It is a great honor and delight to conduct and interview with Mr. Didier Le Borgne.
First of all, thank you very much for your time to do the interview Mr. Le Borgne; you are well known as a first class trainer, but your beginnings in sports remain elusive to most people. Can you tell us more about the early steps you took in the martial arts world?
Nice and happy to have opportunity to make this interview for your website Milan
Well, I started fighting sports at 7 years old, I started by wrestling, I did for 10 years. I didn’t got great results as I was part of one of the best team in France and some of my partners at my weight division got very high level, until participating at Olympics games. Anyway, I was Champion of France Junior, with one participation at European Championships in Malmoe (Sweden). At 13 years od I discovered Karate, it was almost new in Europe, as Bruce Lee became a star… After 3 years, my sensei made a trip to Japan and came back with a new sport in his luggage : KICK-BOXING (it was Muay Thai rules, but in Japan they called kick-Boxing)… so I fall in love of this sport in completly full contact with KO goal.
How old were you when you first started training martial arts?
7 years old wrestling
13 years old Karate
17 years old Muay Thai
What are you biggest achievements as a competitor?
In the beguining of 80’s , there was only one european federation for Muay Thai… so to be the champion, was necessary to beat the Champion… and in case of fail there was not alternative of other federation as it is possible today… So, in Muay Thai, Kick-Boxing, Full-Contact I did more than 100 fights, I don’t know exactly, in these times, we didn’t worre about records… I did 12 pro boxing fights in 8 and 10 rounds and 2 Vale Tudo fights in Brazil.In Muay Thai I did 2 european title fights (both against Lucien Carbin (Holl) and I lost both fights), In Thailand I did many fights in Bangkok at TV7, Radjadamnoern stadium and in different stadium all around the country. With Mejiro Gym (Holl) I did many fights in Hollande and all around the world, Japan, Hong Kong, USA, England, Belgium and of course, I did fights in France as main event. I think to make a list of my opponents now here will not have sense, as many of them are unknown today but were famous years ago.
As a big MM and K-1 expert, which one of the two is you favourite?
I like so much MMA, I would like to know this sport as young, unfortunatly, I was already 34 years old when it was UFC 1 … and I fought in Vale Tudo at 39 years old. I like this sport as it’s in evolution, as tecnical as strategical… it’s very interesting… The MMA buisness is not interesting, usually the promotors are not so trustable with fair sport mind… especially they are not sportmen , only WOSF(Ray SEFO) and One FC are kind and fair organisations… I was very desappointed by all european MMA organisations. At least I didn’t like so much K-1… I thought it was a lizzy and easy way to fight kick-Boxing without study Muay Thai clinch… after talking with Mr Ishii (who create K-1) I understood, and trained to adapt my Muay Thai style for the K-1 rules and style. I go on to love Muay Thai, and especially Thai culture, but I understand that for the buisness it’s necessary to make TV shows, and K-1 is the right way for that.
Can you name some of the most known apprentices that you trained?
MAURAD DLEBLI ; FRANCOIS PENNACCHIO ; DJAMEL RAHAL , JOHNY TANCRAY , CYRIL ABIDI , AZIZZ KHATTOU , SARO PRESTI , NANCY JOSEPH ; STEPHANE NIKIEMA ; STEPHANE REVEILLON ; GREGORY TONY ; AYDIN TUNCAY ; JOSE BARRADAS ; MATTEO MINONZIO ; CRISTIAN BINDA ; IRINA MAZEPA ; PAOLA CAPPUCCI ;
And Bojan Kosednar came to me to prepare some of his fights
Have you ever thought of opening a school in Slovenia, or somewhere in close proximity?
8 years ago I gave my gym to my students in Cannes (south of France)… I’m not interesting anymore to have my own gym… must be always here as students come for the sensei… if he is always around the world, they are not so happy… Since several years I stay in Trieste, near Slovenia… I have all disposition and access at a perfect gym to train the pro fighters… AUDACE in Trieste is perfect for the job I do now.
You come from France, a country known for its exquisite cuisine. Which is your favourite dish?
I’m french, but lived also in Thailand for some years and in Brazil too… I love Thai food, definitly the best of the world… and usually Italian dish are so good too
What do you do in your spare time, that is if you have any?
You know… »Find a passion, make this passion your job, and you will never had to work« … So, I don’t feel I have to work and free time… Yesterday I came back from America, I stayed one week with Paola Cappucci, as she had to fight at Lion Fight, one week with trainings, funny time… tourism and training again… I don’t need spare time
You travel a lot. Do you have any anecdotes from the road you’d wish to share with us?
I have many… good and bad records… anecdotes, maybe should have to think about… But the most important thing, is that I meet many people, some are very interesting… If I have to remember an important thing of my live, it should be the interesting and lovely people I met by my trips and my sports… I am really lucky to have these opportunities… my ex students, as Abidi, Reveillon Pennacchio, Tuncay, Ionut Iftimoaie, are my very good friends… so it’s a human adventure… not only sport… the emotions I can live bringing Irina Mazepa (she’s a really lovely girl and a fantastic fighter) make my life so much exciting, if in more I can have a wonderfull friendly relationship with, it’s the must.
Describe yourself in three words?
As everybody, I have positiv and negativ behaviour…
Positive words : Passionate ; determinate ; Individualist
Negative words : Arrogant ; Egoist ; Individualist
In your opinion, what’s the secret of success in martial arts?
As many things, Martial Arts needs interest and passion… If there is talent it’s also better, but all of this is nothing without work work work…
The success can come first of all by a good and competent sensei or teacher… interest and work , work work in the right way…
After all of this, meeting the right people to open the right doors is also necessary
What virtues must one possess to become your apprentice?
Usually, I need to have good feeling with the person… if ther is good feeling, the student must trust me, as my experience is the result of my past errors… so an apprentice don’t need to have talent, just need to have a good personal feeling with me, to be a real sportman ( no drugs or doping … I hate) and to trust me and be able to dedicace all his time for his goals.
What your view of referee trickeries and manipulations?
I don’t want to trust at this… even if i had recently at Glory the confirmation of real incompetence from referees and judges… as my student was victim of this sad fact I can only be angry and sad by this… usually I prefer to think at incompetence , manipulations are fact from federations (presidents) or organisations
How do you recharge your batteries?
Thinking to my next trip and interesting people I will meet
Which fighters from Slovenia do you know, and who do you respect the most?
Bojan Kosednar , he should be one of the best of the world, unfortunatly, some bad episode of his life broke this hope… I wish him to go on and get fun in training and fighting as he can… he is smart when he fights and never give up… i like this kind of warrior… also he doesn’t trick… a real fighter.
Edin Latic, came to train with me sometimesand i booked some fights for him… Pity he came, he was already old…
A lot has been said about the UFC – McGregor – Diaz fight. How would you judge both fighters, and what’s you opinion on the rematch?
I don’t like the trash talking in sport… really this fight and pre fight publicity was boring… Mc Gregor won … ok… Diaz understimate his opponent… even if I like him, it will not be a fight I will remember for long… It’s like Mayweather / Pacqiuao in boxing … everybody was waiting this fight… and flop… Promotors and tv made money that’s all… only buisness
What’s your sport moto, and in life in general?
Love… to love what you do, it’s the best way to do the things in right way.
Love and fun… without fun in training, and without fun feeling after the fight, there is no reason to go on… I think in life it’s the same… For me it’s working.
Any last messages for your readers?
I’m still able to train good and determinate fighters… so, come to visit me in Trieste… even if I’m always away… If you don’t… don’t forget to love what you do, it’s the right way to get fun and making progress… get fun and never give up
Thank you very much, and all the best in your career.
Photo credits Didier Le Borgne archive
Božo Petrič, Milan Krušič