Ryan Hall on Training with Everyone

Aug 15th, 2011 by Erin Herle

Vs Jeff Glover at ADCC 2009

How is training for ADCC going?
Training for ADCC is going great. In addition to some of the tough students at Fifty/50, I’ve got a couple of friends in town to help me prepare and get my weight on track before I head up to NYC next week to train with Marcelo Garcia and the rest of the team for the 6 weeks ahead of the tournament.

Who else are you training with?

So far I’ve had Alex Vamos (Joe D’Arce black belt), Gianni Grippo (Renzo Gracie brown belt), and Josh Presley (a very tough purple belt from Titans BJJ in Nova Scotia) in town training with me 2x per day. Up in New York there will be a ton of really tough guys to train with and learn from. Henrique Rezende, Antonio “Batista” Peinado, and Paul Schreiner are there already and there should be at least a handful of other top competitors as well. It’s going to be great.

What are your feelings towards training with people outside of your team/affiliation?

I feel that I have been extremely fortunate to meet, train with, and learn from many of the top competitors and instructors in Jiu-Jitsu and I attribute in large part any success I have been able to have to this varied experience. No single person or place has all the answers one could look for and while there is certainly great value to a strong team environment, it makes no sense to me to isolate one’s self from other avenues of learning.

Moreover, I have always had lots of friends from almost every team I’m aware of. When you’re competing all the time and trying to do your best, you’ll naturally gravitate towards other people on a similar path. Some of the people I’ve had really tough matches in the past (won or lost) are my closest friends and training partners now.

On top of that, I didn’t join a gang when I started this sport. Anyone who treats someone else differently because they happened to sign up and pursue a sport (professionally or otherwise) at a facility other than their own–likely because of proximity to their house or job–should probably take a moment to reassess their priorities. I prefer to just work hard, have fun, and train with all kinds of people. I guess it’s worked out OK so far.

Getting the bronze medal at ADCC 2009

Is this the type of mentality you encourage at your own academy?

I have always attempted to foster an open atmosphere at my own academy. Everyone is welcome, regardless of affiliation. I’ve always been friendly with all sorts of people, so it would seem crazy to me to be any other way.

Many of the great academies I’ve visited (such as Marcelo Garcia’s in NYC) and the biggest influences in my Jiu-Jitsu career (Marcelo Garcia, Felipe Costa, Bruno Frazatto, Murilo Santana, etc.) share that approach. I guess I’d say that if an open attitude is good enough for them, it’s certainly good enough for me.

I’m sure there are many factors, but what ultimately motivated you to open an academy as a brown belt/when you did?

When I left Lloyd Irvin’s team, I was recovering from a series of serious surgeries and was uncertain as to whether or not I would be able to continue competing or even training at the same level. I opened my academy as a place to train, as well as a place that I could earn a stable living and provide the same to a couple of my closest friends who believed in me and came to work at Fifty/50 in the beginning. It’s worked out great so far and we have a bunch of tough students (some who compete, some who don’t) who are doing very well and share the values that I have. I feel extremely fortunate for the support that I have and hope I can continue providing a place that people enjoy as the years go by.

You mentioned Murilo Santana as a major influence. Can you elaborate on how you met, how you started training with him and his impact on you/your game/life?

Well, I was walking across the parking lot from my car to my academy one winter day and I saw a guy who looked like a Caribbean dictator. After about 10 seconds of internal debate (and pre-dialing the 1-800 number for Homeland Security) as to whether it was Murilo Santana or Cuban El Presidente Fidel Castro, I decided that it was probably the former.

Unfortunately for my guard, I was correct. Training with Murilo is awesome, and way more difficult than training with Fidel would have likely been. Along with Marcelo Garcia, Murilo beats me up worse than anyone else I have ever trained with. It’s really motivational to me to know that such high levels of skill exist and if one works hard enough for long enough, they can reach that level, too. I’m just trying my best to get there one day.

Which brings me back to my point about training with everyone…

If I had looked at Murilo and gone, “Oh, shit. That guy’s better than me and he’s not even on my team. What if my students see him beating me? They won’t respect me and think that I’m sweet…they may even leave! We won’t hang out and eat Ring Dings anymore! Noooooo!” I would’ve missed out on an awesome opportunity to learn from someone who became a friend and person I really look up to. I don’t think I could forgive myself for such a waste.

I’ve noticed you choose not to use social media, such as facebook and twitter, to promote yourself. What is your attitude towards self promotion?

I understand that self-promotion is a part of the game and running a business, but I don’t really care for it at all.

Unless it’s taken to absurd lengths, I don’t begrudge anyone for engaging in it.

Vs Jeff Glover at ADCC 2009

What do you do when you’re not training/resting/traveling to other gyms/competing?

When I’m not doing Jiu-Jitsu, I’m pretty boring. Most of the activities I want to do come out of a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, haha. Rope swing, jumping off cliffs into water, eating cheese fries, and playing video games. Well, that, and just absurd amounts of hard drugs. That was in a “later years” version of the strip.

Besides ADCC, what are your future goals?

I’m very focused on ADCC so it’s a little difficult to think beyond that, but I’ll be in Europe teaching seminars for about a month in October, which will be a lot of fun. It’s always great to travel and meet new people who share the same passion you do.

Beyond that, I know I’m going to be continuing to train hard until the end of the year and see if I can stay healthy and compete at the No-Gi Worlds and anything else that comes up. I missed the US Open, No-Gi Worlds, and ADCC Trials because of injuries last year, but I have faith that this won’t become a trend…again. In the time I’ve been training, I think I’ve spent a little better than 2 years off the mats with injuries/surgeries…which, now that I think about it, is fairly annoying.  Actually, if that could go ahead and stop, I would really appreciate it.  haha.

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