How Did Gordon Ryan Become the GOAT? John Danaher Explains the Secret of his Success

How Did Gordon Ryan Become the GOAT? John Danaher Explains the Secret of his Success

The world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu has had many talented athletes over the years, but only a few have reached BJJ stardom and are considered legends. Among those legends, two of them seem to be considered GOAT (greatest of all time). These two are none other than Gordon Ryan and Roger Gracie. Both athletes are famous for their submission-heavy game and are regarded as the greatest submission artists jiu-jitsu has ever seen. Additionally, both athletes have won multiple medals and world championships. Ryan is considered the No Gi GOAT whereas Gracie is considered the Gi GOAT.

The Rise of Gordon Ryan: Insights from John Danaher

In a fascinating discussion between Firas Zahabi and John Danaher, the secrets behind Gordon Ryan’s rapid ascent to the pinnacle of no-gi grappling are revealed. Danaher, a renowned figure in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, delves into the factors that contributed to Ryan becoming arguably the greatest grappler of all time.

Key Insights from John Danaher:

  1. Exceptional Memory and Recall: Danaher highlights Ryan’s extraordinary memory, which enables him to recall intricate details of techniques taught years ago. “He has an incredible ability to recall information,” Danaher notes, emphasizing Ryan’s capacity to remember and apply complex techniques.
  2. Calmness Under Stress: Ryan’s ability to remain composed under pressure is a significant asset. Danaher observes, “Problem solving is difficult enough as it is…athletes who can cope with stress or downplay stress always solve problems better.”
  3. Physical Attributes and Technique Adaptation: Despite not having standout conventional athletic traits, Ryan excels due to his isometric strength and endurance. Danaher remarks, “His entire game is based around [his body’s strengths]…he does a tremendous job of structuring the technique to the special attributes of his body.”
  4. Natural Problem Solver: Ryan’s success is partly due to his innate problem-solving skills. Danaher states, “He has very good practical solutions to problems…he’s just a natural problem solver.”
  5. Unique Passing Game: Danaher praises Ryan’s guard passing, a particularly challenging aspect at high levels of Jiu-Jitsu. “He makes it look easy and he’s passing like world-class guys,” Danaher asserts.
  6. Efficient Training Focus: Danaher stresses the importance of focusing on high-percentage techniques. He applies Pareto’s principle, concentrating on a small but effective set of techniques suitable for most people and body types.
  7. Innovation and Adaptation: Emphasizing adaptability, Danaher has re-evaluated techniques like leg locks, traditionally not seen as high percentage. He explains, “Leg locks actually are high percentage if you change your approach to them…make them control based rather than speed based.”

Danaher’s insights offer a profound look into what makes a grappling great like Gordon Ryan. His blend of mental prowess, adaptability, and focused training underpins his extraordinary success in the sport.