The story of my life begins in Hom’la – Cameroon when I was born in the year 1984. At the age of five, I got involved in Judo through watching TV and a bunch of guys with some white clothes throwing each other. At the time I had no clue what it was, I just started playing around with my friends on the play ground until my brother’s friend (Tchapkui Fred) introduced me to Judo.
I fell in love with the sport the first time I got in the gym. I had so much fun. After a few practices I set my goal to get my Black belt. My first match was one of the toughest matches I had ever been in. After that, I decided to better myself and train harder than ever. At the age of 13, I jumped in the adult training session. I was the skinniest, smallest one on the mat. The first thing I got from it was a sprained ankle that kept me stuck home for more than 8 weeks forcing my father to take my Judogi away from me, because I was just thinking about going back to Judo despites the cast on my ankle. As crazy as it sounds, I had to steal my Judogi to go to Judo and hide it at my friend’s (Gomez) house afterward. It went on and on until my dad realized what was going on and finally allowed me to attend practices again.
During a Saturday morning session, I saw my Judo sensei being thrown all over the place by Olympic Gold winnerMarc Alexandre who was leading a French team to come and compete in The “Tournoi International de la Ville de Youande.” I decided I was going to be as good as him. Especially after receiving an authographed picture of the champ. I kept it and told myself, one day I will be an Olympic gold medalist as well and will have my own authographed pictures.
I had a chance to go to the All African Games and two African Championships. I got my butt kicked so bad that I spent some time wondering how that was possible. I thought I was training hard enough.
In my quest for better training for the Olympics, I made the move to the US where Judo America gave me a chance to train and compete as much as possible. During my training in San Diego, CA, I won a few tournaments such as theUS OPEN, California State Championships, and the San Jose Buddhist Tournament. I also had a chance to have a match with Olympic class athlete “Shinohara” in 2003 that I won by Yoko after a shy O soto Gari. That motivated me even more. I started training harder and harder.
Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have a chance to go back home and attend the Olympic trials due to my visa situation in the States and my finances. I was a student, wasn’t working that much (20 hrs a week) and I really couldn’t afford the trip. I was so bummed that I threw my gis under my bed because seeing them would remind me of my dream that never came true.
I decided at that point to just focus on my school and work and pay off my multiple debts… nothing else. One night at work, my boss – Lou Demas who was a Greco Wrestler back in the old days, asked me to come out in Temecula to help MMA icon Dan Henderson prepare for a fight against a Judo guy (Nakamura). I wasn’t really excited about it because I did not have a good knowledge of MMA. After a few weeks of him trying to convince me into it, and after a bunch of trash talking I decided to get my gi out from under my bed and put it one more time… Just to shut my boss up.
I got to Temecula and did what I knew best… threw people around. After my first night of training with Team Quest, I was so exhausted, excited and curious to learn some boxing and kick boxing so I could do crazy stuff like Jean Claude Van Damme. I always wanted to learn some boxing, but my mom has always been against it. She would tell me: “If you ever start fighting, I will beat you up myself…Boxing isn’t for nice people” Scary huh?
But I was in San Diego and she was back in the Jungle so I started training with Team Quest occasionnally. After Dan’s fight, I was asked again to help rulon Gardner get ready for his first MMA fight against Yoshida. That’s where I really fell in love with MMA. Getting my butt kicked by Rulon made me realize that I really needed to work on my striking. I started learning Muay Thai, got beat down by a girl on my first night. I think she finished me with two leg kicks. I couldn’t believe it. I was at least 40 Lbs heavier and way stronger. I didn’t expect that kind of thing to happen to me. That gave me a better clue on where I was as far as my striking.
In the gym, I hooked up with my good friend Ricky Guro and we started some insane training. A few months later, I had my first Thai fight. I never knew three rounds of three minutes in the ring could feel like an eternity. Somehow, I won that fight, gassed and super exhausted.
A week later I had my first sanctioned fight that I won by TKO (leg kick). Thereafter, I started my MMA training with Team Quest and after a some practices, I finally had my first MMA fight in San Diego. It was such a fun experience. I had a tough fight against a tough fighter but I came up victorious.
My second fight was a little North, in the State of orgegon – Portland. I got rid of my opponent in the first round with a left kick to the neck… Sweeet!!!
I know I’m still new to this and I have battles waiting ahead of me… I just can’t wait to have a fight where I can’t even move a finger the next day…
But please don’t tell my mom I’m fighting, I will be in BIIIIG Trouble…
The Rameau Sokoudjou story will be continued.