Tye Ryan: "Everyone Has a Tipping Point"

Published on

Purple belt world champion Tye Ryan tells about his experience: "The 2013 IBJJF World’s was an amazing experience for me. After watching my teammates Corey Walker, Chris Tran, Devon Delbrugge and Al Washington medal in the blue belt division, I was instructed in counsel with Master Lloyd and Master Julius Park that it was my time to break through."

Before I get into how I prepared for this years’ World Tournament, I have to give you the backstory of my Jiu Jitsu competition experience. Up until this point in my Jiu Jitsu career I was that tough guy that could beat a lot of people, give the upper echelon of players at my belt a thrilling match but could only win the regional IBJJF tournaments and get bounced in the 8 round or quarterfinals of each and every year in each and every Grand Slam tournament. At Blue, I was a quarter finalist in Europe 2x, Pan Ams 2x, Brasilero’s, The Rio International Open and the World Tournament. Early on at purple it was much of the same. My first World’s at purple, in 2012, I did not lose a match but was unfortunate in having Keenan, a former Team Lloyd Irvin competitor, on the same page as me, bowed out conceding the match and watched him complete the Grand Slam by winning the open and weight class. That was humbling, amazing and motivating all at the same time.

The process was grueling and I loved it.

As I stated before, this years’ preparation for Worlds’ was different. First off, my strength and conditioning coach, Shane Davenport of Exceed Sports Performance and Fitness, created a multi-faceted program for me focused on core and grips strength as well as instituted more dynamic movements (plyometrics, jump rope, sprint workouts, rope climbing and battle ropes) in conjunction with the Olympic lifts to keep me lean and avoid the heavy legs from a weight cut. Secondly, I did not study as much film because when I would study my matches with Rehan and Satava all night and focus on them and their style so much it would make me lethargic and cautious instead of attacking the pass relentlessly. I would be too defensive. I just told myself that if I was aggressive, the match would be in my spots more often than theirs. Thirdly, I trained Judo with Olympian Nick Delpopolo to solidify the stand up a game and try to steal that quick two off of the middleweights who are now pulling very quickly like the lighter guys.

The most important and influential part of my camp this year for Worlds was that I did not compete for 90 days leading up to the competition, which kept my body fresh and my mind clear. I trained weekdays under the watchful eye of Master Lloyd with DJ Jackson and Roberto Torralbas. On the weekends, I would have lighter sessions at my main school, Crazy 88 BJJ under Master Julius Park, where we covered the mental part of the game. The goal was win the world championship, and we put all of our resources into making it happen.

The process was grueling and I loved it. We would have drilling sessions that would last for 2 plus hours before practice started, and then Mater Lloyd would run us through training sessions that resembled the physicality and intensity of those of the Judo Olympians when Rhadi was still on the scene and Master Lloyd was his training partner. I remember one night after drilling the same movement upward of 300 times, Master Lloyd had me execute my number one take down for well over 45 minutes, 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off, until I was weary and then it was live sparring time with DJ and Roberto with me on bottom.

Only perfect reps counted.

Drilling and micro transitions are like a religion to me now. Master Lloyd told me, “Drill the pass until you can do it in your sleep, then do mental reps in your dreams and when you get to the gym, do more reps.” Only perfect reps counted. This system changed my entire mentality. I prided my self on being a well rounded, can do everything fighter, but Lloyd wanted what I did well razor sharp. Needless to say that for every match I was in the top position at the Worlds, I hit the pass and transition.

The tournament went well for me but was very challenging. I was blocking out that eight round anxiety from the moment I stepped off the plane at LAX. I had six or seven matches that were all tough in route to winning Purple Belt Middleweight Gold. Jonathan Satava from Marcelo Garcia’s school gave a hard match as usual with his foot lock X-guard and in the round of 8 I fought a Brazilian who I had never saw before. He was winning 2-0 with 120 or so seconds left and had me in a choke. I was able to escape the choke, sweep and attain the back mount before finishing with a rear naked choke before time expired. I felt like that was the turning point mentally for me and all I saw was gold. Master Julius always tells us the fable about the guy who is losing on points and locked in a submission, yet perseveres to win, and on that day I was that guy.

“What are you going to do to be great today?”

It felt great to finally hit my tipping point and breakthrough to win a major title. My team was supportive, all three of my coaches were on hand for every match and the cards were just aligned in my favor. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is growing exponentially as a sport all around the world and it feels good for a guy who still maintains a demanding full-time job, as well as works at the academy, to come out on top. That fact really drills home the fact that circumstances should never be an excuse for failure. Circumstances should not even be discussed, just managed and accept. You have to set the bar that is your goals high and keep pulling up. I wake up everyday, look in the mirror and ask myself’ “what are you going to do to be great today?” After years of coming up short, I finally attained my Jiu Jitsu goal.