From starting Jiu-Jitsu in 1996 under Rickson Gracie & Charles Gracie, Deddy is now is now involved as the Head Coach of the Indonesia National Team and also heads as Combatives Instructor for Indonesia’s Army Special Forces, Kopassus Grup 2 & SAT 81 Gultor (Counter Terrorism Group of Kopassus) & Detasemen Khusus 88 Anti Terror POLRI.
BJJASIA: Can you kindly introduce yourself?
Deddy: Hello, My name is Deddy Wigraha , I am a black belt under Romero ‘Jacare’ Cavalcati, I’m currently the head coach of Indonesia National Jujitsu Team and Alliance Jiu Jitsu Indonesia.
BJJASIA: How did you start training in BJJ?
Deddy: I first started to learn martial arts, particularly aikido, around 1996, when I was a student in Los Angeles, California.
At the time when I took interest in many movies starring Steven Seagal then a friend loaned me two UFC cassette tapes featuring Royce Gracie taking down people who were far larger in size compared to him using the techniques of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
From that day, I decided to quit Aikido to learn BJJ at Rickson Gracie’s Jiu Jitsu Academy, one of the gyms near where I lived in Santa Monica.
BJJASIA: How then did you end up getting your Black Belt and association under the Alliance banner?
I got my blue belt from Rickson Gracie in 1997 and then moved to Daly City, San Francisco to continue my studies and trained under Charles Gracie, I got my purple belt in 2001.
I joined Alliance in 2011 and received my black belt from the founder of Alliance Jiu-Jitsu, Master Romero ‘Jacare’ Cavalcanti in 2013.
BJJASIA: What is the Jiu Jitsu scene in Indonesia like?
The Jiu Jitsu scene is definitely still growing in Indonesia, mostly in big cities due to the presence of most BJJ instructors being based in these cities such as Jakarta, Bali, Medan and Surabaraya. Therefore much of the smaller, sparsely populated cities in Indonesia haven’t got to discover other martial arts like jiu jitsu.
BJJASIA: What do you think it would take to accelerate the growth of BJJ in Indonesia?
Deddy:To accelerate the growth of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Indonesia involves a lot of approaches focusing on increasing awareness, accessibility, and engagement in the sport. Here is some things that need to be improve:
Increased Visibility through Media and Events:
- Organize high-profile BJJ competitions and events, possibly inviting international competitors to raise the sport’s profile.
- Collaborate with media outlets to broadcast events and produce content showcasing the benefits and excitement of BJJ.
Community Engagement and Outreach:
- Host workshops and seminars in schools, universities, and community centers to introduce BJJ to a broader audience.
- Partner with local communities and organizations to promote BJJ as a tool for self-improvement, discipline, and fitness.
Accessible Training Centers all over Indonesia
- Establish more BJJ academies across different regions, focusing on affordability and accessibility.
- Offer scholarships or discounted programs for students and underprivileged groups to broaden participation.
Quality Coaching and Training Programs:
- Invest in the development of high-quality coaching by providing training and certification programs for BJJ instructors.
- Encourage current practitioners and coaches to attain higher levels of proficiency and international standards.
Integration into Fitness and Wellness Programs:
- Collaborate with fitness centers and wellness programs to include BJJ in their offerings.
- Promote BJJ as not just a martial art but also a form of physical fitness and mental well-being.
Building a Strong BJJ Community:
- Foster a supportive and inclusive BJJ community, encouraging practitioners to share their experiences and mentor newcomers.
- Organize regular meet-ups, open mat sessions, and social events for practitioners.
Supporting Athlete Development:
- Identify and nurture talented individuals with potential in competitive BJJ.
- Provide support for athletes to participate in international competitions, gaining experience and exposure.
Marketing and Promotion:
- Utilize social media and digital marketing to reach a wider audience and engage with the youth demographic.
- – Share success stories and testimonials from individuals who have benefited from BJJ training.
Cultural Adaptation and Respect:
- Respect and incorporate local cultures and values in the promotion and teaching of BJJ.
- Highlight how BJJ complements and respects traditional Indonesian martial arts.
Government and Institutional Support:
- Seek support from government bodies for recognition and funding.
- Advocate for the inclusion of BJJ in school physical education programs and national sports events.
BJJASIA: In terms of competing Submission Grappling and Jiu Jitsu, what rules set do you favor the most?
Deddy:I personally like the point system compared to the sub-only rules set, which has restrictions on each belt level to limit what they can and cannot do. The IBJJF rule set in particular is a great example of this.
BJJASIA: You seem to have trained quite extensively with many notable associations? Tell us about your training at the various associations and their distinct features / what you learned that stood out to you?
Deddy:I realized how effective the techniques used in Brazilian Jiu jitsu were when I started learning self-defense at Rickson Gracie and Charles Gracie academy from 1996 to 2001, although the place focused primarily on self defense and lacked the presence of competitions at the time.
A factor that stood out the most to me was the ability for a small person to takedown people who were far larger in size with submission techniques. Albeit joining Alliance Jiu Jitsu in 2011, there is a familiarity in the structure of the curriculum provided, including different types of self defense courses such as fundamental classes, intermediate classes, and no-gi classes.
BJJASIA: How do you find the training environment in Asia compared to other regions in the world?
Deddy:In my opinion, the development of BJJ in Asia has increased significantly because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been included in multi-events such as the SEA Games, Asian Games, so it has been supported by the governments of every country in Asia.
Including an increase in local competitions around Asia such as UAE, Thailand, Korea, Philippines, Japan, etc.
BJJASIA: How did you come to be the head of the National Team for Indonesia?
Deddy:At the beginning of 2018, I was appointed to be the head coach of the Indonesia National Team because Jiu Jitsu in 2018 was also officially included in multi-event competitions like the SEA Games and Asian Games. This was an extraordinary experience for me because Indonesia was also appointed as the host of the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta.
Additionally, the Indonesia Jiu Jitsu Organization (PBJI) was also newly formed in 2017.
Since Jiu Jitsu Newaza in the Asian Games focused more on using the Gi uniform, there weren’t many coaches in Indonesia who trained in Gi techniques at that time. Most of my students competed in local and international Gi events and became champions. This was one of the reasons why the PBJI chose me to be the head coach of the Indonesia Jujitsu national team.
BJJASIA: What is the most influential or biggest achievement in your career so far?
Deddy: Upon returning to Indonesia after completing my studies in the US around 1998, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu did not exist in Indonesia at the time.I was then known as the first person to promote and spark the growth of Brazilian jiu-jitsu in Indonesia, I was keen on introducing Brazilian jiu-jitsu to people in Indonesia because I want people in Indonesia to know about the beauty of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
I believe that it’s an effective form of self-defense and it has been proven that a smaller person can beat a bigger person by taking him down and defeating him with various joint locks and strangling techniques. The biggest achievement that I have achieved so far, is that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is now known in Indonesia in many communities.
Initially only men were interested in Jiu Jitsu, so I felt that it was difficult to introduce this martial art to women because only a few women wanted to learn at the time. However, now BJJ is starting to be accepted among women by promoting Brazilian jiu-jitsu as an effective activity for self-defense and rape prevention.
Other achievements that I am also proud to share is the acceptance of Brazilian jiu-jitsu in several military agencies such as Kopassus and Densus 88.
BJJASIA: We imagine designing a curriculum for military agencies differ greatly from traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, what were the biggest changes to what is taught in the agencies in comparison to lets say traditional martial arts schools?
Deddy: The difference of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for Military Agencies are driven by the unique requirements and operational contexts of military personnel.
There are several changes and focus areas:
a.) Objective and Purpose:
Military: Emphasizes practical, real-world combat skills for survival, control, and neutralization of threats. The focus is on efficiency, adaptability in various environments, and techniques useful in full gear or with weaponry.
b.) Techniques and Tactics:
Military: Prioritizes techniques that are quick to apply, effective against armed or multiple attackers, and adaptable to terrain and situational constraints. Emphasizes disarming techniques, weapon retention, and close-quarter combat skills.
c.) Training Environment:
Military: Often simulates realistic combat conditions, including training in full gear, with mock weapons, and in varied environments like confined spaces, uneven terrain, etc.
d.) Rules and Restrictions:
Military: Less emphasis on formal rules and more on practical application. The curriculum may include techniques that are banned in sport BJJ, like certain strikes, pressure points, or eye gouges.
e.) Mental and Psychological Training:
Military: Strong emphasis on mental toughness, stress management, and decision-making under duress. Training often includes scenarios that mimic high-stress combat situations.
f.) Physical Conditioning:
Military: Conditioning is tailored to combat readiness, focusing on strength, endurance, and agility under load (carrying gear and weapons).
g.) Scenarios and Application:
Military: Practices often involve hand-to-hand combat scenarios, battlefield applications, and defensive tactics against armed assailants.
In summary, while traditional BJJ schools focus on sport and personal development, military BJJ training is oriented towards practicality, survival, and combat effectiveness in a wide range of scenarios.
Here is the BJJ Curriculum for Military:
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) curriculum tailored for military personnel involves focusing on techniques and principles that are most applicable and beneficial in a combat or self-defense situations:
1. Introduction to BJJ and its Relevance to Military Training
Overview of BJJ
Importance of ground combat skills in military scenarios
Fundamentals of leverage, control, and submission
2. Basic Techniques
Positional Control: Understanding and practicing dominant positions (mount, side control, guard)
Escapes and Reversals: Techniques to escape from disadvantageous positions
Takedowns and Throws: Basic judo and wrestling takedowns suitable for combat scenarios
3. Advanced Ground Techniques
Submissions: Arm locks, chokes, leg locks with an emphasis on control and safety
Positional Transitions and Control: Maintaining control while transitioning between positions
Defense Against Strikes: Techniques to protect oneself from strikes on the ground
4. Combat-Specific Training
Weapon Retention: Techniques to retain control over a weapon during close combat
Disarming Techniques: Safely disarming an opponent
Combat Scenarios: Drilling BJJ techniques in simulated combat situations
5. Physical Conditioning
Exercises to improve strength, endurance, and flexibility relevant to BJJ and combat situations
Cardiovascular conditioning tailored for combat readiness
6.Drills and Sparring
Regular drilling of techniques to build muscle memory
Sparring sessions with varying intensity levels to simulate real combat situations
7. Evaluation and Progression
Regular assessments of skill development
Criteria for progression to more advanced levels
Continued Training: Importance of ongoing practice and learning
Encouragement for continued personal and physical development
This curriculum is designed to be modular and flexible, allowing for adjustments based on the specific requirements and time constraints of military training programs. The emphasis is on practicality, safety, and applicability in real-world scenarios that military personnel may encounter.
BJJASIA: How would you evaluate the current trends in Jiu Jitsu ? What do you think of the future of Jiu -Jitsu in Indonesia?
Deddy: The current trend in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu includes many practitioners choosing to practice Jiu Jitsu only as a form of self-defense or a sport (Gi or Nogi). There is still room for much growth to take place in the future of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Indonesia as it continues to expand in all regions of my country.
BJJASIA: Which country do you think is the fastest growing in terms of grappling in Asia right now?
Deddy: I believe that the United Arab Emirates is one of the countries where the development of BJJ is very fast because of the support system from their government, as well as other countries spread across Asia like Japan, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines.
BJJASIA: How do you approach your coaching?
Deddy: I personally always start coaching by introducing the fundamental techniques of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and self defense for beginners, followed by techniques for intermediate and advanced levels. For those who are interested in becoming athletes, I focus more on encouraging them take part in the competition classes as well.
BJJASIA: What are your future plans?
Deddy: My future plans are to continue the development of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Indonesia for all groups, including men, women, children, military and police agencies. I also want to develop a way to teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for physically disabled people.
BJJASIA: Can u tell us a little bit on your work with Indonesian special forces?
Deddy: My work included being able to work with Indonesian Special Forces and to develop BJJ in Indonesia is one of the biggest steps in expanding Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I find this a very interesting experience for me because of the enthusiasm and support given by the commanders and members who train.
I think BJJ should be a fundamental part of military and law enforcement agencies to strengthen our military as a whole.
BJJASIA: Lastly, who would you like to thank ?
Deddy: I would like to thank my parents, my father and mother who continue to provide support and also the Alliance Jiu Jitsu Indonesia family and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Asia team of course, Thank You For Having Me. It was an honor to be able to do this interview with you.