History: It was an honor to go to the legendary Gracie jiu jitsu head quarters in Torrance for Gordon Ryan’s match with Ralek Gracie. Inside the dojo was a beautiful mini museum of Helio’s side of the family - a side I am not very familiar with as I trained exclusively under Renzo Gracie and the Gracie Barra lineage. It was a wonderful experience to be a small part of the match and then walk around and observe the famous dojo with its memorabilia and images from the past, all the way back to Helio through the early days of MMA/UFC in the United States. There were so many iconic images from the beginning of the UFC, events that I had long forgotten but which were important in my early development and inspiration. Our sport changes and adapts so quickly that it is very easy to lose historical perspective and get entirely wrapped up in current developments and emerging trends. In truth however, whatever achievements we make today are only possible because of the work and achievements of our forebears in the art. In addition, these earlier authorities often came at problems we still deal with today from a very different perspective, which can often provide insight to a thoughtful person today. Sometimes an old idea, combined with contemporary context, can be a path to something new.

Going old school - California style

Going old school - California style: When Gordon Ryan defeated Ralek Gracie at the legendary Torrance Gracie Jiu Jitsu academy on Sunday, I got a chance to talk to jiu jitsu icon Rorian Gracie and some of his students about the early history of Gracie Jiu Jitsu in The United States. Gracie Jiu Jitsu was first taught out of a small garage here in California! There were no schools - it took a long time for the first Gracie’s to build a following and work their way up to becoming one of the foremost martial arts in the world. Well, here I am in California, teaching private classes out of...a garage! Ha ha! Looks like things have come full circle!! New school Jiu Jitsu - leg locking 101 - taught old school style out of the garage Here my friends Josh and Chris from @dynamixmma go to work on ashi garami and other skills. Cars replaced by mats and we are ready to go! Now it’s on to team training as the squad pairs with Keenan Cornelius to get Gordon Ryan ready for EBI 14, Nicky Ryan ready for Fight2Win and Garry Tonon ready for MMA debut some time next year. I always love to take inspiration from the past and love to give credit where ever I can to those who came before us and made our work possible. It’s a pleasure to get a small sense of what it must have been like for those Jiu Jitsu pioneers who gave birth to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu here in California and helped make it possible for people like myself to find happiness in the sport.

Back in training

Back in training: After the excitement of Gordon Ryan’s victory in Torrance yesterday The squad was back in the gym today, joined by Keenan Cornelius. Here, Mr Ryan battles Mr Cornelius while Nicky Ryan goes toe to toe with Garry Tonon in the training cage at Musclepharm HQ in LA. Mr Ryan is preparing for a very tough field in Texas this weekend at EBI 14 Open weight tournament while his younger brother will take on outstanding 10th Planet Black belt Ricky Lule here in LA Friday night. This evening it will be more grappling training and then MMA work for Mr Tonon. In jiu jitsu as in life, the higher your goals and aspirations, the more you must demand of yourself. The more you want - the more you must give - in sweat and effort. When people TALK to me about their goals and aspirations, I don’t even listen. I WATCH WHAT THEY ACTUALLY DO TO BRING ABOUT THOSE GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS AND SEE HOW MUCH THEY ARE WILLING TO GIVE IN THE ATTEMPT. Only then will you really see how serious they are.

Victory in LA

Victory in LA: Gordon Ryan defeated Ralek Gracie at the Metamoris event held at Gracie Academy Headquarters in Torrance today. On a bet placed shortly before the match he limited himself to sankaku (triangle) and juji gatame (armbar) attacks - the bet was that it had to be performed between ten and twelve minutes - a closer time frame than the ten to eighteen minutes he declared earlier in the week. At ten and half minutes he secured the submission win via sankaku variation. It was an honor to be at the famous Torrance academy and see so much history and meet people who were heavily involved in the early history of jiu jitsu in the United States. It created a fascinating atmosphere for the match, which had the no time limit rule structure of early matches in the history of the sport. Now it’s back to the gym to get Nicky Ryan ready for Fight2Win Friday night, Gordon Ryan ready for Sunday night, Nick Ronan ready for Kasai grappling event in two weeks and Garry Tonon ready for MMA!

It ain’t easy keeping up with the squad

It ain’t easy keeping up with the squad: At the house of our gracious host Mo Jassim, his faithful English Bulldogs have been keeping us company as we work hard on submission skills in preparation for upcoming events. Looks like the last ashi garami session took a toll on this poor fellow! Having fun out here on the West Coast. Looking forward to early seminar at Shawn Williams academy tomorrow before the metamoris event and then back into training! I think by Sunday night I will be sleeping right next to this bulldog!

Polishing the edge

Polishing the edge: When sharpening a dull knife, the initial work is heavy grinding of the edge on very abrasive surfaces that remove metal in ways that gradually change and thin the edge geometry to Bring back the sharpness. As the sharpening process continues, progressively finer abrasives are used that remove less and less metal. At the end of the process the edge of the blade is polished by the finest abrasives. At that point there is no more metal removal, just light polishing that leaves a mirror smooth edge that gleams and cuts like a razor. So too in jiu jitsu contest preparation. During the normal training cycle, the work is heavy and designed to change the athletes skill set. As the contest approaches, the training changes to light work designed to polish already existing skills. Here, Gordon Ryan, Nicky Ryan, Garry Tonon and Nick Ronan polish their skills for upcoming events at Musclepharm HQ in LA. Following this approach creates an athlete who arrives on match day with skills as sharp as the finest blade

Next stop California

Next stop California: The squad heads to LA - big Gordon Ryan discovers he is no longer capable of fitting in regulation seat of Airbus 300 and must go in cargo. Preparation in NYC has been good. Now training in LA with old friend Shawn Williams. We shall stay in LA for next week to prepare for EBI 14 Open weight. Three tough matches/Tournaments in three different parts of the country in three weeks Gordon Ryan knows how to prepare for holiday season! Can’t wait to see Eddie Cummings and Nicky when they arrive for their matches in LA along with Garry Tonon riding shotgun - it’s all West coast for the squad this week! I wanted to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving from the squad. Hope you all got a chance to recharge batteries and get ready for training again!

The return of the Wolverine

The return of the Wolverine: Eddie Cummings, founding member of the grappling squad, will be returning to the stage at Fight2Win Pro 56 against Jacob Sandoval, an outstanding black belt from the great Cobrinha, in LA. He will be headlining the event alongside Nicky Ryan. Mr Cummings has been working hard in the shadows - always seeking improvement and refinement of his game. Everyone knows his prowess in leg attacks - he was the first to show our leg lock Ashi Garami system to the world. Less well known - mostly due to the overwhelming success of his leg game - is his great proficiency in upper body attacks and his positional game. It will be great seeing him back in action Interestingly, of all my students, Mr Cummings has a grappling game which is the most similar to my own, based upon off balancing (kuzushi) from bottom position into Ashi Garami, sankaku (triangle) and back attacks. Keep your eyes on this one to see some modifications and improvements on an already devastating game!

Ryan brothers back in action

Ryan brothers back in action: Gordon Ryan is preparing for a tumultuous end to the year with three major engagements back to back. First he takes on Ralek Gracie in a submission only match in LA, then a very tough field in EBI 14 in Texas where he defends his open weight title, then Straight back to NYC to take on double ADCC gold medalist Yuri Simoes - a truly great champion in a weight division above his in the new Kasai event. Sixteen year old purple belt Nicky Ryan will take on 10th Planet adult black belt standout Ricky Lule, who in addition to being a fine jiu jitsu player, is also an excellent wrestler in what will be an exceptionally tough test for the gifted youngster. The match will take place in LA at Fight to Win pro (Eddie Cummings will be there to compete on the same night - more on that soon!) The squad will head to California on Thanksgiving Day in preparation for these big events and stay for a week. We are hoping to connect again with our Californian fans and show some interesting new directions in our training program. This was always my favorite photo of the Ryan brothers. It conveys well their focus and shared vision and experiences - attributes that have brought them both astounding progress in very little time. The only odd thing about the photo is a sinister Michael Myers impersonator lurking ominously in the background...


Sankaku/Triangle: Jiu Jitsu is about using a large percentage of our strength against a small percentage of our opponent’s strength at a vulnerable point of his body. No move exemplifies this sentiment better than sankaku - the triangle. In all its many variations it uses the strongest part of our body - the legs and hips - to isolate a weak part of an opponent - the neck and a single arm - in order to strangle or armlock him. As such it a big part of our approach to the sport. As a coach I use sankaku as a crucial measurement of a beginner students progress - the day I see a student consistently and persistently entering into and looking to finish with triangles, I know he or she is on the right path and making good progress. It shows me clearly that they are using their legs as the forefront of their attacks and are developing the leg dexterity and movement skills that will enhance their game overall. Rookie grapplers do the majority of their work with their arms - experts do the majority of their work with legs and hips. Here, Garry Tonon shows superb leg and hip work to lock on a devastating sankaku attack on his way to a record fifth EBI title in LA