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

Our hero today is Grant Bogdanove, a professional MMA fighter and gym owner in a foreign country, Japan. Grant is half Japanese in terms of his family heritage, but he was born and raised in the United States. In this episode, we explore what it’s like running a business in a different country and culture, as well as what it looks like to balance that life while also being a professional fighter. Without further ado, here’s Grant Bogdanove. 

Hi, man. Well, welcome to the show. Go ahead and give our listeners a background, your background in martial arts who you are and MMA competition too, because you’re a competitor. 

Grant Bogdanove: Sure. So, my name is Grant Bogdanove. I am half Japanese. I was born in Ithaca, New York and then raised in Ames, Iowa. From the age of 6 or 7, I started doing judo. Just a like an after-school thing that transitioned into wrestling in high school. And then back in college I went back to Judo for a little bit. I started BJJ in my third year of college, got really into BJJ. Then I went to Japan to teach English, part of discovering like half of my heritage type of thing. Really fell in love with the country and the sport of BJJ in Japan specifically. Ended up doing a couple MMA fights. 

I fought Amateur 2 years ago. Then I fought Pro last year and I fought twice last year Pro, both first round finishes. And then I opened up my own gym as well in Japan last year. BJJ and Nogi Gym. 

Josh Peacock: Nice. Dude you’ve been very very active. A point of interest. Did you say that you got introduced in Brazilian Jiujitsu in Japan? 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, like I knew what it was. When my brother came back from college one summer or when I was still in high school, he did some BJJ in college and he was trying to show me the triangle choke at home. And I had no idea. I like, I was a wrestler. Why are you on your back? Like wrapping your legs around the dude’s head. What is this? 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Grant Bogdanove: So, I kind of knew what it was. And back in college to get like my judo ground skills up. I used to go to the BJJ club once a semester. Just like smash some white belts and get smashed by some purple belts. But then yeah, I started seriously in Japan. I wanted to do judo over there when I was studying abroad. But like it didn’t work out for some weird reason. The city I was in had no real place to do judo. So, a friend of mine found this BJJ gym and I went there and it was awesome and that’s how it all started. 

Josh Peacock: Cool. Very unique. How is Japan like very friendly towards Brazilian Jiujitsu? Do they look at it at like similar to the way they look at judo or is it kind of like that’s the foreigner martial art or is it, how do they view it? 

Grant Bogdanove: So, it’s more towards of like the foreigner martial art. They view BJJ as an offshoot of judo. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Grant Bogdanove: Like I still have white belts in my gym who refer to their Gi as like a judo Gi and who kind of even refer to BJ as judo still. There’s no distinction, because the influence of judo is so strong here and the influence of the UFC is like so weak here in Japan. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Grant Bogdanove: Not a lot of people know what UFC is. Whereas everybody in the states, I’d say a large majority of the black belts in the states started BJJ because they saw hoist gracing on the UFC. It’s just much more mainstream over there and that’s one thing we have to fight over here as gym owners is like, you can’t just get a customer. First, you have to tell them what BJJ is. They don’t even know what you’re selling, right. So, that’s one hurdle to overcome over here because it’s so minor. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. I think if you look at the history of Brazilian Jiujitsu, it’s not even inaccurate really to say it is an option of judo. But it’s I would argue it’s kind of common to its own. Especially with cross-pollination with wrestling and Sambo, especially as like Keegan Machado and Hixon, and who is Hixon’s Holtz? Holtz Gracie? He’s like prodigy that like died too early like everyone remembers him as like the sleeping giant of the Gracie family. But yeah, they were like super into all that stuff, and so there’s been a lot of like other influences that have come back and wrap themselves into it. That’s really cool. So, tell me you said you started a gym in Japan. And you also fought twice last year. What was it like starting a gym in Japan? Was that something that you went there wanting to do or is it kind of something you decided to do later? 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, it’s weird but I feel like a lot of guys who put on the Gi and maybe they get their blue belt and then they start winning tournaments. Like every blue belt who wins a couple championships, gets it in their mind that they want to open up a gym and like make BJJ their thing for the rest of their life. #BJJ saved my life, that kind of stuff. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, I used to be down and not have any like hobbies or anything and BJJ did save my life. Like I hate to say it, but I am one of those guys. 

Josh Peacock: It’s cringe but it’s true. 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah. I always wanted to make it like my career. And I didn’t go to Japan planning to do it. I went to Japan; I was going to teach English for 2 years. Like absorb the culture. I felt like I owed that to my heritage. And then come back to the States, get a real job. But I just ended up staying over here. And things fell in place for me to start my own gym. So, it was planned out. Like I didn’t just decide one day to do it. But I wasn’t planning it for a number of years or anything. I knew in the back of my head I was going to do it starting around like two years ago. And I wanted to build up some students, some experience and that type of thing. But then like opportunities arose where it just kind of happened a little bit faster than I was planning originally. So, I grabbed those opportunities. 

Josh Peacock: Sweet. So, what has it been like operating a business in Japan? 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, I’ve never run a business before. I’ve worked like my entire adult life as an employee. Never really had any side hustles or anything either. So, it’s all quite new to me but so one of the things that’s quite different about the States in Japan is that in Japan there’s this culture of martial arts.  

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Grant Bogdanove: There might be mat spaces at like YMCAs or something in the States. But in Japan in literally every city there’s public gyms with large judo rooms, mats that you can just rent out. So, one of the easiest ways if you want to start a gym here is to start renting a space like that, once or twice a week or something and getting like a circle going. You’ll learn some BJJ 500 Yen in a session whatever like $5 a session whatever. Once you build up 10 students like loyal solid guys and girls maybe, then you go off and build your own place. And you tell them like, ‘Hey, sorry it’s not 500 Yen a session anymore, it’s going to be 150 bucks a month. Can you please join?’ And then when all of them join you and none of them quit then you kind of know you got a good thing going. 

Yeah, it’s not that hard over here. It’s probably the same as it is in America. Like I don’t have any experience doing it over there but you just got to do like a little bit of paperwork with the government. when you start a business just to let him know, so that he can tax you later. Find a place. Try to negotiate a little bit. Get the mats in and everything and then just start. Yeah, that’s all. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. Over here. I mean it’s if you go to there’s other States it’s difficult but I ran a little taekwondo Club in South Carolina and it was pretty easy. Like I just you file for a business structure with the state of South Carolina and then they send you like a certificate that you’re allowed to be open or something. Then you go, you get for fitness businesses; you just pay like 80 bucks and they give you an approval to run a fitness business and that’s other than you just keep track of your finances, so you can pay your taxes. That’s most of what’s for as far as with the government that’s all you have to do. 

Marketing and actually running the business is of course more complicated. But what do you, I am actually curious? This is kind of not a question I plan to ask. But what do you do for marketing? Is it mostly been word of mouth? Are there other things that you do? You said, there is already a culture of martial arts there. So, how is it that you attract more people into the dojo? 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, it’s hard. It’s no easy task. Some of my students actually a number of them have introduced their friends and a number of those friends have actually joined the gym. So, word of mouth has been probably the number one factor that has increased our sales. And the other things that we do like in Japan, they’re really into pamphlets. Like if you ever live here, you’ll be surprised in your apartment’s mailbox how many pamphlets there are. People just, it’s super analog over here, faxes, copies, scans, like newspapers, paper, they love paper. 

So, we do pamphlets like going around, putting them in a people’s apartments, mailboxes and stuff. And then also Facebook marketing, like Facebook ads. Started off like doing really easy stuff, like just boosting a post, then I started to get into like the Facebook, the business side, the Business Suite type of thing, and doing a little more detailed marketing there, still getting that off the ground though. But yeah, and then also putting on like going to competitions and stuff. That gets the name up a little bit. There were some people who joined the gym or at least came by because of my last fight. I was able to fight in this organization called Ryzen. That’s probably like the biggest organization in Japan right now. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Grant Bogdanove: And it wasn’t like the Ryzen, Ryzen main show. It was the first time they decided to do it in a cage. So, it’s kind of like an offshoot. Maybe like as opposed to a UFC pay-per-view like a UFC fight night type of thing. 

Josh Peacock: Right. 

Grant Bogdanove: But yeah, that was big and I used the pictures of me wearing the Ryzen gloves and stuff from that in my marketing, and that seems to have a good effect. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. That’s pretty cool. Over here unless you’re like a real like Floyd Mayweather’s in like very very famous name that’s usually not going to help you too much. Sometimes when you have a really serious like sport school, you can attract people from like across the state or in very rare circumstances. You can attract people from across the nation like its Olympic level. Because I mostly do stuff in the taekwondo area. So, Olympic taekwondo is the big thing. But for the most part like If you’re producing pretty good competitors, it doesn’t really, that’s just for your own accomplishment. Because people, the local people don’t really keep up with that much. 

Some of them a lot of them will watch UFC, but most of them have no idea what taekwondo is or the sport. That’s really cool. That’s very cool that you can go and you could fight and you could show that you that you competed in in in that promotion and that helps people to show up. Awesome. So, speaking of your professional fighting, how have you managed training to be a professional fighter with running a gym? 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, that’s a good question. My mindset going into opening a gym was like when I was really focusing on PJJ competition, that was the only thing I focused on. Like, no girlfriend, job at a minimum and just really zeroed in on one thing. But then I kind of just realized along the way that like just focusing on one thing is kind of, I don’t want to say necessarily a cop out or something, but like it’s possible to do multiple things at once. So yeah, I just decided to open a gym and if anything, it has helped my training schedule. Because I was able to build the gym with like walls on three sides of half of the gym. Matted walls for training MMA like wall wrestling and stuff. So, I build my own my perfect like gym for sparring for myself. 

I can bring guys to me now so I don’t have to go ride my bike to some other gym to train and my day goes like this. So, I wake up, I go to the gym, I teach the morning class. After the morning class, I do my own training, either BJJ or MMA or Nogi. Then I do the kids class, and then the evening class, after pro training, maybe I do some like desk work type of stuff. And then the night class and then go home and that’s it. So yeah, it’s completely possible to be a pro fighter, and run a gym. I know I could probably do the gym better. Like on the days that I’ve, I’ve not trained, and I had like three plus hours to sit on the computer and do stuff, my productivity has gone up. but as far as right now goes, like yeah, doing a pro, having a pro career and also running a gym, no problem. 

Josh Peacock: Cool. Do you have anyone that helps you manage with the office work? I think I saw on your website that you have other people that teach classes, but you actually teach most of the classes, it looks like. 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, I teach all of them. Like a lot of my students, I started getting students like less than two years ago. So, they’re all like still white belts. I don’t really promote so fast. So, they’re like the highest, my first generation of guys from like two years ago. They’re all three striped white belts right now. So, none of them can really take over classes yet. I’ve got some blue belts who came in later that are almost ready. I think this month I’m going to go corner one of my guys at Ryzen and I got to take a few days off for that. So, I think I’ll have some of my blue belts actually like cover the classes there and that will be a start. Maybe they could get some classes regularly in the future. 

But yeah, my fiancé does stretch. Stretch, I don’t know if it’s like a popular thing in the States right now, but in Japan it’s pretty big. It’s like yoga with massage and none of the meditative stuff. And she does that and also, we’ve got one other stretch coach. 

Josh Peacock: I’ve never heard of that before. 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, it’s weird like I always thought it was referred to as stretching. It might be a weird Japanese like English mistake thing happens all the time over here. But they just refer to it as like stretch. And you come in and someone like if you’re doing the splits, someone like pushes your back. To explain it in like a super basic way. It’s like assisted stretching. 

Josh Peacock: Partner stretching and then. 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah. But it’s brutal man. Like I don’t do it anymore. I’m afraid of like injured and stuff doing it. So, a lot of people come in though. And when I’m sitting there like working in the gym and listening to them, they’re screaming. Like women, men, even the kids are crying. If kids take the class they cry. 

Josh Peacock: Oh. Why is this so popular? 

Grant Bogdanove: My theory is that over here, we live in a very strict society. And they go to work. They don’t talk to anyone and they can’t even at home maybe they’re not allowed to express themselves the way they want to. But when they come to our gym, it’s a basement, right. You can be loud. You can just like let out your soul and just scream while you’re getting stretched out. 

Josh Peacock: It’s a release in more ways than one. 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah. 

Josh Peacock: That’s funny. I do think that it seems like Asian cultures value things like flexibility a lot more. We don’t really value flexibility over here, like if you, oh cool like this kid is really flexible. That’s awesome, I used to be that way I’m not anymore. And then as you get older and your flexibility fades, you just kind of resign yourself to that instead of trying to work to keep yourself flexible and really, I mean if you were to keep yourself flexible you probably have fewer pains and fewer injuries. It sucks. 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, it’s a super health-conscious society over here. A lot of people as they get older they don’t get obese or their health doesn’t deteriorate. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Grant Bogdanove: But I mean it is still like a society that’s impacted by the west a lot. You got alcoholics. You got people who smoke. You got people who are obese. As a whole people are a little more health conscious maybe. And they’re also smaller over here. So, in Jiujitsu, you’ll find people to be a lot more technical. Well, I can’t really judge. I haven’t rolled with so many guys in the States recently. But yeah, just being small you have to develop your bottom game a little more over here. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. I’m a smaller guy, so I can’t really say, I know we have a lot of bigger guys over here especially guys that used to be in wrestling. I think a lot of the pro, like when you get the pro belt, most of the guys are pretty technical. Maybe they’re really big guys aren’t as technical but smaller guys are definitely technical. They got their angles really good. Their timing’s really good. It’s all dialed in but yeah. I do know that like generally speaking it’s based on because I’ve never been to Japan, but based on how a lot of people that have fought in Japan, Gracie’s and old school fighters and stuff like that. 

They say that basically Japanese people that watch combat sports tend to be more informed about what’s going on in general. Even if they’re not like super into training. Like they usually kind of understand what’s going on the ground with grappling. Whereas in the United States, if the guys aren’t popping each other with punches and kicks that make them bleed they get antsy. They start booing. 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, it’s weird. Over here like they don’t really make much noise. It’s dead silent when the fights are going on. And it’s only like after the fights that they clap a little bit. And even in the movie theaters like they don’t make noise. I was watching like the Spider-Man movie. And trying not to crack up. Like it was just so nostalgic. That’s my generation 24/7. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Grant Bogdanove: And I just loved it. And I was try not to crack up during one of these scenes, because no one was laughing. Like even at the biggest scenes where it’s like, oh my Gosh, nobody it was dead silent. And I was like stifling myself like. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. I I’m usually not loud in the theater. But when I watched Spider Man and that was my generation too. I freaking love those movies. I was so loud, dude. I think some of the people behind, it I was like yes. 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, see that’s awesome. 

Josh Peacock: But I’m allowed to do that. It’s not socially. If you’re like oh one of these guys but yeah, it’s not like a huge faux paw as long as you’re not disrupting people the entire movie. Yeah. That was a fun movie. So, how is Gym Desk specifically and I’m sure it was martial arts on rails when you first started using it. how is Gym Desk specifically helped you with running the gym? 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, it’s a really good CRM for me specifically, because I didn’t have experience in owning and operating a gym. So, to start off, it was super easy to start off. And then yeah, like a lot of people over here as I mentioned before, pamphlets, faxing, it’s super analog. A lot of my friends still run their gyms on like paper. 

Josh Peacock: Wow. 

Grant Bogdanove: So, they have to wait for bank transfers to come in every month. And when customers come in, they usually have to pay like the first two months of tuition upfront and until the bank transfer gets set up. So, I feel like having a CRM like this in other countries, it’s probably like super standard. But over here, it gives me like a huge step up when people come in and like they say, what do I need to bring to sign up and I say, just your credit card that’s all. So, the credit card systems like super convenient. And then the website as well for me that’s the biggest thing. 

There’s a lot of things that make it super good, right. Like making classes, being able to see reservations, bookings that type of thing. But the biggest thing is also the website. Like I started off small. People are still small. I don’t really have enough money to outsource my web design guy in here or whatever. So, just being able to click and drag and upload some image and do that, and make like a nice-looking website by myself. Web experience is super good. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. How’s the, do you use the booking feature a lot? 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, that’s one of the things over here is because of COVID. They’re quite I don’t know strict and also people are wary of the disease. So, usually when you like do your marketing, you want to put in some like COVID safety stuff. And one of those things is like a fully reservation-based system. So, if you do like you can’t just walk in you have to reserve the class, then you can always trace it back if someone did get the virus. So, you can like be safe and know who was in the room at the time. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Grant Bogdanove: That’s like from a COVID. Even if we’re not considering COVID, just knowing who’s going to come. So, how many are going to come, what kind of class you can prepare. That’s good for the day, and then for the future, you can look at which classes are popular, which customers take which classes and that sort of thing to build future schedules and stuff. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Grant Bogdanove: Booking for me, that’s a must. Like I can’t imagine, having a gym, and not knowing who’s going to come on those days and stuff anymore. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah, that when I was teaching that was always a question. Most days we we’re pretty good. We had a pretty healthy mat, but if there was any weather at all. If it was raining consistently, it was a shot in the dark as the weather anyone else would. And it would suck to be there and just kind of wait on an empty mat for 30, 40 minutes and then have nothing going on before the later classes started. That’s definitely really nice. I think we have a new feature now where you can email just the people who booked too. So, if you had a situation where someone turned up positive for COVID or something like that. You could very easily just email only the people that were in that class and let them know what happened. 

Grant Bogdanove: Oh, that’s great. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. I think that’s pretty recent. It was like December. Yeah, cool. You seem to have, I looked at your website and you seem to have like a pretty robust online store too. Do you sell do you sell that stuff like in your gym or can people order online too? 

Grant Bogdanove: We don’t do online orders. That’s all stuff that they can buy in the gym. 

Josh Peacock: Okay. 

Grant Bogdanove: And right now, in our gym we don’t really have a credit card reader or like a cash register. So, it’s just easier if they open up their phone and buy it and then we hand it to them. Like using a credit card. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Grant Bogdanove: So, that’s kind of how we do our retail in the gym. I have had friends want to buy, like when I made T-shirts or rash cards and stuff, people that don’t come to the gym from around the country that want to buy those things, and then I use the store for that as well. I send them a link and say, hey, like, buy this, I’ll send you it in 2 days. So, yeah, from the retail perspective, like we’re a gym, right. 

We don’t really do retail that much, but it’s super convenient for just buying waters and stuff at the gym. They just have to push a button on their phone and then I can give them the water. And also, there’s potential there. Like to do retail. Yeah, I could ship things like all over the country and use that for the transactions. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. Some gyms like to, every gyms different. But when I was open, I didn’t really sell anything. I had maybe I had uniform and like T-shirts but usually just got that when you signed up. But some gyms, I’ve even trained at. They’re like, they have all this merch and you can get the hoodie and you can get the joggers and you can get a custom like towel and the water bottle and all that kind of stuff and supplements too. Sometimes it’s really big. People sell supplements. I can be a money maker. But yeah, that’s cool. Do you have any tips for somebody that wants to open up overseas? I know that you said everything fell into place but maybe there’s something. 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, I can only speak from my experience here in Japan. So, like the number of guys who speak English who are watching this podcast who want to do it in Japan might be very small. But if you’re out there, this is how I recommend doing it. So, first you got to save up money so you should live like a pretty frugal life. And just grind and get your Jiujitsu like accolades up. Try to get as many titles as you can. Get your name up as much as possible. And then what you want to do as well is try not to work at any job that doesn’t relate to your Jiujitsu career. 

So, if you can, like I don’t know work at some kid’s preschool teaching English where you could collect like the parent’s contacts and they could become your future Jiujitsu students, right. So, try to angle your work towards marketing and customer acquisition. And then also after work, like rent out a public space and start up a Jiujitsu circle and start getting some students there. Make it super cheap and then show these guys the value of what you’re giving them. Take them to Competitions like go out and have dinner parties and stuff like once a year or whatever. And then once you’ve got a base of students, then open up your gym. 

You don’t want to open up with zero customers and just believe that people will come, you’ll be like leading cash and going through your savings or whatever money you’re able to get loan to you. So, yeah. Biggest things, save money, work at a job where you can acquire contacts that will become your future students and then also side hustle where you can. Teaching at gyms or even get teaching experience at other gyms. Like just go to some gyms. Hey, you guys looking for a coach once a week. And then you can learn their kind of how to teach. Teaching’s a lot different than competing. So yeah, you got to learn how to teach first. Yeah, and those are the big things for me, I think. 

Josh Peacock: That’s great advice. One thing that I forgot to ask was your coach. Like, do you have a coach? Is he in house or do you go somewhere to with him or do you have, like how do you get cornered? How do you continue to improve? 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah man. I have been a transient being since I started BJJ. I started when I was studying abroad. So, that was only two that I went back to the States and I had known the guy that I trained within the States from before my study abroad when I was doing judo I used to go there. But I was with him for like 9 months and I got my blue belt from him. John Gutta, he’s released some videos on BJJ fanatics. He won some fight to win super fights. He’s out there in Iowa he’s like the number one guy in Iowa, John Gutta. 

So, I got my blue from him. Then I went to go teach English in Japan out in the country in a small jujitsu club over there and I got my purple over there. Then I went to like the central region of Japan where there’s a lot of Brazilians. Like Brazilians of Japanese descent who have come from, so like they first went to Brazil at the farm and then they came back to Japan to work in the auto parts companies. So, there’s a lot of these like Brazilians that are tough. So that’s why I went there to train. And that’s where I got my brown from Leandro Casano. And yeah, like I’m still with Leandro Casano, I got my black from him as well. 

But yeah, when I go to compete, I usually ask I’m in Tokyo now, so like that’s quite far from where Leandro’s at. So, when I compete, I ask one of my buddies to coach me. I’ve got like a lot of high-level training partners. The last guy who I asked to coach me was Igor Tanabe. He submitted Tommy Langacker in Polaris, like two months ago or something. He’s going to fight in EUG again. The dude’s a stud. Yeah, he’s 20 years old and like one of the top black belts in the world right now. So yeah, long story short, like that’s I’m kind of doing my own thing. I don’t really have a teacher. That’s one thing I miss is having like last to go to and learn from. So, I got to take that part of my training into my own hands. And drill with guys and research with guys and do that kind of thing. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah, that’s a really interesting to me because I’ve had to spend a lot of time self-training as well. Because I haven’t been connected to a master in my type taekwondo journey for well over a decade. So, I do have friends who are really good that that I talk to and train with when I can. So, I’m interested if you have tips for people who actually want, who are in a position not to do it on purpose but really out of necessity to actually take their training in their own hands and guide their own training. If you have tips for how they can improve. 

Grant Bogdanove: It’s different and the way I look at it is I line up like all my training partners and they’re all like on the spectrum of how good you could be in BJJ. They’re all like here, like really close together. But the ways that there’s like two groups of guys and how they train, I’m in the first group which is like we’re like intuitive. We’re like wild animals. So basically 90% of my training I just spar. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Grant Bogdanove: And that’s how I do it. And of course, like if like I’m training and I’m thinking about what I’m doing and trying different things and doing different things. Not just like super wild, but that’s just what I do. I get better by sparring. And there’s the other half of these guys my training partners, right. These guys spar. Sparring is maybe like 50% of their training. They drill for hours. They buy like every single DVD that comes out from BJJ Fanatics or Jiujitsu X or whatever and then they go through those and like they drill everything. They know everything. It’s crazy. But I’ll tell you what. Whether it’s a ratio of like 50 to 50 sparring and drilling or 90 to 10 sparring and drilling. Like when we spar it’s not like either side is way better than the other. You’d be surprised. Yeah. 

So, you got to decide if you’re a logical type of guy or more of like an intuitive type of guy. And then base your training off of that. And it’s going to be hard to find sparring partners. Like especially if you live in a place with like various academies. You can’t like go in and train at some academy unless you’re a member, right. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Grant Bogdanove: With me we’ve got like a group of 10 or 15 guys from different academies who we don’t care about the academy type of stuff and we just come together and train hard. So, I’ve been very blessed with that environment. Try to see if you can find an environment like that. And if you can’t then you just got to like find some wrestlers and try to coerce them into training BJJ. Yeah. That’s all. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. Cool. Yeah, for me I’m logical when I’m not training. When I’m training, I would rather feel through it. I’ve become increasingly allergic to drilling, because it’s just not. First of all, I’ve done so much of it but it’s just way more fun to feel your way through problems. And when you come into contact with the problem, you just repeat the problem until you find something that starts to work and then you lean into that, right. Exploring is way more rewarding. I think it’s more natural to the way humans learn personally. Yeah, for me it’s actually have a whole other hobby horse of studying like training methodology and stuff. It’s not surprising that somebody who actually just spars a lot is comparable to somebody who does tons of drilling on top of it. 

To me, it’s it makes sense personally, but to other people that might be different. Because people are under this illusion that you have to do tons and tons of drilling. And my instructors always said, you have to put in your reps, put in your reps, put in your reps. Later on, I’m like, not really. You really have to put in a few reps, but you don’t have to do like there’s no obligation for you to do like tons of drilling. You really need to like roll. You just need to get in there and roll and just have the opportunity to practice the things that you’ve been taught. 

Grant Bogdanove: As a competitor that’s my thoughts exactly, like as far you’ll be good. How many moves do you honestly use when you compete anyway? You just use your best three moves, right. But if you want to be a good teacher that’s where the drilling will come in handy like. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Grant Bogdanove: Because you’ll be able to teach anything. Sometimes you can do a move but you can’t really teach it because you don’t understand like the subtle. You don’t understand how to explain it to someone who doesn’t know it. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah. 

Grant Bogdanove: If you’ve drilled it a lot, then you’ll know all the tiny details and those guys who drill are very good teachers. They get lots of private lessons, seminars, and those types of things. So, there is a correlation with teaching for sure. 

Josh Peacock: Yeah, I can agree with that. So, where can people find you if they want to learn more about you? 

Grant Bogdanove: Yeah, on Instagram, Twitter @GrantBogdanove, just my full name, no spaces. You can find me there. Check it out. That would be great. The gym is called Alma Fight Gym Life. You can find that on my Instagram page as well. If you guys anyone watching this has any questions about opening up a gym in Japan or once the COVID things start settling down. And they start doing big tournaments here in Japan again, like the IBJJF Asian Open, Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tokyo. My gym is like walking distance from the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tokyo Arena that they do it at. 

Josh Peacock: Cool. 

Grant Bogdanove: So, if anyone wants to come train once these borders open up, just hit me up and we can work something out. 

Josh Peacock: Cool, awesome. Thank you for coming on man. 

Grant Bogdanove: Yes, thanks a lot. 

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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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