Lessons learned in the 20k BJJ Challenge |Respect to the Coaches

Lessons learned from the 20k BJJ Challenge at Studio 540

After all the talk hype and build up we ended up having some great matches Studio 540 last weekend. The main event and one we are focussing on here had Felipe pena vs Gordon Ryan with Pena

putting a decisive end to all the‎ talk with  rear naked choke after taking the back at the 40 min mark.



Important points

this was a very polarising match with people on one of two sides..
A- Gordon Ryan and the Entire Danather  team suck and are lame by making up the rules of these fights primarily, fishing after leg  locks and not respecting the world wide competition circuit ala IBJJF, ADCC, Abu Dahbi Pro.. The Brazilians know it all and they will lose once facing top competitors
B- John Danaher  and his elite student base are the best thing since sliced bread winning almost all of the events the are competing in and BY submission!! revolutionising the leg lock game “according to many the best expression of BJJ.. no time limit till the end submission”  ….. back to that point in a second- because neither  sport or no sub only is the full expression of the art
Luckily The truth as always lies somewhere in the middle 🙂
Before getting to my breakdown of the important take away’s from this whole deal are 1st let me highlight and important point ever bjj student /martial artist should look at.
These guys are both greats trained under masters with big reputations that are actually working hard to push their students ahead of where they ever were.
Not do discredit anyone else but we all know those BJJ legends where “everything was better back in the day” and no one in their circle of influence can be higher than them on any front.
 If you want a hero then those are great leaders but if you want someone to help push you to higher heights then someone that empowers people around them to achjieve greatness is likely your better choice.
** im in no way affiliated with Gracie Barra or Renzo’s but give respect where its due** so from the top down
gracei barra leaders
Though no longer the same business these two leaders came up together and built the powerhouses that are today Gracie barra & Renzo Gracie Jiu-jitsu association
{Pena & Ryan’s affiliations  funny respectively} Clearly enver scared to empower those around them renzo has an army of american affiliates plus staff from brazil etc etc and Carlos has his top students in important positions in Gracie Barra.
Romulo Barall { Gracie Barra}
barall-bjj barall-bjj-gi
until recently a fairly hidden Gem in the coaching scene but with the success guys around him like Edwin Najimi and Felipe Pena people are starting to take notice of his work.  A world class competitor himself he is doing the  best thing a coach can do and creating students that will be even better than he was.
John Danaher {Renzo Gracie team}
To some a controversial coach in that he doesn’t have a track record of competition but if Renzo has entrusted him with his competition squad and given the results they are producing who are people outside of that circle to question anything? with many of the best on several forms of combat seeking him out the proof is in the results
these guys are the coaches behind the athletes skilled and humble enough to put out the level of competitor we get to rant about who is better than who and for that we should be thankful. Most times these guys are in the shadows doing a hugr part of the work so its good to bring them to the forefront..
Now back to the Match…………….
I had my reservations going in like so many others about these new “invented rules” and all Ryan’s trash talk  calling out to the BJJ royalty, but win or lose Gordon and company have done a few good things for the competition scene. I don’t like shit talkers in combat sports but again respect is due on a few fronts since they have….
1- Raised the bar pay wise..who else is making 20k to grapple without strikes?? Many /most high level mma competitors outside of the Ufc and Bellator are not making even half that amount per fight. MMA and BJJ are now two totally different animals but guy’s of this calibre put in just as much work and deserved more than medals to show for all the work.
2- Evolved the game.. most of the old school bjj gods are not about the leg lock focused game stressed by Danaher and his students , even taking things so far they have banned many setups and submission in their events. After watching Danaher death squad and company take down so many EBI events and super fights I assumed the high level BJJ crew in Brazil would be quietly cooking up a response. And sure enough it was emerging BJJ star coach Rommulo Barral + star pupil Felipe Pena taking the challenge and delivering super sharp leg lock Defense and counters from every attempt leading to the high pressure finish
Take Away from this whole deal
1- There isn’t going to be a Gi super fight and I don’t think Pena expects ryan to accept the challenge but the irony of Gordon saying “he will do it the day he start competing in the Gi” is funny given him calling out everyone on the world level that also doesn’t compete in these new sub only rules.
“how ever you feel.. gotta admit this if pretty funny” 🙂
2-‎ Barall’s crew is serious.. Gracie Barra northridge is a powerhouse gi and no gi with many of the elite making that their home base in america
3- Gordon lost but is a dangerous competitor.. especially if you don’t master the leg lock game.. i dont know why so many people are happy nothing changes ryan’s still a force in grappling just having come up short vs the killer is no shame

4-A Litte competition is a good thing as once again the art has evolved.. some will absorb the lessons laid out and build on thier leg lock defence while others will Ignore it all in a goal to maintain the purity of their classical Jiu-Jitsu “whatever that is supposed to mean since BJJ came to prominice by beating systems stuck in the past the refused to adapt to modern times”
5- sub only isn’t for everyone. Definitely not my preference but it’s is here to stay‎ and with no point penalties the leg lock game plays a much bigger role in the outcomes of the matches
6- Never forget the real expression and purpose of BJJ is to be able to defend yourself i don’t mean classical rehearsed self defence which is cool and some peoples preference but what if a goon shows up at your academy and wants to fight? or someone steps to you outside of the academy?? guys like renzo understand and embody the full art in that he in the past litterally in a month span , Gi trainings Adcc tourney and then an MMA fight.. ?? covering all the bases and using BJJ whenever its needed.
a few looks at classic BJJ
Ryan Gracie vs  Tico street fight

 Rolls Gracie rolling with Alvaro Romano

 Leo Viera vs Charuto Mundial 1997

Train whatever you like but there is no reason to attack other peoples area of focus in the art
there are many branches on the tree of BJJ eat off the one you like but never forget it all started as a martial art.

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