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Teacher, Teacher: The Perfect Instructor For Your Learning Style - Part Two

Teacher, Teacher: The Perfect Instructor For Your Learning Style - Part Two


In the first part of this article, we looked at a variety of teacher archetypes from the BJJ Fanatics catalogue.

In the second part, there are four other types who come to mind, but it might be a good time to explain the power of the archetype as it applies to your jiu jitsu journey. In fact, the hero's journey as described by academic author Joseph Campbell in 1949 is undoubtedly strikingly similar to the journey you will face ahead in jiu jitsu.

Improve Your Back Attacks Now! Click Learn More below!


You will leave the Ordinary World for a quest into the Special World where you will meet mentors, impossible tasks and your fair share of villains. What we are examining here is what kind of mentor and instruction will benefit your learning style most on your own personal adventure. Who will you choose to be your guide through perilous endeavours?

The Hero's Journey according to Joseph Campbell by Matthew Winkler and Kirill Yeretsky

The Mad Professor: John Danaher

You will either fall madly in love with the style of John Danaher or you will loathe him with your very core. Either way, his mastery is undeniable and is the exact lever that will intensify your personal feelings towards his verbose, yet complete, style. If you revel in listening to the history of the triangle and explicit, systematic monologues on every single minute aspect of jiu jitsu, then Danaher is your man. In a high school, he is the rare university philosophy professor who left academia and its white towers either because he followed his true love to a small town or because he had made enemies at Yale concerning an obscure Cartesian principle. Either way, he is a rare bird indeed, because jiu jitsu is not about philosophy, but rather it is about strangling opponents. This holds true until the philosopher can do both with maddening efficiency. Danaher shares everything you would ever need to know about escapes, attacks, sweeps and the philosophy of the game.  If you are somehow lucky enough to find another Danaher-type instructor, such as Priit Mihkelson from 3D Treening in Estonia, then you are fortunate indeed. These rare beasts are not easy to locate, but they are out there and often practicing their dark magic in the secrecy of basements and caves until the perfect moment comes for their great sharing. My personal favourite from the Enter the System has been Back Attacks, as it clearly translates across both gi and no gi forms of the art. 

BJJ Podcast 1 - John Danaher and History Of The Triangle Choke

The Technician: Craig Jones

Despite the #F*ckCraigJones hashtags, it is pretty difficult to dislike Jones. From exotic accent to his attention to detail, he just embodies what modern jiu jitsu can be. He loves a good leg lock, and he will share with you his entire journey to get there. He stops and explains why each step is happening, but he also is aware of the grander scheme. With his five BJJ Fanatics video series, Jones leads you through his best techniques (Z Guard, Leg Attacks and Triangles) and you can take away so much from any single one of these instructionals. In a high school, Craig is the quiet guy who just so happens to understand exactly what you need to know. He is the guy you go to if you want to learn what he knows and he will treat you well as he teaches you. He is humble even though he could be a complete monster to his students. Instead, he always feels like he is just happy to be here and getting paid to do what he truly loves doing. When you should avoid a Jones-type instructor: only if you have aspirations towards a traditional Gracie-style approach. Otherwise, consider yourself lucky and you should just enjoy the soothing Australian accent while you can. 

Standing Heel Hook Setups by Craig Jones

The Whiz Kid: Gordon Ryan

Rappers call it bradaggio, and one can only do the swagger if he can back that up on the mats. Gordon Ryan is the enfant terrible of jiu jitsu, and he loves to torment his opponents with tales of financial gains, physical feats and strange posts about his father's love of yoghurt. All of that being said, the Boy Wonder has so much to teach us all about the intricacies of his jiu jitsu, and is willing to share for a fair market price. In a high school, Gordon would be the masterfully annoying tutor who has all of the answers and is willing to "get you there" if you can pay the toll and are willing to subscribe to his methodology. He is a product of Professors Tom DeBlass, Garry Tonon and John Danaher, and he has spent his entire formative life perfecting the best of what this formidable trinity of instructors could provide him. He knows the game, he knows the points system, and he has mastered competitive jiu jitsu. What you will not find here is any mysticism or the feeling that you belong to a community. Gordon is all about the win and the money, so you need to play his game to play the game. There are a lot of talented instructors who fall into this category, and I have trained in their gyms on many occasions. If you are enamored with a particular personality, and he or she teaches in your local area, then this is definitely an option. Be prepared to jump through hoops and only follow their game, however. I am not sure that Gordon Ryan would teach his students in this manner if he had his own school, but I know his older peers from the competitive world have followed this route. Either way, Systematically Attacking the Guard with King Ryan is a roller coaster of awesome.

Understanding The Closed Guard by Gordon Ryan

The Wise Master: Roy Dean

John Danaher has created some of the best submission hunters and finishers in the world. Click Learn More to for his back attack system.


I just like Roy Dean. Maybe it is his aikido background or maybe it is seductively calm voice, but he just drips of traditional jiu jitsu wisdom while maintaining a modern and realistic way of teaching jiu jitsu. His style is traditional Asian, even though he hails from Alaska and exudes a chill vibe. He is calm. He employs a belt demonstration test that can only be described as aesthetically beautiful, and he believes in the art of jiu jitsu versus the brutality of jiu jitsu. In high school, he would be your theatre/dance/Gregorian chant instructor, and you would go there because you heard it was a bird course but he would end up changing your life. If I were an older practitioner, and I am, then I would seek out this archetype because he will be there for you in the long run of your lifespan. He understands that you may not want to compete. He wants you to transform emotionally and internally through the practice of this art. He sees the calm in the violence of jiu jitsu and hopes to show you the way. If you need violence and a slew of gold medals, then you may want to avoid The Wise Master. However, you would be wrong to discount him as a false god or a McDojo, because the technique is smooth and the style stands up under pressure. With six independent instructionals such as Blue Belt Requirements 2.0  or Submission Grappling: No Gi Essentials available at BJJ Fanatics, you can gain a real sense of who Roy Dean is and what another path might look like with one of the original online instructors. 

White to Black by Roy Dean

In the end, it will be up to you to decide which type of instructor, mentor and advisor you wish to guide you along your jiu jitsu journey. Just be aware that it is perhaps the most important choice that you can make, and while proximity, costs and cleanliness are key attributes for any initial choice, they are not what make us into heroes. 

Check The Z-Lock Complete Breakdown by Junny Ocasio. Junny breaks down techniques in a way that ensures you always know what to do and when to do it.

Learn the Secrets of Back Attacks With One Of the Greatest Jiu Jitsu Minds of our generation with Danaher's 8+ hour DVD / On Demand Series: Back Attacks Enter The System. Check It Out Here!




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