On the day of the first Eddie Bravo Invitational in June 2014, Geo Martinez and his brother, Richie, arrived at a dark and empty downtown Los Angeles at 4am. They rode a red-eye bus from Las Vegas, after breakdancing all day in a major competition. They had not eaten in twelve hours and had barely slept. Tired and worn, they were sitting against a badly-lit corner of a building, hoodies over their heads, looking like two homeless dudes waiting for a shelter to open for breakfast. Unbeknownst to Geo at the time, this would be the final morning of the last day of Jiu-Jitsu anonymity. Some time later, their ride arrived to get them ready to make their professional jiu-jitsu debut at Florentine Gardens in Hollywood later that night.
Geo won the EBI tournament, defeating Jeff Glover in the finals. To say that Geo, a.k.a. Freakahhzoid, twenty-seven years old, from San Diego, had a good year would be an understatement. In January of 2014, he received his Jiu-Jitsu black belt. This feat was accomplished after only three years of training. He started under Sean Bollinger, then Ryan Fortin, and finally, received technique polishing from Eddie Bravo himself.
This year, he went undefeated in all his tournaments. He conquered the regional tournaments nearby. He also captured gold at larger venues like Gracie Nationals. His breakthrough, and his debut to the world, though, came at Eddie Bravo’s submission-only tournament. The first one was held in June, in which Geo defeated the well-respected Jeff Glover. In October, he fought again, at the second EBI, this time beating Fabio Passos (a Cobrinha black belt) in the finals.
The world at large, though, really took notice after his performance at the ADCC North American Trials in early December. Geo submitted all his opponents, some as fast as forty seconds with a rear naked choke, a calf crank, a kimura, and a variation of a D’Arce choke. When asked about competing at IBJJF events, he said he would have loved to compete in the NoGi Worlds of the IBJJF. However, he was denied entry because he did not meet the IBJJF’s time-in-rank requirements at purple and brown. Jean Jacques Machado vouched and signed Geo’s registration, but was denied by the organization.
IBJJF notwithstanding, the right people have taken notice of Geo. He was scheduled to fight at Metamoris 5 against Rubens Charles "Cobrinha" but an undisclosed hitch held that match up. Rumors are, Geo will fight at Metamoris 6.
Who would he face? Who does the jiu-jitsu world want him to face? Geo’s preferred fighting weight is at 135lbs. This puts him in the range of Caio Terra, Bruno Malfacine, Paulo and João Miyao, Gui Mendes, Rubens Charles “Cobrinha,” Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes, and Gianni Grippo. To those not in the know, to place Geo in this list seems incredulous. Those that have had a chance to train with and compete against Geo would love to see him go against one of the above. This writer hopes Ralek complies.
10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu had a lot to be thankful for in 2014. Eddie Bravo’s performance against Royler Gracie in Metamoris 3 in March didn’t so much “redeem” his victory against Royler from the 2003 ADCC, as it completely obliterated a decade of misinformation and prejudice his style of Jiu-Jitsu has faced. This new era has brought new attention to Eddie’s Jiu-Jitsu, which he doesn’t like to call a system, but more of an approach, or a philosophy: to have an open mind, discard with what doesn’t work, and use what works.
With this new regard, Eddie has been able to showcase one of his star fighters, Geo, who along with Denny Prokopos, Nathan Orchard, Richie Martinez, and Sean Bollinger, are coming to represent a new wave of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu fighters in what perhaps can be classified as the second significant era of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu.
I had the good fortune to interview Geo over the holiday weekend. I found him to be incredibly humble but passionate; intelligent and intuitive. I and many others look forward to what 2015 will bring.
Interview with Geo Martinez.
Seeing how most of the people that will read this are from outside of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, could you briefly give us your biography and jiu-jitsu biography? Who were your instructors? How was it possible you got black belt in 3 years?
I was born in 1987. I’m twenty-seven. I started training jiu-jitsu 4 years ago. I started training with Sean Bollinger then Ryan at 10th Planet Vista. Honestly, I just kinda got obsessed with it and trained every day. My brother, too.
Your brother, Richie, is an awesome jiu-jitsu, fighter, too. He took Garry Tonnon to the limit at the first EBI final. Do you and your brother, Richie, keep count of who has tapped who? What’s it like to train with your brother?
It’s a blessing to train with my brother. We’ve been doing everything together, bboying, video games, and doing jiu-jitsu. We want each other to be better. No one’s keeping count but it’s always nice to compete against someone who wants you to be better, too.
What sort of training methods and philosophies allowed you to get your black belt so quickly? Did your skills from breakdancing help your transition into martial arts?
Breaking taught me discipline, to be with a crew, and rely on others for your training. We train hard. Breakdancing is very difficult for your body. So I’ve been training my body for complex moves and sets for a long time. As a dancer, I understand techniques as a pattern. Bboying also helps you take risks. You know, you gotta go for it, throw yourself on your head and spin. Is that why you like the rolling kimura attack? Oh, yeah, I love that attack, and the trucks and rolls to the truck. Feels natural to me.
What attracted you to 10th Planet in particular?
Eddie. Simply Eddie. He was the freakshow in jiu-jitsu. He got hated for it a lot. But he’s always been kind to me and is a generous, open teacher. Eddie inspired me beyond movement and technique. He accepted me and my crew (all in my crew do jiu-jitsu). He helped me in my life. He never wanted to do anything to harm anyone. He just loves jiu-jitsu. He’s open to anybody. Has a laid back mentality. Ben Saunders, an American Top Team fighter, is one of Eddie’s new friends. You can come from anywhere and he’ll accept you.
Do you have a theory of jiu-jitsu? In your documentary before EBI-1, you said, “Jiu-jitsu, B-boying, what’s beautiful about it is endless patterns.” Can you elaborate on the idea of “endless patterns” and its connection to jiu-jitsu?
Jiu-jitsu patterns are the foundation of our movements and our opponent’s movement. Everyone has a particular “set” they do from this or that position. It’s less about “seeing” patterns than about feeling them. The less you think, the better. When you’re free, your movements are a lot more creative, and you feel your rolling partner’s patterns. When dancing, you’re performing and you have to execute the move.
Tell me about your nickname Freakahhzoid and your crew’s name The Freakshow.
Being a freak means we accept everybody, and we don’t wanna be robots. When we started dancing, it felt like everyone was the same. Personally, I’ve always been an opposite’s dude. I like taking the detours, because that’s when you are yourself.
The truck. Is that your go to position? Do you finish most of your fights from there? Or where?
I’d rather take the truck than the back. There’s only a few counters to the truck. I get a lot of my submissions from there. But the submission I hit the most is the kimura.
Do you think you’d ever transition to MMA?
I’m a sucker for MMA, am a huge fan, but I know it’s a lot of work. I still want to battle, dance, do jiu-jitsu. My brother’s opening a new 10th Planet San Diego, and I got my school in Oceanside. If I do anything, I have to dedicate it all.
Finally, any shout outs?
I want to thank Phalanx. They’re my biggest sponsor. They’ve believed in me since I was a purple belt. Great company and great gear. A huge shoutout to my brother, Richie; and, of course, Eddie.
Geo Martinez is available for workshops, seminars, or camps. He is a highly regarded teacher. He gratefully accepts inquiries through:
Interview with 10th Planet black belt Geovanny "Freakahzoid" Martinez - his recent win over Jeff Glover, the scheduled sub only no time limit rematch in September and EBI.
BJJ Legends: Before starting BJJ you actively competed in breakdancing. Give us a little history of that.
Geovanny: Before BJJ I was known in the global dance Community as “Freakahhzoid”. I always loved entertaining. I traveled and battled all over the world with my crew “The Freak Show”. We started a new unique style that consisted of a lot of athletic flexibility and balance, but we also had a different look to us that always made us stand out. Some people hated and some people loved it, but either way we were always free.
BJJ Legends: What got you into bjj and when did you start?
Geovanny: I got into Jiu-Jitsu by luck. I was always interested in Jiu-Jitsu but I never could afford it. I got lucky that someone was looking for a dance instructor to teach dancing to his kid at his new Jiu Jitsu school. A mutual Bboy friend told him about me and I got to meet Ryan (10thPlanetVista). We clicked right away. In return for teaching his kid dancing, he allowed me to train for free and I’ve been training practically everyday since. It's been about four years of training NoGi Jitsu, I started in the end of 2010
BJJ Legends: When did you get your black belt?
Geovanny: I got my black belt on January 29 2014
BJJ Legends: You've reached a high level in a relatively short amount of time. Do you attribute your quick learning to your breakdancing background or?
Geovanny: I definitely feel that breakdancing has helped my Jiu-Jitsu game progress quicker than others. The patterns you have to memorize in dancing are very similar to the patterns you have to memorize in Jiu-Jitsu. Also, the conditioning needed for breakdancing transfers well over to bjj. It works your flexibility, strength. explosiveness and your overall body awareness -- it all benefits my game.
BJJ Legends: You recently competed at the first Eddie Bravo Invitational - a sub only competition game show trying to bring BJJ to a TV audience. What do you think about the tournaments format and your experience?
Geovanny: EBI was by far my favorite tournament yet. Not just because I won, but the excitement and the the energy of the tournament was amazing. I love what Eddie's doing with EBI. It’s set up to entertain the audience and also to make it fun and interesting for the competitors. Most tournaments you have to pay them money to compete. The top stars in our sport are still paying entry fees to the biggest tournaments. EBI is paying competitors for submissions and plans to continue to pump any money they can secure from sponsors back into the prize money for competitors. This incentive really pumps us competitors up and encourages the submission.
BJJ Legends: Did EBI make make it onto TV?
Geovanny: From what I know, the footage is still being edited and packaged as a pilot to be sold to a network that can’t be announced yet.
BJJ Legends: In the finals you beat Jeff Glover. What was that like? Were you confident going in? How were your nerves?
Geovanny: Going up against Jeff Glover was so exciting but I was definitely nervous. Jeff Glover has definitely been a big influence in my game. I love the way he entertains and always goes for it -- never holds back. So yeah I was nervous but I had to step it up. I’m used to the pressure though from my breakdancing days. I'm hungry right now at this moment, it doesn't matter who's in front of me I got to do me.
BJJ Legends: Rumor is there is a rematch between you two set for sometime in September. A submission only, no time limit super fight at the Gracie Nationals. Is that true?
Geovanny: At this moment nothing is officially set in stone, but we both said we were down to Rose Gracie so it's going to happen one way or another.
BJJ Legends: Who asked for it?
Geovanny: Lol I want the rematch for sure but I definitely didn't call him out.
BJJ Legends: What do you think about the no time limit sub only format?
Geovanny: I love submission only it challenges you physically and mentally and cancels out stalling. The only strategy that really works is attack or survive -- which is in my opinion the true essence of Jiu Jitsu.
BJJ Legends: Both you and Glover constantly look for the sub and put on a good show so I'm excited to see the rematch. Thanks for taking the time out for this interview, is there anything else you'd like to say?
Geovanny: Thank you for sharing my story all I got to say is keep your eyes on the freaks because we don't sleep. Always representing 10thPlanetjj Phalanx and of course the mighty Freak Show.
BJJ Legends: Is there somewhere online we can go to see videos of you or more info? (Fb page, insta, youtube channel)
BJJ Legends got the opportunity to talk with Ruiz as he touches on his early beginnings and his long journey back to the competition scene.
Competition it certainly has a way of bringing out the best in everyone. For some this activity takes them to the greatest highest of world class grappling status. On the other hand for some individuals the motivation for participating in this pastime decreases only to one day return to what they once adored in challenging themselves in combat on the mat.
A grappling veteran for over ten years Dean Lister Black belt Chris Ruiz is no stranger to laying it all on the line showing what he is made of in competition. The experience has given him a driving purpose leading him to becoming one of the most respected grapplers in the So Cal area. However somewhere along the trail life priorities took over putting his grappling aspirations to a halt. Now back after a 5 year layoff Ruiz is back to his old habits blazing through the competition stronger than ever before.
Care to share with us a little bit about yourself and your BJJ background? Chris Ruiz: I'm originally from Houston, TX and ended up in San Diego in 2002 by way of the Navy. I started training 10 years ago (in 2004) under Dean Lister and Brandon Vera at City Boxing in downtown San Diego. I also trained under Tyrone Glover at City Boxing Pacific Beach for a couple of years. I've followed Dean around since.
I was naturally drawn to Jiu-Jitsu because the only sport I had ever competed in was wrestling, which I didn't' even start till half way thru high school. I also did judo for a few months after I joined the navy. I started with no gi training, which was all that was offered at the time. Since I wrestled, I was more interested in no gi anyway, and it's still what I prefer.
One of my motivations in Jiu-Jitsu (and life) has been my very fortunate situation - both of my parents have polio and can't walk, so I'm grateful to have this opportunity to be a good athlete. Had they been lucky like me, I know my parents would have been great athletes. I have to give them some credit for the nickname "Soapfish," because I'm slippery. I got that name from Morango (Fabricio Camoes) when he was teaching at Victory.
What are your thoughts about the overall purpose of competition and what it has done for you over the years? Chris Ruiz: To win, of course. Just kidding, but that's the icing on the cake. Competition is the most rewarding part of Jiu-Jitsu. It's the ultimate motivator and learning experience. Some of the best learning is during competition because you get to see how your style works against guys from other gyms, where you need to improve, and what the other schools are doing. It is a very effective mechanism for rapid improvement.
What's the point of training without competing? Even rolling in the gym is in a sense competing, except you become "the best you" for competition.
I also really enjoy the networking that I get to do at tournaments and meeting other competitors. The Jiu-Jitsu community is so great and it's awesome to meet new people who I can train with later at their academies.
Why did you start competing and also share with us your early beginning coming up on the competition scene? Chris Ruiz: My first tournament was two weeks after I started training, at an in house tournament. I started at intermediate level since I previously wrestled, plus I liked the added challenge. I knew I'd learn more against tougher opponents, even if I was a little out-matched. I think that tournament and Grapplers Quest just after are what lit my fire initially.
The highs I've experienced were the first few years when Jiu-Jitsu was so new to me and I was getting my ass kicked every day in practice. I had a lot of tough guys to look up to and learn from. Another big high of mine was 2013, when Dean awarded me my black belt. Last summer won Grapplers Quest absolute where I had Dean and Jeff (Glover) coaching me – it doesn't get much better than that for any competitor.
Looking back my lows point would have to be the five or so years before 2013 when I rarely competed and my priority wasn't Jiu-Jitsu. I continued to train consistently but I wasn't focused on competition. For a few years I was concentrating on school or my full time job and put competitions on the back burner.
However, the greatest highs of all are the relationships I've made over the years with the most diverse people I would have never met outside of this sport. Where else would I be training the same discipline with people such as lawyers and doctors to bouncers, Navy SEALs, bartenders, psychiatrists, engineers, etc.? The Jiu-Jitsu community is the best part of the life-style (of the sport).
What made you stop competing? Chris Ruiz: After the first few years of training hard and competing, I sort of just fell into a slump where I would train consistently but I didn't compete. I was going to school for my bachelor's and working at a bar at the same time. Once I finished school and got my full time professional job, I just wanted to chill out a little more and lost the drive to compete.
What made you come back? Chris Ruiz: That's actually kind of funny. I got really busy in 2013 going to grad school in the evenings while still working full time (ouch!). Once I got that busy and could not train as much, I realized how much I really need Jiu-Jitsu and wanted to train more. I realized how much I should have been competing when I wasn't as busy. It's sort of like the saying, "you don't know what you have until it's gone." But instead of being gone, I just didn't have as much time to train. Plus, I developed my own style that I was very confident in and I wanted to see how effective I could be after such a long lapse in competition.
I also got a lot better from training with Akbarh Arreola, who has some serious world class leg locks and an overall tough, impressive style. He brought the best out in me and forced me to step up my game. Look him up if you don't know who he is.
Discuss with us some of your highlights you made since your return to competition Chris Ruiz: One would have to be becoming the Grapplers Quest Vegas (UFC Fan Expo) Absolute Champ. I hadn't competed in over 4 years, so I was just happy to be there. The actual highlight for me though was being the unknown guy working my way up the absolute bracket. It was sort of a sneak attack because no one knew who the hell I was and probably didn't expect me to get to the finals. The other competitors must have been scratching their heads, like "WTF?" For the absolute and my weight bracket I got seven heel hooks for the day.
Another great moment would have to be participating in the Dream no time limit, submission only tournament. There I got to compete with world-class competitors such as Sean Roberts and Garry Tonon. That tournament was totally my style – pretty much anything goes and no politics. Some of the traditional BJJ rules are absurd, so it was nice for Dream to do allow nearly any submission. I got three heel hooks that day.
Are there any nerves or doubt returning back to a new playing field of great competitors to fight against? Chris Ruiz: Definitely nerves, but no doubts. I knew that competing again would be the key to getting my motivation back. My teammates are so supportive that I was confident in my return.
How does it feel overall to be back? Chris Ruiz: It feels great, especially when I know that my Jiu-Jitsu style that I've developed works really well against other top competitors. That's a testament to the quality of my teammates and coaches at Victory.
What do you feel the future holds in competition for Chris Ruiz? Chris Ruiz: My plan is to focus on gi this year and also do whichever competitions I can fit in around my school and work schedule. Competitions will be sporadic over the next year and a half while I finish school, but that's no worry to me because I'll be able to focus much more on Jiu-Jitsu at that time. It's a little painful to have this kind of momentum now and not be able to completely capitalize on it. I don't want to be doing too many things at once, each ineffectively. In the big picture, focusing on school is paramount while I'm there so I can seriously compete afterward and you'll see my best Jiu-Jitsu.
Becoming a model of excellence in one’s line of work is an aspiring goal for any evolving Brazilian Jiu-jitsu practitioner. Since its launch in 1998 Paragon Brazilian Jiu-jitsu has exhibited this concept with the production of many grappling talents such as Jeff Glover and Bill Cooper. Expanding its club’s movement to the southern region of the United States, Paragon Austin continues this endless trail in becoming one of the best BJJ schools in the Lone Star State.
Starting in 2011 by Robert Dembeck and Darrin Lillian these two founders quickly organized a plan to mold itself into its own brand of excellence. With its later assemblage of elite black belt instructors to assist with the enchantment of the program top quality training and instruction was not hard to come by for any student training at Paragon Austin.
The dedication each instructor puts into their work is above and beyond the standards of your typical BJJ instructor which creates a unique diversity of knowledge gained from the participant walking out of each class.
Starting his instructor position early this year David Ginsberg black belt Mike Harmon brings over a decade of experience that any students will benefit from. Not only has his assistance proven to be a great aid for the students at Paragon Austin but also for himself which has allowed Harmon to achieve major success as a competitor which includes becoming a brown belt no-gi world champion in late 2012 .
Editor's Note: Thank you to the nearly 700 participants in our online steroids study. The data collected was interesting but even more so was the information provided by the black belts and bloggers who answered our more lengthy questionnaire. If the numbers are too much of a bore move on to the Discussion section, read and formulate your own opinion. This topic is so faceted I am looking forward to the discussions still to come.
Some numbers to note: 143 of 690 people said they had used performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in the past. That is 20%. Demographically, white belts and black belts were the least likely to have used PEDs.
My heartfelt thanks to Matthew Corley for the countless hours and tireless research to produce this paper.
Title: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and the Culture of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs): A Review of Online Survey Data
Author: Matthew Corley,RPh
Abstract: There is a persistent perception in high-level BJJ competitions that many medal winners are using steroids and other PEDs to succeed. This article collates the opinions of nearly 700 BJJ practitioners and provides a detailed breakdown of the opinions of those participants based on their demographics.
Insight from current and former world champions was also solicited for a first-hand perspective on PED usage at the highest level. The bios of the subject matter experts are available by hyperlink at the end of the article under the acknowledgements section.
Ralek Gracie -- Metamoris is a name we made up. Metamoris is the unity (clash) of styles (ideas) for the sake of art and competition, to honor those who refine their craft and bring it to the field for testing.
Metamoris Pro is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gi competition October 14 in San Diego California. Among the notable names competing in the seven super fights are Andre Galvao, Roger Gracie, Buchecha, Kron Gracie, Jeff Glover, Caio Terra, Rafael Lovato, Kevin Casey and Dean Lister.
There is almost 100K in prize money. This is a professional event, this is not a tournament but seven prearranged super fights. These super stars are going to be paid to do what they love and what they have dedicated their lives to: Jiu-Jitsu. Competitors are paid according to their star power. There is a preset purse to show and another to win.
When it comes to super fights, there can be issues with the gray area around making weight. For example, back in May 2012 at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo, with the headline super fight Braulio Estima vs. Nick Diaz we still do not know what happened.
Ralek -- If one of the fighters does not make the preset agreed upon weight they forfeit 20% of their show money. That money is added to the other player’s purse. Now the other player gets to choose if he still wants to take the fight or not.
Jeff Glover was added to the list of competitors at the ADCC for the Abu Dhabi - his profile is listed here at the site.
BJJ Legends also had an interview with Jeff at No-Gi World Championships...
Jeff is a 145 pound black belt under Ricardo “Franjinha” Miller. He is a teacher at Paragon Jiu-Jitsu, with four training centers in California. He was recently quoted in Gracie Mag to have “the most respected guard in the United States”. In 2007 Glover won gold in the no-gi World Championship.
7 times Grapplers Quest Champion 2 times IGJJF Champion
Thanks to Haim Gozali, ADCC is alive and well in Israel. An original SUPER Grappling Fight featuring Jeff Gloverwas supposed to happen, however Jeff got tapped out by snow in the airport in the US and was prevented from participating.
The ADCC had Over 130 competitors with a super fight Rory Spiegel (USA) replace Jeff Glover after Glover stuck in NYC
The list of the winners is shown below.... and link to photos.
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