“Basically, they have to accept that they need to learn something that guys have been doing from white belt, and at times the white belt does it better than them.”
10th Planet black belt Rick Marshall recently relocated to teach the unique art of BJJ at Evolve MMA in Singapore. The Jiu-jitsu Times caught up with Rick to talk about his background, the characteristics of 10th Planet, and teaching BJJ on the other side of the planet.
Here is what he had to say.
Jiu-Jitsu Times: Rick, you come from a really varied background of skateboarding, break dancing, traditional martial arts and,..of all things a Computer Science degree. How have these various and disparate influences come together to form who you are today?
Rick Marshall: I’ve always been an information seeker from the start. I always wanted to know why something works, not just the how. Like in my math classes, it wasn’t enough for me to have the formula or a mathematical equation. I wanted to see the proof, the theorem, that made the formula valid. When I understood that, there was not much you could introduce in a new problem, that would throw my understanding of that subject off.
That was and is with everything in life. From graffiti, to art, to break dancing, I wanted to understand the base case, then grow from that. In chess, you understand what the pieces do first and foremost. It’s pretty simple to understand that. But then you start playing with openings, finishes, strategies and gambits, and you hope to have had experienced it all before, but when something catches you off guard, you’re like “WTF?! What did you just do? How many moves back did you start that attack from?!”
And you’re blown away, because you think you’ve seen it all.
Jiu-Jitsu Times: Have any of your other experiences influenced how you learned and now teach jiu-jitsu?
Rick Marshall: Yes, I’ve taken the attention to detail from all my math, science, software, and applied it to everything I do in jiu jitsu. Early on, I came up with a formula for what I feel a white belt on through to black belt should have in terms of rolling. 1000, 3000, 5000, 8000-10000 5-minute rounds (however you slice it) to be a blue, purple, brown, and black belt, respectively. Note, these are legit 5-minute rounds, not laying-on-the-mat rounds. Be true to yourself, and always roll upward where possible.
Anyway, how I teach jiu jitsu…yes, I make sure everyone understands the base case. If you’re quick to [show] someone the latest flashy “15-minutes-of-fame” technique, they are going to want to keep doing that and forget about learning how to pass guard and take someone’s back. Learn the base, learn positioning, and add in all the goods when they’re ready. It looks so much cleaner.
Jiu-jitsu Times: 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu is known for some signature moves – the Rubber Guard and Truck, for instance – and its creative names for the moves. What do you say when someone asks you, “What is the difference between the 10th Planet style of jiu-jitsu and the BJJ taught in the gi in most academies?”
Rick Marshall: The 10p style is very similar to BJJ in the gi. A huge difference is one is using the grips and is a slower-paced game, while the other focuses on clinching, overhooking, and speed. Eddie specifically created 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu to help MMA fighters, as they fight without the gi.
Another big difference I see is that 10th Planet looks to everyone for inspiration. Every system has something to offer and improve to our system.
Jiu-Jitsu Times: When advanced belts from a more traditional BJJ school comes to your class, what is the biggest difference that they experience? What adaptations do the experienced purple or brown belts from a predominantly gi background have to make when they train the 10th Planet style?
Rick Marshall: The traditional BJJ guys have a hard time with the leg locks. How to counter them, how to apply them on someone. They also have a hard time transitioning to rubber guard. Some guys are open-minded and want to learn how to use it, while others are so embarrassed they don’t know it at their high level that they never put the cycles in to master it.
The others that master it just have that many more options to attack and defend. You won’t die if you don’t know it, but you’ll be better off for having learned it.
Basically, they have to accept that they need to learn something that guys have been doing from white belt, and at times the white belt does it better than them. But they must look at the bigger picture. Jiu-jitsu is a journey, and along the way you’ll have to learn and relearn. It’s about becoming the most complete person you can be, regardless of when you start.
Jiu-Jitsu Times: Tell us how the opportunity came up for you to move to Singapore and teach 10th Planet BJJ on the other side of the planet from where you grew up? What is good about living in Singapore?
Rick Marshall: I got a call from Eddie Bravo, and I passed on an opportunity a few years back. So when an opportunity came up, I had to accept because opportunities aren’t
always going to be readily available overseas.
Jiu-Jitsu Times: Did you ever believe when you were a teenager growing up skateboarding in So Cal that you would one day be living and teaching in Singapore?
Rick Marshall: Absolutely not. A month before I came to Singapore, I never thought I’d be teaching out of country… heck, out of state for that matter!
Jiu-Jitsu Times: What is good about living in Singapore?
Rick Marshall: Singapore is thriving. Lots of good people. The food is awesome. It’s close to many countries on my bucket list to visit.
Jiu-Jitsu Times: What is your personal jiu-jitsu game. What are your best positions, sweeps, and submissions? How did you adapt jiu-jitsu to your personal attributes, strengths, and weaknesses?
Rick Marshall: My personal jiu-jitsu game is hard to explain. I am proficient at everything. I think if I can describe my game, it would be a 10th Planet-ey, Gokor-ey, Mendes Brother’s style of jiu-jitsu. Mix in some Marcelo Garcia, and that’s pretty much me. In rolling with everyone, big to small, heavy to light, I got to adapt my jiu-jitsu game. I understand what works for bigs versus smalls, and everything in between.
Jiu-Jitsu Times: What do you try to impart to your students about training, learning, and making jiu-jitsu a part of their lives?
Rick Marshall: I try to let the students know that jiu-jitsu is a part of life; it’s not a race. Where they excel at, they will probably like more than others. That’s just life. I always educate them on the “10 pillars for jiu-jitsu.” Following that, they’ll always be moving in the right direction.
Jiu-Jitsu Times: Lastly, do you want to shout out to any training partners, friends, teachers or sponsors?
Rick Marshall: I want to shout out everyone I’ve ever trained with. That’s a long list. But a short list will be: Evolve MMA family in Singapore, Hayastan MMA North Hollywood family, BJ Penn family and friends, Carlson Gracie Temecula family, Jokers Wild Fighting Academy (Lake Forest), Freestyle Submission Academy(SF), and the 10th Planet Headquarters family as well as all the 10th Planet academies I’ve trained with.
Twitter : @slickrickdaroller