This Saturday night marks the return of Fight 2 Win to San Jose, CA. The event features 30+ bouts set to take place at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds starting at 5pm.
As part of the show Kevin Kopecky of Heroes Martial Arts takes on Manny Rocha of Strive Academy in a 185 lbs. black belt nogi match.
We recently caught up with Kevin to learn more about his history and get his take on the match,
Hi Kevin, tell us a little about yourself and your training.
I started training in 2008 at Indiana University under Evan Mannweiler. Evan and Tim Sledd (Atos) guided the majority of my understanding of jiujitsu (along with several other black belts in the Indianapolis area) until I made the move to California. I now train at Heroes and teach at Samurai BJJ Academy and Stanford’s Submission Grappling and BJJ club program. Life is good.
What do you do when you’re not in the gym?
When I’m not training at the academy I enjoy weight training and playing music. Music is a lot like jiujitsu. It’s a nice combination of physical skill and knowledge and experience. You get to drill things and you get pretty instant feedback when you fuck up. And when you do it right it’s this beautiful unique thing.
How has jiu jitsu impacted the rest of your life?
My life revolves around jiujitsu. It’s sad, really; you’d think I’d be a lot better at it come to think of it. But pretty much everything I do comes with some consideration as to how it will affect my training or my ability to teach. I appreciate the structure that jiujitsu gives my life. I hate not training as much as I love training. Jiujitsu gives me purpose, a way to contribute to my community, and a lens through which I can see and understand other parts of the world around me.
Why do you like to compete?
In all honesty, I’ve never had a strong desire to compete. I’m competing because I feel that it is good to compete. Competition must exist for the proliferation and survival of the sport. Therefore, as a leader in the jiujitsu community, I have a moral obligation to participate in competition. This will keep my jiujitsu honest. Jiujitsu done for the sake of jiujitsu eventually stagnates, but competition inherently drives growth and improvement.
How does it differ preparing for this vs. a tourney?
I don’t compete enough to effectively answer this question, but I’m really excited for the sub-only ruleset that F2W provides. I come from a line of submission hunters, and I’ve never really played the points game in my head while training. I think this will be a good opportunity to show my jiujitsu at its best.
How would you describe your style of BJJ to a fan who wants to know what to expect?
My style has been described as…unconventional. I like kimuras and taking the back. I try to use my length to my advantage whenever possible.
How are you preparing for your opponent? Anything specific?
I haven’t done anything super specific, just some basic strategizing and working more on standup and some other things here and there. I don’t really know enough about him and what he likes to do in NOGI to go and build a super specific game plan.
Any prediction on how this match will go?
No predictions. I’m hoping to go out and put on a match that is fun to watch. I’d like to hit my favorite move and show it off to the world, but I really just want to do my best and have a positive experience.
Do you have any message for your fans/coaches/sponsors/etc.?
Thank you to everyone who gave me this opportunity and to those who helped me get here.