1.Hi Remy, pleaseintroduce yourself to the BJJ community of Eastern Europe:
Hi All! My name is Remy VdrHoort. I’m 38 years old. I was born in a little village near Amsterdam (Holland) and now living in Pécs (Hungary). I’m a purple belt and the official representative of Rickson & Kron Gracie Hungary.
2. Please tell us how you got started in bjj , who did you train under, and generally your BJJ journey?
I have been a vegetarian since the age of 6. People always told me (and still do even after I tap them out), that you need to eat meat to get strong. From a very young age I wanted to prove them wrong. When my aunts boyfriend came to a party at our house and told me that he was participating in a boxing match. I thought he was coolest guy ever. (I was a small kid, and in our small village all boys played football/soccer). From this moment on I wanted to be a fighter. With this in mind and a fun way to get fit, I started doing Thai Boxing and Savate when I was a young teenager.
In my early twenties I met Nashebo Noya (currently a brown belt under Robin Gracie) who later moved to Barcelona. I visited him in Spain regularly where he constantly spoke about his BJJ trainings at the Robin Gracie Academy. So one day I joined him with his training at Robin’s. My very first class put my whole world upside down. I thought, with my years of thai boxing experience, I was a good martial artist. It turned out differently and the only thing I did really good was tapping. I immediately fell in love with the sport! The rest of my 2 week holiday I spent on the tatami.
When I came home to Amsterdam I immediately searched for a good BJJ school in the area, and the closest was in Purmerend – about a 30km commute. The trip turned out to be well worth it, being able to train at Rickson Gracie Holland under Maxim Leijdekker (brown belt). The atmosphere at his gym was very relaxed and the sparring was tough, but fun.
When I was a white belt I was very active in the tournaments all over Holland. Back in those days the belt testing was done at a very low frequency within the Association in Holland. This was because Harold Harder (the first Rickson Black Belt in Europe and founder of the Rickson Gracie Association Holland) couldn’t do the belt testing so we needed black belts from the States. This always gave a lot of logistic troubles. This made us compete in the blue belt division with a white belt a lot of times. Later in my BJJ path I was competing less because of my business in Holland which took up a lot of my time. Although this did gave me a chance to train at schools all over the world when I travelled.
A few years ago Maxim asked me to start grappling training the thai box fighters at Petres Gym to prepare them for MMA fights. In the beginning I just had a few guys coming to the training, and with 2 of them I have had great successes on the MMA fights. With one of them we accomplished a 5 no-lose-strike all won by submissions. This gave him a good shot at an M1 global tournament. I really enjoyed teaching and noticed that my patiences, devotion and eye for detail was appreciated by my students and resulted to good accomplishments. At the end of my Petres Gym period I had about 25 regular students.
When I told my teachers (Maxim and Harold) about my plans to move to Hungary, they turned out to be very supportive of this and they still are. When I’m in Holland they both make time to upgrade my game and I really feel that we have a strong cooperation.
3. Please tell us how you opened your bjj school in Hungary and how is the bjj scene is over there? How do you like the life in Hungary ?
My wife is half Hungarian and we both always dreamed of moving there. Last year everything fell into place and when the kids summer vacation started we just packed up the car and drove to Hungary. It was a now or never situation. It is the best choice I have ever made. At this point I love my life and Pécs is a great place to live if you like to combine outdoor life and city life.
As I arrived here in Pécs I did one training with another BJJ school. They were really nice guys, but their teaching style is different than what I was used to. I really wanted to do what I am passionate about.. practise Rickson Gracie Jiu Jitsu! I started in a little gym where my teaching hours were limited because of other classes. Now I have joined forces with local MMA hero Árpád Patai and together we have set up a very strong training. We have our own gym, a very nice and clean place which we worked very hard for. We have a great synergy and big plans for expansion for the future.
I am living my dream of having a BJJ school that is accessible to everyone. I have guys coming to my training from other schools like Neves (Croatia), Mázsaház Budapest, Carlson Gracie… etc. When I have the time I would really like visit some schools in the area as well. The only one I have visited here so far is Gracie Barra Budapest.. but that was years ago… I think it ‘s a good thing we help each other out, because then we can create a strong BJJ community.
4.Since you are a student of Rickson Gracie, but have also trained under other instructors, what do you think differentiates Rickson from the rest?
Let’s start by saying that I think that looking over the fence is very good and will improve your game. I motivate my students, like I have been motivated by my teachers, to follow classes of a local school when you are travelling or visiting other places. All the gym’s I trained at around the globe, I really thought were great and I loved the classes. What I do feel with most schools is that they focus on the sport bjj and not so much on the full self-defence system as presented by Helio and Rickson. I am not saying that that’s a bad thing, but to me this is just a different way of teaching. Further, Rickson is of course a living legend. Kyra Gracie once said “When I was really small,” , “I remember having asked Renzo: “Uncle, is Rickson everything they say he is?’ And the answer has stuck in my head since: ‘No. He’s much more.’” I think this says it all.
Every time that i have trained with Rickson, I need a minimum of a year to put all the things into place. I am looking forward to his next visit in Holland and his seminar on November 3 & 4. I am really hoping that I will also find a delegation of the Eastern European BJJ community there so that they can experience it their selves! 🙂
5. You have also trained with Fedor Emelianenko. Please tell us about that experience.
It is a great honour to know him. He is a very humble guy and always brings young fighters from Russia with him so they have a chance to improve their game in Holland. Peter Teijssen, the number one thaibox/kickbox and Savate trainer in Holland, is the stand up coach of Fedor and also a good friend of Maxim. Fedor was already training with Peter Teijssen but in preparation of his match against Monson the team with Peter, Maxim and Hans was put together. Maxim and Peter go way back and you can see mutual respect between them. When Fedor came to Holland and he needed to prepare for a fight he always ended up at our school BJJ Purmerend. Of course he also had more private trainings, but he also joined the regular BJJ/MMA classes in the gym. This is something I love about Fedor, He doesn’t feel he is special, although he is one of those people who has every right to do so. As an athlete he is one of my all-time favourites.
6.What are other BJJ players that you admire, and why?
Besides Rickson and Kron, one of the coolest is Renzo. He is a born fighter and a really nice guy! (Small detail – he was coaching Maxim in Japan for his fight against Nishi in ’97)
Also Lloyd Irvin has earned my respect by putting a great team together and because he is a great promotor of BJJ. And Roger Gracie for keeping it real!
7. Whats next in store for you and your team in 2012?
This summer we prepared Árpád for the WKA MMA world championship tournament in Orlando next week. Last year he came in second but this year we expect him to come home with gold.
In October a small group of our more experienced MMA fighters will go into the ring in Baja (Hungary) for which we expect good results as well.
Our BJJ team is very young. Most of my students just started in march. However, in November I will take a few of my students to Budapest to compete in the Hungarian open. We are very excited about this as it will be the first competition they have ever entered.
Also we have started to work with the hungarian police and special forces.
And last but not least we are starting a Women Self Defence training in October. I am hoping that some of the girls will like it enough to make the step to BJJ. At the moment I only have a few girls on the tatami, but it would be great if I can make a women’s team as well.
8.Do you do any other sports apart from Jiu-Jitsu and do they help your BJJ game?
Like every dutch person, I do ride my bike. But I don’t think that improves my game 😉
Some of my students are experienced in judo and wrestling, and when I spar with them I spar by their rules to get me out of my comfort zone. Besides this I do boxing at our gym as this is good for my reflexes.
9. How would you describe your personal style of BJJ?
I love to sail on technique,basics and leave the muscles behind.
10. Your favorite takedowns?
Double underhook going to mount.
11. Favorite guard passes?
Any one that works at that moment! 🙂
12. Favorite submissions?
Armbar/Choke combo’s from every position.
13.If you want to thank somebody please feel free
I am thankful for Helio for giving us this beautiful self defence system.
Besides the people mentioned in the interview and my wife (for all the support and understanding), I would like to thank my friends Micha & Paulien van der Meer for all their advise and support on starting a gym. Also I want to thank Raoul Hiwat from the Amsterdam Rickson Gracie connection for his training time, technical advise and his support.