Josh Peacock: Welcome to the Gym Heroes Podcast. I’m your host, Josh Peacock. Today’s show is brought to you by Gymdesk. The easiest gym management software you’ll ever use. Take payments, create marketing automations, track attendance, and much more. To try the software out free, go to No credit card or painful sales call required. 

A hero today is Dartanian Bugby, one of the original dirty dozen American black belts and Brazilian jiujitsu. We talk about how things were for him growing up in an Irish family with a fighting spirit. The early days of Brazilian jiujitsu and the value of fostering a radically authentic culture at the gym. Without further ado, here’s Dartanian. So, what you were talking about just a second or starting to get into just a second ago. Actually, I guess this will be before that. So, how did you get started in martial arts originally? 

Dartanian: Oh wow. That’s a long time ago. Well, I’m Irish and first generation in America and I was boxing when I was young. I jokingly say the Irish are the Mexicans of Europe. Because, we all box. 

Josh Peacock: Yep. 

Dartanian: At least in my generation. I don’t know now. I haven’t been to Ireland ever since I was really young but you know started out with the boxing and then when I was about 7, I started doing judo. So, I’ve been doing judo forever. And then going into karate and I got the karate black belt and it was just like a martial arts kid. It was just me that was my sport, it’s whatever art. I never played any team sports. I never did any of that stuff and it was just me, I had this vision in my head when I was really little. Like I was a wizard and the martial arts was going to turn me into this. Almost supernatural being right. Like I so remember that as a little boy having those fantasies. But it was really nice, because it really pushed me. I pushed myself because of that. 

So, when I was about 12, I came a long-distance runner and then I ended up in high school running track and ran the mile in the two mile and I was a cross-country runner. That really set me up well for having high endurance and pain tolerance. So, it’s almost like I was meant to be put in pain by jiujitsu and through all those times and I was just in LA and I had a guy friend of mine that I was always used to beat up. And we’d rough house whatever and just like. He calls me up one day and he says, hey, man you want to wrestle. I was like, you don’t want to wrestle me, because I had my judo, right. And I was like I’ll kill you, what’s going on. He goes, you’ll find out dude. Can I come over? I was like yeah, come on over, right. And he comes over and we’re like moving the couch, right. I got a little space there in my apartment, right. He’s like, ‘you ready? He goes, you got your Gi?’ I was like, ‘what? Yeah, I’ve got a Gi in the bedroom. What are you talking about?’ He goes, you’ll find out, right. So, I go to my bed. I put my Gi and I come out and he’s in a Gi, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: And it’s kind of hilarious. It was like some comedy, right? He’s standing there in a Gi with a blue belt on. And I’ll go what the **** is that? Am I allowed to cuss? I’m sorry. 

Josh Peacock: Yah, I mean I don’t have a rule against it particularly. 

Dartanian: I mean at that time I was like what the F is going on, right? And he goes, you’ll find out. He kept saying you’ll find out. I was so annoying, right. So, I go, ‘okay, you ready?’ Because I was just going to like body slamming. I’m like I don’t know what this business is that he’s pulling but basically, at that time it been doing Judo for like ever, right. So, I was not worried about that blue belt thing. I didn’t even recognize that. I was like, I’m still this. 

Josh Peacock: Did it have the bar on it? The blue belt? 

Dartanian: I didn’t remember because I didn’t know a darn thing about jiujitsu at the time, right. There was no recognition of that, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: It’s like when you don’t know what a Porsche is and someone says, was it a Porsche? And you’re like, I was a car. That’s kind of like that. I just remember, I knew wearing a judo boot and they had a blue belt on them. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. So, what happened next? 

Dartanian: Like, I was like, you ready? And he goes, yeah, and he goes, can we start on our knees? And I was like, what? Because we didn’t do that in Judah. He started your feet. And he goes, I go what is this neither you’ll find out. I was like, oh okay I’m so done with your you’ll find out the answer, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yep. 

Dartanian: And he pulls me into his guard. And so, I’m like okay. I was like, are we fighting? He’s like, yeah bro. Come on. So, and I said OKAY. And instinctively I just picked him up and stood up. So, I’m going to be on my feet. Wouldn’t let go of me. So, I walked him over and I started banging him on the couch. He’s like, ‘What the hell? What the hell? What are you doing? What are you doing?’ I was like, ‘You’ll find out. You’ll find.’ And he let go with his legs and then I slammed him on the ground and I put him in a hole and tortured him. 

Josh Peacock: Nice. 

Dartanian: And then it’s kind of funny. It was like such the young man like I had the bench press in my apartment. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: That whole thing. And then had our post-match confessional where he admitted that he had secretly been going down taking lessons from boys. 

Josh Peacock: Alright. Is that your first, did about Hoist at that time or is it was that your first contact with jiujitsu? 

Dartanian: Yeah. So, I just went down there with him. And at that time, everybody was there at the same place. It was like 1989 or something. 

Josh Peacock: So, most people their first contact with jiujitsu is they got like wizarded by somebody. And they’re like oh I got to try this stuff out. But you screwed, you like tossed your buddy around. 

Dartanian: Yeah, it was kind of and it was just like because he and I were always boxing and always doing stuff. Because he was, and that was kind of like young man your friendships usually based on some kind of common sport or something. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. Definitely. Lots of common interest in-friend groups. Usually, video games or sports or sports. Something like that. Did he convince you to come to something else happen to get you into jiujitsu? How did you decide that was something that you wanted to learn? 

Dartanian: Well, I rolled with a black belt and that was the end of that. 

Josh Peacock: Okay. 

Dartanian: There was no more you’ll find out. I found out. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: Yeah, I was pretty, and so I was like okay what do I got to do learn, like the proof is in the pudding, right. And like I said I’ve been a martial artist my whole life so I didn’t need any convincing. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: The world would I was like oh I’m doing this. I literally remember thinking to myself if I get a black belt in this, I’ll never lose another fight. Like I’ll never lose a fight in my life. It was so powerful, right. 

Josh Peacock: How did you end up rolling with that black belt? 

Dartanian: He saw me rolling with a blue belt and beating him up. And then he asked me if I wanted to walk. 

Josh Peacock: Okay. Yeah. 

Dartanian: Because I was scrappy. Like I grew up kind of rough and young man who’s like I said mostly raised in the United States. Like inside our house it was still Ireland. So, there’s that whole thing. You better not lose a fight if someone’s anywhere near your size. You lose to someone who’s your size, you’ll not come home stuff like that. 

Josh Peacock: Is that how it is in Irish households? I didn’t know that. 

Dartanian: Well, it wasn’t mine. My family’s from [INAUDIBLE 11:08] and we’re and it’s right. It was right. That was all that stuff in there. So, there was a lot of that kind of war-like mentality. I don’t want to go into the whole thing the Irish went through with the British, but when you’re in on your culture where they’re trying to exterminate you. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: You develop a war like mentality  

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: And It was absolutely true in my household. And I remember I was very young. One of my cousins someone came home crying and my mother says, what are you crying? Told this kid beat me up and my mother says out the door, all everybody out the door. So, walking down the street and I’m like mom’s going to lay down some mama chests, right. And they walked away and is that him? It’s my cousin, like that’s him and my mother looks at my cousin. She says, he looks about your size. And my cousin just started crying. And my mother says to him, you’ll fight him again now and if you lose you won’t come home. And I was like, what? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: I was like what? And man, my cousin jumped that kid. And he’s pounding on the kids screaming I want to go home. And my mother says, that’ll do and he gets up and my mother looked at him and never forget that to this day I start to cheer up and I think my mother looks at him. And she says, now you know what it’s like to fight for And that was the day I decided that I was never going to lose a fight. I was like, wow. Because I was very young. And it was like wow, right. I can’t even describe that feeling. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: Like that was like a threat of death like. 

Never been a complainer as far as how people fight. It’s like fight anybody you like 

Josh Peacock: Yeah, I don’t understand that anymore. When I was younger, I used to be caught up. Martial arts has its own kind of mythos about it in the way that a lot of the people talk and it’s like only technique. No attributes, but Bruce Lee’s cool and he had big muscles and all this and that but everyone else can’t. And it’s like you do need to lift. You don’t need to lift. You don’t have to do regular strength training. You can do like high reps, slow weight, like it’s all stuff that’s like probably not very good advice but it’s like anything just to not get stronger. This place sounds like. 

Dartanian: There is a big fat secret in martial arts that no one wants to talk about and that is that most people came to martial arts out of fear of. And when they say, why did you start martial arts? I was young, it was more out of fascination when I started. But I went through a whole stage as a young teenager. Like I don’t remember how old I was exactly but I remember being afraid that my martial arts wouldn’t work. I totally have been in that zone, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yep. 

Dartanian: Most people come to martial arts because they have a fear inside them that they’re trying to crawl, right. And they don’t want to get mugged, they don’t want to get beat up, something, right. And when it’s about fitness, they always add in self-defense to their explanation too. So, it’s like this hidden fear like well I’ve always kind of been afraid some thug would try to beat me up. And I want to get in shape, so I might as well do martial arts because I can get in shape and finally be able to fight. 

Josh Peacock: Yep. 

Dartanian: And so, what happens is if you’re not actually fighting if your martial art isn’t judo or wrestling or boxing or kickboxing, right. Where you’re actually making contact and you’ve got to get it done or get it done to you. It’s one of the two, right. He’s trying to call me and I’m declined. Okay. If that’s the case then you learn to not have that fear anymore because it’s purged out of you the forge of comment right and but when you’re in a martial art where there’s a lot of philosophy and not a lot of fighting. That fear never goes away. 

In fact, it grows. Because you start to get ranked. You start to get prestige. You start to get recognition for something that you’re not even sure you can do. And so, the secret becomes bigger and bigger and bigger right? It’s almost like being an alcoholic, right. They started out of a little secret when you were 13 and you tried that beer with your friends and you didn’t want to tell your mom, right. And now you’ve got bottles of vodka hidden all over your house and I hope your wife doesn’t find out that it’s obvious to everybody but you that’s a big fat problem. You know what I mean? 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: In a way the whole thing in martial arts is kind of like that, right. It’s got a ton of people teaching people to fight who have never been in a fight. They’re teaching people to fight, right. And they’ve only been in non-contact tournaments. And you don’t hear them say, look, I’ve never been in a real fight. You don’t hear them say, hey, I’ve never fought for contact but I’m teaching you the sport of XYZ. And in this sport, we don’t really make contact but we’re hoping it works out fine for us. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: If we do self-defense situations, we can make that adjustment. They don’t say that and they could just say that, right. And I think most people would be fine with that. But the ego that hidden secret you got to protect the secret, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: So that’s I think where all of that stuff comes. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah, they can’t let go of the self-defense thing. It can’t just be sport karate. It can’t just be, I keto for health. Like it has to be, you have to put self-defense in there. Even though you’ve never been in a fight. You’ve never studied anything on physiology. You’ve never studied anything on situational awareness or escalation of force. You’ve never worked the door. You’ve never worked security of any kind. For all I know you’ve probably barely ever even been in contentious argument with a stranger. It’s like, but… 

Dartanian: A lot of those. Well actually all of the above. I can check all of the above. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: Oh man. I’m alive by luck. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. Yep. But a lot of people have not been able to do. They’ve never been at. I went through that phase where I was like oh crap, I don’t want to admit that all the [Inaudible][19:38] and all the stuff that I’ve been doing for 15 years might not be useful to me and I actually might not be able to fight very well. 

Dartanian: Yeah. 

Josh Peacock: But deep down I knew and that’s about the time when I started doing like jiujitsu. Deep down I knew, oh I’ve been doing this a long time, I have reputation among my friends. Maybe it’s time to like do some other things, make sure that I actually know how to fight. 

Dartanian: Yeah, it’s interesting because like what I was saying earlier about being culturally biased in a certain direction you know before we lost our contact. That breeds a certain amount of the desire to get in the fight and there’s that stereotype of British and English where it’s like hey let’s go out and prom like kind of true. 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: It’s kind of true. When I was watching this thing a friend of mine sent me a thing from it’s called, I guess it’s from a site called Irish Daily. And this guy’s sitting there talking. He’s like, oh, I was outside the club. I was about to get in a fight with this guy and I was looking at him and he’s looking at me and I’m looking at him and about to throw a punch at him. I said to him, are you my son? And he said, are you my father? And we had that moment and we hugged it out. Turned out there was no relation so I headbutted him and they took him away. 

Josh Peacock: Oh, not really. Bam. 

Dartanian: And he goes, it just goes to show you. There could be people out there who didn’t own. 

Josh Peacock: That’s right. 

Dartanian: It’s kind of funny with that there’s that cultural thing where it’s like you’re expected you’re expected that you can stand your ground. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. Absolutely. 

Dartanian: And you’re expected to maybe be acquiring ground that’s not actually yours. 

Josh Peacock: Sometimes. Yes. I think that’s… 

Dartanian: A ground to stand. 

Josh Peacock: I think most men when the time comes are expected to be that way but they were never expected until that moment which is a problem. So, as boys are no longer expected to hold their ground. They’re no longer expected to, if they have to get in a fight. Like I don’t want boys running around getting fights all the time but sometimes you got to get in a fight. Sometimes you have to fight. And you don’t learn that in school. I don’t think that parents really dads especially aren’t really teaching that to their kids anymore. Where there’s the importance of being able to hold your own. 

Dartanian: Yeah, well there’s a whole thing. It’s hard to speak on the subject of why you shouldn’t fight if you don’t know how. Okay, so when I hear people that can’t fight telling me how fighting’s wrong that has a real hollow ring through. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: It’s like and I’ll ask people why is fighting wrong? And they’ll be like, oh because violence doesn’t help and I’m like, well, what if it is something? What if the violence is exactly what’s solving the problem? And they don’t have an answer. Because they’ve never been fight. They can’t talk to me about; I punched this guy in the face and I was reflecting about everything later and I realized that I could’ve you know may I could have deescalated at this one moment in the conflict and I didn’t. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: They can’t talk about their feelings about a fight because they’ve never been in a fight. So, they’re like the preacher that’s preaching while he’s molesting the choir books. It’s annoying. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah, that’s right. They don’t understand how it functions socially. Violence’s can be antisocial, but in the male subculture especially young, not older men but really young men there are some social tensions that cannot their understandings that cannot be come to until the two men come to blows. And then they respect each other and it’s like magic sometimes. One of my best friends he tried to bully me and we that we had some fight and I just did cartwheels and he got upset and tried to hurt me for like 20 minutes. 

Dartanian: Yeah. 

Josh Peacock: We ended up being good friends later but there are some you can’t come to an understanding sometimes with other men unless you come to blows. And there’s like another level of discourse happening that’s physical and then once you’ve reached that now whatever the squabble was before is framed differently. And it’s actually there seems like there’s a way forward. 

Dartanian: Well, in my view I’m not a social scientist. Well, I don’t think people would study sociology or actual scientist. But got a bunch of ideas that they’re studying in order to reinforce their own ideas. But I think what it is can I trust you when the wolf shows up to stand shoulder to shoulder with me and fight the wolf? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: Can I trust, and I need to know that you can be in my hunting party and not get me killed. If you’re going to be my friend and you’re going to be in my group of friends on a DNA level, right. Like in the male DNA We all know that when the bear walks into the village we’re the ones fighting not the women, right. We all know that. And many times, in society you hear people talking like the women are going to grab the sticks and go beat on the bear. And every man knows that’s just not true. 

Josh Peacock: It’s not going to happen. 

Dartanian: It’s not happening. Okay? Vista V, the cockroach in the living room, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah, the spider in the bathtub. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. Okay, so people can talk all they want about the archaic nature of the division of labor in relationships. Ss soon as a mouse shows up all that bullshit goes right under the bridge. Okay? Because it’s the guy. If someone breaks in your house in the middle of the night your wife is not going to get out of bed and say stay here honey by the phone. I’m going to go see what noise in garages. 

Josh Peacock: Yep. 

Dartanian: That’s not happening. That’s never happened. And every single guy knows it. So, in our DNA we know that. And as young men especially men entering puberty, we are driven by forces that are greater than ourselves. Towards forming groups that we can Trust basically with our lives. 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: And in one sense maybe that’s a hunting party and another sense maybe that’s a fire team like they do in the military. Hey, the guy on my right and the guy on my left, those are the two I’ll die for because each of them will die for me. You know what I mean? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: And that bond and that trust has to be home somewhere. So, you get young men that have a need to form a group and have a need for friendship. And many times, that friendship is wrought through conflict where they prove to each other their worth. And once the worth is established, the bond can be made. But you cannot make a bond with someone then you don’t know their worth. If that person’s going to go into battle with you, you can’t do it. And so, you get the one boy who wants to be part of the group and you’ve got the four boys that are in the group already and here comes the latest maybe potential member. And he’s going to get picked on, okay. And he wants to be picked on. 

That’s why he’s hovering around the group. He’ll get picked on. He’ll get punched in the shoulder. He’ll get knocked down. He’ll go home and his mom will say, hey, don’t go around those boys anymore. And the very next day he’s hovering around them again. So, mama doesn’t know what the hell mom was talking about. Okay? And if he talks to dad and dad understands some dads don’t understand either because they’ve been brainwashed since the time, they were in kindergarten that their instincts are wrong, okay. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: The dad will say, look son, you need to stand your ground because he knows that it’s absolutely necessary, not that he wins, but that he is proving his worth as a compatriot, as a member of the group, will you run or will you fight? And we need to know, you can’t be in our group. If we can’t trust you, right. Under threat of harm, are you one of us? Or are you not? And that’s what that is. And the young man knows it. Somewhere deep inside. He goes back. And his dad will tell him look you need to stand your ground. You’re probably going to get a black eye but you need to go down the swing. You need to go down the swing. And I’ll be there to catch you. 

But you have to do it. You got to show up flagpole after school on Wednesday. You need to be seen standing there waiting for Bobby. If Bobby said, meet me at the flagpole, you need to be there. 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: And I think a lot and a lot of most school teachers are women and they don’t understand that. It’s not how they operate. And so, a lot of the young men now are just being taught they’re being taught to socialize the way women socialize not the way men socialize and then they have to try to do it later and it’s a mess. It’s a big fat mess. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. And it gets increasingly instead of being normal it’s fringe. Oh, this is what the guys say behind closed door at this at such a debate because it’s socialized out of the workplace too. 

Dartanian: Yeah. 

Josh Peacock: You can’t, one of the drawbacks sometimes of a of a sort of co-ed workplace is that it does change the social dynamics. Now women do bring certain things to the workplace that make it more pleasant. 

Josh Peacock: Sure. 

Dartanian: But the there’s always a tradeoff and one of the tradeoffs is that the men can’t be as liberal with each other in the way that they speak, in the way that they develop their behaviors. Because while the men understand what’s going on, it will be offensive and it’ll create a bad team environment for people outside of that subculture that don’t understand that that’s the way that men relate to each other. It’s like Grand Torino where the main character is trying to teach the I think he’s Vietnamese is a young Vietnamese man. He lives, there’s not really a lot of men in his house for whatever reason. I think they escaped a war or some at that time and he’s trying to teach him how to talk to other men. 

So, it’s like you got to insult him. You got to shake look him in the eye and shake their hand hard and he goes in the barbershop and that’s the way the guys talk to each other. And it’s a really an indeed Hearing scene because it shows that being just lopping an insult at somebody you know is can be actually a form of intimacy not a way that you’re trying to tear that person down necessarily. 

Dartanian: No, it’s exactly what it is. It’s intimacy. It is I throw this insult at you, because I know you can take it. So, I’m affirming your strength as a man by demonstrating to everyone’s How well you can repartee and how smart you are to have a snappy comeback. And even if you don’t have a comeback, the fact that you can take it and not run crying is me demonstrating to everybody around me my esteem for. Because I trust you know and it’s the same thing, I tell my students. I’ll be 60 in April and I’m rolling around with guys in their 20s and smashing them all day long. And some people that are new that come into the academy and they’ll say, oh, how hard you should be going. I say, you should go as hard as you can, because you’re going to be fighting for your life. 

Josh Peacock: Yes. 

Dartanian: I’ll be nice to you, but you need to bring it. And I’ll tell them with me, you bring it. With yourself fellow classmates, you guys’ kind of establish the vibe that you want to have. You know what I mean? I said, but and I tell students too. Going easy, if there’s a guy wearing a belt that’s higher than yours, going after him is a sign of respect. It’s not a sign of disrespect. If that guy’s a purple belt and you’re a blue belt and you’re bringing it, that’s because you trust that that belt means something around his ways. And that you need to be 100% just to survive with him. 

If you’re like, oh, you’re a purple belt but I’m going easy because I think I’ll hurt you. Well, then you don’t really, you’re not really, you’re making a judgement about their jiujitsu ability and their other stuff that may not be interpreted as respective, right. The male female difference is a different thing. Because there’s also socialization involved and there’s also a whole lifetime of a paradigm shift that has to happen for a female to be successful in jiujitsu, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: So, a man going easy with a woman is a different thing. It’s because she’s been socialized completely different way and she doesn’t have a lot of the tools that men have when they come in even without training. You know what I mean? 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: So, that is a sign of understanding social differences. That you’re willing to ease up with her so she can start developing the tools that she didn’t develop as a girl. You know what I mean? Like I mean girl in the sense of as a younger female person. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: Not as a girl in general.  But and then there’s girls that wrestled in high school you know and stuff like that. And they and they come in. And you can see right away. They do have those tools. And so, making that judgement with your classmates is one thing. But if someone’s wearing a black belt, you know, it’s all. It’s, like Why are you wearing that black? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. Absolutely. Is that how you establish your learning environment for your students? Is that you kind of give them a heuristic is what I’m hearing and where it’s like, look, if they have a higher belt than you need to go hard because that that person is has a higher skill level. The belt means something but when you’re with somebody who’s more peer level, you need to establish among yourselves what each of you is willing to manage at that point in time. 

Dartanian: Yeah, because for black belts, for my black belts. If you can’t defend yourself, I’m not giving you the damn belt. They’ve been tested. If you can’t take it, I’m not giving you the belt. I’m fond of telling people, I hate promoting people. Like I don’t give people a belt till I feel guilty. And my students have gone to the best schools in the world. And the report comes back. It’s always the same. I went with every blue belt there and none of them can handle me and they had to put me with the purple belts. 

Josh Peacock: Nice. 

Dartanian: Every single time. It’s never failed. And that’s like Hodger Gracie’s school. Henzo Gracie, Marcelo Garcia, like the top schools. [INAUDIBLE 38:06] go to the top schools in the world. And their belts fans and that’s it. Because I won’t give it to unless it’s real. I will not do it. I can’t live with myself if I do that. 

Josh Peacock: I’ve seen that, you do seem to have people. I looked at your website and just kind of looked around. You seem, you do produce competitors if what I’ve seen is accurate. How do you balance between teaching self-defense and teaching competition? Do you have a like a particular like frame or approach or like a timeline in the belts? How does that work? 

Dartanian: So, what I do is it’s not a timeline with the belts. It’s an ability line. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: I have one guy who’s a white belt for 3 years. White belt for 3 years. He’s one of my black belts now. But he just wouldn’t listen. Stubborn guy. And I love this guy to death. I mean in a bar fight he’s the guy I want besides, because this guy is just down, right. Because: funny story. His name is Naz. He’s amazing. Naz is amazing, right. One of my friends came inside the school one day. This guy is like 5.7’, 205 pounds, world-class Greco Roman wrestler, right. And he was my Greco training partner for like 4 years after college, right. And so, me and him are friends for a long time, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: He’s in the door and you know, I throw and insulted him and he’s like, I’ll knock you the **** out. Like we’re doing that whole man, right. 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: Naz is across the room and I hear in his Tunisian accent. ‘Hey if he goes down you got 10 guys on you man.’ And I was like no I said it’s okay. He’s, my friend. He goes okay professor. Okay. 

Josh Peacock: That’s awesome. 

Dartanian: Guy is like, he didn’t give two **** what anyone thought when he said that. He was like, I’m making this statement right now. Because he didn’t know my friend. He just heard what he said. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: And just everything stopped. He was just like that’s it. The men are lining up. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. That’s endearing. It’s endearing. Because he didn’t know this other guy. He didn’t know this guy was in group. He thought he was out groups. Like you don’t talk that way to people in my group. 

Dartanian: Right. I built like a brick penthouse, right. And Naz is like you’re going down now whatsoever. So, I really like that. That was just like excellent. I don’t know how I got onto that story. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. We’re talking about self-defense and competition. 

Dartanian: So, for me if it works in a fight it’ll work in a turn. Okay? Because a fight is much more real. Now given that There are things that you can do in tournaments according to the rules. You can play by the rules and win. And I’ve competed against people, if we continued to fight, I’d kill them. But in that 5-minute time period or whatever the time frame was they ended up an advantage ahead of me. But I could tell that at the end of that match they had 50% of their energy left and I had 85. And 3 more minutes and they wouldn’t be able to breathe anymore and I’d kill. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: But they managed the match perfect. They expended all their energy right at the time limit. Played everything right and they beat me. And I respect that. Not one of those guys. Oh, if it was a real fight I would have won. Yes, I know that that’s the case. But the fact is that you’re better than I am at this. You won today. You’re the better man. I’ll proudly hold your hand up and say this guy beat me. And he knows the rules better than me. He knows the strategy involved in this situation better than me. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: And I don’t have a problem with that. I need to get better at that. If I’m going to show up at a tournament, I’m not going to show up with some BS attitude that the tournaments now supposed to become my world. You know what I mean? I need to get better at that environment if I want to be the guy in that environment, right. so, what I do is I choose the fighting Environment as my home environment. And then I adjust my manners when I visit my friends, right. And there’s things I can’t do in a tournament that I might do in a fight and I don’t look at that start crying about it because there’s no crying in jiujitsu, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: So, I need to have other tools that I don’t use in a fight but I can use in a tournament. So, like for me personally I don’t ever play half guard. Right? 

Josh Peacock: Okay. 

Dartanian: I mean I’ll play spiral guard and I’ll play knee shield guard and I differentiate between those in half guard. I’m talking about kind of classical half guard, right. But I’m really good at not letting someone play half guard and like I’m really good at passing half guard. Really good. Which is the reason I don’t play, right. When you’re really good at fighting against something and never works on you, why would you have it in your repertoire, right. So, that’s just my personal jiujitsu. It’s not even my analysis of whether half guard is good or not. I’m not making a statement about that. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: I’m only making a statement about half guard doesn’t work well on me. And I’m really good at passing people in the half guard. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: So, I don’t put it my repertoire is one of my offensive tools because I have to have confidence in what I’m using. And I know, if the guy does A, B, and C, I’m screwed. I don’t want that in my reference bar, right. I want to be able to be believe that I could fight with this and win, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: So, well, I know if I go to a tournament, there’s going to be people doing things that I don’t do but I need to know the things they do. So, I do teach like I’ve got students that play halftime and I teach them to play better. I just don’t use it when I freewill training. I understand it. I know the moves. I know how to do it. Which is why I can pass it well, because I understand what all the trap zaps and pitfalls are that the guy wants to perpetrate on me, right. 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: And I know how to avoid all of them and stop it all and get by to them, right. Well, that means on the other side that when my student wants to play off guard, I can show them all those tricks and procedures, and say, hey, play like this. The guy doesn’t do that, do this, you know, the whole thing, right. So, it’s an interesting thing because, oh I have students although I’m a more of a self-defense-oriented instructor. I have students who go to tournaments and I prepare them well for the tournaments. And there’s nobody that knows every move of butterfly mode. There’s nobody that knows every move of closed guard. There’s nobody that knows every move of half guard, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: But if someone has a good repertoire of solid moves and they practice it diligently, they can use them in the tournament and win. Because all the established moves will work if done at a high enough level of proficiency. Okay? So, what it always comes down to is have I spent more time mounted on people and stopping mound escapes or have you spent more time escaping them, right. When you and I meet, right. If you’re playing half guard, or you’re playing anything, how many guys have you swept that do what I do, right? Versus how many guys are bypass that do what you do. That’s really the equation, right. Like if you’re going to set some odds and there’s a betting game on this fight, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: So, that’s the way I look at it. That’s the way I teach my students. It’s like look if you want to do well in the turn. Understand by your weight class and your vision. The things that are happening there and practice for it. Because you’re walking into a turn. You need to know, oh I’m the purple belt. All the purple belts are doing X, Y, and Z. It’s up to you to be current on your class and your weight division by watching matches from tournaments. It’s up to you, Do your homework, right. And there’s always trends in jiujitsu, right. 

So, each of my individual athletes, it’s their responsibility to do their homework if they want to compete and because your jiujitsu is yours, it’s not mine. I am a resource for you, but I’m not trying to make anybody into me. 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: I’m teaching, I teach by principle and philosophy and I teach moves just as an example of the principle. I don’t teach moves as like this is the blueprint for you to win. Here’s the move that I’m teaching you so you can see what I mean philosophically when I say that the vector of the person’s weight is important. Look how his weight is moving. Look how this move takes advantage of it. Understand the principle. This move is just an example of the principle, right. This may not be the move you use. But it’s the move that I’m showing you so that I can, I’m almost surrounding the principle in a little cage. So, you can look inside and go, oh I see what you mean by the principle, right. And then you got to take that principle and extrapolate your own game to bring Those principles to life when you’re training, right. So, everybody’s repertoire is their own repertoire. 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: And I teach my philosophy and principle and I use examples, right. But for a person to get ready for a tournament, they need to do their research. They need to watch those blue belt boxes. They need to see things that you know and I tell them when you watch those matches. The number one thing you want to find is what makes you go, oh shit I hope my guy doesn’t do that. Because: that’s your DNA telling you what you suck at, right. And you see some guy do something, you go, oh shit. You need to learn that. You need to learn what he just did. How to stop him. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: Because: if that’s an oh shit moment for you then that’s your DNA telling you that you’re not good in that position, right. And listen to your instincts. It’s all about feel an instinct, right. So, and then come to me and show me the match and talk to me about what it is that fascinates you about this match and then I will help you get ready, right. So, I teach a group but I teach individuals, but they have a part in that. They have a responsibility in that to understand what they’re trying to do. They’ve got to own their goals, right. 

Josh Peacock: Each person has their own style of play that they have. Their guards that they prefer, they have their tactics that they prefer. And that’s going to be, there’s a confluence of a lot of dynamics that that sort of create a person’s personal style. That’s a great approach to teaching BJJ. Do you have examples of bad teaching? Because I watched your video with, I believe Jerry Lew or Lou from a long time ago. 

Dartanian: Bite your arm with my… 

Josh Peacock: Yes. But there was an interview where you were talking about you had an approach to jiujitsu. You’re about teaching good jiujitsu and that you did believe that there were some bad approaches out there. I was wondering if you were willing to unpack what you thought those bad approaches were. 

Dartanian: Okay. So, I don’t like teaching systems. That’s huge, right? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: It’s huge. I’m going to do A and my opponent’s going to do A or B. And I’m like, really that’s what you’re teaching? Did you think about that rock he just picked up? Is that part of your AB playing? Like I mean that’s not fighting jiujitsu at all, at that point. You’re playing guard and the guys, you’re in a parking lot and you’re near one of those cement parking blocks.  What part, is that cement block that you’re backed up against? Is that A or B in your system? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: So, that kind of thing bothers me. And it would bother me less if people would make a declaration. If people would say, hey, I’m teaching this system but this isn’t a system when you’re formatted under a rule, a system of rules. And under the normal rules of competition, everything I say applies. But outside of the rules at that competition when I say the guy can do A or B maybe he won’t he’s going to do CD and F and who knows what CD and FR. You know what I mean? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: So, it’s not about the moves, the moves most of the time when I see people teaching systematic movement. The moves, they’re teaching are good. a lot of guys have used these moves in tournaments and it works. You know what I mean? I just have a philosophical disagreement with presenting it without kind of caveat. 

Josh Peacock: Presentation, understand. And then and even with even within the rule set sometimes there’s more than just the options that are presented. You run into a problem where… 

Dartanian: Always. There’s always more than the AB option. Always. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: Always. Okay. Like it’s funny because I was going off about this the other day. I was doing a little lecture in my class. I was like, I want to make a DVD with jiujitsu movements on it, and I’m going to be the first guy in history to say, okay, so look, I’m setting the guy up like this and then he does A and I do this and then we get to this point. And if the guy puts his hands right here, I’m **** and I have to start over. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: Right? Okay. So, I’m here in my move and he grabs my Gi like this where he hooks my ankle like that. Okay. Time to get out of Dodge because this guy knows what he’s doing and this **** isn’t going to work. 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: You never see anybody say that. You never seen anybody tell the truth. That’s the thing. That’s the thing that bothers me. So, I want to make a DVD where some things are successful and other things aren’t. Where it’s like it’s a fight bro. It’s a fight. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: The guy you know he’s going to do A or B and if he does some **** from Zimbabwe that I’ve never seen before. I’m going to fight my way back to a neutral position because I have no idea what this guy’s doing. And if it’s all the latest, and I’m not up on it, I don’t want to be part of his demo ring, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: So, I’m fighting back to neutral. Sorry. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. And or end up with a snapped ankle or aggressive finger. You just don’t know what he’s this guy’s going to do. 

Dartanian: Yeah. So, it’s just hilarious to me that in every instructional video, every move is a success. It’s that’s the most hilarious thing about. And it’s the most hilarious thing about instruction that I see. I see people teach and everything always works. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: And it’s like you’re lying to your students. How’s it always works? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah, my favorite one is where you have somebody who used to move successfully in competition and this is like a black belt and he’s high level and this is like his personal it’s his thing. But if you, and he’s teaching like if you’re going to do a jumping triangle here’s how you do it. Here’s how to make it more high percentage. But then you look at his actual finishing percentage and it’s like he’s done it like three times. 

Dartanian: Right. 

Josh Peacock: So, it’s like, okay but like is this should I be spending my time on this? And the answer is like 90% of the time is no. I should not be trying to do a jumping triangle from whatever. 

Dartanian: Like I’m a wrestler you know jiujitsu guy and in wrestling there’s a thing we call high percentage moves, right. And we call it bread and butter or go to or high percentage moves right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: And there’s bats on every move in wrestling. And there’s high percentage moves and medium percentage moves and low percentage moves. And a wrestler wants to do a low percentage move and the coach will go, that’s a low percentage move, right. And he goes, yeah, but I feel it and it’s successful for me and it’s like, okay, let’s see you do it and that’s okay, right. But there’s that idea is this higher low percentage, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: That’s part of what I do is I always teach high percentage stuff. Because I’m trying to increase the success quotient of my students, right? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. I think that high percentage moves, people that can make those moves work is because there’s something about their own personal training, their own personal style. That has led to the moment where they figured out the timing and the setup of that. And trying to teach that to people with a different game context, different body types, different competition experience, different approaches and strategies to actually fighting and rolling or whatever that just it doesn’t match. You can’t just teach it out of the context of somebody else’s training journey basically. 

Dartanian: Right. So, what I do is, okay, for someone like me, I don’t know how many moves I know but it’s a shitload, right. I know a lot of damn moves. Let’s say I know just for easy math. 365 moves, right? So, I’m going to practice these moves and be proficient at all of that’s one moves a day if I practice just that move that day, right. But then I only practice the move once a year and that’s no good, right. So, let’s say I cut that down and I go well I’ll practice two moves a day and I only practice that move every 6 months now. It’s no good, right. 

I got to get to the point where I’m practicing like 100 moves a day. So, I can practice it a move every 3 days to stay within the frequency intensity paradigm, right? To be good at something. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: I need the frequency of at least every two or three days or I’m not going to have relevant skills, right. 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: I’m adapt properly. I’m not going up the adaptation scale. I’m going down, right? And so, now I got to practice 100 moves a day. Well, I’m ****. Right? I’m screwed. So, the fact is that the more you learn, the less you can practice everything you know and it forces you by nature towards practicing the fundamentals. So, if I have a basic let’s say 10 fundamental movements. I look at those as puzzle pieces. And those ten puzzle pieces can be formed to shape a trunk of a tree. As a picture, right. And then the tree starts to branch. And I can take those fundamental puzzle pieces and I can make any branch on that tree, right. And then the leaves are the individual moves. And I can take those puzzle pieces and make a picture of any leaf I want. Does that make sense? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: I don’t have any idea what those puzzle pieces would look like but they’re I think as an analogy. It’s a good mental picture, right. 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: But we’re not talking about the shape of the puzzle piece. I’m refused to get into that. Okay. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah, we don’t boggle your head with the entirety of the analogy. We don’t have to metaphor. Don’t ask questions of the metaphor. 

Dartanian: Just do not metaphorically. So, don’t deconstruct my metaphors. So, basically if I can get a good picture of what my fundamentals are I can practice him every day. And if I’m cognitively present in my practice which I always, am I know exactly which fundamentals I’m practicing that day to do the moves that I’m doing, right. So, as I’m doing that move, I’m practicing each part of that move is one of my fundamentals that I have and I’m aware I’m painfully aware of each one of those fundamental aspects of the move I’m practicing as well as the feel of the overall move. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: Does that make sense? 

Josh Peacock: That makes sense. 

Dartanian: So, I can practice all my fundamentals every day. And I can change the moves. Because I’m pain fakingly accurate about the fundamentals of each move. I can pick a different move every day and I can practice a move once every couple of months and still do it very well because I practice all the fundamental elements of that move in every other day of the month already, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: So now it’s just real time sensitivity. I only need to be sensitive to the order that I’m doing the fundamentals in. And I on the fly, on the fly I can shift the order of my fundamental movements. I’m capable of that. Over the board so to speak to use a chess term, right. And that’s how I train and so what happens is I end up being very proficient. And like almost everything I know how to do. Because I’m so aware of the individual aspects that it’s made up of other thing that I do. 

Josh Peacock: Yes. That sounds really similar to the way that Matt Thornton from Straight Blast Gym approaches training and the way he teaches. When he teaches a move, he teaches the fundamentals. The move is just the representation of the fundamentals that you need to learn. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah, that’s it. It’s a reorganization of your fundamentals. Every move is a reorganization of some of your fundamentals. Not all of them but some of them, right. So, if you want to be proficient in all your skills, make sure you’re practicing all of your fundamentals every day, right. So, maybe for me to practice all 10 of my fundamentals, I might need to practice 3 moves that day or 5 moves that day, right? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: And I need to do that, right. So, you got to be responsible about your training. You can’t just, oh that’s my favorite move. I just do that every day. Well, that that favorite move yours doesn’t have all your fundamentals in it. So, as you learn more you do less, right. So, and that’s what jiujitsu is. You’re learning more and more and doing less and less every day of your life. Until you get down to those, I picked an arbitrary number of 10. Because I’m no good at math. So, I like nice round numbers. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. Right. 

Dartanian: So, that’s all I have to say about that. 

Josh Peacock: Cool. So, you’re one of the original non-Brazilian black belts. Is that right? 

Dartanian: Yeah. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. Cool. So how was it training back in the I think it was the mid-90s? Is that when you were still working your way towards a black belt? 

Dartanian: Yeah, I got my black belt May 1st 1996. 

Josh Peacock: Nice. What was it like training back then? Did you train with Hoist all the way to black belt end up some learning under somebody else like what was the culture like? 

Dartanian: They were all together like very close together still when I started. 

Josh Peacock: Okay. 

Dartanian: So, I would train with like everybody that’s known. We would end up being there. Like people hadn’t split up into all their totally individual schools yet.  

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: So, trained with Hoiss, Helson, Hixon. I trained with Elio. A bunch of people just basically everybody. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: It was like they were all here like they all came here and there wasn’t a bunch of different schools. It’s like so I got exposed to basically everybody an like Helfin, he was going to open his school in Hawaii or maybe already had it but he was still in Torrance, and all those guys. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: They were all still around, so the world hadn’t spread out yet, right. It was still on that stage where you’re basically exposed to everybody when you’re a beginner. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. And did you train at Torrance way back in the day? 

Dartanian: Oh yeah. 

Josh Peacock: Wow. Cool. Did you train in one of the garages? One of the infamous Gracie Garages? 

Dartanian: Was it Garage Guy? No, I wasn’t a garage guy. I was right after the garage. It was like right after. 

Josh Peacock: Like immediately. 

Dartanian: Yeah. 

Josh Peacock: Was it difficult to be like a part of the group? Like did you have to prove yourself? Was it kind of like a gang? 

Dartanian: Well, what it was like was the Brazilians came here to make money not to teach jiujitsu. 

Josh Peacock: Okay. 

Dartanian: So consequently, the only way to make money was to teach jiujitsu. But they didn’t really want people that weren’t Brazilian to know. 

Josh Peacock: Okay. 

Dartanian: So, you’re not getting coached. If you’re working with someone who’s happens to be Brazilian, they get all the coaching and you get none of it. There was a lot of that. It was very clear that you weren’t the one that they cared whether you’re that good or not. 

Josh Peacock: Okay. 

Dartanian: And it was the way it is. I think it’s human nature. I don’t think, I mean I’m Irish dude. Look at the Britain’s. Be like come on. That shit’s been going on since the beginning of time. 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Josh Peacock: And you know whatever. 

Dartanian: Obviously it changed because you were eventually able to become a black belt. Did you actually like end up learning a lot of what you learned from somebody else? Like not directly from the Gracie’s or change or? 

Josh Peacock: Well, what happened is I got promoted by someone else. So, Ken gave who was like the second non-Brazilian to get his black belt. 

Dartanian: Yeah. 

Dartanian: He got his from Hales and Gracie. And I was a purple belt at the time and I was already beating black belts and there were no brown belts that could be. But something happened with Ku Kluck. Ku Kluck kind of left the fold, right. And then the word went out, no more American black belts kind of thing, right. Because there was a thing about keeping control. And Korean wanted to expand, and this was before the idea of the affiliate school came up, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: So, it was give someone a black belt and they open a school for it, Right. Traditionally. And Ku Kluck went to New York and broke away from Horan and that was it. There weren’t going to be any more American black belts after that. You know what I mean? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: And Ken happened to get his black belt right around that time. I mean there was a it I don’t know if anyone’s really sure whether Ken or Greg got it first. You know what I mean? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: It was close, right. 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: And so, it was like no you’re not going to get promoted, right. So here I am at Purple Belt and I’m just chilling everybody and not getting. I was at, I’m not going to name names but I was at a workout and a guy was there from Brazil and he was in purple belt and he’s tearing through the class and I’m just sitting on the side and I’m a purple. I hear the instructor say oh if he was my student, he’d be a brown belt. I would that guy needs to be a brown belt. You know what I mean? So, I got up, walked over, challenged the guy to a match. And me and that guy dude that was a cat fight for like 15 straight minutes. 

And I tapped him out. And I tapped him out right in front of the instructor. Like beat like a sacrifice. And then I waited about a week. And nothing was happening. And I went to my instructor and I said you know no disrespect but I’d like to know what I need to do to move up. Oh, you’re doing good. Just keep doing what you’re doing. And I was like **** that. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: Because that to me was the last show. I was like I’m done. 

Josh Peacock: I had heard about this American guy who was a black belt. So, and we talked and he said, show me what you got. And I went through all his guys and he was like okay, you’re the real deal. And then he and I got together and trained in private. He said, I need to roll with you and see what your level is. At that session he was like, look, if I could make you skip a belt and give you a black belt I would, but I can’t so if you want it I’ll give you a brown belt and then stick around. So, I got the brown belt from Ken Gabrielson and I started teaching for him, training with him and put my time in. 

He offered me the black belt and it wasn’t that long and I wore. I said, well, I’d be more comfortable if I wore the brown belt a little longer just traditional kind of feeling, because I’m traditional martial arts. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: And then I wanted to start teaching on my own and I talked to him and he said, look man. You want your black belt? You just drive down here right now and I’ll give it to you. You already know what I think. 

Josh Peacock: Nice. It’s a big vote of confidence. 

Dartanian: Yeah, and he was an honest guy you know. He’s honest guy. I have all the respect in the world. He’s like super just a great human being, right. No bullshit, just straight up. Very accomplished. Not just a jiujitsu, living in Colorado now he’s a fire chief in Colorado. He’s like this guy’s an accomplished guy. He’s corral belt and a fire chief and he’s got family and he’s raised his sons. I mean this guy’s a legit OG accomplished guy. You know what I mean? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: So, no surprise that he treated me fairly, right. 

Josh Peacock: Right. Yeah. 

Dartanian: So, that’s how it happened and it’s interesting, right. It’s like he’s fond of saying he’d like the Rosa Parks of jiujitsu. Which is kind of because I was saying that until I heard him say it and I stopped saying it because he’s ahead of me. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: Rosa is a popular guy. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. Absolutely. 

Dartanian: That’s just what it was like you know. It’s like hitting the back of the bus. Bingo. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. I’ve heard Jean LaBelle had an issue to training judo with way back in the day with some of the Japanese that came over to the United States like it’s it was people don’t realize that it was that way back then. It didn’t. 

Dartanian: Yeah, and it funny anecdote. I got my black belt from the same lineage as Jean LaBelle. 

Josh Peacock: Oh, that’s very cool. That’s very cool.  

Dartanian: His judo school and my judo school are literally the exact same. 

Josh Peacock: That’s awesome. 

Dartanian: Same location of [INAUDIBLE 01:17:08] 

Josh Peacock: That is awesome. So, before I want to be respectful of your time. We’ve been on for quite a bit now even with the break that we took. But so, I wanted to ask you about Gymdesk. Like do, how’s it, how’s it helped you kind of manage your gym and focus more on teaching? 

Dartanian: Well, first of all, the interface is very easy to use. It’s not hard to figure things out, when you talk, toggle on something, the next thing that comes up is like, oh, that makes sense. And I get backward for that is intuitive. 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Dartanian: The fonts, the colors, the shapes of the models and stuff like that are friendly. It doesn’t scare you. Well, as I do web development myself so I’m kind of aware of all those aspects of it. 

Josh Peacock: Yes. 

Dartanian: It is, you can trust it. So, it’s easy to let it handle what it handles. Does that make sense? 

Josh Peacock: Yep. 

Dartanian: You’re not always looking at it trying to figure it out. It’s very easy for people to sign up, sign a waiver, put their payment information in. They can do all that online by themselves and all you do is look at it and open up your dashboard and go oh that new guy did sign up. Did he put a payment? Oh, he did. Oh, look there’s his first payment. Okay. I can close the app and go teach.  And I know that that guy I can look at it and go okay his payments are going to go through. Automatic emails are great, because it’s going to e-mail him, the invoice options are really good, I can send another invoice, or cancel something, or edit his membership, it just, everything’s within 2, 1 clicks of Happy Vote, right? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: So, I’ve got like a 2-click limit. 

Josh Peacock: 2-click limit. 

Dartanian: Yeah, then my iPad Pro becomes a shot put after that. I just start using the iPad for metabolic training. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. That’s like the new user experience limit. 2 clicks. You’ve got 2 clicks. If it’s more than that it’s too much. 

Dartanian: That’s right. You know what? I revert to something I’m good at which is metabolic med ball slams. And that’s my toddler experience with Jim Desk. Makes me a happy toddler. 

Josh Peacock: Awesome. Yeah. That’s great. So, if people want to learn more about you, do you have a website or somewhere they can go to? 

Dartanian: Yeah, they can go to And it’ll take them to the website and they can just look at that. 

Josh Peacock: Awesome. Cool. 

Dartanian: I’ve county jail and go to the visitor’s area and then just say my name and you’re there to visit. That’s my Irish always telling bad jokes at the wrong time.  

Josh Peacock: No, I didn’t ask that’s funny, that go to the jail and ask for me. 

Dartanian: The Visitor Center. Don’t go to the intake. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah, visitor center. Awesome. Well, thank you for coming on and I would be awesome to do this again sometime. 

Dartanian: Yeah, I would really enjoy it. It was much less frightening than I had anticipated. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Dartanian: Like I went to a tournament and I was crapping myself and then I won my first match and I’m like oh. 

Josh Peacock: Now it’s not a big. It’s not a big deal. Hey, podcast is more fun. 

Dartanian: Yeah, that’s right. 



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Published by Josh Peacock

Josh is a lifelong martial arts fanatic, taekwondo 4th dan, BJJ player, writer, and marketer. In addition to helping martial arts school owners market their gyms more effectively, he also holds an M.Ed. in teaching & learning and has a passion for improving martial arts instruction.

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