A fundamental is what is most important

When we talk about ‘fundamentals’ in SBG, we are not talking about what’s most basic – we are talking about what’s most important


This last weekend, students at SBG’s world headquarters in Portland Oregon, had the privilege of training with two different SBG black belts. On Saturday, SBG Coach Ray Price from Reno Nevada, taught a one day seminar that focused on escapes. And on Sunday, SBG Coach John Frankl, the founder of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Korea and the head of SBG Korea, taught a one day seminar that also focused on escapes.

One of the most interesting things about the two classes was not the specific techniques, or even the fact that both focused on escapes, what was so interesting was how each coach was focused on teaching very specific fundamental principles that transcended any one specific technique. As John Frankl said on Sunday, “Ray and I didn’t talk on the phone before this event and coordinate our lessons, but it sure did work out that way.” 

In true SBG fashion, the seminars were bigger than technique, they were bigger than position, instead they were about essential concepts that make the delivery system itself work – the fundamentals.

Ray’s course revolved around one, core, human movement – hip-shoulder-shoulder-hip; a mechanical range that drives an entire escape game. Throughout the class he let the students know that he would be showing many techniques, but those didn’t really matter. What mattered was that root movement, that fundamental. Once that movement was understood, the students themselves could discover and develop their own variations.

True to SBG headquarters style, the seminars are not divided up by belt rank. When you focus on fundamentals, which in SBG doesn’t mean what’s “most basic”, but rather, “what’s most important”, people of all levels can learn in the same class. We had multiple black belts, brown belts, purple belts, and brand new white belts, all experiencing light bulb moments as Ray taught.

One of the best signs of just how well his course went was the commentary heard afterwards. You had a range of people, from champion black belt competitors, to people with literally two weeks of BJJ training, all talking about picking up a new understanding.

That’s SBG.


On Sunday SBG Korea’s coach John Frankl taught. Just as Ray had, John focused on one movement, the underhook, and showed its application, using techniques and postures as vehicles for the principles that make that movement effective. John Frankl is one of the leading technical wizards in our organization. Given that, what magic did he bring to headquarters?download The Girl on the Mat 2017 movie

Was it a new berimbolo?

Perhaps an unknown choke?

Maybe a sweep few people have seen?

No, Coach John began the class with headlock escapes.

One of my favorite lessons within all of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I’ve personally spent a lot of time working on these during the 24 years I’ve trained in the art. And given that, you’d think I’d seen it all – but John had a few key details that were light bulb moments for me as well – instantly changing how I’ve taught something for over twenty years, and immediately helping the entire SBG curriculum evolve.

Those are the things I love about Jiu-Jitsu. Rest assured, anyone who tells you the fundamentals are boring, or who believes they’ve seen it all when it comes to the root movements of Jiu-Jitsu, has not trained with an SBG coach, because with fundamentals, the learning never ends, it just grows in precision.

In addition to world class material, it was also a real pleasure to just hang out and spend time with old friends.

My wife Salome, myself, my brother, his fiancé, Hanna, and John Frankl, also managed to work in some quality range time under the watchful eyes of Coach Ray. Ray is as good of a firearms coach as he is a BJJ coach – which is to say, excellent. As John expressed to me that evening, we both wish we had more hours in this trip to work at the range with him.

Coach Ray will be teaching this curriculum over the next year at a few of the other SBG academies. If you get a chance to take the course, or you are an academy owner thinking of flying him in – do it, everyone, regardless of level, will love it. You can reach him at: rxjits@sbcglobal.net

Coach Frankl will also be visiting some of our stateside academies this year, and you should absolutely make the time to attend all these. You can reach coach Frankl at: johnfrankl@yahoo.com Speaking personally, I’ve never not learned something “new” about something “old” when I’ve trained with John, and that’s the gold I am always panning for within Jiu-Jitsu – save the truly “new”, flavor of the day stuff for our competitors – SBG is just better.