Epic Fighting’s Joe Snell

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RollinSD caught up with Joe Snell of Epic Fighting and talked about the sport, where it came from and where it’s heading.

So Joe have you always lived in SD? No, I am originally from Detroit, Michigan. I have lived in SD for 7 years.

Well it’s a bit late to say welcome to SD.   Have you always been in to martial arts? I have been training in martial arts since 1991. When I started, I was able to train under Kris Aguillar, former SE Asian Heavyweight Muay Thai Champion. I was lucky because he was my friend’s brother in law and I got to train 1 on 1 for free!

So did he kick your ass pretty hard at first? Hell yes,  this sport is taken very seriously and they don’t baby anyone.  If you think you have what it takes, you better give it your all right away, or you will get knocked out.  After a few years training with various instructors in several martial arts, I later began training for Tae Kwon Do under Grand Master BC Yu of Ann Arbor Michigan, as well as Judo and Arnis.  I began training in Aikido in 2003. I have been fortunate to have trained with some of the very best Traditional Martial Artists in the world.

Ok, now I am confused.  Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Arnis and Aikido? I thought these were all the same thing? No not at all, each is very different from a tactical stand point as well as in their training. I will spotlight each in weeks to come and talk more about the differences in fighting styles and philosophies.

I remember seeing the first Ultimate Fighting Championships with Royce Gracie.  Were you involved back then? I became involved in MMA in 2007 and have been very lucky with the opportunities that have come my way since.  It was an unforeseen chain of events that got me to this position as a matchmaker for Epic Fighting. I was training with a local San Diego area fight team and made a few contacts here and there and was able to make some favorable impressions on people in the business. By chance, my friend Joe was teaching at the Russian Kettlebell Academy here in San Diego and he asked me to take over his classes for him.  Through that class, I met the man who gave me my first opportunity to be a matchmaker. I only had 2 months to figure out how to do the job and then perform.  So, I called up the few people I had met and started the ball rolling.  The next thing I knew, my contact list was growing out of control and I had a great list of top quality athletes. With the help of my MMA friends, I had a successful debut as a matchmaker.  During the learning process I started training on occasion at Undisputed of San Diego under Manolo Hernandez, who pointed me in the direction of Jason Stewart with Epic Fighting. Jason gave me my opportunity to try matchmaking on the Amateur level for the first time.  It’s a very different process then matching professional fights. It’s a different set of rules and a different mentality for both matchmaker and athlete.  Once again, with the help of my friends all over the country I was able to have a successful showing. I have to give credit where credit is due.  Without people like Manolo Hernandez, Steve Lara-Millennia, Jiu Jitsu, Steve Egg-Team Quest and Jason Stewart, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I am doing…… in this business your contacts and relationships are HUGE!!

Ok, so what exactly is a match maker? A match makers job is to evaluate talent and to match them up with people of similar skill levels.  We are not looking for a 10 second knock out.  That is a misconception of this sport.  We want to show off the fighter’s skills and you can’t do that in a 10 second fight.

How do you find the athletes and what are you looking for? When I’m looking for athletes for my shows I look for several things.  Style and conditioning are important, but I want athletes that want to be champions, not just fighters. I look for heart as much as I look for skill.  I believe that my job in dealing with amateur athletes, is to make them the very best by giving them an opportunity to showcase their talents against other top athletes.  I’m not looking for street brawlers. Epic Fighting wants to uphold a high standard of competition and sportsmanship, so the athletes I choose are not just names in a hat.
With amateur fighting its difficult to know what your getting in an individual unless you  have seen them perform before. Because it’s a difficult task trying to make good matches,  I try to meet as many of the fighters as possible. It gives me the opportunity to get a sense of what type of fighter I’m dealing with.

Locally we have many types of gyms. Traditional gyms that stay traditional, traditional gyms that are starting to cross over into MMA, Muay Thai or Kickboxing gyms, Boxing Gyms, Judo or Jiu Jitsu gyms and MMA specific gyms.   Judo and Jiu Jitsu gyms specialize in grappling and submissions. They want people on the ground and they want to get their opponents to submit.  Muay Thai or Kickboxing gyms specialize in all forms of stand up striking, kicks punches, knees, elbows, and sometimes throws or sweeps in addition to take down defense(if they are MMA oriented). MMA gyms work to produce fighters for the cage.  They specialize ,typically, in Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai with some emphasis on boxing. Boxing gyms are just that;  gyms that specialize in the sweet science of boxing.  Traditional gyms are most known for arts like Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Kung Fu, Aikido and many other styles.  These styles, as TRADITIONAL styles do not translate well in the cage, but with the modern attitude of training, they have started to adapt.

Awesome, loved spending time with you Joe and I really look forward to your weekly post and you featuring a fighter and gym so I can be better educated on MMA.  Until next week brotha…..have a great one. TMTMTL@RollinSD.com If you have any questions for Joe, please post them in the comments sections or email me and I will make sure he addresses them next week.  For more information on Epic Fighting including their upcoming event on Oct 29th, go to EPIC FIGHTING

John is a badass motha fucka

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