Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Few Words with "Wing Chun Man" Shawn Obasi

For the past few months Shawn Obasi – a veteran of the UCL and one heck of a polarizing figure in the New York fight scene – has been training hard for his pro MMA debut at an upcoming Brick City Fighting Championship.  But the “Wing Chun Man” still had enough time for challenge match against Internet personality Bloodstain Lane in Brooklyn last week, which Obasi won via third-round armbar.  Weighing 278 pounds when he first stepped onto the mat at Alliance BJJ, Obasi is now 210, and apparently very capable of grappling when not knocking opponents senseless.  MMA Journalist caught up with the controversial fighter to get the scoop on what he’s been up to.

  • “I’ve just been training super-duper hard, getting ready for my pro debut.  I’m going to be fighting for the light-heavyweight belt at Brick City Fighting Championships against Carlos Cline. He’s a Gracie fighter so I’m really looking forward to that.”
  • “I’ve been training at Alliance [BJJ].  I’ve been really working on my ground game.  And of course I’ve been training my Wing Chun, as well.  I haven’t really stepped into Muay Thai like I said I would.  I have my reasons for that.  Mostly because I feel I would be letting my fans down.  They see me as a big figure in the Wing Chun community, so for me to go around and train Muay Thai, it would almost be like I’m contradicting myself.  But it’s hard.  I’m starting to understand that in order to be well-versed in mixed martial arts, you have to learn different styles.”
  • [On how the Bloodstain Lane challenge match came about:]  “He was on Facebook and I was on Facebook, and it’s kind of funny how that came about.  In my head I was saying, ‘Man, this guy talks so much shit about MMA fighters and how they lay-and-pray’, and he was talking about how he’d kick someone’s ass and do this and that.  And I was saying, ‘You know, I would like to fight this guy, but I don’t know how to go about it.’  Well, one day he left a post saying, ‘I’m going to be at Brooklyn Fight Factory sparring.  If any of you bozos want to come down and spar with me, come on out.’  I was like, oh wow.  This would be a great opportunity.  I left him a message asking what time, and all of sudden people on the thread started realizing who I was.  Then it became crazy.  It was on Twitter and all over the place, so we decided we were going to meet up and bang it out, and we did.”
  • “It went okay.  I want people to understand it was just like a sparring match, not a full-contact thing.  I had spoken to Bloodstain Lane before, and he’d specifically asked me not to go hard, so I was going about 45 percent.  I won in the last round with an armbar, and I didn’t use any Wing Chun.  The reason why is, 1) I wasn’t really trying to hurt the guy, and 2) I wanted to test myself.  The way I was testing myself was by letting the guy put me into bad situations and letting the guy do what he wanted.  My teacher said something to me a while back and it stuck in my head.  He said, ‘Shawn, when you start to win fights by beating people effortlessly, that’s when you know you’ve reached a high-level of martial arts.’  When people see the video they can tell that I wasn’t aggressive.  I was pretty much relaxed.  And it makes me feel good that someone was going 100 percent and I was going 45 percent and I could still beat them.  But it wasn’t really I big deal.”
  • [Will we see the same intensity when he faces Carlos Cline?]  “Absolutely not.  What you’re going to see is a culmination of that same theory of ‘effortlessness’, but you’ll also see emotional content.  You will know I’m fighting when you see the expressions on my face – I make crazy expressions on my face.  You can hear me raise my chi.  And that’s how you’ll know I’m fighting for real.  When I fight Carlos Cline I’m going to go at him with everything I got.  This is not a game, this is the professional level.  I’m getting paid for this.  I have expectations to live up to, and trust me when I tell you, when there’s a belt on the line, there’s no games.”
  • “It’s a really great feeling that I’m going to fight for the belt.  And it’s crazy because once I do win, I will be Wing Chun’s first MMA champion.  It’s going to be really big.  I have a chance to make history.  Everything I’ve ever wanted, I have the opportunity to make it happen.”