Emil Fischer is an American grappler who has been representing Meerkatsu brand for many years. An active competitor, Emil recently was awarded his black belt. In this interview we catch up with Emil to learn about his jiujitsu career so far.
Welcome to the blog Emil! First of all, many congratulations on finally being awarded your black belt (15th August 2021)!
We’ve known each other for many years now, I think we first connected back when you were a white belt. I remember even back then you were winning tournaments using (at the time) somewhat unorthodox jiujitsu.
For those new to the scene or who aren’t aware of your exploits, briefly give the readers a rundown of your jiujitsu career thus far?
I first began my martial arts journey in 1993 learning kempo karate at a Cleveland area JCC (Jewish community center). I began to look at grappling around 1998 and then began learning Gracie Jiu Jitsu under a local student of Relson Gracie named Jonathan Glassroth. I also wrestled for 2 years in high school. Between 1999 and 2011 I trained sporadically but began training seriously with intent to compete in 2011. It was also the first time I put on the gi. In 2014 I joined Strong Style MMA and began studying under my coach Pablo Castro. I’ve received all of my belts from Pablo.
You have a very impressive collection of tournament wins, I remember at one time you were competing pretty much every weekend! Your prolific comp resume would be too numerous to list, but what are your most cherished titles?
My major titles are: 3 time no-gi Pans champ at Masters at blue, purple and brown. Also, I’m a 5 time Fight2win champ. I won my first F2W title in 2018, the purple adult no gi light heavyweight title followed by the brown belt masters light heavyweight title which I defended twice and most recently in April I won the heavyweight title closing out my career at brown belt as a 2 division champ. My current F2W record is 8-2. Last, but not least, I’m the former Sapateiro Invitational light heavyweight champ.
One of my stand-out memories from your many competitions is your walk-out routine where you have some sort of inflatable unicorn? What kind of reactions do you get when BJJ folk (who don’t know you) first see you in your very extrovert training gear and walkout routine?
Haha it all depends on the person. A lot of people get really mad at me which I find funny and I get a lot of people who find my whimsical carefree attitude to be inspiring. I do it because the sport is filled with very sensitive aggro dudes who can’t handle the thought of getting their butte kicked by someone wearing rainbows and unicorns.
Behind the colourful exterior there’s clearly a very serious and focused competitive aspect to your jiujitsu, what would you say is the single key to your success thus far?
I don’t think there’s any ONE key, but if I were to assign one thing it’d be discipline. When I decided to make this a thing I do seriously I realized I had to prioritize it and train intelligently and with a purpose.
You and I both talk a lot about all things under the jiujitsu Sun…including the darker side to the community – shady instructors, sexual harassment, improper conduct, douchebags etc. You’re not afraid to call people out, often expecting and receiving negative comments in the process. What’s your motivation in doing so and what do you hope to achieve by being so active in flushing out the bad people?
I feel that people who use jiu jitsu as a supply of victims are just the worst. They also tend to be crappy in many different ways. So I don’t want them in the same space as the activity that I enjoy so very much. I also enjoy watching people squirm as I directly call out poor behavior. Life is too short to accept this sort of shit from others. Call it out and keep calling it out.
I have to ask, what is the Burt Reynolds Guard? and What other weird/unorthodox stuff do you like to use?
The Burt Reynolds Guard is a form of open guard where I lay on my side to offer my opponent positional fool’s gold. It looks about the same as the 1970s playgirl shoot of Burt Reynolds on a bearskin rug. I’ve been developing the position since late white belt. I love Imanari rolls which are somewhat unorthodox and I also love playing from bottom positions like bottom mount, bottom side control and bottom knee on belly. I find that when I actively seek attacks from these positions it throws people off
You’ve told me that you don’t care about belts as they mean nothing to the things you want to do in BJJ, however you can’t deny, as a marketing tool, it is easier to promote yourself for inclusion in high profile competitions and seminars when you have a black belt. So, with that in mind, what are your plans for the upcoming future?
Belts are silly, we should have an Elo system like in chess. But yeah there’s something to it when it comes to marketing and higher profile matchups. I have 2 matches in the immediate future, I’m facing midwest BJJ OG John Toth in a couple of weeks and then Ryan Quinn, a lesser known product of the blue basement.
Finally, let’s talk about art. Thank you first of all for always rocking my designs. It’s always a thrill to see my apparel in action! You and I talk a lot about the artwork that I do – what have been your favourite pieces?
I love the unicorn line, the honey badger line (which you did for tatami) and the fire tiger. I also really like the kawaii, triangle girl and jiu jitsuhead shirts. In fact my first Meerkatsu design was the honey badger 2.0 which I picked up on its release date I believe in 2012. Tbh most of your designs are amazing, there are maybe 2 or 3 that I don’t absolutely adore but I’m a Meerkatsu fanatic!
Many thanks bro!
Emil’s tutorials can be found on Rokfin and you can follow his online shenanigans on his Facebook and Instagram. Finally, fans of Emil will already know that you can get 15% off all merch at my store using his code EMILKATSU at checkout.