[buzzsprout episode='151778' player='true'] Nic

Raf’s Recollection | Nic Gregoriades is a saint.

Of course, he he’d never say that about himself, but when you put up with Open Mat Radio’s Paul Moran (my BJJ podcast nemesis) on a regular basis and somehow find a way of maintaining that kind of zen-like clarity, you deserve all the accolades that come your way.

Such adulation is nothing new to a guy who famously became Roger Gracie’s first black belt in a four year time span, but Nic’s more than just a dude who happens to be pretty slick at jiu-jitsu.  Nic is a ambassador of the sport who travels across the globe helping others become better at the craft—all while finding his own spiritual enlightenment along the way.

Nic just finished writing a new book entitled The Black Belt Blue Print.  A couple months back, I got the opportunity read an advance copy of the book and was truly impressed by the way Nic encapsulates the jiu-jitsu process.  Here is a guy who not only knows how to provide advice to help the physical aspects of your game (offering tips on how to improve your cardio, describing some cool techniques, and even tips on setting realistic goals), but who also provides fantastic insight on how to get the most out of the mental and philosophical aspects of the sport.

Black Belt Blue PrintMore than anyone I’ve encountered in my short time as a BJJ practitioner, I found Nic’s focus on the philosophy of jiu-jitsu to be the most fascinating.  The book does a great job of describing how the practice of jiu-jitsu is more than just sweeps, drilling, and technique, there’s a journey that happens alongside the practice that is worthy of exploration—and Nic is very forthcoming about many aspects of his own personal journey.

On our podcast, we got the chance to ask Nic how the book came into existence, what it was like to train under Roger Gracie, and even get a supremely candid discussion on training partners who sometimes take sparring a little too far (it’s one of my favorite parts of the interview, and I think it’s well worth your time).

When Nic asked me to provide to a blurb review of the book, I felt pretty intimidated.  Plenty of other notable folks in the community (with credentials and talent that far exceed my own) have already said fantastic things about The Black Belt Blue Print.  But what I can tell you is this: The book doesn’t give playbook to become a black belt.  Instead, it gives a map filled with suggested routes and guidance that makes the impossible seem ultimately attainable.

As luck would have it, Nic made his way out to Los Angeles shortly after we recorded this episode.  I actually just got done meeting with him this afternoon (an accomplishment, considering that my BJJ podcast nemesis, Paul Moran, has yet to meet his very own Journey Podcast co-host in person) and was glad to share a few laughs and exchange some BJJ insight.

Me N Nick

And I can affirm, the funny, easy going, and quotable dude you hear on this week’s podcast is every bit of the guy you meet in person.  Hell, Nic even let out a huge laugh when I told him there may be an impression of his trademark accent on an upcoming episode of Open Mat Radio performed by yours truly.

Which is why I want this article to serve as the last living will and testament should he decide to kill me when he drops by to train with us sometime later next week.

I'll definitely be sure to tell you all about that experience sometime next week.  Until then, be sure to check out The Black Belt Blue Print right here.

Over/Under Kevin: UFC 170 Edition


It wouldn't be a major UFC PPV without a game of Over/Under Kevin.  Although this time we decided to bring in a big gun.  That's right, we brought back the man, Bubba McDaniel.  The two of them do battle making their picks over who will win UFC 170 and make a bet that's so odd,

I'm not sure who I actually want to win.

Allow me to apologize now if the audio during Bubba's segment cuts in and out a lot.

This was the biggest audio problem we've encountered on the podcast yet.  But Bubba powered through all of our technical difficulties and gave us a truly entertaining segment.  That's how you know this guy is family on our podcast.

Also, props to Kevin.  He did a fantastic montage of the struggle that was trying to get that segment together.  I'm now far enough removed from the episode that I can laugh at it.

My Girlfriend is Awesome

When my girlfriend handed me a gift box with this ridiculously amazing Datsusara MMA gear bag, she won Valentine's Day.

I had no clue I was getting this (let alone a Valentine's Day gift), but man was this the best gift I could have possibly asked for.


I've been using this bag for a little over a week and it's absolutely amazing.  I can fit two (maybe even three) gi's in there.  I have a compartment for my laptop.  I have plenty of compartments for all my training accessories (several compartments for tape).  AND it even comes with a detachable bag to separate clean and dirty clothes.

This is miles above my last training bag and I hope all of you who like this will go give our friends at Datsusara some love.  It's amazing and they've got some really cool other products that are worth a view.

Where Should I Train?

As many of you know, I am now well into my first days of my indefinite hiatus from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  Which now means I have the rare opportunity to go train at new places in my downtime.

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 12.51.45 AMSince I don't know how long my hiatus is going to last, I am turning to all of you in the greater Los Angeles area to throw as many places I should go train at me.  Simply hit me up at @VerbalTapCast on our Twitter page with your suggested academy, gym or dojo and hashtag #TrainHereRaf.  I'm gonna try to do as many as I possibly can!

Who knows, maybe you can tap me out on a mat near you very soon.

All I got for now, talk to you later, folks.