John Danaher is one of the most successful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coaches of all time.
He has played – and continues to play – a substantial role in the development of a number of ultra-successful competitors, all of whom are among the most elite of athletes today.
But, one of the lesser-known facts about Danaher is that he never competed.
So, how did he develop his credibility as a coach when starting out out?
In a recent episode of the Take FLIGHT podcast, Danaher revealed that it was by sparring every single day, 7 days a week:
There are two ways you can do it [establish credibility].
You can either demonstrate it, which, for me, was always an issue because I never competed. I was never a competitive student.[So], I would spar with people in class every single day.
My teacher, Renzo [Gracie], demonstrated competence by winning competitions.
I used to spar seven days a week, and in every class, I would spar.
When you spar with someone, you can immediately judge their skill level. There’s no faking when you’re sparring.
And not only that, but Danaher is known for spending hours upon hours in the gym, as he shared in an interview with BJJEE:
I was known for spending large amounts of time on the mats.
I taught two to three big group classes per day and was booked every hour between them for private classes.
And I liked this because I was a very late starter in Jiu-Jitsu – starting at twenty eight years old – so I felt that I needed to accrue many hours of mat time quickly, to match the hours people who started much earlier in life had already amassed.