Why do you refer to David Lang as "Grand Master" and Wallid Ismail as "Master"?
David Lang was my instructor and somehow I never personally met Wallid. I consider Grand Master as an extra special term of endearment and gratitude*. While I hope my students will refer to me as Grand Master, I realize it is something that must be earned and not requested. It's also why Grand Master David Lang has the largest picture on the About Me page and my humility is the reason mine is the smallest.
How do you feel about BJJ belt ranks?
Honestly, even though I am in very exclusive company as a black belt and I firmly believe only black belts should ever teach, I nonetheless believe they are over emphasized. My experience in the Wudang Mountains of China with the Shaolin monks probably should have earned me at least one or two degrees for my black belt, but I don't see how that rank would make me any better at self defense and submission grappling anyway.
Why do you believe only black belts should be allowed to teach?
It's unprofessional and immature to attack other schools and their practices and I will expel any students immediately if they ever 'dojo storm' another BJJ school for allowing lower level belts to teach. With that disclaimer out of the way, I do believe that only black belts should be allowed to teach.
All students should always be striving to attain black belt proficiency in all areas of their martial arts. This is simply not possible when the teacher is not yet a black belt.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be dangerous and by the time students have reached black belt, they will be skilled at reviving teammates who have been choked unconscious and diagnosing limb injuries as breaks, severe sprains or minor sprains in addition to minutely breaking down complex submissions and sweeps.
How do you feel about BJJ lineage?
It loses a lot of its luster when you have proxy lineage, i.e. you get a belt from a black belt owner you hardly know because you are a student at an affiliate school. There also seems to be some controversy within the Gracie family lineage between Helio and Carlos. Or if lineage should trace all the way back to Mitsuyo Maeda.
Since no current student would know these individuals anyway and since my Grand Master didn't discuss anyone outside of his Master, Wallid Ismail, I don't see the point in emphasizing and debating their actual roles. Besides, since all respectable black belts teach things in their own particular styles, a practitioner's true lineage should only go back two instructors in my opinion.
I'm certainly proud of my lineage Wallid Ismail --> David Lang and I hope my students take great pride in theirs:
David Lang --> Mystic Dragon --> Your name here
Why don't you award belts under your birth name?
I think this is egotistical and old fashioned. I'm not the only one as Eddie Bravo is a BJJ black belt who runs Tenth Planet BJJ.
I also believe Mystic Dragon better reflects my style of BJJ. (I learned a lot in the Wudang Mountains including some Shaolin Eagle Claw Chin Na that further improves not just my grappling but the BJJ system overall!)
Of course if you earn a belt from me and wish to use my birth name, Ryan Franklin, instead of Mystic Dragon for your lineage, you certainly may.
Why do you feel such hostility towards the Gracie family?
I don't. I appreciate their significant contributions but I don't appreciate their monopolization of the term "Gracie Jiu Jitsu" or their seemingly anti consumer pricing and belt awarding behavior. Ultimately, these things are harming the 99% and the continued growth of this great sport.
Mystic Dragon BJJ seems very ground based. What if the fight doesn't go to the ground?
Mystic Dragon BJJ is ground based. My scientific analysis proved joint locks, muscle tears and chokes are all far more effective at warding off an attacker than strikes.
To ensure the fight does end up on the ground, the curriculum includes highly effective takedown techniques for the streets that are much safer than simply trying to pull guard.
Does Mystic Dragon BJJ really include muscle tears?
Yes. Muscle tears are very highly effective and extremely difficult to defend, particularly since even most professional fighters and law enforcement officers have never trained with them. In the right circumstances, they can be used to finish a fight even more quickly than a more traditional BJJ submission.
Until now, muscle tear teaching has generally been confined to law enforcement training. Thanks to my many credit hours of graduate electives and extensive travels, I am pleased to announce I am fully competent to teach muscle tears to the 99%.
What should I do if I don't live near Alliance, Nebraska?
Alliance is in western Nebraska. It's about 4 hours from Denver, Colorado. However, I am offering a unique and life-altering opportunity to learn and master BJJ in much less time than any one else. I encourage you to arrange a vacation to come out, study under me and enjoy a less hectic pace of life. If you like it, you can certainly stay and see why I chose Alliance as a great fit with my overall BJJ philosphy!
Carhenge is nearby and can be used by out-of-town visitors as a meditation getaway between private lessons.
* In the bible, Jesus cured ten men of leprosy. Only one thanked him. If He only received gratitude from one out of ten for curing leprosy, who are we to expect gratitude for what we do? I share this with you to give you some insights into my BJJ philosophy which is inseparable from the BJJ self defense system I teach.