On March 1st, 1998 Joel Gerson stepped into the ring against Japanese Shooto superstar Rumina Sato.
At that time Rumina Sato was undefeated in Shooto, Japan’s oldest MMA promotion. Think of him as an early version of Georges St Pierre – an explosive, unorthodox fighter who could punch, kick, and attack with a dizzying array of upper and lower body submissions.
In this era Japanese MMA stars were typically given several ‘easy’ matches in between tougher bouts in order to keep them fighting and to build up their records.
So giving Sato an unknown Canadian fighter who had never had a real MMA fight really did seem like feeding a goldfish to a shark.
But the world (myself included) didn’t know was that Joel was brown belt in both Judo and Jiu-jitsu, had a ton of competition experience, and was one of Carlos Newton’s main sparring partners.
Less than 4 minutes later Rumina Sato was stuck in a DEEP armbar and the ref stopped the match.
In episode 267 of The Strenuous Life Podcast Joel and I go deep into that historic fight, the differences between MMA training then and now, the mental side of performance, and much more.
There are a few different options to listen to this interview…
Option 1: Listen to the Joel Gerson interview here on this page
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Option 2: Stream the Joel Gerson interview within the Grapplearts BJJ Master App
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Option 3: Listen to the interview using any major podcast player app
You can also listen to every episode of The Strenuous Life Podcast (including this one) on phone-based podcast player apps, some of which you already have on your phone!
Here are the links to find the podcast on various players – today’s show with Joel Gerson is episode 267…
- Apple Podcasts (the purple app on your iPhone)
- Google Podcasts (the new google podcast app)
- Spotify (it’s free)
- Google Play
If you’re interested in BJJ, Judo, and/or MMA then I think you’ll really like this one!
00:33 – Introduction – Armbarring a legend
08:28 – Early days of training BJJ and Judo
15:03 – MMA training in the late 90’s
25:23 – Finishing the fight
35:26 – The history of Shooto
39:43 – Training with Carlos Newton
42:57 – Gifted martial arts learners
45:08 – Do you want to fight MMA professionally?
51:47 – The art of teaching MMA
56:24 – Getting back into competition after a 20 year layoff
1:01:41 – Joel questions Stephan about his 1000 mile solo trip
1:08:45 – How to study the art of BJJ
1:13:39 – Why are jiu-jitsu students so analytical?
1:17:51 – Brain damage in the striking sports
I hope you enjoy this!
P.S. Here’s video of Joel beating Rumina Sato in his first MMA match!