Bristol Marunde — A Neighborly Tiger Shark

© Marc Wickert
1 Mar. 2007

When Dennis Hallman departed the Seattle-based Tiger Sharks, the team was quick to snap up Bristol Marunde to fill the vacant middleweight spot. And when this Alaskan-born fighter isn't busy training at the gym, he's probably working hard as a salesman selling properties, or putting his MMA skills to practice protecting residents in his own neighborhood.

However, at the time of this interview, Bristol is finishing off some business at the real estate office before getting ready for his next workout. "I'm going to train tonight. I'll only be working out once today because I lifted yesterday, so I gave my body a little bit of a rest this morning," says Marunde.

Born in Fairbanks, Alaska, Bristol has spent most of his life in Washington, but regularly heads back up north. "Both sets of my grandparents moved up to Alaska to settle on homestead land, and my family became a commercial fishing family. My parents' families grew up in a really small town called Tok. I moved to Washington when I was little, and I used to go to Alaska in the summers to commercial fish."

After adopting Washington State as his home base, Bristol later took up wrestling at about 10 years of age. "My mom tells me that I came up to her one day and said I wanted to start wrestling, and she kinda got caught off guard and said okay. I got it into my head that I wanted to start wrestling. I think I've just been drawn to these combat sports ever since I was little."

As a young man, Bristol was then drawn by the force of caged combat after seeing MMA events on television, and decided it was for him. "I was in college, and like anybody who has fought today, they've seen the fighting on p-p-v TV. When I saw it I was blown away. I couldn't imagine someone stepping in a cage with another person and fighting until one of them could no longer fight. I couldn't believe anybody would do that.

"Right then I knew that I could go in there and smash somebody: It was just the confidence that I had. I wanted to prove to everyone and to myself that I could do that. It was kinda out of respect for the toughness of the guys who were doing it, and I knew I could be that tough."

Bristol, can you tell us about the incident when you caught the rapist, please?

"Yeah, that was pretty interesting. To me it was a cool thing because of all the training that I'd done, all the preparation for fighting. The boxing and jiu jitsu had given me a confidence that I normally wouldn't have had. One night I was getting ready for bed and I heard some terrible screams from my next-door neighbor. Through the wall, I could hear the yelling for help, so I went outside and saw a person run past me in the dark. My neighbor was lying on her kitchen floor saying somebody was in her house.

"I don't know what possessed me to, but I took off after him, and ran him down half a mile away. He was still running in the dark when I tackled him. He got up and faced me, ready to fight. I told him he wasn't going anywhere, and he denied attacking my neighbor, then stepped in at me. With all the training I just automatically knew what to do: I used my kicks and wrestling to subdue him until the police came along and arrested him.

"Later the Mayor of Seattle and the Chief of Police presented me with an outstanding citizen award. It was kinda funny. It wasn't that I wanted to beat somebody up, it was that all my training gave me the confidence to assist an innocent victim and to bring a bad person to justice."

I'm sure your neighbor is a fan of the Tiger Sharks. How did you come to be in the team?

"I live in the area and I just started training at the gym, and when Dennis Hallman moved on, I took over the spot – I was the next guy in line. I showed my skills while working out with the guys and they liked what they saw."

Who are your main training partners?

"Reese Andy is my main training partner and we train at West Coast Fitness gym in Renton, Washington."

How's Shad going?

"He's a fun guy. He works at a bar and he's a real outgoing guy: He's fun to have on the team."

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Article written by Marc Wickert

Marc Wickert is one of the world's most respected martial arts journalists.

For years his articles have been published in America, Europe, Australasia, and on the acclaimed website.

Having interviewed some of the most elite combatants of the No-Holds-Barred inner sanctum, and a hybrid fight system's instructor in his own right, Marc Wickert is also author of the now-famous self-defense manual - The Book.