Zak Maxwell on The Right Way to Fight Bigger Guys, and Beating Kron Gracie


Zak Maxwell is one of the best current American Black Belts. He is the son of the famous Steve Maxwell.

Short biography from BJJheroes:
“He was graduated black belt by Regis Lebre in 2010. Maxwell became one of the hottest prospects in American BJJ after winning the Mundial (World Championship) as a brown belt in 2009, he has since changed his status from prospect to certainty by winning the 2011 Las Vegas World Pro Cup Trials only a few months after receiving his black belt defeating a seasoned veteran (Marcelo Mafra “Lapela”) on his way to the podium.”

1. Hi Zak can you please introduce yourself to the Eastern Europe BJJ community? 

I’m Zak maxwell I’m 23 year old black belt . I now live and train at Gracie San Diego.

My titles include
3x pan am champ 1x absolute champ(blue purple and brown)
1x world champ and 3x medalist absolute(blue purple and brown)
Spring open and 2x abudhabi pro trials champ(black)

2. How did you start training BJJ, and at what point did you know that you wanted to become a pro BJJ fighter?

I started training bjj with my dad back in Philadelphia when I Was a little kid. He was just a purple belt at the time. Eventually he and my mom brought my coach Regis lebre up from Gracie humaita in rio to be the instructor there. From then on I trained with him.

3. Please tell us about your academy in Philadelphia 

I started Gracie academy Philadelphia in 2010 with Brian Rago. The the level there is fantastic and brian is an excellent instructor with many titles of his own. I encourage anyone in the area to check it out. Thegracieacademyphiladelphia.com

4. Did you ever feel pressure from your parents to train BJJ or was it just something that you loved from the beginning?

I felt pressure when I was younger and it took some of the joy out of the sport for me. If it wasnt for Regis I may not of chose to do this as a profession. I’m truly grateful to him for pushing me in the right direction.

5. You have beaten some much bigger opponents in competitions. What advice can you give us regarding dealing with much larger and stronger opponents?

A larger aponant may have the advantage in strength but not necassarily in leverage. A larger person leaves larger gaps while the smaller guy has less space to take advantage of.

6. Can you please give us a detailed insight in your training regimen both BJJ and S&C (while preparing for a competition, and also when there isn’t a competition)

I train twice a day plus conditioning twice a week. I alternate strong training days and light training days. Strong ones usually consisting of lots of sparring and positional drills and light ones mostly drilling and practice. As the tournament gets closer I start to scale back the intensity and do more skill rehearsal type training. I try to time all this so that I can hit my peak at tournament time.

7. How did it feel to face your team mate Kron Gracie and to beat him at the San Diego Trials?

It was a good match. Kron is incredibly tough and always dangerous. I admire him greatly and always have ever since I first met/trained with him in rio when we were teenagers. Seeing him fight always had an impact on me and still does.

8. Who are the toughest competitors you’ve faced so far?

That’s hard to say. I’ve faced leandro lo, jt Torres, Lucas lepre romulo barral. Roberto satoshi. Just to name a few.

9. What is your opinion on crossfit training for BJJ?

I don’t have much of an opinion on crossfit. My workouts serve the purpose of building general strength and stamina without getting overly sports specific. Everything else comes from just training jiujitsu.

10. What are your competition plans for 2012/2013

My plans for 2013. I really want to learn more about myself as a competitor. The more i compete the more I can reflect on my strengths and weaknesses and improve my skills.
And maybe collect some Gold medals in the process.

11. thanks Zak, all the best!

Thanks guys!

Zak Maxwell Vs Kron Gracie
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