Fights are Won at Training
Former ICNZ Fighter now Oliver MMA South Auckland trainer Kris Hohaia says “A fight is won at training, it’s all in the preparation”. With an impressive MMA resume consisting of Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Jiu Jitsu a love for Bruce Lee and more Hohaia prides himself on being able to pass on everything he has learnt and been successful at, onto those who are willing to be a part of his classes.
Hohaia along with 2 fellow trainers Brendan Mackie and Rich Barnett recently trained travelling competitors and competed themselves in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu No Gi Regional Tournament in Kapiti on Saturday 21st February.
A full on day meant starting the day with oats and blueberries for breakfast then watching over all 7 competitors and motivating them to ensure a positive result for the fighters and the gym while mentally preparing himself to compete also.
Before each competitor stepped up to the mat Hohaia was there giving sound advice tailor made to each fighter. “I always ensure to give fighter specific advice or direction like control top game etc. – no general comments. I do however tell them all to work hard and depending on who it is I either hype them up or calm them down.” During the Jiu Jitsu rolls Hohaia sat mat side encouraging, talking and ensuring the fighter was using full potential and looking at every possible move or direction for his fighter to get the win. However, win or lose each competitor is congratulated by trainers and other competitors; from here the conversation starts on the assessment of the fight, seeing what worked and what can be improved, a strategy that works well to build fight mentality.
“I didn’t really feel the pressure on myself to perform well at the competition, it’s there a little bit but it was mainly my boys I felt nervous for – I really wanted them to do well.” says Kris Hohaia in latest interview. Hohaia says the best feeling for their gym was the sense of unity and the “family vibe” – a culture this gym from South Auckland has come accustomed to. “To have everyone there supporting each other was massive – including for me.”
Oliver MMA South Auckland went to Kapiti with 8 competitors and finished with 6 fighters placing, receiving medals: 2 Gold, 1 Silver (that went to Kris Hohaia himself) and 3 Bronze.
When asked how he felt about the day he said “Myself personally my left shoulder really hurts and I wanted that gold but I’m happy. I am proud of the boys, they performed well and we have a solid team with special mention to fellow trainers Rich Barnett (who won Gold)who impressed everyone with his skill and also black belt head trainer Brendan Mackie who received Bronze in a tough division. Really happy with the whole tournament but overall the support and encouragement was the best.”
Although Hohaia has fought competitively he says that he has always had a passion for teaching, “My career highlight has been teaching others and I simply just always want to help them progress and allow them to live a dream I have always had (and they can live my dream as he laughs…)”.
Finishing the day the team came together and celebrated with a BBQ as talks of the day flowed through the group. There were conversations of other stand out fighters and rolls from other regions that competed to the highest level. There was a lot of laughs, praising and reflecting while giving thanks to trainers for guiding and preparing fighters to compete whether they placed or not. Highs, lows and everything in between preparation leading to this trip made for a successful day.
Expect to see Kris Hohaia and the Oliver MMA gyms in the near future competing in these NZ Grappler events:
28 February 2015 : Submission-Only Open Tournament, Hamilton
14 March 2015 : Artaxias Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Fight Night, Wellington
28 March 2015 : No Gi Nationals Competition, Auckland