INTRODUCTION AND LINEAGE
My name is Ryan Franklin and I am a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt whose BJJ experience has forever changed my life. I earned my black belt in just over 3 years under Grand Master David Lang, himself a black belt under Wallid Ismail who was belted by Carlson Gracie of the famous founding Gracie family.Master Wallid Ismael
Grand Master David Lang
Master Ryan Franklin
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the most effective martial art ever developed. The Gracie family started BJJ but as its popularity has grown, so too has the profit emphasis. Hence, it is illegal for other practitioners to refer to their art as "Gracie Jiu Jitsu." The Gracies also belt a lot of consumers via instructor proxy, insist on wearing a gi which isn't practical for self defense or MMA and slow the development pace by overemphasizing basic techniques that can be quickly mastered and practiced at home so they can charge for more years of instruction.
BJJ has forever changed my life. I was an awkward student with no friends and low self esteem. Grand Master David Lang took me under his wing and offered me private lessons. He was very tough, but I learned and blossomed under his tutelage. Within 8 months, I had made myself nearly unsubmittable even if I did not yet possess the skills to submit him.
That would all change after just over 3 years of instruction when I sunk a deep choke on the grand master. He refused to tap* and after I helped revive him, he awarded me my black belt just as he had promised. That was October 2010. I had already graduated from Ithaca and decided to travel to celebrate and introspect on my proudest accomplishment.
I was on a plane to China and was soon backpacking through the Wudang region in Hubei. It was in those mountains that I encountered Shaolin monks. They were all true martial arts experts who had studied Kung Fu for a minimum of 40 years each and they were highly skilled and surprisingly strong for their size and advanced ages. My feigned respect for their Kung Fu striking led them to also share some Shaolin Eagle Claw Chin Na which expanded my ground game a bit. Of course, I also eagerly taught them some BJJ moves and this was when I realized I had found my true calling: to teach self defense grappling.
I sparred frequently with the Shaolin monks (we only went about 90% on each other) and they were quite impressed that I won about two thirds of the matches. (I was even more impressed personally since I had never rolled with anyone besides David Lang before.) This experience was all the more exhilarating as I believe I was the very first BJJ practitioner they had met and it was an honor to be chosen as the ambassador for my great sport.
After returning from China, I spent the remainder of a very hectic and busy 2011 developing and assembling my self defense centric curriculum while also completing several major editing projects and relocating to the Nebraska panhandle. In 2012, Mystic Dragon BJJ was formally launched.
* For safety reasons, you should ALWAYS tap. That is how I was taught and that is what I insist all students do. I believe the Grand Master may have tapped and just said he didn't so I wouldn't feel bad as I got so excited at the prospect of a submission, I believe I wouldn't have noticed the tap anyway. This is also why I insist students bring a third party to all sessions where submissions will be practiced.