Interview with Mr. Marco Lala

1. Mr. Lala, how long have you been involved in the martial arts ?

I've been involved in the Martial Arts since I was 13 years old with Kempo lessons. I actually started weight training when I was 12. There was a time when I hoped to be a combination of Bruce Lee & Lou Ferrigno of the show Incredible Hulk. Even then I was delving into cross training and conditioning to improve my Martial Arts Training.

2. What instructors have had the most influence on you as a martial artist ?

The Instructors who have had the most influence on me as a Martial Artist must begin with Sensei Hioki (who currently teaches in Arizona). When I started KyokushinKai training, Sensei Hioki had just recently come to this country from Japan and slept at the Dojo (school). At the age of 14, I was dramatically influenced by his dedication. Here was man who literally ate & slept Karate and was also in his fighting prime so I was exposed to tremendous training, conditioning, and fight preparation as a youngster. When he moved to Arizona, I began training full time under our master Shigeru Oyama. Shihan Oyama was one of the most prominent Martial Artists in the world... a direct disciple of the legendary Mas Oyama. He had taken me to the next level and helped me achieve championship level status in Bare Knuckle full contact fighting. The next instructor was my Judo/wrestling /ju jitsu coach- Sensei Oishi. I started training privately with him for about a year and literally memorized all the ceiling tiles in our school because of his tremendous pinning ability. I then trained in his school (starting as a white belt) even after 15 years of Karate training & full contact experience. I began entering judo tournaments even though I did not even understand the rules. He gave me a brown belt after 18 months of training and began fighting against Black Belts with as much as 10-15 years of experience on me. I guess it was a combination of my teachers & my ability to synthesize & assimilate information and apply it quickly. That is why I feel that people really enjoy my video products!

3. The material that you teach on your videos seems to have a lot of western boxing traditional karate influence. Would this be an accurate description of what you are currently teaching ?

Although many of my earlier tapes have a western boxing & traditional karate influence, everything I did had to have a practical aspect to it or else it wouldn't stick. My later tapes have focused on grappling & ground fighting and are actually being considered some of my best & most comprehensive works!

4. What is different about your martial arts curriculum as opposed to what is currently taught by more traditional martial arts instructors today ?

When I was teaching full time, my curriculum began changing dramatically from the traditional karate that is taught in many schools. I tried to maintain a formal environment with uniforms and the like, but my training was geared to developing the TOTAL fighter. I've had students with as little as 6 months of training enter striking & grappling tournaments and do extremely well. I was definitely on the right track to developing the future "Hybrid" fighter!!

5. Do you have a “martial arts philosophy” that guides you in your teaching as well as in your personal training ?

My philosophy is very simple. There is reality, and then there is what people think is reality. We must strive for the truth. Most of the time the Truth is not something we want to know or are uncomfortable with. This is true in the martial arts as well as life. Just recently, I've been able to take my Martial Arts training and apply it to the very competitive field of commercial real estate brokerage. Within the first 12 months I was able to close on over 5 million dollars worth of property and become one of the top agents in my office. People who watch how I teach on my tapes will know why I've been able to make something like this possible. Attention to details, realistic information & a focused approach to accomplish goals.

6. What is your opinion on the grappling phenomenon that has seized the martial arts community in recent years ?

The grappling phenomenon that has seized the martial arts recently was probably one of the best things that could have happened to the martial arts. It might have made things a little more economically tougher for the typical one style martial artists. But it was a dose of reality that everyone needs. It's comical when I still read how people don't think grappling is important or no big deal. It is actually history repeating itself. Sort of like the invasion of the Jiu Jitsu experts from Japan in the late 1800's & early 1900's in various parts of Europe & eventually the U.S. There was a time when non Asian fighters didn't even know "secrets" like the stomach throw. Then they started tying & beating their Japanese counterparts...

7. Do you teach any type of ground fighting/grappling in your school ?

I do teach grappling with a strong influence from Judo, Jiu Jitsu and wrestling. Frankly, if a form of grappling does not resemble Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo or some form of wrestling, it's probably a very weak, watered down attempted at grappling. If one studies the history & evolution of BJJ, Judo and wrestling one can only come to the conclusion that techniques stick around or survive under the most difficult tests... actual fighting encounters. Add to that full contact Karate, Muai Thai & boxing & you have a frightening combination and awesome self defense arsenal!

8. In your martial arts teaching, do you address the psychological/mental component of fighting ? By this I mean such topics as dealing with adrenaline dump, pain tolerance, etc.

In my teaching & training, I try to address many psychological/mental components of fighting. I do feel however that things like adrenaline dump, pain tolerance, fear management must be experienced... not taught in a lesson or text book. You need to EXPERIENCE adrenaline, pain & fear to learn how to master & control these components!

9. Here at MAVR, we have given reviews to your videos ranging from very good to excellent. What do you think is your best work so far on video ?

It's very difficult to determine which are my best video's. I'd like to think that each and every tape I made was better than the one prior to it. I do know that most every customer who needed to improve a certain aspect of his training could be sure he was going to get the best information on that topic... whether it was ab training, stretching or strangling techniques.

10. Which of your videos would you recommend to a beginner in the martial arts ?

For beginners, I normally recommend my conditioning & stretching tapes. Then it depends on whether they want to focus on grappling or striking. Some of my favorites are Video encyclopedia on kicking, Advanced grappling & ground fighting, Strangulation tapes, Karate Boxing Connection.

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