Mike Fowler is famed for his unique leopard print hairstyle and his fast rise to the top of BJJ, having achieved his BJJ black belt under Lloyd Irvin in 3.5 years. As a competitor, Mike Fowler has also made a name for himself winning against many big names of the sport, having become one of the most famous products from Team Irvin’s camp, doing justice to the famed “Grappling Blue Print” advertised by Master Lloyd. He has been living for the past few years with his wife Tracey Goodell on the Island of Oahu in Hawaii. In this interview with pantarei.fr he talks about the Island life, and sandbagging in BJJ among other things:
There is a lot of talk about « sandbagging » in jiu-jitsu competitions. You are one of the perfect counter-exemples of this. What do you think about competitors winning major competitions at a belt level and competing again the next year, in the very same category? Do you think the IBJJF promotion standards get it wrong with the new generation of full time training athletes?
MF : I think their should be individual cases taken into perspective. I have seen a world champ brown belt return the next year and lose in the first rounds. Maybe his instructor felt when he won he wasn’t ready for the blackbelt. Who knows the personal issues or reasons. But I don’t feel he should have been denied to compete because he won the previous year. Then take my wife Tracey, she won the weight and Absolute after getting the purple only weeks prior. All but one match ended in submission. Should she have to compete as purple again the following? So. I agree there should be limitations but its individual no matter what way you look at it.
In one of his last, Jordon Schultz, a Lloyd Irvin student, spoke about the « extraordinary lifestyle » Lloyd provided him. You live in Hawaii with your wife Tracey Goodell, teaching jiu-jitsu. It’s seems like a pretty good « extraordinary lifestyle » for me, better than living in the Lloyd Irvin « Jungle »! What are your thoughts about it?
Mike Fowler : It really depends I guess. If you are free and able to have the ability to go and live and train and compete then it would be the best environment. Just like Olympic training facilities, wrestling camps, etc, etc. I love the island lifestyle and I love jiujitsu. I am blessed to be able to live in such an amazing place. I have to be by the water. It’s when I’ve felt the best. But everyone is particular in their own way.
How would you define the « jiu-jitsu lifestyle »?
MF : Living jiujitsu! Everyday is spent training in some sort of fashion whether it be watching, note taking, training, talking, whatever. But it also affects the way we think about the rest of our lives. Giving structure and better judgement, problem solving, etc, etc.