Whether you have only just started BJJ or are a long time grappler there will be no doubt that you have come across Budovideos - it's like a gigantic Aladdin's Palace of jits-related goodies. I've been scanning their site for years and even purchased the odd item here and there. From my experience, when you order stuff from Budovideos, it arrives pretty damn fast.
As well as selling a huge range of gear and media, Budovideos also produces the live internet feeds from many of the major grappling tournaments, and for that, we are most thankful indeed! But what really got my attention recently, was the increasing presence of British fightwear brands being stocked by Budovideos.
To celebrate the rise of the Brits, and, to help build up towards the forthcoming ADCC tournament in Nottingham (also being covered live by Budovideos), I bugged co-owner Jake Mckee, aka Budo Jake, for the lo-down on how his empire began...
|Jake chilling with Andre Galvao|
Meerkatsu: Hi Jake, very briefly, for those who are not aware, please give the readers a BJJ-based introduction to yourself?
Budo Jake: I started training in the martial arts when I was 13 years old but it wasn't until 2005 that I started training in BJJ (due to my wife's urging!). Marcio Feitosa has been my main instructor at the GB HQ in Irvine, California. Since then I've had the chance to train with a lot of the biggest names in our sport on my web-based show Rolled Up. I'm now a brown belt and feel that the learning never stops in this amazing art.
Budovideos is a hugely successful webstore - when did you begin this site and why is it called Budovideos (when you obviously sell more than videos)?
10 years ago I had just moved back to the US after being in Japan for 3 years. Ready to make a fresh start I convinced my long time friend Budo Dave to take the plunge with me. At that time there were no martial arts instructional DVDs available in the US. Can you beleive that? It was only VHS tapes. So we called the store "Budovideos". Soon we started carrying much more than just videos. Now we are well known as carrying the largest selection of BJJ kimonos, with brands from all around the world. We soon felt the name was not representative of what we carried but nowadays we are making more online video content - such as Rolled Up, Mat Culture, Glovers Travels, etc. So the name is starting to make sense again. lol.
You sell a wide range of brands - what criteria makes you decide which brand to stock?
Yes, we have a huge database of customers worldwide and we try to carry whatever they are looking for. Criteria that we use include: originality (is the brand doing something unique or is it just copying someone else?), value (is the retail price realisitc in the marketplace?), demand (Is the brand doing a good job of advertising the product?), appeal (What does the brand stand for? If it's all about death & destruction I probably won't be interested.)
I'm based in the UK and rather happily I've noticed how you are starting to stock a number of UK brands (Tatami Fightwear, Scramble and Black Eagle/Predator BJJ) tell me what it is you like about our homegrown apparel brands?
The UK style is definitely unique. I'm a big fan of UK music and I think some of that originality that comes through with your music also shows in the apparel & kimonos. Scramble of course has the Japanese influence (interesting fact: Matt from Scramble lived in the same city as I did in Japan!). It's very easy to go overboard with the Japanese thing but Scramble keeps it fresh with interesting colors & product design.
Tatami fightwear makes incredibly well built gis with tasteful logo & patch design. I think they will grow a lot in the coming years. We're just getting started with Black Eagle but from what I've seen their gis are clean and well built as well.
Why should a customer come to you, instead of the many other online stores out there?
Product selection, customer service & to support the free shows we produce! Speaking of shows, we just started a new weekly show called "http://www.budovideos.com/online/category/shows/thisweekatbudovideos/". On it, we discuss new products, news, interviews, etc. It's our way of keeping our customers up to date with what's going on. We also answer viewer questions during the broadcast. I think things like this are big "extra benefits" we provide our customers.
|Roger Gracie being interviewed by Jake|
I loved your live stream productions, briefly, tell us about the logistics and how hard is it to operate and produce such media for online viewing?
Thanks. Yes, we put on the IBJJF Pan, Nogi Worlds, (Gi) Worlds, & ADCC live broadcasts. These are incredibly huge undertakings. It amazes me how fast the world of media has changed. 10 years ago you had to wait 6 months or a year for a VHS tape that had some of the matches from the Worlds. Now we can put it in your living room live!
For each event we have a crew of about 25-30 people doing everything from filming, commentary, & IT. Often, an event runs 2 days for 10 hours a day. Add on top of that the set up and tear down and you have a very long weekend! Nevertheless, it's always so exciting to see the matches and I'm happy to be able to share with the world the sport we all care so deeply about.
ADCC this year will be in Nottingham, England, how excited are you about this and what will Budovideos be doing in relation to the coverage?
Oh yes. It's been 20 years since I've been to England and I can't wait to go back. The line up for this ADCC is amazing. Pretty much everyone you want to see compete will be there. We'll be broadcasting the event live all weekend long (Sept 24 & 25). On the 23rd we'll be covering the weigh ins also. That won't be live but follow us on Facebook as we'll be posting videos of it. I'm excited to report that this will be an HD broadcast - which is a first for BJJ. Also I'll be doing post-fight interviews with the gold medalists right after their last match. This will also be a first for ADCC. You can purchase your PPV for ADCC 2011 HERE.
Q: You love creating content such as your Rolled Up videos and interviews with stars of the game, how much fun is this? and what's the best or most memorable report you have done in the past?
Oh yes, filming Rolled Up is always a blast. The thing is we usually spend all day with these guys so we get some nice deep conversation. I think we really get across what makes this person who they are. The most recent episode with Andre Galvao for example,
I got him to open up about his spirituality, about the difficulties he had training for MMA, and about the key to effective BJJ (you have to watch it!).I don't think you can get good interviews with someone by just sticking a mic in their face for 10 minutes. It takes time and it takes someone who really cares about the topic. I don't do much preparation for my interviews. All the questions I ask are things that I genuinely am curious about. And it turns out a lot of other people have the same curiosities. At the end of a shoot we have hours and hours of footage. Budo Dave is an expert at pulling together all the best parts to fit into a nice flowing show.
Since I roll with all of the guys that have been on Rolled Up, people always ask me who was the best. That is really difficult to answer because everyone has their strong points. I really did learn something from everyone. I suppose the most memorable one so far was Jeff Glover. He is always moving, never stalling, never smashing. That kind of roll is so much fun! Of course self defense is an important part of BJJ, but also to me fun plays a big part. Galvao said it also. If you are having fun you will learn faster.
Thanks for your time Jake, I look forward to seeing you in Nottingham this year.
Thanks for the opportunity to share Meerkatsu! Until Nottingham!