Although there is no doubt it’s the fighters of any combat sport who have always taken the limelight in the media age. However it is now very much the social media age which is allowing us to see behind the scenes of great fight teams and get to know about the people who build the fighters into the McGregors, St Pierres, Holtzkins and Joshua’s of the World. In the engine room of every great fight camp there are hard working guys helping to produce the talent we see in the ring or cage. Some guys are master strategists such as Greg Jackson or John Kavanagh whilst others, are a more hands on such as Erik Paulson.
So meet Eddie Cha, a lifelong martial artist, is the quartermaster of our age. A pad man extraordinaire with an impressive array of drills, skills and a tool sharpening kit few possess. When Benson Henderson asked him to help prepare for a fight after meeting him at an MMA event in the UK, Eddie ended up moving from his own gym in California to become the head striking coach at the MMA LAB in Arizona. Eddie is interested in one thing and one thing only: producing world champions. With the skills sets he utilizes and the plaudits he’s gaining in the MMA community, it’s only a matter of time before Eddie takes his place alongside the sports coaching elite.
We caught up with Eddie for a quick interview.
RGS: Can you give us the back ground of where you started coaching and how you came to be where you are now?
Eddie Cha: I opened All in Mma in Buena Park, California. I met coach John Crouch and Benson Henderson in England. I was there Cornering Francisco Rivera against Brad Pickett. When we were warming up, they had asked Cisco’s manager who I was. Then about a week later, coach Crouch had asked me to come down to help Benson for his next fight. Then within weeks, they asked if I wanted to be the new head striking coach. I said no, I own a gym in Cali. Everything happened so fast and one thing led to another. After giving it some time and thought, my wife and I decided to move to Arizona. I sold my gym in a matter of 6 weeks! My wife was so supportive of my dreams of building world champions. This move would not have been possible without her.
RGS: Can you tell us one thing about you no one knows?
Eddie Cha: One thing not a lot of people might not know, besides maybe Koreans, is that they made a 18 hour Korean miniseries drama about my dad’s life story called “All in”. It was the biggest drama at that time. He was my first instructor and that’s why I named my gym after him. “All in MMA”. Another thing is I was also a professional poker player for about 6 years– taught by my father as well. His name is Jimmy Cha, or his Korean, Min Soo Cha.
RGS: If you could meet one person living or dead who would it be?
Eddie Cha: If I could meet one person dead or alive, I would have to say Bruce Lee. As most martial artists growing up, he had been such an influence in my life. I have read all his books, seen his movies loved his commitment, passion, and knowledge of martial arts. He’s the best. I would have loved to pick his brain and see how fast his hands were in person.
RGS: What was your first experience of martial arts?
Eddie Cha: My first instructor was my father. He’s a 7th degree in Shaolin Kung Fu. I started at an early age of 4-5. I didn’t like martial arts when I was younger. It wasn’t like how they teach now a days. It was hard and wasn’t much fun at all. Now a days, or the way I teach kids is to learn martial arts but have fun at the same time. I believe longevity is the key to success in martial arts. And if you’re not having fun, you won’t last.
RGS: Who are the people who have inspired you the most?
Eddie Cha: I’ve been inspired from my parents, coaches, fighters, and some friends as well. I have been blessed to have great people around me. The fighter that I’ve worked the longest with is Francisco Rivera. He knows what type of style I run best. Footwork, movement, feints, slips, counters and kicks.
RGS: What’s the most important piece of fight equipment for you?
Eddie Cha: The most important kit or piece that I use, or am known for, are focus mitts. I love to make fighters faster, stronger and make their hands flow. My favorite kit I use right now are actually the Revgear Speed Mitts. They complement my style of speed. Also for the more advanced guys, they are much harder to hit than the average mitts.
RGS: What’s the best thing about coaching for you?
Eddie Cha: The most satisfying thing about coaching is the bond we create after every camp. We learn so much about each other. It starts with fighting but ends up so much more. Some of my closest friends are my fighters. It’s a bond and experience no will understand especially after experiencing a win and especially a loss.
Check out Eddie’s all new instructional series right here on www.revgearsports.com