BJJ / Grappling News! BJJ app for the iPhone - Interview with Royler Gracie Black Belt Eddie Kone

As promised earlier (well, half a day late but still!) I have big, huge, ginormus news!

As soon as I posted on the Part Time Grappler and on Facebook that I was disappointed with the lack of BJJ apps for the iPhone or iPod touch, my phone started ringing! Literally within half an hour of hitting "Publish Post" I got a call from none other than Mr Eddie Kone, BJJ black belt under Royler Gracie and a frequent feature on this blog.

Eddie and the EKBJJ Association had great news to tell me about a project he's been working on. He is soon to release his first BJJ app for the iPhone: The Mount. I asked Eddie for some time to prepare an interview and called him back later and this is what was said: (are you at the edge of your goddam seat yet?!)

"Where's my money man?"

Hi Eddie. It’s great to have you back on the Part Time Grappler.

Hi Liam, thanks very much for inviting me back, to feature on one of the UK's best BJJ blogs (laughs)

Last time we spoke was at your seminar in Rotherham. What have you been up to since then?

Well a lot has happened since then, I have continued teaching seminars around Europe, My MMA Fight team Bloodline have been competing and winning on some major shows in the UK, Our European BJJ association has 2 European BJJ champions from the event in Portugal, we had Rafael Lovato Jr. teach a 2 day seminar at EKBJJ headquarters and I have spread the EKBJJ brand of BJJ to Brazil, Porto Alegre to be exact under one of my Brazilian purple belts "Jonas de Almeida" who is currently helping MMA fighter Bobby Lashley in Colorado, USA prepare for his upcoming MMA fight in Strikeforce.

Not to forget that I opened 2 more UK academies: one in Whitstable, Kent and one in Chelmsford, Essex

So I have been doing the same as always, keeping busy busy busy! (laughs)

Yesterday I posted on the blog about my disappointment in the availability of good Brazilian Jiu Jitsu / Grappling App for the iPhone (or lack thereof) which is when you contacted me with some exceptional news. Please tell.

Well after reading your blog which I regularly do, I felt I should let you and the BJJ Community know what we have been developing in the way of iPhone Learning tools and apps.

The EKBJJ Association is releasing a BJJ iPhone app at the end of this month (March). The applications will be entitled “Beyond Blue Belt” and will offer an in depth insight into specific positions within BJJ, offer BJJ problem solving techniques and easy-to-follow grappling drills to help build and reinforce your game from each position.

This is the first volume of 6 which has been filmed, directed and edited by BAFTA award winning director Paul Shammasian of the Shammasian brothers, and also sponsored by leading BJJ gi brand Atama Europe.

“Volume 1” will cover all aspects of the mount position (Mount Top and Mount Bottom) and will include mount attacks, counters and escapes. This app has been specifically designed as a learning tool to help martial artists of all backgrounds (BJJ / Grappling / MMA / Muay Thai / Boxing…etc.) with what we feel are the most common situations to be caught in when competing or sparring and will not only offer you the attacks but also the counters and escapes to those moves so it will assist anyone from white belt to black belt.

The techniques within this iPhone App (suitable for iPod touch too) have been used by competitors from around the world and form part of the curriculum we teach at our BJJ association.

We thoroughly researched the market and found that a lot of BJJ apps were not only very poorly made but also did not offer the clarity and / or instruction to detail that we put together within this interactive BJJ learning tool. I also found that a lot of the apps available had  extra fees involved when you purchased the app so we wanted to be specific hence why we labelled the apps after the position e.g. the mount etc so consumers know exactly what they are getting when they buy it with no additional costs.

How did you get involved with such big names such as Atama and the Shamassian brothers?

Well the Atama brand came about by complete fluke! After we had completed filming the first volume we noticed by complete chance both James and I wearing Atama Kimons. I have to add Atama Kimonos are by far one of the best made gis / Kimonos I have ever owned, and also one of my favorite kimonos, so I wrote to Pedro who is the head of Atama Europe explaining what we were doing and our vision with the app amongst other things and how I would like to work with him and the Atama Europe Brand.

After some conversations; Pedro (who is a really nice guy) & I were able between us to find a way that we could work with each other to achieve what we see is the potential for this series of apps, and who better to team up with then the best kimono manufacturer in the industry (laughs).

The Shamassian connection is also another blessing*, both brothers train at my main BJJ academy and both are extremely creative and talented individuals within there own right.

Paul Shamassian who I have become very close friends with has produced some great video documentaries (Liam's note: One of which I featured in :)) for my BJJ association and has taken some great photos for me.

I had the concept / idea for creating an app for over a year. I mentioned this to Paul to get his creative opinion about it at which point Paul said maybe he could help me out with the filming etc.
Of course I jumped at the chance; having seen his BAFTA winning work in the film Romans 1220.

 His creative side has just taken this app to a complete new level because Paul is the type of guy who is never satisfied with the product (laughs) and he has done so much work on this app we decided to form a partnership which I know I am truly blessed to have both Atama Europe and Paul Shamassian with me. This partnership continues to set the bar for quality on the BJJ apps.

Wow that’s a great undertaking. Who do you have in mind when you were designing and filming this App? Who is it best suited for?

This app is geared towards martial artists in general but more specifically the BJJ practitioner who’s interested in raising his or her game with techniques that have been tested in the advanced divisions: blue, purple, brown and black belt. Learn mount attacks, defence and escapes from a Royler Gracie Jiu Jitsu black belt.

The app will help you with easy-to-follow instruction and easy-to-follow BJJ lessons to help raise your game, so it doesn’t matter who you are or what level you are at I am very confident there is something within this app for you.

Do you see it as a problem solving tool? What issues does it address?

I’m so glad you asked this Liam. Yes I do because the way the techniques are taught in sequence from particular positions; the student can build their game and map out their attacks, counters, and defences from the common positions of dominance.

Everyone knows a way to mount, but not everyone knows how to maintain the mount. A lot of people learn a technique but can not understand why it works on some people and not on others.

Within this app we hope we can answer those grappling questions and provide solutions to those problems, but also help you develop your own solutions.

That’s excellent. Now tell people a little more about the logistics (length of segments, transferability, price…etc.)

Well the app technique segments are around 5mins per video there will be around 16 techniques give or take a few with some great bonus material which you will have to buy the app to see what it is. The bonus material on its own will be worth it this I can assure you (laughs).

This sounds great. When did you say we can expect to see it on the market?

We have a release date for the end of March or early April 2011, we want to get this right and make sure that it is a product that we would purchase and use ourselves. I have let some black belt friends** of mine have a look at parts of it and they all seem to like it so it’s looking good so far.

And if people are interested and want to find out more details where should they go?

Their best bet is to check out our blog at the moment but there will be an updated site for the iPhone app coming soon.

Many thanks for this interview Eddie and for giving me a chunk of your busy schedule at such a short notice.

Thanks for taking the time to interview me, and I will always make time and support anyone who helps grow BJJ in Europe or the world.

Also thanks to Pedro at Atama Europe , Paul Shammasian , James Gregory and my family for supporting and helping me make this dream a reality, and thanks to you Liam for taking time to talk to me.

*This is my comment. I’ve known Eddie for a relatively short while and one thing I can tell you about him that shines thru our conversations, emails, interviews…et.c. is that the man is one grateful son of a gun. He’s very, very humble. I love that about him. It makes being around him, learning BJJ from him and generally chatting with him a great pleasure. He’s so grateful you took the time to talk to him; he makes you feel like king of the world!

**Dude knows a lot of cool BJJ black belts :)

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cookster_328 said...

Excellent! I will look out for this app. Only heard good things about Eddie Kone, seems like a cool guy.

A while ago I interviewed Marcelo Brigadeiro for UKMMANEWS and in our conversations I mentioned to him about rolling out an iphone/ipod app for Luta Livre. I know he's a very busy guy, but that is another one I'd love to see hit the market.

Also Levo's old no-gi guard and half guard videos that he did way way way back would, im sure, have a whole new audience if bought into the 21st century and put onto itunes.

Dunno why I'm giving you my i-apps wish list?? hahaha - Make it happen Liam :)

Cheers for the interview mate, good read.

The Part Time Grappler said...

@cookster thanks for the kind words. The app looks very snazzy and Eddie is a true perfectionist.

Thanks for the confidence vote :) I will see what I can do to make it happen haha :o)

oh oh oh and do me a flavour and use the twitter and facebook buttons below to promote the interview. Haha YOU make it happen :)

Georgette said...

I hope they'll release an android version soon????

The Part Time Grappler said...

@Georgette (and the world) this version will already work on android phones. Yeay!!

Megan said...

Psyched...I'm starting to use aps more than my books. Definitely picking this one up.

The Part Time Grappler said...

@Megan. I'm currently puling my hair out trying to get training dvds onto the ipod. This should be a welcome change :)