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10th Planet Black Belt Stan Myaskovskiy Visits A Ralph Gracie School in The Bay

10th Planet BB Exchanges Nogi Insights at RGJJ Santa Clara

Today, I went to lead the nogi class at Ralph Gracie in Santa Clara, CA. Not long after I got in RGJJ Prof. Dorian Cartwright told me 10th Planet black belt Stan Myaskovskiy (pronounced mee-yaah-skov-ski) would be dropping in. I was instantly excited before even meeting him.

I was an early fan and friend of 10th Planet Founder Eddie Bravo (listen to LOST interview w. Adisa and Eddie). On top of that, I am a longtime friend of Denny Prokopos (Eddie’s 1st Black Belt). I also hooked up him and Rakaa from Dilated Peoples to do a song together.

Adisa & Stan exchanging ideas at Ralph Gracie Santa Clara

Stan and his partner came in smiling and so cool. I told him about some of my past with Eddie and Denny and how much I am a fan of the 10th Planet style. I asked him to teach with me and Prof. Eversley Forte who was also on deck. Stan agreed and I called everyone to line up on the wall.

I first welcomed Stan to the school. Next, I talked a bit about the importance of self-discovery by making time to train at other gyms. Not because of anything else, rather than learning. I said something like “Jiu-jitsu is too beautiful and infinite for you to learn it all. Nobody can. But you must expose yourself to as many schools, positions, people, mindset etc. Just for the learning.”

The weeks module was on attacking from the mount. “In order to make the mount work you have to create a pendulum swing between seeking elite technique and positional domination. You cannot submit an opponent you can’t stay on top of them “I said. “Maintaining the mount, in my opinion, is almost more important than getting the mount. You stay on top to create the pressure. The purpose of the pressure is to induce the panic. Once you cook them and the panic kicks in, they expose their own neck, arms, and legs. Then, I showed some mount maintenance techniques.

The students quickly took to it. Next, I showed a fundamental armbar and some paths to “twisting arm control” or “gift wrap position”. Then I invited Stan to show some attack themes he prefers. Stan effortlessly threw down some amazing details about the monoplatas, S-mount, and how to preemptively shut down an opponents potential paths out of the armlock. We had so much fun exchanging techniques. The students were buzzing from our mutual fascination with all the attacking possibilities and they dove into the moves.

Stan showing leverage points for monoplata attack series.

As the students stayed focused on absorbing the techniques he and I exchanged some ideas He showed me a sick ass move called “The Ghostbuster” ( I hope he makes that vid soon hopefully) and I showed him some of the Iron Hook Scroll techniques. We had amazing fun, and the students left with a wider spectrum of strategic understanding. Beyond that, what they saw was how important it is to share wisdom openly with mutually good intentions. It wasn’t always like this. Ask any OG.

A decade or so back, some schools would try to wreck you if you dropped in unannounced let along uninvited. Do you know what “dojo storming” is? In those days BJJ was doing it’s work to prove itself. Within that war between BJJ and the traditional martial arts, a civil war emerged within the BJJ community. Debated raged over: Is it better to be nogi or stay with traditional BJJ in the gi? Do we only do BJJ or do we incorporate specific elements of traditional martial arts (or other forms of grappling)? Who among us is actually the best?

Online threats became more common from gi vs. nogi camps. It was a little like Tupac and Biggie out here for a minute. In time, after blood, sweat and tears were soaked into the mats that a more open minded era emerged. One where people could visit one anothers school and have intelligent mutual enrichment sessions- rather than war.

Sadly, some Professors in BJJ encourage their schools to be insular and loyal to a flaw. BJJ/MMA fighter and author Robert Drysdale wrote an amazing book called The Rise and Evolution of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I think every serious practitioner of the sport should read it (watch this NEVER BEFORE SEEN interview with Adisa and Robert Drysdale) . He writes extensively about how the more people practiced jiu-jitsu, the art gets better. Drysdale also suggests that the more a martial arts teacher cloisters itself away from others, the farther they get from the reality of combat. I agree with this strongly.

Too many Professors seek to over curate what should be a students open exploration into themselves, through jiu-jitsu. Your martial arts teacher should be your guide, not your God. Read that last sentence again, please.

Too many teachers tell their students to stay away from other schools in the area. They don’t invite coaches and students from other schools to train and share techniques with them. Are these coaches egomaniacs, or just well-meaning but deluded? The world may never know. Unfortunately, by keeping their students unexposed to whats in the real world, the teacher and students miss out on a lot (technically and socially). It is a sad thing to watch, and I’ve seen too much of it (especially in 2024).

I started at Ralph Gracie, then studied under Charles Gracie, then Gumby at Heroes (who got me to black). Very few students of BJJ can claim a singular lineage. Especially in a IG/TIK TOK/YouTube era. I cannot tell you how much I studied of Mario Sperry, Wallid Ismail, Dave Camarillo and Marco Ruas on DVD and VHS.

When Eddie Bravo started to rise up, I was a fan. Not everyone was. Eddie Bravo is the American version of Helio Gracie. Helio had the audacity to innovate what the Japanese innovated. Then Eddie had the audacity to innovate what Helio gave to the Machado family. Arguably no other martial art has evolved as much or as fast as BJJ. That evolution is the byproduct of constant expansion and experimentation.

Innovation is the fruit of open experimentation and exchanges with like-minded people. All of it is both beautiful and needed.

Adisa, Stan and the Ralph Gracie JJ Savages.

Anyone pushing closed-minded training structures, are stunting their own growth. I do, however, understand that this can get complicated at times when a person might be competing with a teammate. There are nuances that coaches, student’s and opposing schools need to check in within one another on. Being competitive changes a lot. There is also an etiquette to going to another school. Especially if you don’t have a connection to that school/lineage. Look into those.

Adisa Banjoko is a BJJ black belt and teacher of stoic philosophy (he also runs a men’s mental health online group) . He is also the founder of 64 Blocks which fuses jiu-jitsu, meditation and chess to help teens and young adults thrive.

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