KaosX.net - Josh Love: How long have you been training in martial arts? Project Discipline, Brandon Bettes: Consistently since 2007. Did you start out in a traditional martial art or has it always been MMA? I actually learned traditional Karate when I was like 10 or 11 but didn't stick with it because there wasn't a formal dojo or school in the little town I was from. The Instructor moved and that was then end of me being the Karate Kid! If you started in a traditional martial art, which did you study? I honestly can't remember; at that age it I just knew it was Karate but not sure what form it was. How long after you started training did you come up with the idea of Project Discipline? I had about 1 year of some serious training before I realized that I could make something really special, considering the crap I was working with. Which product was the first you designed? Boxing Gloves Was there a reason you designed that particular gear first? I was not happy with high prices for the "good" gloves, but then being very disappointed for spending the money on gloves that really weren't that good. How long did it take to go from conception through design, prototype and finally manufacture? Design part was easy since I was already selling name brand gear through pdfightshop.com. See, since I was not a fan of the local shops in San Diego I felt that I could bring a different approach to the people that train in SD, by being a mobile MMA shop selling name brands at more affordable prices. I soon realized that I didn't really care for some of these brands and that's when I knew I could do better. So we started selling name brands in August of 2009, I started designing gloves in November, worked prototypes in December for a month and then went into manufacturing in January, 2010. I pushed hard on this. Were there any unexpected challenges along the way? Nothing to unexpecting, but just really trying to be able capture your thoughts and be able to put them in a picture to become a reality, with gloves; and then communicate that so that it can be made exactly the way you described it. It can be difficult for some, but for me it wasn't too bad since I am somewhat artistic and can create renderings quite easily. Plus I had many other brands I could compare and differentiate with. I always say, I have done right and will do right by what they do wrong! Do you use all the product you sell? If so, do you have a favorite? YES! Absolutely, I use everything. I train minimum 4 times per week so I get to test everything out. Favorites, no, I love our Phantoms and the Upgrades shin guards. I love Muay Thai and when I spar with these it just feels nice. Do the fighters you sponsor have any input on product design? Yes they do and I actually make a deal with them before we enter into an agreement on sponsorship; I say "you have to give me feedback; I need to know what you like and dislike". I know what I like, but it could be 180 from a guy who puts in more time in the gym than me. If they have suggestions I listen. I feel we are all a team, working together. If they do there part to making pd better than I will do my part to helping them get better. I see a trend forming among fighters who were looking for gear and weren’t satisfied with what they got and I think you fall into this role – do you think products from companies like PD who have their finger on a fighter’s pulse so to speak have a better advantage than some of the more ‘corporate style’ companies out there? Yes I do since we are smaller and not at that corporate level. I really can't speak to the large corporate companies, but we are intimately involved with our fighters as well as our gear manufacturers. We are not just driving numbers. PD is for passion and love of the sport. Our logo "pdupinit" really bleeds who we are. We want to be up in it with MMA, the fighters, the gyms, everything associated with the sport. MMA is the best sport in the world and we want to be at the forefront of it! I think an example where the more corporate companies fail is product design – they tend to be pretty bland – what part do you think design plays in product development? Very big part. Bland is boring but over the top can be too much. There needs to be a medium and that is what pd is all about! I don't ever want to be that foil and skulls stuff you often see with MMA brands. Clean, simple, by stylistic designs that can be applicable to anyone is what we are about! I hear that you have an interesting alternative to a store-front that helps keep prices low, can you explain that to me? Yep, same approach to when we were selling name brands; sales can be internet driven through our website, pdfightshop.com or we can meet with customers. I have met with numerous customers at various gyms to sell pd gear. Since we don't have a storefront, we aren't losing our behinds in overpriced overhead. Has social-networking (facebook/twitter) helped get your name out there more? Was it a part of your company from the get-go? Yes it has! I love Twitter and Facebook. It such a powerful tool that is free. You just have to be consistent with it and always keep posts fresh. I feel that social networking sites like these are only getting to be better and more powerful for marketing efforts. I see from looking at your website that you have a BJJ Gi coming out soon, what can you tell us about it? Yes, I have a Gi coming soon. I have worked with several different proto-types over the past 6 months. I want to be sure that the Gi that has our logo is legit. I can tell you that the quality of our Gi will be compared to Gi's that cost up to $200 but for about half the price. That's how we roll I know that smaller individuals sometimes have a hard time finding a Gi or larger people (like me) as well – with that in mind - What sizes will it be available in? A-1 through A-5 are the sizes that we will start with. I am 6' 180 lbs and the A-3 fits me so if I think our range of sizes should accommodate most people. Besides the Gi, is there anything on your roadmap that you’re looking to release in the next year? Yep, currently in the works will be our sparring gloves; made with the best foams on the market. These will rival any of the best gloves out there, guaranteed! Already have been working with a proto-type and it's amazing. Just ask King Mo Also on the list are MMA Shin Guards that will have the same killer quality as our traditional Muay Thai Shin Guards. Can't wait for these! On a lighter note – did you watch UFC117? Yes I did!! With all the trash talking Chael was doing I had to tune in! If so – you’ve got to have an opinion on Silva / Sonnen. Did the Nelson/Dos Santos fight turn out the way you thought it would? Yes, Chael's credibility went up with me after he destroyed Marquardt. I was very impressed with his tenacity in that fight, so I actually thought he would put the fight to Silva. I just didn't expect him to to put a complete ass whoopin on Silva! Such a surprise and very saddening all at the same time to see Chael get so close and then lose with a minute and half left in the fight. But that is why MMA is so great, it only takes one second, one punch or one submission and the tide changes. God bless this sport! Do you have any opinion on Couture vs. Toney coming up at the end of the month? King Mo & I recently talked about this fight and Mo is really gunning for Toney because he is such a fan of boxing. Normally I agree with Mo on fights but sorry Mo, your boy Toney is getting twisted up and mangled by Couture! Randy will set Toney up with some jabs, then I could see him fake a punch and then shoot. From there it's gonna be Toney on his back eating elbows. Randy wins in the first by GNP! Is there anything you want the world to know about Project Discipline? What I want the world to know..., I guess it would be to give us a shot. That's all I ask. Don't be afraid that our prices are actually affordable, the quality is easily comparable to the expensive brands out there. Just give us a chance, I assure that you will not be disappointed! I say this because when I was on Fist-Ta-Cuff radio, Anton Skoro the show host was asking me this very question. He said that since pd's prices are so affordable one might think that you get what you pay for, meaning low prices = low quality. Then when he actually physically saw our gear and tested it, his attitude and thought process completely changed! Then he asked me why we weren't asking for more money; my response was simple, quality doesn't have to be overpriced! ----------- Catch this and other interviews and gear reviews over at my site!