Thursday, April 17, 2008
I've become a fan of Georges St. Pierre
What a wonderful Martial Artist! What an inspiration! I stumbled on an interview of him for his upcoming fight this Saturday, April 19th against Matt Serra. What caught my interest was the tattoo pictured on his left chest of what looked like the Kyokushin Kanji. Then I started reading interviews, and watching youtube videos of him.
I read an interview on Kyokushin4life:
"I started karate when I was 7 years old. My dad started teaching me, and afterward I went to a school and competed in full-contact tournaments.....I started learning jujutsu because when I was 12 or 13 years old, my karate teacher died. Before he died, he gave me my second-degree black belt. I stopped doing kyokushin and started doing muay Thai. I liked muay Thai, but then I saw the first Ultimate Fighting Championship with Ken Shamrock, and those guys inspired me to become a mixed-martial arts fighter. As soon as I saw the UFC, I wanted to train for it, but at that time jujutsu didn’t exist in Montreal. I decided to train in muay Thai, and later on I got my third-degree black belt in karate. When I was 16, I found a good place to do Brazilian jujutsu. When I was 18 or 19, I started wrestling and boxing."
Wow.. talk about cross-training! I so admire this man! I can understand just how difficult it must have been to have lost his Sensei at such a young age, and to be left searching for where he fits in, and to find his Way. My heart goes out to the pain that the young man suffered in his past.
From what I've seen in the various interviews online Mr. St. Pierre still carries the teachings of his Sensei, and honors the Dojo Kun in his interactions with others. The most recent interview that I've read says this:
St. Pierre is not your average athlete inside or outside the ring. While some star athletes exude arrogance, disdain or a major-league sense of entitlement, St. Pierre is polite, well-mannered and almost ego-free......When he dethroned Matt Hughes to win the 170-pound title at UFC 65 in November 2006 in Sacramento, he gave the championship belt to his mother as a thank you for a lifetime of support.
When a busy schedule and unexpected development distracted St. Pierre from a scheduled interview with a reporter recently, the apologetic fighter rushed over to collect the journalist, conducted the interview over a steak dinner - which he paid for - and then drove the reporter to his hotel.
"A heart of gold," says trainer Greg Jackson.
"What's not to like about Georges St. Pierre?" asked UFC president Dana White. "He's the epitome of everything you'd like in a sports figure or a tough guy. He's humble, he trains hard, he's a good-looking kid, he says all the right things."
An elegant five foot 10, St. Pierre looks like he just walked off the pages of GQ. Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Affliction (a sponsor) fill the closet.
In the cage, St. Pierre is a different man. Determined. Measured. Relentless.
In my eyes, THIS is the kind of Black Belt that I would want to become, it is also the kind of Black Belt that I have read mentioned by Sensei Gichin Funakoshi as being our aspiration. I have to paraphrase the quote until I can find it in the book again, but it says something like "His smile can charm the children, and his anger strikes terror."
I wish Mr. St. Pierre the best this upcoming weekend, and I thank him for becoming a great role model to the youth of today.