Emil Fischer


After years of contentious relations with the jiu-jitsu community, jiu-jitsu media mogul Hywel Teague will finally be releasing his magnum opus, the Red Belt Documentary.

The Aces Jiu-Jitsu blog has not provided complimentary coverage to Teague or his company, Flograppling, primarily because Flograppling and Teague have not given the jiu-jitsu community, which they serve, much to compliment.  However, after a lengthy and tumultuous stretch and the closing of his Indiegogo campaign, Hywel (pronounced “H-You-Well” like Saul Goodman’s security guard in Breaking Bad) will be releasing the fabled documentary for which he raised upwards of 17,417 dollars.

Celebrities of any level who do jiu-jitsu have a tendency of drawing attention to the art, from characters like Jonah Hill and Demi Lovato to Ashton Kutcher and Maynard James Keenan, celebrity jiujiteiros let us know that though we are in a tiny community, we are all about 1 or 2 degrees of separation from the rich and the famous.

When I started training again in 2011 (I’ve been training off and on for a while but actually buckled down to train to compete about 10 years ago) I did a cursory internet search of the who’s who who train and one name that popped out to me was Sean Patrick Flanery.  The Boondock Saints and Powder star won pans at blue belt back in the early 2000s and is currently a third degree black belt.  He also owns the Hollywood BJJ academy. 

Flanery has maintained his position in the BJJ community over the years, often commentating events and even occasionally contributing instructional content (specifically as part of a charity event for the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre.) 

One thing that always confused me was why celebrity jiujiteiros are so sparing with their jiu-jitsu.  We very rarely see jiu-jitsu done in earnest in films, and when we do it’s usually in small doses.  Today, Friday January 22nd 2021 Sean Patrick Flanery blasts through that unspoken cinema rule…

Flanery has released a film called Born a Champion starring himself, Reno Wilson, Dennis Quaid and Katrina Bowden.  The film (which I plan on watching this weekend) appears to be about an OG American black belt who gets dragged back into the fight life…

I had an opportunity to chat with Flanery on the podcast, to talk about his perspectives on modern jiu-jitsu and his experience producing this film which he calls his love letter to jiu-jitsu. Watch the full interview below.

Also, here is the trailer for Born a Champion:

Sambo… Wrestling… Jiu-Jitsu… Judo… Aikido… What does it all mean?

In the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, there is some degree of snobbery because the sport has produced so many great MMA champions. Still, the reality is that there are many grappling arts in which one can become well-versed, and any of those can be a boon to the average jiujiteiro.  Of course, there are reasons that people are drawn to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, namely that in a no-holds-barred setting, the person with the best knowledge of ground fighting often wins. So, it is true that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gives us a rather well-rounded approach to grappling, but there are remarkable benefits to being well-versed in other grappling styles too.