Kurt Southern Modern Martial Arts Center (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) is interviewed by Geoff Wilson


Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Geoff Wilson here with Kurt Southern from Modern Martial Arts Center Kurt Thanks for joining this episode of Fighters Coaches and Fathers We we did this Interview a week or so ago and we’re redoing it now for some technical issues So I wanna appreciate you taking the time and joining us today. Yeah, no Software here. So yeah for sure Hey, listen, let’s just jump right into it talk to me about you’re one of the coaches at modern martial arts center You’re one of the cornerman 4mf see one and a lot of your fighters over there taught to us, but let’s go back talk to us a little bit about Your journey into martial arts and your upbringing in your parents and that type of thing Yeah, okay So I guess for me my my start in martial arts was when I was about eight years old As a kid my my dad and and step mom put me in wrestling as a kid I We were I had an older brother and and we used to wrestle with each other all the time and they just wanted to put us in something that they thought we get a lot out of it I think hockey was pretty expensive for four kids. So they thought wrestling would be a good fit for us. So Yeah, when I was eight years old, that’s how I got my start Even the notes right stubb wrestling in the hood. Sorry. Yes, don’t even I think they made it worse though We wrestled more now. So once you actually knew what we were doing Sometimes he got a look Fighting each other and stuff but yeah, as far as my my upbringing goes, I would say I Had a pretty normal childhood I Grew up with my mom when I was younger, and then she actually started to get Sick, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was Again about that eight years old then me and my brother There started at that period because she was no she wasn’t able to take care of us anymore So we we started with my dad and my stepmom and then they put us in wrestling And then she ended up Passing away actually when I was 12, so that was that was pretty hard on me. That was a Tough lesson to go through as a kid at that age But my family life with my dad my stepmom was what’s good, you know, they they kept us Kept us out of trouble with wrestling and kept us You know busy and and they were loving and caring and and did everything that way but I guess that that part was was always really tough to deal with and Another older brother that passed away six days before my mom did as well. So that was a No, I guess it was it put a real damper I guess on my childhood in a way made things a little tough to deal with at that age so I did get in a little bit of trouble, I guess after that cuz you know going through that I Don’t know just as a kid at that age I did end up kind of getting into fights and doing things like that like throughout my teenage years, I think cuz maybe I didn’t Maybe deal with it as well as a guy could at that age. So in my high school years and stuff I think there’s a little bit of pent up anger and stuff because I hadn’t maybe dealt with that. So I think you know that Translated well into fighting for me, right so I was kind of would get into some fights as a kid and then once I found mixed martial arts Oleg wrestling was good to have that outlet and to go out and and and Compete and get that out of me But I think once I actually started doing mixed martial arts was really when I started to find a little bit more Peace, you know, I don’t know what it was about the martial arts I think the honor the discipline the respect that there is a little bit more martial arts. That wrestling is more sport based So it’s always about you know winning competition and they don’t always generate that same level of respect and honor and discipline that That’s just ingrained in martial art. So I think through that that really helped me to just find a better path, you know, yeah, that’s thanks for sharing that I had no idea Kurt and I find that that Story is a lot more common not exactly but I mean we talk about guys like Adam Wayne. He lost both his parents Myself my father passed away when I was 18 months old Daniel Cormier lost a daughter, you know while he was wrestling? And I think that there’s so much anger and so much Despair when something like that can happen if you get channel, it’s um, whatever you You do end up in in a bad situation Have you understand, you know, especially as a 12 year old kid, you know, you don’t Even if you have the tools and the people around you to deal with it, it’s just it’s really hard. You know you Don’t understand at that age and then throughout the rest of your life You kind of Miss that element of like support and love as well growing up So that’s there’s always a little bit of a hole there that you kind of Need to fill or have them That are that’s how I found anywhere. Yeah No I think that that’s pretty accurate across the board and I think that Where we see fighters and people see that or take advantage of it is they sort of changed that? feeling of anger and into more Like I mentioned you have really really good friendships outside of your family relationships because of that I know I do and I consider a lot of my friends brothers Because they were there for me during those tough times and you know that and I think that there is a benefit to that but you do have to Channel it. Otherwise, it’s almost an uncontrollable thing. So yeah and get into a little bit of trouble like I said in high school and stuff where You know just getting into fights and just having that, you know, it didn’t take much especially, you know if you’re out partying with your friends in high school and You know, it just happens. I think gotten a little bit of trouble with the police as the young offender and you know So not not anything super serious, but you know Thinks potentially if I didn’t have maybe wrestling or martial arts. There’s a potential where things maybe could have got a little worse maybe We’d be on a closed path, right it was there was there a moment? like a TSN turning point where you are like You know, honestly I think just once I started training mixed martial arts and actually learned how to fight There’s something about that. That’s common I don’t know something about that that makes you just I don’t know what and what you compete in it to I think that It just I don’t know gives you a sense of self-worth Somehow and it makes that other stuff just not as important. Like what does it matter anymore, right? Like let’s just do this and I think I saw a path where I could be successful I guess I saw the path through mixed martial arts where I Could really do something and maybe I hadn’t seen that in any other area of life So for me that gave me purpose I suppose so it it just helped me to channel all my energy there and not worry about anything else you I Have a good one, too. I should say I’ll give her some credit meeting my wife and and I think she definitely Kept me out of trouble a lot more and kept me balanced a little bit better too. So Between her and mixed martial arts. I think that’s what put me on the path that I am today. So Soul it thank you for that Let’s talk a little bit about The event we had back at MFC 1 and Saskatoon you guys had I think four or five different fighters Too and there you cornered a bunch of fighters How you prepare? fighters for the professional ranks Well You know, they got to work. I mean, that’s the that’s the biggest thing you got to be there. They gotta be community got it, you know at the professional ranks, I think that people should take that seriously like Like it’s a job almost, you know, they should be in the gym training no minimum two hours a day that’s that’s my my opinion depending on the day depending on how much they’ve been training but You know and of course rest is important, so they need a rest day or two a week that’s that’s important to make sure they’re getting the gains but You know, it’s nice if you know their game and if you can get a little bit about their opponent and Try to develop some sort of a game plan is always nice because there’s so much of in martial arts to train right So if you’re getting a guy ready for a fight, you can’t train all of martial arts for six weeks to get them ready So it’s nice if you can if you can pick, you know a handful of drills or a handful of Combinations or takedowns or submissions that you know, or that you’re hoping are gonna work in the fight based on Theirs their style that they already have and maybe based on their opponent style if you can, you know See any video or anything about them? So in my opinion that’s that’s the best way to do it is just think of a bunch of drills And just drill drill drill drill drill And then of course going through the sparring and the rolling sessions and then see if those things are working and make the necessary Adjustments there, right? Like if things aren’t working in sparring then we got to do something to figure it out make the Adjustments put those into the drills and then go back to my sparring, right? It’s kind of like yeah, like science experiments almost in a way, right? Yeah and this is it’s great to understand this because the world has changed since Everybody in their dog can have a YouTube channel and everything on video? So you’re able to take a look at? Possibly things that fighters may have weaknesses too or have trouble with which is great on The other side of that if you’re fighting somebody in the amateur ranks And then the first time you fight him and you have no information Do you guys sort of talk about that feeling out process? or If I do a jab to double jab, this is what he do How do you how do you sort of set a fighter up to feel out? When they’re going amateurs and are gonna take on their first fight. Yeah. I always just tell the amateur guys that you know be especially if you don’t know anything about their opponent just to Try and implement your game, right? Because we don’t know as much about the other about the other guy. So just Do the best at? making the fight go your way, right if you want to keep it standing and that’s where you want to fight and Then trying to do the best through that or if you want to take the guy to the ground You know do your best to impose your will on your opponent, right? If you can’t, you know, we can’t get a lot out of out of them. We’re sorry We didn’t see a lot of video and I just yeah, tell them to do their game But yeah
There’s definitely a feeling out process where you can Try and you know throw a jab and take a look and see how they’re reacting see what they’re trying to do See if they’re trying to go for a takedown see if they’re trying to counter and that’s just you know Just them kind of basic to fighting in general, right? yeah, how do you I heard a comment a Couple years back from somebody and they were talking about the difference in the pro ranks versus amateur and just training and what they said was Listen when fight day comes It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really matter your emotional state it You will not rise to the occasion that’s in front of you. You will default back To your worst day of training and everything in that first fight will go wrong that can go wrong and you have to Survive, and you once you understand do you get what I’m saying? I know. Yes you say in their first fight. They’re gonna feel like they’re their absolute worst I know. Well, they’re good. Like it doesn’t matter if you’re going I’m gonna win and I’m excited This is going to be great mental states important Yeah, but as soon as you take your emotion into the ring, and you get hit in the face All of a sudden there’s that adrenaline goes and oh, oh no I’m losing and you go back into bad habits instead of have you ever has that ever happened in here guys? Have you seen that and how do you how do you prepare a fighter to to go? Okay, that’s okay That’s gonna happen. Is that natural? Can you move around it? You know I think I don’t know how you prepare someone I think There’s some things that I like the phrase of experience is the best teacher know what I mean So there you can tell them you can tell them all day that they’re gonna get an adrenaline up You can tell them that they’re gonna feel tired You can tell them they’re gonna feel more tired than they’ve ever felt before because that’s how I felt in my first my first fight To like I was out there and I was just I was just amped right and and it went the full Distance to an after I’ve to lay down in the back I’ve almost felt like I was gonna puke because I just I exerted everything because it went the full time, right? I was hoping to go out there and finish it right away, right? So the whole time I was just I think I was really tense and I don’t know if I was breathing Yes, that’s a good one make sure they’re that they’re breathing but still oh I still think that Nothing will prepare you like going through it, you know what I mean? Like they you can try to prepare them mentally, but I think they just have to experience that They have to feel what that feels like and then that’ll make them better the next time right? I love that think nothing will prepare you better than then going through it. Yes The experience is the best teacher. That’s a good quote that I like because Everything, you know, we can talk to and tell the tell our students that all the you know the moves are the things we’ve done or you know, tell we’re polluting the face, but they’ll never Actually, learn it as well until they experience it themselves, you know like how it feels to get punched in the face or or how what you have to do to slip a punch or roll a punch, you know, it’s like You know we can tell them but once they don’t they don’t really get it till they do it Yeah, and then there’s a refining process To Kurt like when you say to a kid. Hey, don’t touch that burner on the oven it’s hot and they gotta go touch it to feel that it’s on then they burn and then there’s this overreaction of oh I can’t even get close to it so you kind of have to not only experience is the best teacher but you kind of gotta go in and keep experiencing that thing yeah Interesting what’s Talked to me a little bit about the bang we tie system and what you guys are doing in Saskatoon We talked about Gary Copas Cruiserweight champion that you guys have at your club. What’s it like training with a boxer and in in that system today? Yeah That much experience He’s been boxing his whole life, you know 20, maybe 20-plus years. He’s had boxing experience, right? He’s on the national team for the pro and to see him Really flourish and gain a lot from the bang Muay Thai system has been awesome It’s been really really good to see and really, you know reiterates what we’re teaching and our style and gives us you know hope for the future and then the future kids look at him too as As a role model and something they can aspire to as well even if their MMA or kickboxing But the BMT system, I I fell in love with it. I actually Went down to Train 14 alpha-male when I had us fighting from the MFC title against Tom Colicchio he’s in the UFC now, but I ended up losing the fight but still I what I got out of it is I spent a month at alpha male when Duane Ludwig was the head coach there and it was my first exposure to Bang Muay Thai system and I just like at first it was tricky because it was all new the way He he calls up the combinations and the commands that he does and and think we’re way different than what I was used to in The footwork and the stance switching and it was just it was just really foreign to me So it took me a while to like understand and grasp and feel the flow of the system and then Plus training with like some of the best guys in the world really really helped there and then I came back to Saskatoon to where we were training before and I I just felt like in that one month my growth as a stand-up fighter just Skyrocketed like I was doing things and everybody was telling me that like man you you look like a completely different fighter You’re a completely different strike. I have my striking anyway, right? and So there was that aspect to it and then I just was like, oh my god, we got to keep learning this right? So I contacted Duane and I knew he had an affiliate program. So I asked him about it and So he started sending me the affiliate videos and you know Me and Adam and some the other guys just started working them and working them and we just decided to affiliate and start up the modern martial art center and running system full-time and And it’s just been amazing and the other thing that I really really like about it That’s cool is that you know, it’s not just a system for fighters You know there is that aspect of it where you know If you want to fight you want to compete we have all these drills and these and these and these combinations and these theories and these concepts that are bad Muay Thai and But also there’s a cool aspect Oh, but that’s the traditional martial arts side of it as well where we do have a belt ranking system We do have like drills and combinations that you know anybody can benefit from whether you want to be a professional fighter or you’re you’re just You know, you just like to learn kick boxing your friend oven and then they and then that way, you know You don’t ever want to go and fight or even spar but the belt ranking system gives you goals that you can Still track your progress as you’re as you’re working your way up the bell ring system, right? He’s like I mean I’m actually a very small percentage of people actually want to get in there and like get into a cage and fight, right? But so I really like that, you know kids like are a bunch of kids that we have They still can follow that traditional bout ranking system, but still learning like modern day high level technique But they don’t have to go and fight to work the way up the belt ranking system as well So that was one thing that I thought that was Really really brilliant of way to implement to like bring the traditional martial arts back into modern day martial arts, you know So that was one thing that I really found lovely Interesting in and I hear that from a lot of people with the bang Muay Thai system and it’s surprising when I talked to Gary Copa Souza pro boxer about 20 years on the national team and and I talked to Adam Lorenz and they’re like, yeah when he started doing that he started actually becoming way better and to talk to unlearn habits for both of you guys Huh? What’s that process? Like are you erasing old habits? Do you still have those other ones? And what’s the easiest way to? Unlearn that or different or learn new habits, I guess. Yeah, that’s it racing bad habits maybe is just adding more adding and adding more elements to the game and and Learning new concepts and understanding better where the openings are in positioning and where you need to be and that all this comes from drilling, you know, we just he Wayne is one of the greatest minds in Mixed martial arts in my opinion, you know, he’s one of the two-time coach of the year. He’s he’s TJ Dillashaw his coach ride. He’s one kick boxing Championships himself and and he just understands the game at a higher frequency than most people do right so he just has dialed it down and created a bunch of drills and Combinations and concepts that you just you know If you just follow the drills correctly If you understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing them it if you drill it enough times. It just becomes natural, right? So we have we just drill drill drill is a huge part of our system. It’s just repetition repetition repetition You know, so I think that’s that’s where you get the improvement from right? yeah repetition becoming the mother of skill and ultimately you want something to be automatic and now you have to think about That’s great Hey talk to me, you know, I know we talked a little bit about well, first of all, let’s talk about MFC – I Spoke to Adam and we talked a little bit about mr Kurtz other than yourself when we talked and we were like, you know he was supposed to fight on that same card on world series of fighting and he didn’t get his opportunity then the Component to make weight and he had this big smile on his face and I was like Adam. Is there something You’re not telling me and he’s like we want to get him on the next card. He was talking about you I’m probably blowing that up. Are you thinking about getting back in the room? You know, it’s especially My last Friday, I’m not super happy with the way and you know so there’s always that like I want to get in there and and Redeem myself. I suppose it comes in to go that I wouldn’t say. It’s a for-sure thing. I wouldn’t say. It’s not gonna happen it’s I’m still a little bit on the fence about it and it’s always been my Drink one of my dreams or one of my bucket list things to do is to fight You know in my own calendar in front of in front of my people, and I never ever got that opportunity You know if I’m rejoining a farm labor That was the closest day. I have fought so It’s definitely crossed my mind so Would it I wouldn’t count it out completely. So we’ll see. We’ll see I got we got the tricky part is is you know Adam is gonna be busy with promoting the show and then You know, so if we have some of our guys on there, you know that we do have a really good coaching staff though But that was the tricky evening I don’t want to leave our other guys hanging and not having a coach because I’m fighting on the car – right? So if we can kind of figure out a way to make that work that would make it a lot more appealing to me because you know We got some of our young guys that we’ve brought up from day one, and I’d hate to you know Send them out there without a coach in their corner, which that wouldn’t happen to get We do have a an amazing coaching staff But I don’t know if I would be able to pull double duty Be in the corner and then be also fighting on the same night myself. I don’t know. Maybe I could we’ll see We’ll see I think about Did Adam do that in Saturday Night Fights, I don’t know if he did I came Back yeah, well, yeah, I mean you gotta feel caught but you know I like you get the same almost a similar adrenaline down when you’re in the corner as you do When you’re fighting will sit not not quite but you still get like that Excitedness, so I don’t know if that’s a good idea if you want to get that You know once or twice and then go out there find out I don’t know. Maybe it’d be better maybe you’d be gone by the time you got into the ring and you just be like You made that walk already to three times that day and then you’re just doing it again So maybe with just maybe with health, I don’t know Adam about that. He’s that he’s the mental guy. He’s a psychologist. Yes Yeah, that’s right Um, hey, listen, I really appreciate taking the time here. This is a great great great interview Talk to me before we go in. I mean I know we sort of talked about growing up and and your parents would talk to me a little bit about a Lesson or one of the most important lessons that you learned sort of growing up from family members That that has made you sort of into the person that you are today Kurt Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, huh? My dad has always been a big role model to be you know, he showed me He just was a great example of somebody who just worked really really hard, you know and he just did his best to provide for his family and he was he was probably the hardest he is the heart one of the hardest workers that I knew and He just showed me what it’s like to I guess Just shut your mouth and just work hard and just that’s that’s how he got things done, you know and and for me That’s kind of Something that has really helped me as well in my just my life in my martial arts career is you know I know I don’t ever go out and Sam. I’m the smartest guy on the funniest guy I’m the friendliest guy, but there’s one thing that I think that’s got me wearing that and it’s just working hard You know trying to work as hard as you can and to get what you want find something you want and just go for it Put everything into it. I think just watching him grow No, that was something I learned a lot doing that just hard work Yeah, that’s a great way to end if anybody wants to come to Modern martial arts center. How do they get ahold of you winter classes that type of thing? Um, they can email me at BMG Saskatoon at gmail.com or Check out our website if I’m a sender yxc calm There’s Google Google modern martial heart center it, you know, it’ll come up on the Google search as well classes are in the evening – every night from 6 15 12 9 o’clock, but our schedules also on our website We also have weekend classes We got daytime classes now as well You know people are interested in that people work different shift work or or night or people work 9:00 So we got a bunch of daytime classes got great staff great coaches great kids programs as well. So Yeah, come check it out. Great in a Very positive environment as well Which people are really really loved so that’s well If you’re in the Saskatoon area go see Kurt motor martial arts center Kurt. Thanks so much for taking the time and Look forward to see you later in the year whether it’s as a coach or as a fighter right on. Thank you Take care, my friend

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