By- The Mad One
Here at ProMMA we like to profile young, talented, and up and coming MMA fighters as much as possible. Today we will talk with a guy named Joe Wissman, but if you yell “Joe” at him across the room, he probably will not even notice you are speaking to him. Why? Because “Bamboo” is not just a nickname that he uses when he steps into the ring or the cage. “Bamboo” is as close to his real name as Joe is. Everyone that knows him calls him Bamboo, including his family and friends. Bamboo is an MMA fighter, has competed in numerous BJJ competitions, and teaches Jiu Jitsu at Gracie Tampa. He is a purple belt under Rob Kahn, who is a black belt under the legendary Royce Gracie. I caught up with Bamboo recently and talked to him about his unique nickname, his fighting career, and his unlimited future:
ProMMA- How did you get into fighting/MMA?
Bamboo- “I have been interested in martial arts my entire life, as a kid I was into karate and such because that was all that was available. I got into Boxing for about 3 weeks before a guy at work was talking about this jiu jitsu stuff, I told him I was interested and he told me where to be. I dont think he thought I would actually show up, and I didn’t really know what it was, but I knew I was open to trying it, cause boxing was kicking my ass. After one class I was hooked, I remember this kid smaller than me taking me to school, I couldn’t get him off me, and then I was shown the Umpa, and I was just so excited, and I signed up and went 3 days a week for 2 years with Eduardo De Lima training in the GI. So fast forward to 2 years in for me, I had done a few jiu jitsu tournaments, but never any NO GI, and I was just starting to follow MMA. I went to check out Gracie Tampa because I found out they were closer to my house than where I had been training, and it was like my first day of jiu jitsu all over again, those guys kicked my ass, I was again excited, and have been training NO GI jiu jitsu and MMA since then, so about 4 and a half years total counting the 2 years in the GI.”
ProMMA- What organization are you currently with?
Bamboo- “I have fought for Bonecrunch, an org that was a team event like the IFL, but they went bankrupt, so thats over I guess. I have also fought for the WFC, “www. mmawfc. com” twice, but I am not signed with them right now, so I can fight for whatever org. I choose. Aside from the UFC, I am looking to continue to fight around my home in Tampa, FL.”
ProMMA- What is your primary fighting style?
Bamboo- “I have been training jiu jitsu the longest, 4 and 1/2 years total, the last 2 years its been mixed martial arts, including kickboxing and muay thai, as well as wrestling. but my strongest area right now is the ground game, thanks mostly to Rob Kahn and my excellent training partners at Gracie Tampa.”
ProMMA- What gym or camp are you affiliated with?
Bamboo- “I train with Gracie Tampa under Ron Kahn. I am the leader of Team Bamboo, and a part of Team Ninja, two smaller teams under Gracie Tampa.”
Below: Bamboo showing off his hair color, tats, and his slick ground game
ProMMA- I know you train at Guardian MMA when you are in Tennessee, how did that come about?
Bamboo- “My mom lives up here, so when I come to visit her, I come to the local MMA gym that is up here, “Guardian” to do some jiu jitsu. When I was first up here to visit and found Guardian I was really impressed with everyone, lots of nice people. Shortly after I was back in Tampa, Coach and Shane came down to Florida for a week and trained with me at Gracie Tampa, so we became good friends, so now I make it a point to come up here as often as I can to train.”
ProMMA- So now to the nickname. How did you get the nickname “bamboo”?
Bamboo- “Back in the day when I first started I had yellow spikey hair, and my Brazilian instructor started calling me Yellow Bamboo, and Bamboo just stuck, so much in fact that when I first went into Rob’s gym, there were many people that already knew me by Bamboo, so it followed me there. At this point my friends and family all call me Bamboo.”
ProMMA- What belt level are you in jiu jitsu, and do you compete in bjj competitions in addition to MMA?
Bamboo- “I have a Purple belt from Rob Kahn, I have competed in many jiu jitsu tournaments before I started training MMA, since my first MMA fight I have not competed in a jiu jitsu tournament. Not because I didn’t want too, just because they always seemed to fall too close to my fights. ”
ProMMA-Obviously the UFC and the WEC are the “NFL” of MMA. Do You have any aspirations to end up there? There are other major orgs that fighters are opting for also, where do you see yourself in the next 2 years?
Bamboo- “Of course I would jump at the chance to get in the UFC or WEC, but I dont really have the super aspirations of being a fighter my entire life, I like to compete in my sport, and I like to test myself, so I guess it would be nice if that paid a little better, but in the next 2 years I hope to be teaching full time at my own MMA/Jiu Jitsu school.”
ProMMA- if you could fight any fighter from any organization who would it be and how would you matchup with him?
Bamboo- “To be honest I would like to fight any of the greats to see how I match up, but there is one fighter in particular I have always liked, and would love to get a fight with, Jason Miller. He fights 185, so I would have to get a little bigger for that, but I think he is awesome, and I would love to get some play time in the cage with him.”
ProMMA- I saw you rocking a “team ninja” shirt the other night. What is the story behind that?
Bamboo- “My sponser “Malice Fighter” made those shirts for me as a present not too long ago, I thought it was awesome, putting me and my two roommates’s names on the same shirt making team ninja, which is how I always refer to us, just a house full of ninjas. LOL!”
ProMMA- Do you have any shoutouts for anyone? Any sponsors you would like to mention?
Bamboo- “I want to thank Brendan at the EmVe Clothing Company AkA Malice Fighter “www. malicefighter. tv” for taking a chance with me. Guys, Malice really does make some awesome stuff, it just looks cool and is quality. If you need some training clothes or just something fly to walk around in, like a team bamboo shirt, check out their site. I would also like to make a shout out to Buttercup, and Midget from Gracie Tampa, they are two of my best training partners making me the Ninja I am today.”
ProMMA- Thanks Bamboo, can’t wait to see you back in action. When is your next fight?
Bamboo- “Thanks man, I appreciate it, thanks for interviewing me and I look forward to the next time. I am looking to fight in the next month or so actually, sometime in September. I plan to do two more fights this year. so prolly one in September and one in Nov/Dec.”
To learn more about Bamboo, check him out on Bamboo’s MySpace Page. All images/pictures shown above have been taken from Bamboo’s MySpace photos.