We had the great opportunity and honor recently to sit down with the legendary Semmy Schilt for an exclusive interview. The High Tower visited Hungary for the first time since 2009. He was invited for a seminar and as a guest for the annual event of Hungary’s Counter Terrorism Centre (TEK). The show will see members of the Intervention Police, TEK and the NDGDM compete against members of the Chinese law enforcement. Also there will be hundreds of fights in four rulesets (WAKO K1, BJJ, WKF Karate and Knock down Kyokushin Karate). The event is free for anyone to enter but visitors will be able to make donations to Bethesda Children’s Hospital.
Hereby we’d like to thank k-1.hu and Presztízs Sport Magazine for the opportunity and for helping us making this interview happen.
Q: – Hello Semmy, so let’s start with some catching up. The last interview you gave to Hungarian sources was back in 2009. Many things have happened since then.
A: – Yeah, I won the K-1 WGP in 2009 for the 4th time, defended my K-1 Super Heavyweight Title, went all the way to the finals of the 2010 WGP. In 2011 there was no K-1 tournament but in 2012 I captured the Glory 2012 Heavyweight Grand Slam tournament title. I also had a role in a big movie (Transporter 3), which I really enjoyed. It was a great experience.
Q: – Just to touch a bit on your personal life as well, there were rumors about your health that led to your retirement.
A: – There were health issues, yes, but everything is ok now. I’m still training, working hard on my own gym in Holland (Fight Game Academy). We did the construction work with my team for about three months. I have a new goal in life. I won championship titles five times now I want to make martial arts available for everyone not just special groups of people.
Q: – Do you teach multiple disciplines or focus mainly on kickboxing?
A: – I’m teaching kickboxing but as I have a karate background I’d like to promote that as well and all kinds of martial arts. I think unless we stop arguing about what’s best the people in general won’t understand martial arts. I believe we should stand together, show what martial arts can offer and that it’s not the style what matters.
Q: – Do you think you’re going to have MMA as well or will you focus more on standup styles?
A: – Yes. There’s judo, wrestling and so on and MMA is evertyhing put together, so yes.
Q: – Your last MMA fight was back in 2008. If you look back what was your biggest moment, your favorite fight or something that you like to remember?
A: – The best thing was the atmosphere in PRIDE FC. Now that I look back I think that was the best atmosphere ever. The way the shows started, the lights, the music, the announcer. Everything was really good and well organized. You didn’t have to wait for hours and the people around you were there to help you. Also I liked K-1 a lot.
Q: – You’ve been there and fought the best be it MMA or kickboxing but did you keep in touch with anyone? Do you talk to some of the guys?
A: – No, unfortunately I don’t. At that time I was a fighter. I was there to win and didn’t want to connect as I had to fight them. My goal was to become champion so I’ve chosen not to connect much. This was a big difference to the amateur leagues. I think those were the best times. I fought karate, we travelled with a van and the journey was crap, the hotels were run-down but we were young and didn’t care.
Q: – So we touched on MMA but can you pick something out of your kickboxing career? Is it possible to pick one thing at all?
A: – Well it’s hard. But I had a strange moment in 2009 before the K-1 WGP Final. I had dreams a bit similar before but in 2009 I woke up in the hotel and thought I already won. In my dreams I fought everyone and seen everything unfold so it was weird waking up and not seeing the belt. And then I won. I think when you really believe in something you can achieve it. Maybe this was the best year. Although earlier in 2009 I lost to Badr Hari but in December I beat him too and defended the K-1 Super Heavyweight Title. Also a funny moment was when K-1 has asked me after the four man tournament what they should do as I always won. So I told them let’s have a 16 man tournament. But I won that one too. I was proud of that moment for sure.
Q: – 2012 was a pretty tough year as well, right? You fought Zimmerman, Guidon, Rico Verhoeven, Saki and closed the year out with Ghiță.
A: – Yes and it was a special moment too. The power of the kick went through the guard. I was preparing for the fight in Thailand and my sparring partner tried to block my kicks with one hand. I told him use both or else you’ll get knocked out. So I kicked Ghiță and he went down. After the fight my sparring partner said: you were right! I told him I knew I was. You know, weight, speed and timing are the ingredients.
Q: – Ok Semmy, last question. How do you see the future of kickboxing? GLORY is getting stronger, gaining momentum in the US as well but how do you see it?
A: – What I see in Holland for example is that the government is getting involved more to regulate the sport which is good for kickboxing. Organizations come and go and I think that there’ll always be smaller or bigger promotions putting together shows. GLORY is doing it really good. K-1 was also good back in the days, Last month I was at the Kickboxing World Cup in Brazil. There was about 600 people there and the whole tournament was really well organized. It was a totally different atmosphere than what commercial shows have. In the amateur tournaments you have to fight 5-6 people often before you can get to the finals. That’s why I loved the 16 man tournament as well so much. When I competed in karate there were tournaments with 60 people in one pool. That’s fighting. In the future the amateur leagues will be getting stronger in my opinion while the commercial shows will have to pick and build their champions like K-1 did.
Thank you Semmy! It was an honor watching you fight and to meet with you. We are wishing you much success with your gym, promoting martial arts and with any plan you might have in mind.
(C) 2014, ellenfelem.hu for k-1.hu
- Joe Bugner – szívroham után a magyar klasszis
- 12 éve hunyt el Papp László