Tom King | Team KF Head Coach | No Shame Podcast #077

Tom king joins us in the studio for episode #077 of Paddy Holohan's No Shame Podcast. Tom is Head Coach of Team KF, a BJJ blackbelt & one of the most respected figures on the Irish Jiu Jitsu/MMA circuit.

Tom was an integral part of SBG Ireland down through the years coaching various waves of fighters from Conor McGregor to James Gallagher. King is probably the longest serving active competitor in Ju Jitsu & was SBG's very first White to Black belt member.

As a teenager Tom trained in both Karate & Japanese Ju Jitsu, before taking up Vale Tudo classes. Things were a lot different when King started, the format being to kick the shit out of each other in a survival of the fittest approach. The Vale Tudo sessions eventually evolved into an MMA class, during this time Tom became a member of SBG Ireland & started training BJJ.

Watch episode #077 of Paddy Holohan's No Shame Podcast below:


Tom discusses the skill involved with BJJ, explaining its fundamentals & how it's one sport that you can't bullshit your way through. Much like riding a bike or learning to swim, you either know Ju Jitsu or you don't. A lesser known fact about Tom is that he made his pro MMA debut on the same night as Chris Fields & was even higher up on the card, granted it was Fields first Pro MMA fight also. King explains the importance of testing his BJJ in a real life scenario to see if it actually worked & he won via submission.

King also chats to Paddy about the evolution of martial arts in this country, not only is the modern day blue belt of a much higher calibre compared to when he started, but they are also achieving their stripes at a much quicker rate.

Listen/download episode #077 of Paddy Holohan's No Shame Podcast below:


It's a testament to the extremely high standard of coaching set in Ireland at the minute, something that Tom believes is a direct result of coaches having a relevant level of experience competing/fighting on the highest level, Internationally. King's view is that you should not be a coach if you don't have the appropriate experience gained in competing.

Paddy reflects on his experiences with Tom as a coach describing him as a guiding light during the Irish Invasion era & describes his first encounter rolling with King in a corridor in Rathcoole. The experience didn't go so well for the young Hooligan, who'd later feel a lot better when discovering that Tom was in fact a purple belt.

In a No Shame exclusive, Tom talks about his reasons for ending his long association with SBG, explaining that he no longer felt welcome by Coach John Kavanagh & that their relationship is virtually non existent today. It's a sentiment echoed by Paddy, who also talks about his own relationship with John.

Although SBG Swords was very much a gym in it's own right, Tom felt it was the right time to launch Team KF (King Fields) alongside Chris Fields. The day to day of the club remains the same, however the new name allows Tom & Chris to gain full recognition for the incredible work they've been doing with an impressive crop of fighters. Tom talks about the togetherness, the sense of community & how every single member at Team KF is an important part of the clubs success.

Tom & Chris have created a professional environment at Team KF with an atmosphere that is reminiscent to the close bond he felt during the early days of SBG in the Rathcoole gym. King speaks of the close relationships with SBG D24 & other Gym's insisting that members of sister club's will always be welcome to train at KF & vice versa. After the glory days of the Irish Invasion, Tom believes that another golden age is on the horizon.

We've had so many requests since the podcast began to get Tom on the show & we promise that this episode lives up to it's billing. Tom is a man that Chris Field's once described as BJJ's answer to Roy Keane & after listening to this episode it's clear to see why so many, including Paddy, hold him in such high regard.

Episode #077 of Paddy Holohan's No Shame Podcast with Tom King is out now across all the usual platforms & channels including Youtube, iTunes, Spotify. If you're an MMA/BJJ fan  you need to check this one out, a beautiful insight from one of Ireland's best BJJ minds.

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