Randy Couture recently completed his first instructional MMA book designed to assist aspiring mixed martial artists develop a fundamental aspect of their fight game that is often overlooked in books about being your best as an MMA fighter: wrestling. Sure, there have been plenty of DVDs and books about Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and muay-thai isn’t hard to come by either, but few have endeavored to put out a solid book about integrating wrestling and its techniques into practice inside MMA.
We spoke with Randy Couture’s co-author, Erich Krauss to bring you some details about who might benefit from such a book and why you might consider using it to complement your striking and submission wrestling.
The FightWorks Podcast: Erich, why don’t you give us a real quick introduction to what the book is, and then we’ll get into some of the finer details about it.
Erich Krauss: Well, it’s basically a training manual for what Randy does in the ring. We had a lot of talk back and forth with him to see what he wanted to include in the book, whether it be ground and pound and what not, but he basically didn’t want to regurgitate other moves that are out there in every other how-to martial arts instructional book, and he wanted to focus exclusively on the techniques that he does in the ring time and again that have worked for him for twenty years in wrestling and fighting. So that’s what we did, it primarily focuses on takedowns and how to disable your opponent once you take him to the ground.
The book is broken down into three sections. The first one is covering his wrestling techniques. The second section covers his greco-roman techniques, and the third section is on how to combine the wrestling techniques, the greco-roman techniques, as well as striking into a style that you can bring into the cage.
TFWP: That’s pretty cool. One of the things I think of first when I hear that is, is this a book intended probably for guys with a bit of a wrestling background already who want to polish what they know, or…? I guess what I am asking is do you need a wrestling background to be able to best absorb this?
EK: No actually that’s what we didn’t want to have happen. That’s why we covered what we did in the first section of the book. If you’re a, you know, a really good wrestler you might not find the first section of the book that beneficial, well actually you will because it covers that’s the way Randy does it. But we cover all the basic wrestling takedowns, from high-crotch to double leg, to single leg takedowns, all the different takedowns that Randy does and we show it through numerous photographs and numerous angles. But even the most basic takedowns you can learn if you know nothing at all, and as you progress through the book you get more complex techniques. You get the basic greco techniques, and a lot of what works for Randy in the ring are the basic techniques – just putting in the numbers to get those down to a point where he can use them in a fight.
TFWP: What was your role in the process?
EK: Basically my role in all these instructionals we do is we go down, we do the photoshoot, we set up with Randy, we organize the book. We don’t like our books to be just a random jumble of techniques like a lot of instructionals. We try to put everything together to a system so that one move leads to the next. We show how to do a technique but let’s say your opponent counters by doing something; then the next technique we show you how to counter his counter. So we basically organize these books into something that’s a system rather than just a bunch of moves. I do the writing, Glenn Cordoza’s my coauthor. He does all the organizing, and is really good as far as captions go to make sure that all the photographs are clear and describe exactly what’s going on.
TFWP: What was it like working with and interfacing with Randy like that, and how long did this whole project take?
EK: The unique thing about Randy is that he’s done this for so long and he’s taught so much, he knows exactly what he wants to do, so there’s not really a big timeframe where we’re sitting around scratching our head trying to figure out what the next technique is to put in the book. Randy knows exactly what he wants to put in so the process was very quick with Randy. We did the initial photo shoot over two days, and then obviously followed up with a biography on his life, and the introductions to the moves and the captions and the outline. That took some time. We shot everything by Randy to make sure it had what he wanted in the book.
TFWP: Is this his first instructional MMA book?
EK: As far as I know, yes, it’s his first instructional MMA book. We do have another with him planned down the road. We’ll see if that works out, it’s on nutrition and cardio, you know, how he maintains world class conditioning at his age, so we’re hoping to get that out on the shelf soon.
TFWP: I hate to be cliched about it, because his age seems to come up with Randy these days, but it’s unavoidable in a way. I mean I don’t even know where to go with that, but did that play a part in any way the book was put together?
EK: No, not really, I mean we just treat him as a world class athlete in the top top top of his game, and so we did the same as we do with BJ Penn, Karo Parisyan, Marcelo Garcia, we just went in there and asked him what he wanted to see, we put our input in, and just came out with a really really good book.
TFWP: Was this done down at his camp in Vegas?
EK: We shot it at Legends down in Los Angeles. Randy’s a very very busy guy doing lots of different things so we managed to meet up with him at Legends.
TFWP: Erich before we wind down, tell me real quickly the number one reason you think people out there should pick this book up.
EK: Well I think a lot of people are training in jiu-jitsu and muay-thai and they’re getting the stripe and they’re getting their jiu-jitsu game down, but as we can see in UFC or any MMA competition, wrestlers have a giant edge that a lot of guys don’t bring into the ring, and wrestlers are exremely dominant in mixed martial arts. You don’t have to go in and be a wrestler but I think it’s critical that you add wrestling techniques into your game in order to be well-rounded. A lot of the wrestling techniques per se aren’t taught in jiu-jitsu schools or muay-thai schools or even in MMA schools. So I think that there’s something out of this book that every fighter can glean [from the book]. It’ll even help you in jiu-jitsu competition. We saw Randy do extremely well against Jacare not long ago. So I think that there’s that Randy has obviously. He’s at the top of the MMA mountain, and there’s something that he brings into the ring that people can get knowledge from.
TFWP: Awesome. Thank you very much Erich. Is there anything else you’d like to say before we let you go?
EK: No, we can do some more interviews down the road. We have a lot of books coming out by some of the top MMA and jiu-jitsu stars so just look out for Victory Belt Books.