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)