River Dillon is another young BJJ fighter I saw in action at the recent BJJ Pro Cup City v City Challenge. His speed of execution, domination and great technique really caught my attention. It's no surprise that River is one of the UK's top blue belts in his division - more remarkable when you consider that he is still only 17 years old!
River has kindly agreed to represent my Meerkatsu clothing brand. He is also sponsored by the gi company Aesthetic. Here is a short interview with River...
Q: Hey River, please introduce yourself - where do you come from, age, when did you take up BJJ etc
Hey Seymour, I am from London and I’m seventeen years old. I began to train BJJ at the age of 14 and I have never looked back!
Q: Where do you train and what rank are you?
I train at the Carlson Gracie headquarters in Hammersmith, London. I received my Blue belt a day after my 16th birthday from Dickie Martin and Simon Hayes.
Q: What is it about BJJ you enjoy so much?
I really enjoy Jiu Jitsu because when I began I was really small and young. And back then there were no teenager lessons, so I was thrown into the deep end and could only train in the adult classes. This meant I had to truly learn the techniques being taught to overcome fully grown men, which to me seemed impossible before starting. So it really fascinated me and kept me training through the good and bad days.
Q: You are active on the tournament scene, what is your favourite fight/win?
My favourite tournament win has got to be the IBJJF European Championship. I was fighting as a Juvenile, and the final was against the double gold medallist at the mundials the year before. Not only was it good because of the title but it was my first time flying out the country without my parents. I had never even been in a hotel room on my own before, and best of all it was my first ever medal I had won!
Q: And at 17 you won the blue belt adults open weight at the British Open this year?
Yes I believe I am the youngest to have won the absolutes at the British Open.
Q: What are your goals for the next few years?
At this age I try not to give myself much pressure so I felt the more I compete now the better I will get at it. That’s the reason I have been so active so far this year, big or small tournament it doesn’t matter. I am going to carry this method on next year to get the most experience I can. Because at the end of the day my goal is to show my skills on the big stage, and be able to medal at the big tournaments.
Q: Anyone you would like to give a shout out to?
I would like to give a big thank firstly to my family who has supported me since the day I have started, nothing I have accomplished would be possible without them. All of my Carlson Gracie Instructors and team mates, my sponsor Fight Aesthetic for helping me a lot this year! And last but not least Seymour for sponsoring me and giving me this interview.
River Dillon's Tournament Record (as of 25th June 2013)
-IBJJF European Championship Gold (Juvenile)
-British Open Weight & Open Class Gold
-Copa Jacarei de Jiu Jitsu Adult Weight and Open Class Gold
(All of below are blue belt ADULT middleweight division)
-TUFF Grappling Challenge Gold
-Midlands Open Gold
-Bristol Open Gold
-Southern Open Weight and Open class Gold
-British Open Championship Bronze
-British Open Championship Open Class Gold
-London international open Gold
-City vs City clash Gold
I'd like to wish River the very best with his so far stellar rise as he progresses in his BJJ career.