BjjBrick Podcast- BJJ, no-gi and good times!

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunes, and Stitcher radio

This week we are joined by Jonathan Thomas.  Jonathan was recently awarded his black belt from Romero "Jacare" Cavalcanti. You will find Jonathan training, teaching, and positional sparring at The Alliance headquarters in Atlanta.

This interview we talk about:

  • Jonathan's goal in his first tournament
  • Why developing a good guard is so important for beginners
  • Jonathan's basic definition of recomposing
  • Why recomposing is so important to BJJ
  • What attracted him to Jiu-Jitsu
  • How Jiu-Jitsu is like a large series of mini games
  • How he was able to train less than most of his competition and still win
  • Having a logical process to how you train
  • Why mindless drilling does not do much for your development
  • How Jonathan likes to positional spar and break down positions
  • The current rules and how they could change
  • Why passing the guard can be more difficult than using a specific guard
  • How the sport would change if the guard puller got a -1 point
  • His goals in competing
  • His mindset during competition
  • Doing Tabata for cardio training
  • Managing stress levels to clam down and not get tired
  • Developing long term development by focusing on positions
    2011 Mundials Jonathan Thomas
    2011 Mundials Jonathan Thomas

Quote of the week- "Fail, fail again, fail better" Samuel Beckett.  This quote was presented by New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code Daniel Coyle.  Check out our interview with Daniel Coyle here Save 10% off your purchase at with the coupon code “BJJBrick”


Article of the week- "5 Things to Focus on When Teaching BJJ to Children" from


Jonathan's facebook page

Find more info about Jonathan Thomas here

Direct download: Epi_32_Interview_with_Alliance_black_belt_Jonathan_Macarrao_Thomas.mp3
Category:bjj -- posted at: 1:41pm CST

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesand Stitcher radio

Daniel Coyle is a New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code and The Little Book of Talent.  He is one of the leading authorities on developing talent.  He may not be a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but his ideas about how to practice can help you understand how you learn.  The methods he has found could help catapult your game to the next level and beyond.

We start off with these basic definitions:

Talent Hotbed- A place that has an unusual amount of extraordinary performers.  These places can be studied and we can learn about their different training techniques.

Muscle Memory- This is a not a real thing, all your muscle is controlled from your brain.  Muscle has no memory.

Myelin- When you build new skills they are insulated by a myelin sheath.  This sheath gets thicker as you practice and push yourself.  The thicker it becomes the faster and easier your connections become.

Deep Practice- This is the sweet spot when you are putting a lot of myelin between your connections.  People who continually put their selves in a deep practice learn quickly.  An example of this would be sparring with someone who is a little better than you.

We talk about:

  • The class structure of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • The difficulty of learning in a group setting
  • The learning environment that is created by leaving your ego at the door
  • Having the high intensity of a BJJ workout with a safe environment is a great place to grow
  • The best way to give feedback is to ask questions
  • Why it is important to design a training environment that forces people to ask questions
  • The large benefits to all of the students of having colored belts help teach techniques
  • Why you should be careful about the 10,000 hours rule
  • Quality of training is far more important than quantity
  • Why in some of the talent hotbeds they don’t spend all day practicing
  • The Bruce Lee quote “I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times.”
  • How YouTube has effected learning BJJ for good and bad
  • The better you get the more important the fundamentals become
  • Building fundamentals is like building a tree in your brain.  Make the trunk of the tree strong, so you can add things on to the tree.  With a strong trunk you can add things quickly and easily.
  • The survival zone, and why no learning happens in this zone
  • Some advice for a student who is competing for the first time
  • What is going on the mind of a top competitor?  Turns out that it is not much
  • The science of group success is a project he is currently working on keep your eyes open for this my friends

Quote of the week- “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle.  This quote was presented by Ryan Hall.  If you missed Ryan’s interview with us it can be found here. Episode 30.  In an amazing coincidence this quote is in the first few pages of Daniel Coyle’s book The Little Book of Talent.

Article of the week- “Starting BJJ: What to Expect on your First Class”.  From If you are looking for a great first gi you cannot go wrong with the AllAround Gi.  It is a high quality gi and has a very good price.  Save 10% off your purchase at with the coupon code “BJJBrick”


Daniel Coyle’s website

The Talent Code

The Little Book of Talent

Direct download: Epi_31_Daniel_Coyle_of_The_Talent_Code.mp3
Category:bjj -- posted at: 1:44pm CST

In Episode 30 of the BjjBrick podcast we talk with Ryan Hall.  Ryan is widely considered one of the best lightweight submission grapplers in the world.  Ryan owns 50/50 Jiu-Jitsu in Falls Church, Virginia.  He is a Black Belt under Felipe Costa and a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter representing Tristar Gym.  Check out a more detailed bio of Ryan Hall here.

In this interview we talk about:

  • Ryan coined the term “50/50” for the widely used position
  • His new gym that he opened and why he moved
  • How his style of Jiu-jitsu will translate to MMA
  • His goals for his MMA career
  • Some of his negative experiences with competing in Jiu-Jitsu
  • Getting back into competitive Jiu-Jitsu
  • The different focuses and challenges of training MMA and BJJ at the same time
  • Making the transition from submission grappling to MMA
  • His next MMA fight on May 31st
  • Using actual MMA fights for live training and ring experience
  • Some common mistakes that BJJ athletes make when doing MMA
  • Performing to the best of your ability and nothing less, and being happy with that
  • Ryan shares some of his thoughts on Metamoris 3 Eddie Bravo vs Royler Gracie
  • His instructional DVDs- The Triangle, Passing the Guard, Arm Triangles, Back Attacks, Inverted Guard, The 50/50, and Deep Half.
  • What he is focusing on to get a competitive edge in MMA
  • Ryan shares the experience of his first grappling competition
  • Advice for the first time competitor
  • Why Ryan was attracted to the martial arts
  • Ryan’s self-defense story that took place Jersey Shore with Seph Smith, Dave Jacobs, and Jen Flannery
  • Using Jiu-jitsu in a street fight, and common misconceptions
  • “Regular people fight as well as they play hockey” a quote from Ryan Hall.  Fighting is a skill, if you don’t know how to do it you will not do it well.
  • Ryan gives advice for new blue belts that may be struggling
  • What could be next for his DVD’s

Quote of the week: This quote was presented and broken down by Stephen Whittier, “Just when you think you have all the answers, I will change all the questions”. I was unable to find who said this originally.  If you missed it be sure to check out our full interview with Stephen Whittier here.

ADCC 2009
Ryan Hall ADCC 2009

Sponsor- Check out the light weight gi.  It is great for competition weigh-ins and staying cool in the summer heat.  Save 10% off your purchase at with this coupon code “BJJBrick”.


Article of the week: “Losing is Good for You”

Ryans DVDs

Watch Ryan’s next fight here gofightlive

Watch Ryan’s restaurant fight here

Ryan’s website

Direct download: Epi_30_Ryan_Hall_Interview_BJJ_MMA_and_Self-defense.mp3
Category:bjj -- posted at: 10:00am CST

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesand Stitcher radio

Stephen Whittier is a black belt under Roberto Maia.  He has an academy in Wareham Massachusetts Called SBG East Coast.  Stephen has become a huge resource for the over 40 grappler.  He has lots of great advice not just for the over 40 grappler, but anyone who steps on the mat.

In this interview with Stephen Whittier we talk about:

  • Why having a specific style can hold you back
  • Why the fundamentals are so important in Jiu-Jitsu
  • Getting on the mat as a 40 plus grappler
  • Dealing with instructors that may not know how to coach the older grappler
  • The differences between teaching and coachingStephen Whittier
  • The Aliveness component of jiu-jitsu
  • Starting BJJ as someone in their 50s or 60s
  • The social differences between the younger BJJ students and the older students
  • Finding the right gym for you
  • Why people quit jiu-jitsu after training the first time
  • Why people are drawn to try jiu-jitsu
  • Competing for the first time
  • Why stripping your attributes (speed, strength, flexibility….) out of your training can help you get better in the long run
  • How BJJ has changed over the years
  • How fundamentals are different than basics
  • Focusing on these three things- Posture, Pressure, and Possibilities
  • Tips for getting over common frustrations
  • We wrap up by talking about some of his products that he has to help the over 40 grappler


Quote of the week “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.  The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”  Mark Twain


Article of the week- “3 Simple Things Great Teachers do” by Daniel Coyle

Free email series:

40 Plus Membership Site and Online Academy:

Stephen’s Youtube page

40 Plus BJJ Facebook page

Stephen’s email

Direct download: Epi_29_Stephen_Whittier_of_40_Plus_BJJ.mp3
Category:bjj -- posted at: 10:00am CST