contact August,
which I did and then I gathered my instructors and we headed off to Gothenburg
and met August and was hooked from the start, it was like a revelation to me to
see what the ground could hold regards fighting. We had been doing a bit of groundwork
after training, as we wanted to know a bit of groundwork before we went over,
but to see the finesse in the game and see the techniques properly was very nice
and it was also nice to see and train something totally different to what we had
been training was also very refreshing. After that, which was in 98, we regularly
trained the Shooters concepts and after that we have been training Shootfighting
are now in new premises, how are things progressing?
Hytten : We had to move from the old location, as they were tearing
it down to build new apartments, so we decided to do something new and expand
a little bit and make it bigger, so we looked for locations and found something
close to where I am now living and also central in Oslo as well and we started
to renovate around November last year and we started up with the advanced classes
around February and we started the beginners class from March this year.
you have seminars here with guys apart from August?
Hytten : The plan is to have more international instructors in the
future; as we have both stand up and ground classes here, Id like to bring
over guys that compliment each portion, there are many top guys out there Id
like to have over, too many to name.
your Thai background?
Hytten : Around four fights.
Hytten : No, just amateur; when I started to train there were approximately
seven clubs in Norway and the sports ministry here banned Thai boxing to become
members of the sports federation and many of the clubs closed their doors and
took up kick boxing, which left about two clubs, so there was not much of a competitive
arena, so when I took over the gym I tried to develop more competition and I hooked
up with Sweden and joined the Swedish Muay Thai Federation and now there are a
lot of guys fighting, but not many when I was doing it.
does the sports federation view Shootfighting and NHB in Norway?
Hytten : NHB they dont like; they had a big argument at the highest
level in Parliament as well and made a law that states every contact sports that
has KOs has to have permission to hold events and I know as I attend a lot
of the meetings that they will never allow NHB in Norway.
does that make you feel?
Hytten : I think its a great pity as I am part of the MMA scene
and its a sport like many other arts and I can see there is not much difference
blocking strikes on the ground as there are in stand up, yet when the guy gets
hit in stand up they dont react as much as most people have a perception
of it. Yet when they see a guy on the floor getting hit, they dont understand
he has options to move and defend and they just think he is helpless and the public
need to be educated more in a way to understand the game to see there is a sports
guys at your gym we should know about?
Hytten : Stale Nyang, hes one of the guys who will do well this
year and prove himself to be one of the best in the minus eight bracket; the plan
is for him to fight in Fighter Extreme Four against a tough guy from Brazil; the
guys now have contacts in Brazil, so we can expect more guys from here in the
future. Thomas Rahders is our heavyweight and I think he has great potential and
has been unlucky in his fights suffering two early knockdowns and has not had
the chance to show what he can really do. I also have a number of guys who want
to fight semi pro and amateur events and its a good time for the club with
fighters in all the weight groups and our gym will be able to provide fighters
in all these groups.
do you fight next?
Hytten : After Fighter Extreme 4 I plan to take a holiday as I have
been fighting too many fights in too short a time and my body has been telling
me this for a while now (laughs) as for now its FE 4 and will also fight
in Denmark in a Shooters event, probably fighting a Lions Den guy I hope
and I will be in Markos next Shooto event as my goal is to fight in Japan
again. I also hope to fight in Russia again at some point as well, plus talking
to you here I now know there are some good events in the UK and I would like to
hook up with these in the future and would like to fight Robbie Oliver again (laughs).
I wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing you again in the UK soon.
Hytten : Thanks
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interviews in this series by Carl Fisher