BJJ Black Belt Brandon Ruiz on Goal Setting for Jiu-Jitsu

Photo courtesy Brandon Ruiz.

by Daniel Mower

Goals have only been marginally successful for me in the past. I always saw them as a list of wishes…nice things to aim for that could possibly happen if I was lucky and didn’t get distracted.

The notion that goals can help you improve your Brazilian jiu-jitsu sounds cool. But goals, like Brazilian jiu-jitsu, work based on principles and techniques. Until you understand the techniques, setting goals is just that…wishful thinking that will end in failure.

Brandon Ruiz is what I would call a “black belt goal setter.” I was introduced to Brandon through my coach, Dave Johnson. Both are BJJ black belts under the Machado flag in Utah. Despite family and work requiring much of his time, Brandon has been a very successful competitor, particularly in no-gi, winning numerous tournaments (most recently at Pancrase and NAGA in 2010). He attributes that success in competition to setting and reaching goals.

The goal-setting techniques Brandon has taught me in the last few months have changed the way I train for the better. I don’t know a single BJJ practitioner (especially a beginner) who doesn’t want to improve at Brazilian jiu-jitsu. And if learning to set goals can speed that process up, who wouldn’t want to at least hear about it?

Thanks to Brandon for the interview and for being willing to share this information.

The FightWorks Podcast: All right, let’s start out by asking you to introduce yourself and talk a little bit about your introduction to Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Brandon Ruiz: My name is Brandon Ruiz and I actually got started in Brazilian jiu-jitsu through wrestling. I wrestled in high school and college. I wrestled in college at Brigham Young University, which unfortunately now no longer has a program.

Mark Schultz was the head coach at that time. He was an Olympic Freestyle Wrestling champion, a two time world champion and a three time NCAA collegiate champion. He had actually fought Rickson Gracie in a challenge match at BYU. After that challenge match he decided that he needed to learn Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

By the time I got to college, he had become a black belt. We actually did a little bit of jiu-jitsu training as cross training. At that time I didn’t like it.

After I finished my wrestling eligibility I went on a mission for my church. I was gone for two years and then after I got back, I had a year left to finish school. I was already done with my eligibility so I decided I would start doing jiu-jitsu just to have something to do. I really liked it!

Then I had a chance to continue wrestling and go to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for Greco-Roman Wrestling. I continued to train in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and grappling while I was out there. I received my black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu in 2008. So, that’s kind of how I got started in a nutshell. It’s been a great journey and I love Brazilian jiu-jitsu; it’s a great martial art.

The FightWorks Podcast: From whom did you receive your black belt?

Brandon Ruiz: I received my black belt from Jeff Kunze. He’s a Rigan Machado Black Belt so we are under the Machado Brazilian jiu-jitsu flag.

The FightWorks Podcast: Excellent. We’re here today to talk about setting goals. My coach has taught me a little bit about how you really define this goal setting process and use it to advance your grappling. Can you talk about where you learned how to set goals and how you came to place value in it? Was this something that came from your wrestling?

Brandon Ruiz: Actually, learning how to set goals came from my parents. My parents train and show horses competitively. That’s their business. That’s how I grew up, being around animals and having responsibility and having to work a lot doing things that were not very fun, like mucking out stalls, building stalls and stables, hauling hay and all that kind of stuff.

I learned a work ethic early on as a kid. Not to say that somebody later on can’t learn work ethic, but I think that my parents ingrained that into us, seeing how hard they worked to make things go. Beyond that, they were really big believers in visualization. You hear it now called “dream boards.” But they would put pictures of what they wanted to achieve on a board and look at it and talk about it and they’d have deadlines for it.

My dad, being a competitor, was able to have a lot of success in training and showing horses because of that – because he was so goal oriented and because he was able to really look at what he wanted to achieve and focus on it. He was able to win two world championships in that arena of training and showing horses. That really helped a lot just being able to see someone else do it and be able to understand the importance of goals and be able to understand the need to have those.

The FightWorks Podcast: Can you give some examples of goals you’ve set and achieved using your system?

Brandon Ruiz: There are several: winning All-American and Pan American Honors in Greco-Roman wrestling; winning two Pancrase World Submission Grappling Titles; winning NAGA; making two FILA Grappling U.S. World Teams and being part of winning two World Team Titles; and winning multiple national titles in grappling. Not to mention things in day to day life as well.

The FightWorks Podcast: So then, are your strategies geared more toward competitors or does goal setting have a lot to offer people who don’t plan on competing?

Brandon Ruiz: My system will work for both.

The FightWorks Podcast: What if someone comes to you and wants to get good at Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but they don’t have four hours a day to spend training at the gym. Maybe they have a family; maybe they have a lot of work obligations. How can setting goals help this person to advance to the level where they want to be?

Brandon Ruiz: Well, I think first you’ve got to assess the level that you want to be at. Are you going to be competitive at tournaments or compete just for fun at tournaments? Do you just want to be a recreational grappler or learn defense and stay in shape? Those things factor in. I think the guys that have more determined and focused goals, and a focused route to get there will be more competitive and successful. The things that I show…are very applicable in that situation and you can get very good, very fast by being specific.

Often when you go to a typical jiu-jitsu gym, you go over a lot of technique. It seems like very rarely do you get to really focus and hone in on one technique. A lot of that has to do with the instructor having to cater to multiple people and multiple interests, so he has to show new things just to keep the students going.

But someone that is more serious is going to need to train differently than that. That’s the trick of it; understanding how to take the training environment they have and adapt it to their benefit. I show people how to make those adaptations and make those things more beneficial to them and their specific desires.

As far as being competitive with another grappler that has a lot more time to train, it’s going to be a little bit trickier to do. If they’re doing the same kind of things you are as far as setting goals and being specific in their training…adapting and working through things, obviously the guy that’s putting in 10 hours a week versus a guy that’s only putting 3 or 4 hours a week, he’s obviously going to be a higher level than the 3 or 4-hour guy.

But you’ve got to remember that this is a skill-based sport so you can still be a 10-hour guy, and he’s competing in the purple belt division, and the 3-hour guy is only going to be competing in the blue belt division. There’s nothing wrong with that, and more often than not, with the belt ranks and the age divisions, you’re going to have opportunities to compete with somebody that’s more of your same type of life situation, especially when you get into the 30+ divisions.

In the 30+ divisions most of those people have families, jobs and responsibilities that don’t allow them to train like some of the younger guys.

The FightWorks Podcast: You have talked a lot about specificity in your training. Can we dive deeper into that? What exactly do you mean when you say specificity?

Brandon Ruiz: Okay, what I mean by that is if you’ll notice the best guys in the world are the best guys in the world because they have certain things that they can always go back to that they own. What I mean by that is that they own a certain technique from certain positions. Everybody knows that Roger Gracie has the mount and he’s going to go for the basic jiu-jitsu collar choke. Yet nobody can stop it. You know its coming but you’re still screwed. Everyone needs to develop their best techniques and that’s what I help people develop with my system.

It’s developing those world-class techniques where you know that you’re the best and you can hit it on anybody. You don’t have to worry about scrambling and trying to pull something out of the bag and randomly picking a technique.

I always laugh when I see local fighters, and even some UFC fighters get asked, “What’s your game plan? How are you going to beat this guy?” Most of the better guys will say, “I have a specific game plan and I know what I need to do and I’m going to follow my game plan.” But then you get some other guys that say; “I’m willing to take the fight wherever he wants to take it.”

That to me says, okay, you may be conditioned, you may have some skills, but you’re going to lose because the other guy has a plan. He knows exactly where he needs to be, he has a home base and he has check points. He has places during his fight or jiu-jitsu match that he’s going to be able to get back to. He’s going to out-compete you because those are his best places and you’re still trying to go off of what he’s dictating.

Those things are what I’m trying to teach people with building their goals and their approach to training.

The FightWorks Podcast: Can you talk about some of your goal-based training techniques?

Brandon Ruiz: I have specific monthly technique goals and those technique goals do not stray. For example, say you’re having a problem from getting out from the mount. That means in your free drilling time you’re going to really hammer that. You’re going to have guys mount you and you’re going to work on this until you’re blue in the face. You’re going to do the drills without any resistance and then you’re going to do the same thing with resistance.

When I train my guys, we do a lot of what’s called “situational drilling.” For example, we do a lot of single leg takedown situations because it’s one that is so common. One guy will take the single leg and he starts with that advantage. The guy that’s doing the single leg can only try to finish the single leg.

We’ll go for a minute and during that minute, if you get the takedown, you just hop right back up and you get the single leg position again and then you start yourselves from there; and if you’re able to defend it, great, same thing. You go back and you start all over again.

This is how you get more what I like to call resistance repetitions where you actually have a full live resisting partner that you can really try to get good at finishing. This is something that we did in Collegiate Wrestling and at the Olympic Training Center, and we did it a lot! It wasn’t like we just did it a couple of times in the workout and that was it.

A lot of times we did our basic drills, got warmed up, stretched and then went right into situational sparring. The possibilities with this type of training are endless. This is how you get better faster.

The way to develop world class technique is by spending anywhere from 3 to 6 months on a specific technique and really hammer it until you have confidence and can hit it on anybody.

That is how you take something that you learned from your instructor and say; “I really like this sweep. I want to get so good that I can hit it on everybody.” And what’s going to happen is you’re going to be able to hit that sweep…but you’re also going to be able to hit all the variations of that sweep. You’re going to be able to understand all the problems leading into that sweep; all of the problems leading out of that sweep and all the different set ups. You’re going to get such a better grasp of the technical side of things so much faster it’s going to give you confidence and it’s going to help your game a ton. So that’s were the specificity comes in.

The FightWorks Podcast: Usually, the way a class format works is people come in and they warm up. The instructor shows a few techniques and then some sort of drilling and/or sparring. So, are you saying that you pick a technique that you want to work on and use only that technique when you’re drilling? Because it seems like there are always new techniques coming at you all the time. How do you keep track of it all?

Brandon Ruiz: That’s a great question and I’m glad you mentioned that. There are so many techniques coming at you all the time and that’s why it’s so hard to get good fast.

Again, it goes back to what we talked about earlier. You’re instructor is trying to show you what he thinks you need to learn so he’s giving you, generally speaking, a broad view.

First off, if you’re going to be successful, and you really want to get better, you need to have a good relationship with your instructor. You have to be able to communicate with them and express your desires and goals and find a way to incorporate these things into your training. Otherwise, it’s going to be very difficult.
I’m not saying you’re going to try to restructure how your instructor does things. But you may ask; “Is it okay if as part of the warm-up rather than run around in circles could I do a few extra drills to help me get better?” Work on them in the time available in class for your free sparring or any kind of free drilling. Most guys don’t take advantage of that time.

You need to take advantage of any free time you’re given in a workout to do things on your own. If you’ve already got your shortlist of techniques that you need to work on, work on those. Be very specific every time you’re at the gym.

A lot of guys won’t take advantage of that extra time. They’ll just start messing around or talk about the cute girl or the latest UFC. That doesn’t really get you anywhere. I mean – that’s great if you’re just going to be a social-recreational kind of guy. But if you’re motivated and want to get better you’ve got to take advantage of all the time you have.

Another thing that helps a lot is doing basic callisthenic drills that are related to the techniques at home. And actually, we’ll be going through that as well on my website We have some videos and articles showing that. It will help you get better at related technique drills.

If you want to get good, you’ve got to realize that there’s going to be some things that you’re going to have to do differently and sacrifice and not necessarily follow what everybody else in class is doing.

The FightWorks Podcast: Then it all comes back to your goals.

Brandon Ruiz: Exactly… You’ve got to know exactly what you want. Know exactly what results you’re getting … then you’ve got to change what you’re doing until you get what you want.

Even with weight lifting, you know you should be recording the weights that you lifted. Everybody talks about getting stronger in weight lifting and how you should add more weight. How can you add more weight if you don’t know how much weight you did the last time? Or how are you going to do more reps if you don’t know how much you did last time?

The same is true for jiu-jitsu, grappling, whatever competition you’re doing or even just whatever you’re doing in life. Knowing what you want is something I think really makes a huge difference. Having a goal, that’s how you get more specific, that’s how you start being able to adapt and develop to reach that goal.

The FightWorks Podcast: How is goal setting related to managing your time? Does achieving goals require effective time management skills?

Brandon Ruiz: It gives your time a new focus. It gives you something to be accountable to and increases productivity in your workouts. If you don’t have a grasp on time management then reaching goals gets harder. As you set smaller goals and reach them you will notice your time management getting better as well. Life can be a busy thing if you let it. You’ve got to simplify and know what it is that you want most and focus your time and efforts to reaching that end.

The FightWorks Podcast: You talk about keeping track of things and that’s something that makes a lot of sense. That’s a really good analogy about weight lifting. But can you give examples of how that applies to Brazilian jiu-jitsu specifically? Like say, someone working on hitting a scissor sweep. How do you analyze that?

Brandon Ruiz: Oh that’s a great example. So say for example you want to get good at the scissor sweep. First off, I would say “okay, how many times am I going to drill it? How much time will I dedicate in my drilling to the scissor sweep? So I say; “Well, this workout I’m going to dedicate 20 repetitions to the Scissor sweep”. Then when you get to your live sparring, work on the Scissor sweep, it makes no sense to be working from top or trying to work on Takedowns at that time.

Be very specific when you’re sparring, you say; “Okay, I’m going to be on the bottom the whole time, and the only thing that I’m allowed to do is set ups and attacks that will get me to the scissor sweep.” If I’m trying the omoplata, that’s not a scissor sweep. If I’m going to try a triangle, that’s not a scissor sweep. You need to understand that you will want to look at things that are going to be more applicable to you specific technique.

Maybe, you try a kimura, where you’re sitting up and trying to control the arm and then hip over; that would be applicable to the scissor sweep. Maybe you’re trying your basic arm bar and then switching off to something that’s going to lead to the scissor sweep. Do things that are going to be more relatable to the actual technique itself.

When you do get that specific, you’re going to learn everything that leads in and leads out of that one spot, and that is so powerful. I can’t tell you how powerful that was for me.

I learned that concept out at the Olympic Center. When I got there, I really didn’t have a lot of offense in terms of being able to turn people. In Greco-Roman Wrestling, your goal is to try to expose your opponent’s shoulders to the mat, most of the time, that’s done through a gut wrench technique.

Well, I just wasn’t getting the gut wrench back. Before, I had a pretty decent gut wrench, but once I got there it just wasn’t clicking so I switched. I decided to switch off to a front headlock and turn people from there. I used the exact same system that I’m talking about now.

I stuck on it for 6 months and I said; “I’m sticking with it for 6 months and not do any other turns except the front headlock” and I did that. In the beginning it was great. I was turning everybody for the first couple of weeks. After that they were shutting me down and I wasn’t getting it.

It probably took another two or three weeks before I started getting any front headlock turns again because it took me that amount of time to adapt. I got to the point where everybody knew I had a front headlock, and they knew that’s all I was going to go for. But, there became fewer and fewer people that could stop it at that point. When I had competitions, that was my main turn and I knew that I had a very good chance of getting points out of that position.

So that also applies to jiu-jitsu. Going back to the scissor sweep example; if you’ll focus on that one scissor sweep, you’re going to find all the different variations of the scissor sweep. You’re going to find all the different variations of submissions that are going to help you sweep…or even that the scissor sweep leads you to submissions.

It can get a little boring sometimes and there is always that fear of, “I’m only working on this one thing, I’m going to stagnate”. You’ve got to have faith and realize that by being good in that one area, you’re going to start learning other areas that it spills over into. That is really the power of it.

The way that I have set up to do this is you’re not just training only one position. You’ll be training something from the takedown, something from the top position and something from the bottom position. You’ll need to have your Takedown or defense. You’ll need to have your top attack or defense, and you’ll have your bottom attack or defense. You’ll have one thing from each area and you’re going to work on it for three to six months.

That’s how you’re going to get better faster because you’ll have things that are your own. You can also make variations of that. Three to six months is the time frame to develop something that’s going to be at least national level and working towards being world class. You’ll be able to hit that move on guys that are really, really good.

If you want something that you’re just going to be kind of good at or more familiar with; take three weeks, take a month, take six weeks. Make a shorter time period and you’ll get good at those things as well. You probably won’t be hitting it on everybody but you’ll at least understand all the ins and outs of that one technique.

Photo courtesy Brandon Ruiz.

The FightWorks Podcast: Do you actually keep track of numbers with that? Do you say, “Today I hit three scissor sweeps on this training partner and hit no scissor sweeps on this training partner?”

Brandon Ruiz: Yeah, exactly. I have developed forms that will help you record that. Anything that you record you’re going to be able to improve that much faster because you’re seeing the results.

So let’s say Bob and Bill are the two guys at the training hall. Today I got Bob with three scissor sweeps, and against Bill I only got one. Why did I get Bob and why didn’t I get Bill more? You can ask those kinds of questions. Ask your training partners too. Why did they hit you with this? Why didn’t he hit you with this? Get all the information you can and it’s going to make you get better.

You know, this might seem a little bit extreme but I don’t see anything wrong with being extreme and achieving the things that you want out of life whether it’s jiu-jitsu or whether it’s something else.

You’re going to be so much better, so much faster, and honestly, it doesn’t take that much more work to do this than it does not to do this. But if you do this, you’re going to be so much better so much faster.

If your goal is to win competitions, you’ll be winning competitions. You’ll be having the success that you want because of it. You’ll be able to help other people get better because you understand how to get good and how to develop yourself.

Even if you just keep a mental note for the day that’s a place to start. But if you’re going home and you’re filling out the forms and you’re keeping track of results you’re going to be able to progress over time just like a weight lifter would who tracks his sets, reps and weights that he’s using. It’s going to help you improve that much faster.

The FightWorks Podcast: There are a lot of things when you set a goal that you can’t control. So, I guess there’s two questions involved in this. First, is it okay to set goals for things that you can’t necessarily control like; I might say I want to win the Pan Ams but there might be some guy there that’s just flat out better than me and takes the medal. So, is it still okay that I set that goal? Second, how do you deal with it if you don’t reach your goal? How do you stay in the game and not get depressed or shut down? Some people hate goals for that reason. They feel like they never reach their goal. Those are the couple of things for you to talk about.

Brandon Ruiz: Sure. It’s funny because the more I examine my life, I really feel like I have been prepared to be able to share these things.

Just to give you an example story, when I was in high school, I didn’t start wrestling until I was 15 years old. That’s my sophomore year. So I started late compared to most guys. But I was able to make progress relatively fast.

As a junior, I broke my hand in the first part of the season but then I was able to come back in the last half and end up placing 5th at the State Tournament. As a senior, I really worked hard that summer. I set a goal to be a state champion. I had all these other things going for me and I was really excited. Actually throughout my senior year I was undefeated up until the region tournament, which qualified you for state.

I lost in the region finals and it really shook me up. I hate to say it but I kind of let it destroy me because my goal was to be undefeated and to be the State Champion. Then I got to the State Tournament and then I lost the semi-final match, but I still ended up coming through for 3rd.

I think I ended up being 33 and 2, and with that record even losing those tournaments I still had the best record out of anybody in the State. I still had beaten everybody in the State multiple times and they had only beaten me once. But the problem was that I lost at the wrong time.

That really shook me up and I was depressed for quite a while. It really messed with me. As I developed more as an athlete, I started to see that I had to let it go and use it to motivate me and help me move on.

I don’t think I was able to fully understand how to let go of not achieving something until I went through the Worthy to Win Program and really understood that I am not my results as a competitor.

That is such a hard thing to do because you work so hard, you put so much of yourself into it. You may win, you may lose and you may even get injured. Some of those things, you just can’t control.
I’ve been injured in tournaments before. I’ve got beaten in tournaments before, but I’ve also won tournaments before. You have to realize that when you’re out there competing that you have got to love the competition. Love the test, and love being able to go out there and taking a group of skills and things that you’ve worked on and take all that development you’ve made and being able to test it against somebody else who’s done the exact same thing. That’s really where the biggest joy comes from.

That being said, if you’re just focusing on the goal to win the medal; (and I’m guilty of that just as much as the next guy from time to time) you won’t enjoy it. I’ve really tried to gear my mental game more towards making improvements and testing them against good competition and the best competition and see where I stand. I think that’s really how as a competitor you gauge your progress.

These things are applicable in daily life too. Maybe you’re trying to get a certain job that you really want, or maybe there’s a certain girl that you want to date and it’s just doesn’t work out. You know, that’s not necessarily your fault. You know, everybody has their own freedom of choice to hire you, or even date you. Maybe it’s just not the right timing.

With my high school wrestling example, I didn’t have another opportunity to try to win the State Championships. But with most things in life, especially in grappling and jiu-jitsu, there is always going to be another opportunity. There’s always going to be another tournament. If you don’t succeed the first time, try again. Take everything that you’ve developed and learned and try again. How long are you willing to sacrifice and suffer in order to reach your goals?

Here’s another example that’s really close to home. My brother, Justin Ruiz, he’s been the no. 1 guy in the country in Greco-Roman Wrestling for a long time. He was the no. 1 guy leading up to the 2004 Olympic Trials and he missed it by 1 point.

He was the no. 1 guy leading up until 2008 Olympic Trials. He’d been on the U.S. World team multiple times and won a world bronze medal in 2005. He was on the 2007 U.S. team, the first U.S. team to ever win the Greco Roman World Championships.

And again, he lost at the 2008 Olympic Trials. That cost him the chance to go to the Olympics. Since then he’s developed and grown and he says; “Hey you know what, I’m not going to stop there; I’m going to go for another time around!”

Hopefully, he’ll make it in 2012! But the point there is, understanding what it means to you, what you’re willing to go through to reach your goal. It may take a few tries, you may not place the 1st time you go to Pan-Ams, you may win the medal the first time. I don’t know.

But you can’t necessarily say that the process didn’t work and you can’t necessarily say that your process wasn’t worth the time. It’s all done in hopes that you’re going to develop to become a certain level of grappler. It’s all going to be in developing you as a person, as a competitor, as a practitioner.

Sometimes when I didn’t reach my immediate goal later on I found out that I became a much better grappler than the guy that won because I kept going. I learned from those situations and I learned to continue to build and progress.

When you don’t achieve a goal it is hard to let go. For me it was something that really didn’t make sense until I went through the Worthy to Win Program and really understood that I am not my performance.

It’s great to win, and it’s great to be a champion but if that’s all you attach your value to then you’re going to have a really hard time keeping interested in the sport when you have a setback.

The FightWorks Podcast: So you’re saying that it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set lofty goals for yourself in fear that you might fail?

Brandon Ruiz: Yeah, exactly. You’ve got to set high goals and I think you’ve also got to set goals that are realistic.

When I was at the Olympic Center, I had high goals of winning the National Championships and hopefully going to Olympic Trials and making some teams and all that kind of stuff.

But I started to realize that I had certain inherent disadvantages that were not allowing me to train the same way as everybody else was. I had a wife and other responsibilities that I had to do. I had a hard time financially in getting overseas to compete and train.

Even now as I’m a more mature athlete I have a job, a wife and three kids. I have to balance my time and understand that I may not be able to get to every tournament that I would like to go to or that I could have gone to five or six years ago without kids.

You have to adapt your goals and you have to adapt your training for that. It’s not impossible, it’s just difficult and you have to get more creative. But you should always have something that’s lofty, that’s going to push you and that will drive you.

One thing that I work through with this program is that I help people develop a long-term game plan and a short-term game plan. I actually go so far as to say; “Hey let’s figure out what you want to do for the next 20 years.”

I actually have you go through a 20-year plan of things that you would like to do, things that you would like to accomplish, things that you would like to know and more of the person that I would like to become. Travel goals and places that you would like to see.

These aren’t necessarily all just jiu-jitsu. These are life goals too. You have to be able to look at your life as a whole beyond being a competitor and ask: “Where does all the competition fit in? Is it a fair assessment on my part to say, is this something that I’m going to be able to put my efforts to?”

You may have a situation where you only have three hours to train in a week. You may only have the time in your BJJ class. Maybe you have a situation where you have to be a caregiver for someone with a disability or something like that. All those things factor in.

A lot of results driven goals or tournament driven goals are great but you’ve got to ask; “Who do I want to be at the end of the day? Who have I become? What are the things that I was able to experience?”

So much of our life is having the experience. Saying that all you want to do is go to the tournament and win the tournament you’re going to miss out on the camaraderie and the people that go there with you. You’re going to miss out on the whole atmosphere and environment if you don’t stop to take these things in, you’re going to have an experience that’s not as rich as it could be.

So, just keep those things in mind when you do set your goals. What is the end experience that I want to get out of this? Is it just winning a medal? Because if that’s what you’re doing, you can just buy a medal online. If you want a shiny trophy belt to look at – that’s an easy way to do it. If you just want to be a ‘black belt’ you can just buy one and say; “Sweet I have a black belt!” and hang it on your wall. If what you want is just having a conversation piece.

But if you really want to go through all those experiences that are related with achieving that thing then go for it! It’s like climbing the mountain. Do you really want to go through all the cold toes and all the rocky slopes, all those kinds of things? Do you want to be able to be a part of that experience and say that you were able to go through that and know that it helped shape your life? That’s really what it boils down to when you’re setting goals.

The FightWorks Podcast: For someone interested in learning from you or taking advantage of you consultation services, how can they do that?

Brandon Ruiz: Right now, I’m working on my website at There I am doing all of the things that we’ve been talking about in the interview and helping people develop their game through my email training, articles, videos and consulting services.

Come to my website. Join my email list. You can also contact me directly through the website.

I’m currently teaching at the Kingdom Klub Gym, in Woods Cross, Utah. I also teach by invitation only at a location in downtown Salt Lake City. I also have some involvement with the website with Jake Shannon and we’re going to be doing some projects with him as well.

I’d love to be able to work with you and get to know you. I’m not going to take on everybody. I want you to go through some questionnaires and an application to keep the number of clients manageable so that it’s a good experience for you and me.

I would like to keep the one-on-one consulting fairly exclusive. I want people who are serious, that have high goals and want serious help in reaching their goals.

The FightWorks Podcast: Thanks for taking the time this interview, Brandon.

Brandon Ruiz: No problem, anytime!

Daniel Mower is a three-stripe white belt under Dave Johnson and is currently training at Lehi Judo Club in Lehi, Utah. Daniel writes about Brazilian jiu-jitsu at his blog, Arcanum, which you can find at

– Caleb

One Reply to “BJJ Black Belt Brandon Ruiz on Goal Setting for Jiu-Jitsu”

  1. WOOOOOWWWWW!!!! that was exactly what I have been searching for the last few days , time management and reaching goals , not only in jiujitsu but in other areas . Thank you so much for this interview guys !

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