danaherjohn danaherjohn

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John Danaher  Teaching jiu jitsu and MMA out of New York City - changing the game through the exploits of my uber talented students 😊

As a coach or mentor there are two things I can never give you. Two things that only you can provide. The first is a deep underlying PASSION for what you do. I can deepen that passion, fuel it, strengthen it - but only YOU can CREATE it; and you either have it or you don’t. The second is the ability to PULL THE TRIGGER when opportunity presents itself. I can teach you all manner of techniques, tactics, game plans, risk calculations, strategy, drills etc etc. but in the end, at the crucial moment, ONLY YOU CAN MAKE THE NAKED CHOICE TO PULL THE TRIGGER. In jiu jitsu and in life - much can be offered to you - but these two things, passion and the ability to seize the moment and pull the trigger, these two must come from within you - they are yours and yours alone.

Follow the journey: The most exciting times in your growth in martial arts are the early days of your development. Every lesson seems to offer insights, moves, tactics and strategy that changes your entire point of view. Garry Tonon is going through that phase now in MMA. Today he worked with British UFC middleweight standout Tom Breese @breesemma and @aidenleemma. I first met Mr Breese at Tristar gym in Montreal where he was working with my students Georges St-Pierre and Firas Zahabi. He was a brilliant boxer learning to merge this skill with wrestling and grappling - now he has his own gym in Birmingham England teaching MMA and our approach to grappling. It’s amazing to see his progress and self development every time he visits. He continues his amazing progress in the UFC with another big bout coming up soon! It’s always great to see athletes trading knowledge in mutually beneficial ways - Mr Tonon helps Mr Breese with grappling and Mr Breese helps Mr Tonon with MMA. Both athletes have a tremendous amount to offer in the future. Following their journey as they progress towards their goals will help and inspire you as you progress towards your own goals. We are all beginners at something - it’s a phase that gives rise to much frustration and vexation- but one day you will see that it was those hard times that made you who you are in the sport. Always know that you are not alone in starting out - even the best grapplers start as neophytes in the new sport of MMA and go through the whole beginner cycle a second time. Don’t get frustrated by measuring your progress only by results - measure by your personal growth and you will come to see this as the happiest time in your journey.

The three kings of the scramble: Most of the time in jiu jitsu we are looking to create situations where we have greater control over our opponent’s ability to move than he has over us. Unfortunately our opponents are actively doing the same and are usually just as good at this as we are. The inevitable result is that we spend considerable amounts of time, perhaps the majority in many cases, in SCRAMBLE situations, which we will define as dynamic situations where neither athlete has a greater capacity to control the other’s movement than their opponent does. It is my belief that in any scramble situation - THERE ARE THREE TYPES OF SUBMISSION/CONTROL METHODS THAT ARE ALMOST ALWAYS AVAILABLE AND THE MOST EFFECTIVE - these are KIMURA, FRONT HEADLOCK/GUILLOTINE and ASHI GARAMI based leg locks. In any dynamic, free flowing situation where neither athlete has decisive control - YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ENTER INTO AT LEAST ONE OF THESE THREE SUBMISSION ENTRIES. I put a heavy emphasis on all three in my coaching for this reason (among others). It is almost impossible to get into a hard grappling match for two or three minutes (and usually a lot less) of movement and exchange without exposing the opportunity for one of these three submissions/controls. Proficiency in these three areas of the game is critical to your success in scramble situations. Of course there are many other moves and tactics that work well in scrambles - but in the sport of jiu jitsu/submission grappling, THESE THREE ARE KING. Make sure you work them relentlessly paying particular attention to how you would employ them in quick moving situations. Doing so will give you a clear and effective sense of direction in any scramble.

Enthusiastic amateurs: Much of what I write about is the development of professional athletes in grappling and MMA. The reason for this is because they exemplify the main themes that I push - of PASSION as the bedrock of development, of DISCIPLINE/ PERSEVERANCE as the sustainer of development, of INTELLIGENT PLANNING as the determinant of your speed and amount of development and of the CONFIDENCE and courage to take a risk on stage as the means of showing your development. But let’s get something straight. Professional athletes are very much the minority in any class - including mine. The vast majority of my students are ordinary people just like you who have a job, family and many responsibilities and commitments that come before jiu jitsu. Unlike a professional athlete, they cannot invest all their time and effort into the sport but must instead give it as much time as they can among their other commitments. I have always been very proud of the fact that I have many students who fall into this enthusiastic amateur group but whose skill level is shockingly high - to the point where they can absolutely go toe to toe with great professional athletes and give them a very hard workout indeed. My goal as a coach is to make the ENTIRE ROOM strong, as THE STRONGER THE ROOM OVERALL, THE STRONGER THE ELITE ATHLETES COMING OUT OF IT. So often I am asked whether someone training part time can attain a good level of jiu jitsu despite having a busy job, family, perhaps being older etc. my answer is always a resounding YES! I know because I see it every day. A good example comes from this weekend at the IBJJF Pan Am Championships. Most people were greatly impressed by the performance of Gordon Ryan in taking double gold - but there were two double golds that day. Forty three year old Ryan Bier, married father of two, working a very demanding job in the medical profession also took first place in both his weight and absolute masters division. I am always hugely impressed by people who get to a very high standard as amateurs working around their main commitments. I SEE JUST AS MUCH PASSION AMONG THEM AS I DO AMONG THE PROFESSIONALS - they are the heart and soul of the sport.

Frank Rosenthal strangles for the win!! Outstanding junior brown belt Frank Rosenthal @frankrosenthal11 won his super fight against 10th Planet standout black black belt Ricky Lule with an expertly applied stranglehold from the back in standing position at the Onnit Invitational in Texas. Mr Rosenthal has been on a competitive tear lately, with most wins coming by way of his signature inside heel hook finish. This time he wanted to show his growth and go upper body - that’s exactly what he did. Hard work on back system details paid off against his tough opponent. There is always a certain look of MECHANICAL TIGHTNESS in a well applied submission and Mr Rosenthal certainly shows that here! Great weekend for the squad between No Gi Pan Ams IBJJF and Onnit EBI rules. Hats off to Mr Rosenthal doing what we all should - identifying goals, formulating a plan to attain them, working hard to make them reality and managing/taking the risks to get them done on the big stage! That’s the formula for jiu jitsu and life itself!

Double gold for Gordon Ryan: Gordon Ryan entered the Pan American No Gi championships this weekend in NYC - his first foray into IBJJF competition as a black belt. Despite a rule set that he is still learning he won both his weight division and the absolute - every match by submission. The biggest question of the tournament was what would happen when Mr Ryan matched with the outstanding Atos team champion Kaynan Duarte. Mr Duarte greatly impressed us a year ago at the ADCC world championships and has gotten even better since then. They did not meet in their weight division when Mr Duarte was upset in a close match prior to the finals. Instead they met in the Absolute finals in a very close and tactical match with Mr Ryans pressure proving decisive near the end of the bout when he he utilized the back system once again to win via submission. It was a day of upper body finishes as Mr Ryan used Kimura system and back System to get the breakthrough in every match. When the squad first emerged I would constantly hear people describe them as one trick ponies - I knew that was not true as I teach to attack the whole body - now more and more people are starting to see the same. Great to see Mr Ryan’s family support with proud Mom and Dad. Congratulations to Mr Ryan on another stellar performance and thank you to IBJJF @ibjjf for running such a large show with so many athletes in such an efficient manner and getting such a talented pool of competitors in NYC.

Visitors: It’s always fun having talented visitors come by the academy. This weekend the No Gi Pan Am Championships is being held in NYC so many great jiu jitsu athletes came in for training including two of my favorites @samuelbragagb and @talitaalencarbjj They had a great time working out with the squad and getting ready for competition day. Wishing best of luck to all the Pan Am athletes especially Samuel and Talita!

Like old times: Had a great morning out in Long Island training @chrisweidman along with @gordonlovesjiujitsu and @jasonraubjj89 and friends. Helping Mr Weidman prepare for his UFC title run and victory was a great highlight of my life. When he opened his gym with his primary coach Ray Longo in Long Island there were much fewer opportunities to work together, so it was great going out today and getting back on to the mat! Mr Weidman is unquestionably one of the most gifted athletes I ever worked with. It was fascinating seeing how he has evolved in training methods and approaches. His upcoming rematch with the great Luke Rockhold will be an incredible test for both athletes. Looking forward to more training with this team out on Long Island as fight day approaches!

Passive learning: Normally we think the learning in jiu jitsu is done when WE perform the move on a partner as the active agent in the exchange. I am a big believer in the idea that we can learn a LOT about a given move when it is performed upon us. When a move is performed upon us we get a tremendous amount of feedback about the effectiveness of our partners application of the move. If we are focused and attentive, we can learn from what what we feel to be correct/effective and incorrect/ineffective in their application. From blue belt to early blackbelt I was the main demonstration partner for most classes taught by my sensei, Renzo Gracie. This was an incredibly valuable stage in my development. It gave me from an early period the FEEL OF PERFECTLY APPLIED TECHNIQUE ACROSS A VAST SPECTRUM OF MOVES. It was then my task to REPLICATE WHAT I FELT. I always felt that though it was sometimes a painful experience 😜 It was one of the best learning modalities I had. WHEN YOU ARE THE PASSIVE PARTNER IN DRILLS - DON’T TURN YOUR MIND OFF. Stay focused and identify the good and bad in what your partner is doing and replicate the good whilst eliminating the bad. I promise you it will help speed your learning. BE AN ACTIVE PARTNER EVEN WHEN THE MOVE IS BEING DONE TO YOU - not resisting, but mentally active thinking about the mechanics of the move. A good example of this way of training occurred this weekend. A very talented jiu jitsu athlete @matheusgonzagabjj purple belt world champion, trains with Bernardo Faria and kindly offered to assist in making the Kimura video instructional as the demonstration partner (Uke). After a weekend of having kimuras applied to him he noted his own performance of Kimura greatly improved. He took in all the details despite never performing a single repetition of the move. Later in the week he got his chance and was shocked at his own improvement. Here he is working through a fine Kimura from side position. You can see already the massive tension in his partners arm and shoulder girdle that a well applied Kimura can easily generate. All that remains is to trap the head and move into finishing position - a fine example of passive learning

What do you look for? As a coach my biggest concern is the quest to get an athletes level of performance as close as possible to their potential in the least time. As such, I spend a lot of time looking at and monitoring the performance of the people I coach. I am often asked - what do you look for? Well, obviously there are a lot of things, but among the most important is THE ABILITY TO GET THE SAME JOB DONE WITH LESS EFFORT. Remember, it’s not just that you get the job done that counts; but also HOW you get the job done. There is a LOT of repetition in jiu jitsu training (or any other skill) so a very clear indicator of progress in a student is that he or she IS ACCOMPLISHING THE SAME TASKS AS EVERY OTHER DAY, BUT DOING SO WITH LESS EFFORT AND GREATER EFFICIENCY. The key to this vital form of progress is first, learning when to exert strength and when to relax. Within any match there are many opportunities to lower your energy expenditure- don’t go one hundred percent one hundred percent of the time. You will simply exhaust and defeat yourself. Second, remove any extraneous movement. Third, don’t get tunnel vision and hammer away uselessly at heavily defended points. Whenever you run into walls of resistance ask yourself if there is a way AROUND them rather than THROUGH them. Fourth (and most obvious) The better your mechanical application of technique the less brute force you will need to apply per move. Thinking in these terms will quickly bring your energy expenditure within acceptable bounds in training and competition and manifest one of the most important forms of progress that indicates that your training is working well.

As long as there is memory among the living - there will forever be life for people, times and places who no longer are 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

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