(Photo courtesy of Kinya Hashimoto via MMAFighting)
[Ed. note: This is the third in a series of interviews with the fighters and promoters behind Metamoris II: Gracie vs. Aoki, which goes down June 9th in Los Angeles. Stay tuned for more, and follow Metamoris on Facebook and Twitter for important event updates. You can purchase tickets right here.]
By Elias Cepeda
Ryan Hall burst onto the public submission grappling scene much faster than most. As a young blue and purple belt, Hall was thrust into the public eye by a former coach when he starred in for-sale instructional videos, espousing him as already an expert. In competition, which Hall took part in with feverish frequency, the Jiu Jitsu player often used complicated-looking inverted, upside-down techniques.
To be honest, it was difficult for this writer to warm up to Hall as a spectator due to all this. Sure, he was good, real good. But, what is this kid doing selling instructional videos in a world filled with black belt legends trying to make a living? What was all this spinning, upside-down crap he did? Surely he was a BJJ practitioner of the least compelling variety — the ones who focus on parlor trick positions and techniques that would get you in a whole lot of trouble in a real fight.
Of course, Ryan Hall the person and Jiu Jitsu practitioner deserved a more thoughtful look than my initial and judgmental cursory one. Hall separated himself from that former instructor, opened up his own academy, 50/50 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and began to add major international titles to his resume.
Around the time he medaled at the 2009 ADCC (the Olympics of submission wrestling), it became crystal clear even to the most closed-minded, like myself, that Hall was the real deal. He wasn’t some kid winning regional tournaments with inverted triangle chokes, anymore. The techniques Hall used to win world titles were far from gimmicks and interviews showed him to be thoughtful, bright and humble.
“For better or for worse I was put out there in public when I was younger, a lower belt,” Hall tells CagePotato on a recent Saturday afternoon.