Monday, January 31, 2011


The European Championships are over, the 2011 tournament season has begun...

Ryan had high hopes for the first tournament of the gi season. Unfortunately, things didn't quite go his way and have caused him to take another hard look at how he's been training and how the training in the academy is going for the students. It's time to switch gears in multiple ways...

This tournament showed Ryan that he needs to focus more on himself and his own training and less on his students. The thing about Ryan is that he is one of the most generous people I've ever met with his time on the mats. He's never been able to watch someone do jiu-jitsu incorrectly. I can't count the number of times I've seen him start coaching a random person at a tournament because they are having a hard time finishing a triangle or pulling someone over he's never seen before after their match to offer a little advice. He actually can't stop himself from helping, lol! If he is this way with strangers, you can imagine how much more it exists in his own academy. As a professional, he should be selfish with his training time, but he will glance over and see a student doing something wrong and immediately stop in the middle of his rounds to assist them. Watching Ryan interact with his students, inspires me to be a better coach and competitor every day.

It's tough to run an academy and be a high-level competitor, you're being pulled in multiple directions every time you step on the mat. Although it's also refreshing to be at an academy where the instructors consistently go above and beyond to help their students, even at the detriment of their own training, it's time for Ryan to re-focus on himself this tournament season.

The future will see the brown and purple belts stepping up a little more on the mats at Fifty/50 to lighten Ryan's load a bit. The first real example of this was seen on the mats this weekend while Ryan was in Europe competing. The purple belts that are Ryan's closest training partners, regular students like anyone else, spent hours during open mat answering questions and freely assisting the lower level students. It's nice to see them gain the confidence in their abilities to impart their hard-earned knowledge to others.

Today, two of the adult male purple belts played soccer against the kids to help them warm-up in a fun way before class. I didn't tell the men before they started that one of the 9 year olds plays on an Olympic Development team. ;) The look on one of the purple belt's face when the child legitimately faked him out and scored past him was PRICELESS! The guys were great sports and the kids had a blast. It's so fun to see the team coming together!

It's been 2 years since we began with just under 20 students. It's always a trial to manage the time when all the full-time instructors are still trying to make their way competitively, but you can't go wrong if you consistently re-evaluate where you are and truly want to see your students succeed beyond your own abilities. When constantly striving to be the best you can be, you can never fail. This is why I have faith in Ryan. To come this far having been essentially coachless for the better part of his time in Jiu-Jitsu, is an amazing feat, one which others would be able to sit back and be proud of. But not Ryan. He will not rest until he reaches his goals. He is a fantastic role model for the students he intends to bring along with him. I expect to see Ryan, Rick, and Quang making a splash at the IBJJF Houston Open on February 12.

Ryan helping a little kid after one of his seminars...


  1. I've seen Ryan step on the mat to help out little Alex! But you're right, he needs to focus on himself. I have a lot of respect for all the purple and brown belts that would help Ryan out. He need not worry. His students are in great hands. Having said that, I think he won't be able to resist. Being generous is in his nature!:)


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