as you. It’s the mental part that’s really tough. You could be the best athlete and physically ready, but are you mentally ready? This is where you have to get the people ready to compete.
Willie Cahill: Well the main thing is that if an athlete is so physically fit to a point where they’re so focused saying, “Man, I’m in the best shape I can be. I’m prepared”. They’ve got to realize that they’re prepared and focus and have done everything they can. Then from there they have to build they’re own confidence. Sometimes when they compete, they’re so nervous, but I tell them that the guy you’re going against is just as nervous as you. So it becomes who attacks first. It’s like when I played football. You’re so scared before a game, but when somebody hits you, you say, “Ahhh, that wasn’t so bad. Let’s do it again.” It actually relaxes you a little more after the initial contact. If you prepare yourself to the best of your ability, and knowing that you’re in top physical condition, that sort of brings in that mental attitude.
there any techniques Dr. Dahlkoetter performed that stood
out to you?
Willie Cahill: I think she makes them ask the questions. Like “what motivates you,” or “what are your fears,” or “what are you worried about.” Then she asks those questions that they can answer for themselves: “are you in the best shape you can be?” “are you in weight?” “have you done everything that can be done?” And just with that now it’s up to you to get yourself prepared mentally. Because you’ve done everything that you can. You’re at the peak of where you want to be. So that alone can bring the mental attitude up.
Mike Pechina: I always felt strong mentally when I felt that I did everything I could to prepare. It’s all in what you did to prepare and get to that point. You just let go from there. Win, lose or draw, you don’t feel bad. You know you did everything you could for that event.
Can you take us through the Olympic experience? What do the athletes feel leading up to the first day of competition all the way to the end? FightLikeAChampion:
Willie Cahill: You
know it’s the training that builds you up.
The more you train, the more nervous you get especially when it gets
closer to competition. Then you focus in
on who your competitors are and you should know exactly how they fight. Sometimes you get some people that get so
worried about how they’re competitors are going to beat them or how they’re
going to beat their competitors.
In 1988, I coached the Olympic team in
First match was the guy from
and boom he blew that guy away. Next match was against Hosokawa, the Olympic gold medal winner in ’84. When he got thrown (Hosokawa), the whole place went “Wow! Who is this kid? He beat everybody.” Now he was going to fight in the finals. I gave a protest because there were three guys, two judges and a referee, and they’re all from the Brazil Far East. You’re supposed to have a guy from Europeand no guys from your own country. They said, “Well, no one is from .” It doesn’t matter; they’re still from the Korea Far East. They wouldn’t do it so they let them fight anyway. In the match, Kevin’s leading, there’s 20 seconds left and the referee stops the match calling the two judges in. Kevin’s on the front of his stomach, and the guy’s on top of him. All of a sudden, his coach says something in Korean and shifting his hands. I began to feel that it was a set-up. Kevin was on the bottom and he’s trying to come down and choke him. The guy said Kevin grabbed his fingers to pull the choke off. So Kevin lost the match because the referee gave a penalty bigger than the score.
Who were the top Judo players that you’ve seen in your career.FightLikeAChampion:
Willie Cahill: One of
the guys was Yamashita (Yasuhiro
Mike Pechina: It was never one Judo player. I could name a few. Yamashita, Saito, Sokolov, Jimmy Pedro, Mike Swain. There’s so many. Even the athletes of today, I’m impressed with how people are evolving it to new levels. Changing the techniques to what they need. The classical techniques may not work totally today. You still see classical, but it’s conditioned enough to work against the conventional European styles now.
FightLikeAChampion: Can you compare different countries Judo styles?
know a lot about Judo. When you go there
it’s a different world. It’s like the
stuff you see in movies, when people are sitting outside smoking and talking
about Judo. Russian Judo is completely
different. They have different
grips. The Japanese Judo is really
technical. They got the good Judo. They’re still the best. A lot of guys beat them, but in the end they
seem to win the most medals. The good
thing about the Russians is that they changed Judo. Judo can now come from any place. It’s not from one country. I think the problem in
Mike Pechina: I really enjoy the Europeans because they’re so out-of-the-box with their approach. They bring something different and re-invent techniques. They polish them up and make them useful today. The thing with Judo is that there’s not a dominating country anymore. It’s truly an international sport now.
FightLikeAChampion: It seems like MMA is taking notice of Judo players. Do think Judo is playing a role now and what’re your feelings on it?
I think it’s good. They’re really good at the mat and groundwork. If they mix it up with the Judo it’s good. They’ll do anything to take the guy down. If they have the technical part it would be a lot different. But then, they’d be fighting us [laughing]. With Judo throws, you really don’t need the uniform. You can do any throw you want with just one arm. A lot of people say, “Well, you need the gi”. That’s not true. You don’t need the gi. You can throw with your bare hands. If the guys has nothing on, you can still throw. What the mix martial arts people are doing is good, and it’s the reason I let them in to my club. I’ve known Caesar (Gracie) for awhile. His guys came in with him and were really respectful and just wanted to workout. It was really good because you get to see the other side of them. They can come back anytime. I get along with Royce and also Charles Gracie. The best thing is that if all athletes would come together, all sports would be a lot better. I’ll teach them what they want to learn. We don’t hold back. I think it’s better for the sport and for everyone else. My biggest problem with any sport or anything is the political part. You don’t want that style learning this because he’ll beat me. Well if you’re not better physically and mentally you won’t beat them. Willie Cahill:
End Pt 1
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