(l to r)John Baylon w/ Mike FowlerJohn Baylon, who recently received his BJJ black-belt, was kind enough to field some questions for BJJ-ASIA. Some may have only come to know about John since his match with Mike Fowler at last year's 'Hajime' event in the Philippines but he's been a strong figure in the Judo scene both locally and internationally. Thanks to Stephen for helping coordinate this interview. -Luke
For those that aren't familiar with you, could you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got started in BJJ?
I am John D Baylon 5’9 of height and I was born on Nov 6 , 1964 in the Philippines. I started training BJJ in 2002 during my preparation for the Asian Games.
You were recently awarded your black-belt in BJJ by Wado Toshiyuki at Aacademia Az in Japan. Could you tell us your history with Wado-sensei and training in Japan?
Since I started my BJJ training in Japan , Wado Toshiyuki is my instructor and every time I go back to Japan for training.
Even before your recent promotion, your accomplishments in Judo both locally and internationally have been very impressive. Could you share with us how you got started with Judo and how you came about cross-training between Judo and BJJ?
I started playing Judo since 1985 at Kodakan Judo Institute in Japan. Then I returned to the Philippines for two years. After two years I was back in Japan for seven years during this time I received the 6th Degree Red and White belt from Kodakan. I started cross – training between Judo and BJJ because the movements of these two are very similar and wherein I could develop my grappling skills.
Competitors like Flavio Canto & Dave Camarillo have been known to successfully meld both the stand-up and ground game in competition. How have you approached either art in training and in competition?
I focus on the standing , but if I can’t make it I apply the grappling techniques
For those thinking about cross-training, what suggestions would you have for them in regards to their mindset and approach?
I suggest that they stay focused and give all of what you have.
Could you share with us your training regiment within a given week? and does this change when preparing for a major competition?
I have standing training at Rizal stadium ( 3 times a week , 2hrs per session) Grappling training ( 4 times per week – 2 hour sessions ). If I have my major competitions I go to Japan for Judo training at the University of Tsukuba or in Tokyo, cross training in BJJ Academia AZ Japan.
Your dedication brought you to Japan for extensive training as early as 2000. Please share with us your experience, cultural difficulties and how things have changed for you since those early days.
I experienced some difficulties during my stay in Japan , first of all the financial requirements, I needed to adjust to the environment including the Japanese culture , and I also had to study their language for me to be able to communicate with them.
Most recently, you fought one of America's better-known BJJ black-belts, Mike Fowler at 'Hajime', a Judo event in the Philippines. Please share with us your thoughts on this match.
It was an honor for me to be matched with Mike Fowler a famous BJJ Black Belt. During the competition I kept in mind that I will give my best to defend myself in front of the Filipino people.
What are your plans for 2009?
My plans for this year , I should be focused on training, for the SEA Games preparation. If I will be given the chance I want to join in some BJJ competitions.
Any advice you'd like to share with the community?
Being an athlete is a choice, may I suggest to those people who want to enter this profession assure yourself that you are willing to give your commitment in time, dedication and determination to be able to achieve your goals.