Like small guy Jiu Jitsu? I sure do. One of my favourite guys to watch compete is Kristian Woodmansee.
I met and trained with Kristian in Miami a few years ago. Get to know him a little better in this interview he did for SHEBEASTBJJ:
Hi Kristian, introduce yourself; BJJ Rank and Team:
Kristian Woodmansee. Brown Belt from Team Zenith
How long have you been training Jiu Jitsu for?
I just hit my 6 year mark in march
What would you say is your biggest success to date?
Winning the World Championship last year. Working on a No Gi Grand Slam currently (Pan Am, World, European, Brazilian National no gi titles in 1 year)
I met you in Miami a few years back, when you were training under Mestre Roberto Cyborg Abreu. Now you train and teach at Robert Drysdale's Academy in Las Vegas. You've had the privilege of training under different world champions. Do academies share similarities in teaching practice, or do all schools do things differently?
Each academy has a different style to it, like a personality. Each instructor brings different characteristics to the mat and it's awesome to experience and a privilege to partake in that under so many great practitioners. Each school trains hard though, it’s a kill or be killed world on the mat when you are with a bunch of world-class guys.
Both Cyborg and Drysdale have produced world champions too. What influence does a coach have on helping a student become a world champion?
The impact a coach has on his students is extraordinary to me, that relationship that exists between student and teacher is very important when it comes to progression. In my opinion to be a great jiu jitsu practitioner one must be open minded, I must have the will to possibly fail over and over again to succeed, both Cyborg and Drysdale have taught me that.
I'm a massive fan of "little person Jiu Jitsu". As you compete at rooster weight, what are your favourite positions/techniques that work best for you, against larger opponents?
I am naturally a rooster, that’s where I have all my titles at, Problem is not a lot of roosters exist out there, at least at the lower ranks. I rarely train with anyone my size. On a good day my lightest training partner will be about 20lbs heavier than me. I try to develop my game to work at any level, gi or no gi, and against any gender or size. I stick to focusing on the weak parts of the body when it comes to the guards I play and the submissions I attack, this equalizes the size difference for me.
What advice would you give to a smaller guy who gets disheartened rolling with monsters all the time?
It definitely can be difficult on the mind and ego if not looked at properly. No one is awarded medals for how they train on the mat, as discouraging as it may be winning and losing there doesn’t really matter to me. There is a reason why we compete in weight classes, so fighting someone out of my weight class during training isn’t as impacting to me since it really isn’t realistic to my personal goals when it comes to competition.
You've recently had a brief stint in the UK. How did you get on? And how does the BJJ scene in the UK differ to that of the US.
It was nice to travel to compete and see the competition that exists outside of my normal range, and the people are awesome. I was lucky enough to compete and then travel to teach 2 seminars afterwards, by far the best experience of my life thus far. It feels like the jiu jitsu in Europe is a tad bit behind when it comes to what techniques are being executed and the intensity of the competitors. I would imagine the internet has helped spread jiu jitsu all over the world more easily but there aren’t as many top level guys teaching in Europe like there is here in the states, I think that may a reason why it’s a bit different.
You've tried your hand at MMA a couple of times. Does your Jiu Jitsu change in comparison to competing in BJJ competitions? If so, how?
My jiu jitsu is more of a no gi style, I personally hate the gi but I love jiu jitsu so I do both. My no gi game translates very well to mma so I feel comfortable relying on my ground game for mma. I would like to keep it that way since mma will be my main focus soon.
|Credit- Kristians Facebook fan page|
Your nickname is 'Dream Killer'- How did that come about?
When competing everyone is there to win, the reality of that is that only 1 person can be crowned a champion and everyone else has to deal with the consequences of that. It’s a bit intense but at the end of the day most people dream about winning a world championship, all I want to do is to people those people. One day someone just called me it and it stuck.
You're easily recognizable from tattoos, how many have you got? And are any of them BJJ related?
I don’t know of the exact number but I have a few in my eyes, I am actually typing this while getting tattooed so its ironic timing. I have no bjj related tattoos and the only one I plan on having will be after I receive my black belt, as for what it is a secret for now.
What are your plans/goals for the future?
I would like to continue training hard and constantly progress on and off the mat. My goal for the season is to win No Gi Brazilian Nationals and complete my no gi grand slam as a brown belt. After that I will only be focusing on my no gi game in preparation for the 2015 ADCC’s, where I will be busting my ass to be invited to. I have a lot of work to do to be ready for it but I am lucky forward to it tremendously.
Thanks Kristian. Do you have any shout outs/thank-yous you'd like to make?
Just thank you for reaching out, always a pleasure to be connected to people who are equally as passionate. 3Fu3l for sponsoring me, my team for the support and help, Patchez and Andi and all my supporters and family.
Check out this unusual submission demonstrated by Kristian:
You could also SUBSCRIBE to his YouTube channel
Photo credit: All Kristian's personal photos unless otherwise stated.
Shout out to Mike Calimbas who has very kindly given me the go ahead to use some of his photos of Jiu Jitsu athletes in future interviews. He's one of the best in the business so check out his work at www.mikecalimbas.com