There are many popular martial artist groups out there, but none of them can generate as much excitement as the Danaher Death Squad. The Danaher Death Squad is a group of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Practitioners, and today, we are going to introduce you to them.
The squad is named after their coach John Danaher, and through countless competition victories, they have proven that their style of submission grappling is useful in both no-gi grappling and gi grappling, along with MMA.
For those interested in becoming skilled in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it would be a good idea to study the techniques these athletes have used to rise to the top.
How Did the DDS Start?
The beginning puts us somewhere around the year 2011. It all started when a student and BJJ practitioner made his way to Renzo Gracie’s academy. Eddie Cummings is his name, and right away, he took an interest in John Danaher’s classes and became a regular visitor each morning. Eddie Cummings had learned from other schools worldwide but now had the chance to get help from Aaron Milam, a black belt practitioner trained under the legendary John Danaher.
Shohin Ghaffari is another individual who influenced Eddie Cummings. From here, Eddie Cummins met Garry Tonon, who would be his future teammate – the two met at Gianni Grippo’s competition class. Eventually, Cummins and Tonon hooked up and started to train together at the Renzo Gracie Academy.
A large portion of Mr. Tonon’s wins was due to his leg log, specifically the heel hook – many developed the theory that he was what they referred to as a one-trick pony. If you have ever had the opportunity to watch Mr. Tonon in action, you would know just how gifted he is – he has shown us that he has the skills it takes to attack all sorts of different neck, arm, and leg-based submissions.
In due time, Tonon showed up to class with Gordon Ryan, a student of his- he took an interest in Gordon Ryan because he showed great promise. Mr. Ryan was winning tournament after tournament and worked his way up the ranks at the RGA.
These three people right here formed the core of the Danaher Death Squad. Today, these people are well-known for their leglock attacks and deadly heel hooks.
John Danaher – Who is He?
John Danaher is the one that started the squad – he’s the real mastermind. The squad became so successful along the lines, which is why it was named after him. John Danaher is known for high-level coaching fighters.
It’s hard to name someone other than John Danaher, who has had more of an impact on the grappling scene. While he was a well-known figure in the world of martial arts for a while, it wasn’t until the Danaher Death Squad started leading the no-gi scene that he became the famous person he is today…some might even say he’s a celebrity.
Some take the Danaher Death Squad for granted, and it shows. When they see the DDS, what they see in front of them is leg locking specialists being led by a man that somehow managed to hack a series of submission that never worked in the past. When people go up against any one of the members of the DDS, that attitude right there is why they fail. Say what you will, but Mr. Danaher has an unbelievable mind and deserves to be at the top.
John was a philosophy student; this combined with his eccentric nature, Danaher viewed life differently than most people. Since he has dedicated his life to this sport, the reason he is so successful is understandable. He analyzes the sport, finds common issues, and develops solutions to them. Also, he isn’t limited to the restraints of BJJ – he takes in grappling as a whole, accepting anything that he feels will work.
There’s another reason why the DDS is so respected …the members didn’t look at John like he was a joke; they took his unique brand of teaching seriously. It’s not that Mr. Danaher isn’t able to teach everyone; it’s the fact that it takes a special type of person to go deep with him, and that right there is what every member of the squad did.
Train Like the Danaher Death Squad
The Danaher Death Squad is one of the most popular teams in modern grappling, so we understand if you want to train like them. The DDS is followed by thousands of people who are trying to model their games based on the DDS principles.
How Does the DDS Train Daily?
In a typical training session, the class will have two parts: live training and techniques. The class starts right off the bat with drilling techniques (there is no warm-up session). The technique part lasts for a total of 40 minutes. During those 40 minutes, they drill four techniques – each technique lasts 10 minutes each. The first technique is a takedown. The next three techniques are chosen from one of their systems.
The team drills as slowly and precisely as they can. Each movement is carefully done, and while performing it, they mentally comment on each sequence, as if they are reciting some sort of a lesson. By training in this manner, the individuals are developing their precision.
After this, there’s the live training portion. The live training consists of six rounds that are six minutes each for a total of 36 minutes. Live training goes like this:
- Single-Leg on the Mat
- Closed Guard
- Open Guard
For the first two rounds, each time the bottom player gets back to open guard/closed, a submission occurs or ends on top – back to mount/turtle.
For round three, when someone has achieved a top position, the action will reset. Obviously, the goal here is to get on top.
For founds four, five, and six, when a submission occurs, the action resets.
In Between Their Sessions
For six days a week, the team takes part in two hard training sessions a day. In between those sessions, they’re on the lookout for new patterns, ideas, and techniques – this right here is a significant part of their training, and it should also be a part of your training. When not on the mats, you should take a couple of minutes each day and go over some flowcharts, instructionals, matches, and yes, search for new information.
On top of all this, four times a week, the team is lifting weights. Yes, techniques are where it’s all at, but let’s be real here, endurance and physical strength play a significant role in how the match goes.
Now, do you see how members of the DDS train? Now you know what they do during their training sessions, how many sessions they do, and what they do between sessions. Now, you can adjust your routine and start training like a pro!