Coaches Corner 4/7/2015

In 1998, I started my own Martial Arts business at 24 years of age, after training since the age of 6. I was pretty young to open my own spot. The old guard of Martial Arts, at the time, was not excited to see a young person like myself stepping away from them to do my own thing. Martial Arts were different then. The UFC was more of a spectacle and the new wave of MMA training hadn’t taken over. I was a young guy coming out of a hierarchical system of Karate which frowned upon youth who thought they knew anything. Much of what was respected was simply time served. If your hair was white and your black belt was grey from use, you were respected. It didn’t matter that you were old and fat. Your belt was black so you must be good? 

In many ways, the Gracies shattered this time served mentality because they actual fought and won against all comers with skill on an international stage. Up until reality fighting came to PPV, a Black Belt was feared for simply being a Black Belt. All Martial Arts were deadly until they weren’t anymore because a skinny Brazilian named Royce choked out all comers and proved that Martial Arts as we knew it was not real fighting. The curtain got pulled back and we all got a real good look at the Wizard.

Judo practitioners knew the dirty secret Karate and TKD people didn’t even know they didn’t know,  fights can end up on the ground and you better have more than your striking to deal with it. I was fortunate enough to get thrown on my head in 7th grade by my friend who did Judo. My Karate didn’t mean anything because it had rules that stopped me from hitting hard, hitting the face, or following an opponent to the ground. My friend, who was pissed at me for something, put me on my back and made me realize that there is much more to things then the narrow view I was sold as the Holy Grail of combat.

Experience can be the hardest but best teacher. Not only did I get thrown on my head in 7th grade, my Freshman year of High School I got my 1st taste of Muay Thai. Again, I was a bit arrogant with my Karate because of the brainwashing. I came into contact with a man who was a Muay Thai practitioner who lived in Thailand for a long time and even fought while over there. I had no idea what Muay Thai was. This was the end of the American Kickboxing era with its long pants, boots, and flashy kicks. I had no idea what a leg kick was or how brutal knees and elbows could be. One hard kick to legs changed my view of everything. How could Muay Thai be good, they don’t have belts?! I was so stupid.

I stopped doing karate in High School and started training in Muay Thai. I was sick of the non-contact Karate sparring and idea that Kata would help me survive in the real world. I wanted to fight and needed to train different, so I did.

Years later, after some real Muay Thai fights and a few MMA fights, I went back to my old Karate dojo. I liked Karate for its discipline and I did like the art. I trained Karate for what it was and I enjoyed it for that. One of my friends and teammates in the dojo called me one day because he got this crazy video in Chinatown. It was Fighting Black Kings. My buddy was and still is black, I expected this to be some weird Blaxploitation film from the 60’s. Instead it was the documentary about the 1st Kyokushin Karate World Tournament. In short, it blew my mind.

That film showed me that there was a middle ground between Kickboxing and Karate that I could compete with the sense of tradition Karate gave me and the contact I loved in Kickboxing. For a short time my buddy and I beat each other up bare knuckle and shin. We had to stop because it was stupid. I needed to learn how to do this better, not just emulate the propaganda.

This was an interesting time. More combat sports were being viewed due to the internet and expansion of media. Hybrids were popping up all over. I was training Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, Traditional Karate, and Knockdown Karate. I was having fun expanding upon my base and learning from a wide range of good people. All of this is why I was confident enough to open my own spot at 24 years old. I had experience the old guard denied themselves due to a fake honor and loyalty wrap they used to keep their members heads down and unaware of this amazing world around them.

So, in 1998 I left my Sensei’s dojo and opened my own. I opened a dojo where I could fully explore all the concepts and ideas I was training. I was able to put together a system that laid the foundation for what we do today.

I have left out quite a bit above. I didn’t just train casually. I was fortunate enough to travel the world as a competitor and student. I have fought and trained in 13 different countries and just about every state. Martial Arts has been kind to me by allowing me to live my dreams and see the world. I have sweat in dojo small and large, fought in front of thousands, trained more people then I can count, and been in fighters corners on the smallest regional shows to the largest stages the UFC and others have provided.

Killer B Combat Sports is my home base. It is where my experience has taken me and the place I can share what I have learned. I saw things that I wanted and I went after them. I met most of the people I thought only existed on TV and trained with them or competed against them. I have never allowed myself to believe in separation from those on top and the rest of us because I am on top as well and I train people to stake their claim and own their own place at the top of the heap.

At Killer B, winning is what we do. In life, in sport, we win because we don’t believe in obstacles that cannot be overcome and we do not accept excuses that inhibit one’s ability to be the person they truly want to be.

I was a middle class white kid from the ‘Burbs. I got out and saw the world through Combat Sports. There is not much more an unlikely story if you knew me and my background. If I can do the things I have done, so can you.

Brian Wright

Owner and Head Instructor Killer B Combat Sports