The example of Georges St Pierre

The example of Georges St Pierre: I have had the honor of coaching many truly outstanding athletes of more than two decades. None surpassed the incredible achievements of Mr St Pierre. Everyone knows his achievements - far fewer know what it was like to train with him in the gym - yet a brief discussion of this could be very beneficial to your own progress. The first thing to note was that Mr St Pierre was fully capable of beating the crap out of any of us any time he felt like it, but he came in to the gym only to play our game of grappling rather than fighting. He knew that grappling expertise was an important part of fighting expertise and would not try to use any of his great advantages in standing grappling and striking (or even mention them) but instead play our submission game. He would almost always pull guard and start of positions of disadvantage to remove his advantages and work on his weaknesses. His only goal was improvement in the area we were best suited to help it. If he wanted to he could have simply disengaged and stalled to avoid our strengths. He never did. He went directly into our strengths and tried to improve his performance in those areas. He did the same thing in every boxing, Muay Thai and wrestling workout i ever saw him do. Every workout must have seemed a nightmare as it was him playing against the best people in the world in their strongest area, on their terms. If someone followed him around for a year and watched his workouts they might see him struggling the whole time - until it was fight night. Then they would see the result of all that work against specialists in their domain. Now it was time to put it all together in HIS domain - the cage - under MMA rules - and you all know how that went! DON’T FOCUS IN WINNING IN THE GYM - FOCUS ON IMPROVEMENT AND SKILL ACQUISITION - worry about WINNING when it counts - when you learn to divide those two concerns your progress will be astounding

Who is this tiny terror??

Who is this tiny terror?? It’s BABY NICKY RYAN!! His Mom is in Puerto Rico and was proudly showing baby photos of her sons to the squad when this one came up!! Looks to me like that little demon is getting ready to slide into ashi garami from standing and break some poor souls leg!! Garry Tonon thinks he practicing toddler single legs in the play pen. Was this little maniac practicing the dark arts of leg locking at age 1? Damn! No wonder he got so good so quickly!!


HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE SQUAD!! Wishing you all the best for 2021!! Thank you all for your interest in the incredible work of my students and our philosophy of Jiu jitsu. We hope to show much more of our work around the Jiu jitsu world in the coming year - hopefully fate proves kinder to Jiu Jitsu this year than last, but whatever happens, dedication and determination will always prevail over hard times - wishing you all a great night and an even better year!

A day to say goodbye

A day to say goodbye: Today was the funeral for Big Gord. It was a day to remember the father who raised two strong grapplers, who gave what he had to see his sons pursue their dreams; who took greater pleasure in their successes than anything in his own life. He was a character who quietly suffered through great physical pains from more than twenty surgeries over his life and some private demons in his soul, but who nonetheless faced every dawn with resolve to help his family and friends any way he could. He was taken peacefully in his sleep secure in the knowledge that he was loved by those around him and that his sons had climbed to the top of their profession despite many disadvantages early in their lives. Tonight we will talk old stories and laugh and cry and then get set for a new day and a chance to give him more reason to be proud out into the future.

Modern Jiu jitsu lost one of its true characters today

Modern Jiu jitsu lost one of its true characters today - “Big Gord” father of Gordon Ryan passed away in his sleep last night. Mr Ryan Sr was a stalwart supporter of his two sons Gordon and Nicky from the earliest days of their commitment to Jiu jitsu. He would come to many of their training sessions, almost all of their matches from white belt to world championships. He had unshakable confidence in the abilities of his sons and stood by them unfailingly through thick and thin, wins and losses. There is a sense in which Big Gord was a metaphor for the squad itself, he didn’t always say the polite or correct thing, was rough around the edges and unconventional in his approach, but underneath it all he had a heart of gold and stood by his friends and judged everyone by their merits. He was one of the unexpected stars of the 2019 ADCC World Championships as strode from mat to mat to proudly watch his sons take center stage. He was a real character at these events. Normally the squad is known for their very analytical coaching style - Big Gord came from the opposite direction with his surprisingly insightful psychological pre match advice and humorous call outs that had us all laughing and smiling between and after matches. In the end, that’s what it’s all about - showing love and support for those around you and creating warm smiles and memories for your family and friends. Thank you Gordon, Nicky, Trish and Nathalia for helping Big Gord through this health issues these last few years - i know it was often a difficult and lonely task - you all showed exceptional generosity and kindness to your dear father on a level the world will never know. Wishing you all strength and recovery.

First workout in Puerto Rico

First workout in Puerto Rico: It was great to be back on the mats in a new land here today. We drove into San Juan with friends to work out with Nicky Ryan, Ethan Crelinsten, Oliver Taza and teenage standout Big Dan Manasoiu to work out with our Puerto Rican friends and get things started. It’s great to get acclimated and active early and show people our Jiu jitsu philosophy and technique. Soon the rest of the squad will arrive and we will get to work opening a training facility and getting everyone to their Jiu Jitsu potential. Adelante y hacia arriba!!

Thank you

Thank you: Over twenty five years I have taught out of the dojo of my teacher Renzo Gracie. I have been blessed to have so many extraordinary students. I began teaching introduction classes as a blue belt, never dreaming that it would one day be my livelihood. In time I began teaching full time and was fascinated by the overlap of Jiu jitsu with MMA. As fate would have it, a young Georges St Pierre became my student and this began a decade of study in that area culminating in Mr St Pierre as one of the most dominant champions in history and Chris Weidman defeating the other great champion of that era, Anderson Silva. When Georges retired I shifted focus to no gi Jiu jitsu. Once again fate blessed me with outstanding students as Garry Tonon, Eddie Cummings and the Ryan brothers, Gordon and Nicky formed a core of grapplers that changed the game. Through all of that development were my daily students - the core of my classes - far too many to name but you all know who you are. You were my rock and my foundation. Without you all neither myself nor my more well known students could have done what they did. Thank you all so much for your dedication and sacrifices over a quarter of a century. Thank you for tolerating my shortcomings as a person and a teacher. Thank you for making a room in which ideas could be tested, theories spawned and champions made. We all remember training days before Georges fights or ADCC camps averaging over a hundred people on the mats in morning and afternoon class - today it’s an empty room that i look but my memories will last as long as I do. Thank you for those memories - without you they never would have happened.

The power of learning

The power of learning: It is always impressive to watch a student take on new ideas and information and then apply it to get to their goals. So often I get messages of students from around the world who watch the instructional videos of myself and my students at @bjj.fanatics and get results in the gym and in competition. One of the most impressive examples of this is the student who actually made many of the videos with me as the demonstration partner (Uke) - @placisantos Placido Santos. Placido got to feel and perform the moves and concepts first hand. It’s amazing to see how well he has adopted them into his game. This weekend the 150 pound blue belt entered the advanced open weight division of grappling industries and won first place! Using many of the lessons we worked and showed in the videos he was able to take every match by submission! Never underestimate the power of knowledge made into skill through hard training! Hope you enjoy this highlight reel of Placido tearing it up this weekend as I did!

The remarkable story of Brian Glick

The remarkable story of Brian Glick: I am mostly known through the exploits of my incredible students and their success in MMA and grappling over the years. What is less known is that I have many students who never competed who are every bit as good as the competitors. A true legend and hidden gem of the blue basement is the inestimable Brian Glick, one of my senior black belts. I am often asked by people - can I get good at Jiu jitsu if I start late? If I am small and unathletic? If I’m not a competitive/aggressive person? If I have no background in martial arts whatsoever? If I have a family/career? I always smile and say “look at Brian Glick. When Mr Glick first began Jiu jitsu in the late 1990’s classes were very rough with frequent dojo challenge matches and high injury rates. Most of my students in the afternoon class were an odd assortment of cops, criminals, bouncers, unemployable thugs, fitness professionals, wannabe fighters and the occasional dominatrix. Brian was so delicate and shy I actually took him aside on a couple of occasions and gave him a speech that he really wasn’t cut out for this kind of activity and he should find another sport. Yet in time he showed the greatest human attribute of them all - stoic persistence that allows for the incredible forces of adaption over time to work their magic. Despite all my doubts he became the small guy that could twist monsters into pretzels. He went through the MMA phase training with Georges St Pierre and Chris Weidman, the squad grappling phase where he is still a formidable training partner for even the best squad members. He is arguably the single greatest example of the transformative powers of Jiu jitsu training to take anybody from helpless to hardcore. There was scarcely a day in the last two decades where I did not see this remarkable fellow exhibit effortless control over monsters twice his size and strength and then have us all laughing with his New York Jewish humor. They call it the gentle art and Mr Glick was indeed a gentleman and an artist in that domain - he is living proof that you can be too


Lessons: It was a great pleasure for the squad to train with the great UFC champion Rose Namajunes and her fiancé Pat Barry. On the surface we taught her leg locks, but on a deeper level she taught us all a much deeper lesson years ago. I was at UFC 217 with Georges St Pierre for his fight with Michael Bisping at Madison Square Garden in NYC. At the ceremonial weigh ins all the fighters came out to square off - it was a packed arena even for the weigh ins. I was sitting there when Ms Namajunas came out to square off against the extremely formidable Joanna Jedrzejczyk. There was a collective gasp around the arena when they squared off as it looked like a child being matched against a powerful adult. I heard someone whisper, “I hope that poor girl doesn’t get hurt too badly.” That pretty much summed up what everyone was thinking. The next night we were all in the group locker room warming up. As Ms Namajunas went out for her match, there was the same collective feeling of dread for what seemed like a lamb being taken out to slaughter. Then something interesting happened. The whole locker room, filled with athletes who had fought already and the few remaining to fight, stopped what they were doing and started to watch the terrible mismatch. You could feel an electric tension building in the room as Thug Rose started taking the fight to her powerful opponent. Everyone, even Georges St Pierre, who never gets distracted by anything, stopped their workout and watched this battle of David and Goliath. Suddenly Thug Rose landed a blow that dropped Joanna!! The entire locker room erupted!! As the fight resumed everyone was on their feet and screaming! Then another blow and Thug Rose followed Joanna to the floor and won! The room went crazy!! Fighters who normally don’t even talk to each other were slapping high fives and hugging, Freddy Roach, who didn’t even know who Thug Rose was was smiling and nodding, Firas was punching the air and jumping up and down! In all my years of coaching I never l saw anything like it! NEVER count out a trained and motivated individual who has courage in their heart no matter what appearances may say - that was her great lesson to us