Snappy interview with Patches O’Toole owner Aengus Ryan, we have a chat about the brand, what the thinking was behind it and what are the plans for the future.
Those of you with an ear to the ground for the latest BJJ gear offerings may have heard of a new name popping up lately, that of Patches O’Toole. Patches O’Toole dropped onto the BJJ gear scene at the start of 2014 with a range of gi patches, quite unlike anything on the market. Some were reminiscent of old style tattoos, some focused on hand drawn lettering, whatever the style, they were pretty awesome.
Other than the cool designs, the one thing that stands out with these patches is the quality. All of the patches are embroidered, to the highest standard. The great thing about this is that they will last for years. Many of the printed patches I’ve had during my time doing Jiu-Jitsu have worn with the constant friction from the mats. This should not be a factor with these one’s as there is no print to rub off. Patches O’Toole are so confident with the quality that they have a 3 year warranty on all of their patches, which is saying something. The shipping is also free on all patches which is cool, as no one enjoys getting hit with shipping costs as they reach checkout.
Hey Aengus, so can you tell us a bit about where Patches O’Toole came from and what’s with the weird name?
Lol, sure. I’ve been playing BJJ for a good few years now and like most of your readers, would consider it my passion. I’ve always wanted to help to promote the sport somehow but was never quite sure how I could contribute. I’m a graphic designer by trade, so one day I thought of the notion of combining the two things I spend most of my time doing. It was a kind of marriage made in heaven type affair, getting to produce things that people enjoy while doing what I love, so I’m pretty pleased with how things are going.
The name is an odd one, I agree. Bit of a mixed story as to where it came from. Myself and my wife used to have a goldfish called Patches O’Toole that had a few white patches on him. Why we added the O’Toole bit – who knows, I think it was just to add an Irish twist to it. Some people think it’s from the dodgeball character, but that dude was Patches O'Houlihan, lol.
In terms of BJJ players out there, who would be some of your favorites?
I’m not really a fan of a lot of the more recent BJJ styles, the 50/50 or the sitting on your butt double guard pulling shenanigans. It’s not exciting and while it’s clearly very technical, it’s boring to watch. Guys like Galvao and Braulio Estima are cool, really exciting Jiu-Jitsu, which is great from a spectator point of view. I used to love Roger Gracie’s total top domination and how Jacare would incorporate Judo. An epic throw is infinitely more exciting to watch than two dudes scissor banging each other.
Would you like to end up sponsoring any of those guys?
For sure, that would be awesome. We only got going in January so I think that’s a way off, but certainly something to work towards. I’m a big believer in building from grass roots, so looking after local tournaments is something I will be looking to in the future, build things up slowly and help contribute to the local scene. We can’t all go all in straight to the top, there are valuable lessons to be learned by building a business up one step at a time.
So have you found the BJJ community responsive to the Patches O’Toole designs?
Yes indeed, those who like what we do have been great and I’m extremely grateful to them. Ours is a very niche sport in the grand scheme of things and the BJJ community is always great at getting behind our own and helping out. Of course the designs aren’t to everyone’s liking, but hey, they are artistic and styles of art please one person more than the other, it’s would be boring if everyone liked just one brand or listened to one type of music. Our personal tastes and individuality are great.
So what can we look forward to from you guys in the future?
I have a few ideas for some patches I would like to bring out, along with one for kids which quite a few people have been requesting. Some stuff for the ladies only would be good and I have also started kicking around some ideas for a rash guard. The rashie would need to be pretty epic, so that’s something I want to sit on for a while to make sure it’s just right before I release it.
Is there anyone in particular you would love to train with?
I’ve always wanted to go train with Saulo Ribeiro, I think his Jiu-Jitsu is so solid and his teaching style so easy to learn that I couldn’t help but pick up lots. Fabio Gurgel and Caio Terra are others that stand out too. Any of Caio’s instructionals I’ve watched have been very easy to learn from and I’ve always thought being excellent at conveying how to do things displays a deep understanding of the art.
Thanks for the chat Aengus & we’re looking forward to seeing what’s next from Patches O’Toole.
Leo D’avila is an Atos team member, competitor, coach and IBJJF referee.
Leonardo Henrique D’avila Correa, known only as Leo D’avila. is 5’ 8” and 195 pounds. In the last two years he’s has medaled 27 times in IBJJF sanctioned tournaments in weight classes ranging from Medium Heavy, to Heavy to Super Heavy to Ultra Heavy. He in an elite group of competitors who regularly get on the podium, gi and no gi.
He was born in 1985 in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro. Leo just turned 29 today. (Happy Birthday!) He graduated from university with degrees in Physical Education and Sports Science. Leo received the black belt when he was only 20. While living in Brazil he competed and won many competitions like the State Rio de Janeiro Championship (seven times) and the Brazilian National Championship (two times.)
He is now training in San Diego at the home of Atos headquarters and Andre Galvao.
As an Atos black belt, he has taught 30 seminars in 13 different countries (Europe, Americas, Asia and Africa) including a seminar for the US Navy at Naval Base San Diego. He has traveled to Sweden many times to teach a seminars and twice the UFC fighters Gustafson Alexander and Nicholas Musoke attended.
In 2013, he was Cris Cyborg’s Jiu-Jitsu coach for her title fight at Invicta FC 6 against Marloes Coenen. Cyborg won. He also cornered Andre Galvao in the 2012 IBJJF Pro League and at the first two Metamoris (vs Ryron Gracie and Rafael Lovato.) At Metamoris 3 he cornered the athletes from Atos; Keenan Cornelius and the Mendes Brothers.
But you probably recognize him as a referee at IBJJF events. He’s at a lot of them.
As for the rest of 2014 Leo plans to keep competing and getting better until he can say he's ranked number one in the world. Then in the a few years maybe try his hand at MMA, at least once.
Pablo Popovitch entered the 2012 NoGi Pan Ams as a favorite to win not only his weight class but also the open weight division. On Pablo's side of the bracket were Abmar Barbosa and first time Pan Ams competitor, Ezra Lenon. Pablo had a 1st round bye and popular opinion was that his first match would be against Abmar and then after the inevitable win Pablo would continue on to win the gold. In what was the biggest upset of the tournament Ezra Lenon defeated Popovitch 2 - 0 after beating Barbosa 10 minutes earlier.
BJJ Legends: Tell me a little about yourself and your training history:
Ezra Lenon: Started training in 2006 with Zack (Ezra’s older brother). He was a blue belt at time and taught me a lot of my fundamentals. After that I moved to Columbia, MO because American Top Team had the only black belts in the area. I trained under Kiko France and stayed there until they closed and I moved to St Louis a little over 2 years ago to teach at Finney’s MMA. In February of 2011 Zack and I both got our black belts from Kiko. At Finney’s I’m teaching classes 5 days a week to kids and adults. I’ve got 70 or so students between all the classes. My older brothers both train BJJ, Zack’s a black belt under Kiko and Levi is a purple belt under Scott Huston.
BJJ: How’d you manage to get your black belt so fast?
Ezra: I pretty much lived at Top Team. I was completely obsessed with training; I’d be there twice a day, six or seven days a week. I still train that much with conditioning a couple times a week, drilling two or three times a week and rolling daily with my students.
BJJ: When you saw the brackets and realized that you had two of the top guys in the world your bracket what were you thinking?
Ezra: Very excited. I couldn’t wait to test myself against this level of competition. I’m always looking to test myself and I’ve been following Pablo pretty much since I began training and knew that no matter what happened it’d be a good match up for me and would be a good match to watch. Also really excited about the absolute division but that didn’t work out because of my knee.
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.
I'm lucky to live in SoCal so I could attend the grand opening of the Mendes Brothers academy, Art of Jiu-Jitsu. Joel Tudor and kid Tosh were there. Kid Peligro and BJ Penn were there. Angelica and Andre Galvao also present. As well as thirteen other black belts that I counted. The space is beautiful. Its decorated in white and chrome with personal effects. Lots of amenities, women even have their own shower. The mats are built up with tires below for spring. Outside there was free acai and fish tacos courtesy of Sambazon and Bear Flag Co respectively.
Enough of the words on with the pictures. Gallery after the jump.
Jiu-Jitsu Legend "Punished" at 2012 Worlds Video, Facebook and MORE!
From the MAT!
Andre Galvão jumps the fence today at the IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Worlds 2012 to get in the face of a referee during the final featherweight purple belt match between Denilson Bischiliari (Atos JJ) and Marcio Andre Barbosa (NU).
Jumping the fence that separates the fights from the audience is strictly forbidden and Galvão is "punished" by the IBJJF and can not fight in his category and absolute on Saturday and Sunday. Security asked Galvo and Bruno Frazatto, who managed to jump the fence as well, to leave the tournament. READ More BJJ >>
In an emotionally expressive rant on Facebook, Andre Galvao multiple IBJJF world and ADCC champion, expresses his distress from experiences at the 2012 Pan Jiu-Jitsu tournament.
According to Galvao, the IBJJF only had one referee per match where three should be expected. Referees work all day managing the matches under a lot of pressure and scruitiny. The referees are often one of the most talked about items on the IBJJF events. The points assigned and calls, often in the past its been widely understood that the decisions are often weighted or political. The IBJJF has tried to counter that notion by establishing schooling and seminars for their referees. Assembling a structured program and education, however the idea still prevails amongst competitors.