Billy Hendricks Magazine Interview
JD: How did
you get into martial arts?
BH: My martial arts education
began in the early nineties with Kung-Fu San Soo. The training was
mainly striking and self-defense techniques for the street. A few years later, I
attended one of the first Ultimate Fighting Championships in Denver,
Colorado. After watching the fights I knew that I had to learn ground
fighting. Within a few days I had found a school and began my training
in jiu-jitsu and grappling.
During this period, I would often spar with friends that trained in
boxing, karate, kung fu, and taekwondo. With my new grappling skills, I
could take them down and submit them at will. At that point, I really
understood the importance of ground fighting. As my interest in
grappling grew, I expanded my training to include other styles such as
sambo, judo, and wrestling. Today my education still continues, you can
never stop learning.
JD: You've done BJJ, sambo, judo,
what is unique and most effective about each style?
BH: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is best
for it's use of leverage, chokes, armbars, and sweeps. Judo is great for
control, balance and throws. Wrestling for the takedowns and
positioning, sambo for the leg locks.
JD: Is there any style you use
more than others?
BH: On the ground I mainly use a
combination of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and submission wrestling techniques.
For stand-up grappling, takedowns and throws, I use a combination of
judo and wrestling. For striking, it's Thai kickboxing. Sambo is my
JD: Are people very attached to
one particular style, or are they more eclectic these days?
BH: In my opinion, most
traditional martial artists tend to be one-dimensional. MMA
practitioners on the other hand are more realistic and open minded. They
understand the necessity of cross-training. It really depends on your
interests and goals.
JD: Who's the most interesting
martial artist you've met?
BH: That's a hard one. I've met
so many people from around the world, from every conceivable background.
What brings us together is a common interest in martial arts. Everyone
is unique in there own way.
JD: What is it like competing in
BH: It's been a while since I my
last fight. For the past few years, my focus has been directed towards
jiu-jitsu and submission wrestling students and training our MMA fighters.
Overall, I would say my pre-fight training was more demanding than the
actual fights. The experience is rewarding, especially when you win.
JD: What makes a good MMA
BH: There aren't any secrets or
shortcuts to becoming a good fighter. It all begins with a great
instructor and coach. After that it's up to you, practice, practice,
practice. Remember that old saying, practice makes perfect. It really is
true. There is no substitute for experience and time on the mat.
Dedication to training and a willingness to drill techniques over and
over until they become instinctive is probably the most common trait
shared by most great grapplers. With enough training and practice,
anyone can become a good fighter.
JD: What are some common mistakes
people make when getting into MMA?
BH: Most people think they can
become proficient with a just few weeks or months of training. In
reality, it often takes years of very hard work.
The most common mistake I see is trying to learn advanced techniques
before first mastering the basics. Learn the basics of positioning,
submissions, escapes, takedowns and striking first. Become proficient at
those then start adding new the moves.
JD: Tell us about the school you
BH: I've trained and taught at
the Pancrase USA - Stars Training Center in Broomfield, Colorado, for
about five years. During that period I've been fortunate to work with
such greats as 7-times King of Pancrase Nathan Marquardt, K-1 and UFC
champ Duane "Bang" Ludwig, UFC and Pride champ Ron Waterman, World Super
Challenge champ and Pride veteran Larry Parker and many, others.
Our school offers a wide range of training for self defense, submission
wrestling, jiu-jitsu and MMA fighting. We are also official Pancrase
representatives. Through Pancrase we promote and sanction MMA and
JD: What's the best thing about
BH: For me it's watching my
students utilize the new techniques they just learned. It's especially
satisfying when they do well in competition. Nothing beats the feeling
when your student wins the fight.
JD: What else would you like to
achieve in martial arts?
BH: There are many things but for
now, my main goal is producing more great fighters.
JD: Thanks for your time Billy, I
look forward to chatting with you again.
BH: Thanks, I look forward to