From the very inception of the UFC, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been an integral part of MMA. Today with the growing popularity of MMA worldwide, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is one of the best bases that an MMA fighter can possess.
The BJJ enthusiasts and practitioners of Kolkata are getting a chance to train with an athlete from the Machado lineage. The Machado family is one of the most reputed Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, mixed martial artists, and grapplers in the world. Kolkata based MMA and combat sports gyms – Next Level MMA and Kratoz Combat Academy have come up with a 14-day BJJ and Wrestling camp (12 July – 25 July 2019), at the Kratoz Combat Academy in Kolkata.
Ryan Dillon Davis is a BJJ purple belt from the Northwest Jiu-Jitsu Academy based in Seattle, USA. Ryan trains under the chief instructor and owner of the US-based academy, Brian Johnson – a three-time world champion and 4th-degree black belt, under the legendary Rigan Machado and endorsed by the Machado Brothers.
We sat down with Ryan to discuss Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, his advice for beginners and practitioners of the sport and how BJJ affects life out of the mat.
Q: How were you introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
A: My dad introduced me to Jiu-Jitsu as a child since he used to practice it as well, but I did not start until I was about 17 years old. Also, I have been wrestling since I was 14.
Q: Who has been your biggest inspiration?
A: My dad and my coach Brian Johnson are my biggest inspirations by far in Jiu-Jitsu. My dad for at his age helping me in my journey since I first started and his continued support for me. Moreover, my coach because of how great of a competitor and instructor he is to all his students and the support he gives me is unparalleled.
Q: Can you tell us about the tactical aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
A: Jiu-Jitsu in its purest form is meant for the smaller person to be able to defeat the bigger and stronger opponent. This can be accomplished through good technique and practice. Therefore, Jiu-Jitsu requires you to be 100% in your techniques.
Q: Why did you choose BJJ? How has BJJ changed you as a person outside the mat?
A: Jiu-Jitsu works as a therapy for me and helped me clear my mind from day one. It has helped me realize the potential I have in myself and other people. It brings out the best in yourself. Jiu-Jitsu has made me realize that coaching and helping people learn this art is what it is all about, giving back to the art you love, or in life just giving back.
Q: Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for those who do not know, can you tell us about how these differ?
A: MMA is different from BJJ because in MMA there are strikes involved. MMA contains elements of BJJ and other grappling systems such as wrestling and judo besides striking.
Q: Your most memorable fight/fights?
A: In 2016, I won the Oregon Open. It was the final match and I was losing on points. Nevertheless, I managed to get a submission win with only 1 second left.
Q: How would you compare the physical with the mental conditioning that you need to be successful?
A: Jiu-Jitsu athletes need to prepare just like any professional athlete in any sport. So physical and mental conditioning need to be similar.
Q: Tell us something about your upcoming super fight at GRIND 3?
A: I will be ready for a war. I do not know him and he does not know me. I am going to do my best and so is he, so whoever wins wins.
Q: Since the past few days, you have been training many athletes and fans of the sport; how do you approach training others, as opposed to preparing yourself for a fight?
A: I think there is no different approach I am taking. If anything, teaching is making me better, making my technique and thinking sharper.
Q: What has been your experience training Indian athletes so far? What is your advice for beginners and practitioners alike?
A: My experience has been great so far here with the Indian athletes. My advice for beginners and practitioners is the same – just ask as many questions as you can and train regularly to sharpen and perfect your skills.
Q: Can you tell us about the culture and discipline of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
A: I think the culture of BJJ is different from gym to gym, which is great. We get to experience so many different cultures through a single sport and we all come together to create the sport we love.
Q: What do you think the future holds for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
A: The future for BJJ is something that cannot be answered because it is forever evolving which is amazing and that is what makes BJJ different from other martial arts.
Q: What do you like to do outside of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
A: I like working out, hanging out with my friends and family, and play video games.
Q: Tell us about your time here in India? What memories would you be taking back home?
A: All the mat time I spent across the world and the close relationships I made here are some of the things that I will never forget.
Sayantan: Thank You!
Ryan: It has been my pleasure.