After another gruelling MMA session in the heat of the day, the Fighting Photographer managed to corner Dave Coles in the cage and ask him a few questions; here’s what Dave had to say…..
Nice to meet you here in sunny Phuket; how many times have you been here now?
Good to see you again Carl, this is my fifth time at TMT
Why do you train out here at Tiger?
It’s warm and my joints don’t ache as much here!
What originally brought you out here to train in Thailand?
About five years ago, I started to compete in Grapple and Strike and The Combat Sports Open Trials. I was looking to develop my striking and thought a trip to a Muay Thai training camp would be a good idea.
Have you trained anywhere else besides Brazil and Thailand?
Yes, during my time in Judo I trained in several European countries and America and Canada.
In addition to Gracie Barra and Gordo’s Academy in Rio, I have trained BJJ at Machados in LA.
Who are your favourite instructors out here at the camp?
Ray Elbe who fought in last years TUF. He pushes me both physically and mentally. At the end of my two week stays I am usually half a stone lighter and have a load of new techniques and CV routines to take back to my club. I have also had some private Muay Thai lessons and like working with Watt.
Have you done any training outside Phuket?
No I generally don’t go far from the camp.
The volcanic activity has caused slight disruption to your travel schedule, how are you coping through this traumatic time?
I was supposed to fly back on April 18th, I got as far as Kuala Lumpar and with hotels costing £100+ a night, I decided it would be better, and much cheaper, going back to Tiger. Spending an extra 10 days training at Tiger, going to the beach and generally chilling out has been difficult, but I have managed to cope!
Where are you off to next after Thailand have you anywhere planned?
I will be in Brazil training for one month in preparation to fight in the master and seniors.
Where do you train / stay when you go to Brazil?
I will be training at the Gordo Academy. For accommodation, I use Connection Rio, which is run by Gordo Black Belt Dennis Asche.
Do you think training abroad is cheaper than the UK in the current financial climate?
I don’t think it is cheaper and certainly over the last seven years the exchange rate for the Baht and Real has taken a dive. I generally pay £750 ish for flights to Rio or Thailand, but I do have to go during the school holidays, which is more expensive. Once here the cost of living is cheaper.
Would you recommend training abroad to people back in the UK?
Yes, absolutely. Lots of people talk about it, but never actually get around to doing it. I actively encourage my students to get on that plane, last year five of my team trained in Brazil and three are already booked for Brazil this year.
How is the club doing in Hereford?
It’s going really well, we have good numbers with kids and adults, and we have a great coaching team. We have fighters competing successfully in BJJ, MMA, No Gi, Judo, Karate and Ju Jutsu Kumite.
You are building up a bit of a reputation for putting on well organised BJJ tournaments, how is that going?
Last year we ran our first BJJ competition and developing events that provide a positive experience for the competitors is a big priority for the club. Our events have been sponsored by CageFilm, Connection Rio and Black Eagle and we are building up a good reputation for looking after the competitors. Our last event sold out 3 weeks in advance.
When is your next competition?
On July 4th, we are holding The Hereford Open III Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championships. This will be for Blue, Purple and Brown belts. Our next event for white belts is in September.
How much emphasis do you place on competing?
A lot. I really don’t understand why people choose not to compete. There are many in the BJJ community who do not agree with my thinking, but anyone who trains under me that is hoping to achieve their belts must compete. I have personally seen, blind, one armed, one legged and even a guy with no legs competing in BJJ. There are also fighters in their fifties and sixties who regularly compete. I’m not saying I would never grade someone who didn’t compete, but they would have to come up with a pretty good reason not to.
Dave, thanks for your time, time to head off for a protein shake!
My pleasure Carl