Luke Martin BJJ

In this episode, I talk to Luke Martin from Sydney West Martial Arts. Luke is a Jiu-Jitsu instructor I have personally trained with, and for the last few years, he has been pursuing ways of bringing the world-class John Danaher grappling system into his gym.

Despite being based on the other side of the world, for years he has taken weekly online private lessons with Jason Rau and gives many practical tips on how he has been able to pass along these teachings to his students. He also has a podcast called The Heat Locker where he has interviews with Jason Rau and other students of John Danaher’s from his most recent trip to the Blue Basement in New York City.


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Podcast Episode #04

Learning The Danaher System

Danaher’s Video’s Became Useful:

Luke says Danaher’s DVDs became a helpful tool for me because John has done a lot of work with the DVDs, particularly the mind systems. Like the Cumorah, the bag, the leg locks, the triangles. He’s given the kind of basics of the system, a couple of setups. He’s given the preamble and the understanding of the positions, just a lot of good foundation stuff that people knew bits and pieces of, but he explained it really well.

Just The DVD’s Are Not Enough

He says, “If you think a 10 hour DVD is going to give you John’s back attack system, it’s a little bit of broken thinking. So what I’m trying to get out there. It isn’t enough if people just grabbed John’s DVDs. They’re definitely going to become better players. But they’re not going to become Gary toner, Gordon Ryan, Jason Rao, Nick Ronan, or Frank Rosenthal. That’s what I realized.”

The nest thing Luke realized was that many people couldn’t sit down and listen to everything he’s saying and take it on board because he does lecture very much as a university lecturer does. His style is more academic.

Online Private Lesson Tips

Best Platform He Uses For Online Training: – FACETIME

Tips For People Who Want To Do Private Lessons Online:

Luke shares some tips from his years of experience for the people who want to do private lessons online:

#Tip 1 – Do Not Record Sessions

Do not record sessions with someone unless you’ve got permission from them to do that. There’s nothing worse than trying to film or sneak filming someone, whether it’s a seminar or a private session. Because that’s the information they are sharing with you, and the person worked very hard for that information. And it isn’t polite to assume that you have got the right to film that. Even if you have obtained permission to record them, make sure that you’re using the information for the right reasons.

#Tip 2- Don’t Regurgitate Other People’s Stuff

We all have seen people trying to show other people’s techniques as if they are their own. He says, if you look at his Instagram, you will barely find any method. And if he posted someone else’s moves or techniques, he will be giving credit to the owner.

If you plan on just blowing it up on your Instagram, then be very honest with the person and say to them, “I’m going to be showing your stuff as if it’s mine and just see what they think about it.”

#Tip 3- The Time Zone Difference

Online training has its limitations as well. Managing the time zone problem is one of them and can be a struggle while you’re working with international people. It’s always challenging to work with a time zone that will suit you and the other person/training partner. So, before selecting your partner, make sure that the timings can be adjusted right for both partners.

#Tip 4 – Have A List Of Prepared Questions

Online training has its own liberties, but you should prepare a list of questions for your training partner, same as if you’re training with them in person. Make sure you have got a list of questions of techniques or positions. There is nothing worse than going to the session and just showing off the cool stuff to submit to this guy, and you won’t get the most of it.

#Tip 5- Consider Why Are You Doing The Training With That Person

You’ll be paying good money if the person is decent, but if you’re not spending good money, maybe you should consider why you’re doing private lessons with them. Anyone worth learning from should be relatively expensive because they are a specialist in their trade. And on a side note, do not try and haggle people on their prices, don’t try and ask for a discount. If you can’t afford it, don’t go to that person and for a private lesson. That’s disrespectful if they value their time at a certain figure. 

#Tip 6- Processing The Payment

Make sure that you’ve talked with whoever you’re dealing with on how you will process the payment. PayPal is one of the best payment or money transfer methods, where the money immediately goes to the receiver. It’s very unfair to say, “Oh! I’ve done the bank transfer to you. Maybe you get it in 4 days or something.” That’s not appropriate because they’re giving their time to you on that specific day. And especially if they don’t know you, it might be fair to pay them before you start the lesson on the first couple of times until there is a build-up of trust.

#Tip 7- You Can’t Retain Things Immediately

If you’re lucky enough to record the session, you need to study every move, position, technique, etc. Unless you are an autistic person, you’re not going to be able just to retain things immediately. He says, “I can’t remember the techniques from the sessions I did with Jason 2 years ago or six months ago.”

And also have very realistic expectations that a one-hour session will not make you into Gary Cohn, Gordon Ryan, or whoever it is. They are what they now with years of training.

#Tip 8- Don’t Be Just A Technique Collector

You’re not going to get much if you’re just a technique collector. You need to understand the why. It all comes down to how people learn and how they learn. And also, there’s an evolution of techniques. Techniques we talked about in 2017, we even don’t do them now.

Teaching Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu Is Not Going To Earn You A Lot Of Money

Most people are doing Jiu-Jitsu as a hobby. Making it a career is not going to earn you much money. He says, “None of my students are making money out of Jiu-Jitsu. I barely make money out of this, and I can’t stress this enough to people.” Everyone who thinks that you are going to be rich for opening a Jiu-Jitsu gym, have a good look into it before you move down the path.”

Natural Skills

Some people got a little bit of natural skill. It’s definitely something you can work on. People who are not natural presenters can become reasonable to okay presenters, but some people are pretty good to start with and can become quite good.

Teaching Is Not Just About Knowledge

When teaching adults, it’s not just about your level of knowledge. You also have to be good at how you deliver that to people. You’ve got to be good at reading people/a room. There’s a difference in how to teach a single person vs. 60 people together. A deep knowledge base and understanding mixed with a delivery method is appealing to people.

Teaching adults is a difficult thing. Adults are coming to you, not just because they want to, but also they have to teach the children in school.

Segment Timestamps

[00:00] – Introduction to Episode 004
[01:29] – Luke’s Backstory
[04:17] – His Thoughts About Dean Lister
[06:21] – Why Does He Emphasize Leg Locking
[10:13] – ABI Was a Form of Submission Grappling
[16:52] – How Did He Come Into Contact With Jason Rau
[27:46] – Doing a Not So Financially Profitable Business
[29:07] – His Thought Process After Knowing Danaher
[33:10] – How Danaher’s DVD’s Helped Him
[36:46] – 10 Hours DVD’s Are Not Enough to Get John’s Back Attack System
[39:12] – The Reason Why Jason and John Put Their Time With Luke
[43:55] – His Tips to Newcomers
[44:55] – Best Platform to Do Private Lessons Online
[49:12] – Have a List of Prepared Questions for Your Training Partner
[51:00] – Pay Before the Lesson Starts
[54:00] – Don’t Push an Hour Training to 15–20 Hours
[55:30] – Technique Collection May Not Help You
[58:00] – Most People Don’t Know Danaher’s Old Techniques
[01:02:00] – The Reason Why Luke Got Attracted to Jiu-Jitsu
[01:04:06] – The Best Way to Ensure That the Level of Instructions in Your School Are Pre-eminent
[01:06:49] – How Has Overseas Training Impacted His Teaching Style?
[01:08:20] – Teaching Is Not Just About Your Knowledge
[01:10:00] – The Issue With Jiu-Jitsu
[01:18:50] – The Two Types of Confidence

Show Notes


“Not many people are willing to go (train) to the level they need to get to the point to where they can get an actually usable thing.”

– Luke Martin

“I can see what’s there in front of me and the level I want to get to. And the level I want my students to get to. And that has a burning desire inside of me.”

– Luke Martin


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Luke Martin BJJ & Jiu-Jitsu Interview