Who Is John Danaher: The Master Of BJJ | BJJ Mat Warriors
John Danaher in person bjj

Who is John Danaher: The Master of BJJ

John Danaher, a name synonymous with the gentle art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), stands as a colossus in the realm of grappling and mixed martial arts. His odyssey from the rugged terrains of New Zealand to the bustling mats of New York City narrates a tale of persistence, innovation, and mastery. Underneath the calm demeanor and the iconic rash guard, lies a mind that has significantly altered the paradigms of BJJ. This journey of John Danaher not only illustrates his individual genius but also echoes the boundless potentials inherent within BJJ.

Early Life and Education of John Danaher

John Danaher’s voyage into the world of martial arts was neither predestined nor ordinary. Born in Washington D.C., yet raised in Whangaparaoa, New Zealand, young Danaher was initially drawn towards the academic world. He ventured into the realms of philosophy and obtained a Master’s degree from Columbia University. However, fate had different plans. The whims of destiny nudged him towards the art of BJJ, an encounter that would eventually redefine his life and the very fabric of the martial art.

John Danaher knife obsession

Embrace of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The serendipitous event of John Danaher stepping into the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City marked the beginning of an era. Under the tutelage of Renzo Gracie, John Danaher immersed himself in the profound depths of BJJ. His voracious appetite for knowledge and relentless drive propelled him through the ranks, earning him a black belt in a commendable span. His philosophical background furnished him with a unique lens to dissect the mechanics and intricacies of BJJ, gradually morphing him into a maestro of the art.

The Danaher Death Squad and Legacy

John Danaher’s ingenuity didn’t stop at personal mastery; he was destined to leave an indelible mark. The formation of the Danaher Death Squad, a cohort of elite grapplers, epitomized his innovative approach to BJJ. Under John Danaher’s mentorship, this squadron excelled in numerous competitions, etching their name and the Danaher legacy in the annals of BJJ history. His analytical approach, coupled with a relentless pursuit of excellence, fostered a culture of innovation, continually pushing the boundaries of what’s conceivable on the mat.

John Danaher’s Teaching Philosophy

The pedagogical ethos of John Danaher transcends the conventional. His teaching is deeply rooted in the understanding of mechanics, leverage, and the fluidity of movement. The precise articulation of techniques, backed by a robust conceptual framework, enables his disciples to delve into the essence of BJJ, fostering a conducive environment for learning and innovation.

The Continual Quest for Knowledge

John Danaher’s journey is a testimony to his insatiable curiosity and perpetual learner’s ethos. His continual exploration of the myriad facets of BJJ has contributed immensely to the evolution of the art. Every session on the mat is a philosophical inquiry, a mechanical puzzle awaiting resolution, keeping the flames of innovation perpetually ablaze.

John Danaher and New Wave Jiu-Jitsu

In a realm that thrives on evolution, John Danaher’s journey did not halt at the formation of the Danaher Death Squad. An exciting chapter unfolded when John, alongside his prodigious student Gordon Ryan, heralded the inception of their new team: New Wave Jiu Jitsu. The announcement came amidst a period of flux, with a few pivotal members like Nicky Ryan, Craig Jones, Ethan Crelinsten, and Nicky Rodriguez embarking on a new venture, forming the “B-Team” workgroup. Despite this shift, New Wave Jiu-Jitsu retained the prowess of Garry Tonon and Oliver Taza, two stalwarts from the former Danaher Death Squad, thereby ensuring a robust foundation for this nascent venture.

The birth of New Wave Jiu-Jitsu symbolizes a continuum in John Danaher’s relentless pursuit of elevating the art of BJJ. It’s a testament to his undeterred vision and a reflection of the dynamic nature of martial arts, where change is the only constant. The melding of experienced minds like Garry Tonon and Oliver Taza with the philosophical and technical acumen of John Danaher fosters a fertile ground for further exploration and innovation in BJJ. Through New Wave Jiu-Jitsu, the saga of John Danaher’s contribution to the grappling world continues to flourish, promising a blend of traditional wisdom and modern innovation in the ever-evolving landscape of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Here is a video of John Danaher in action:


John Danaher, the master of BJJ, has exemplified what it means to be a lifelong learner and innovator. His monumental contributions to BJJ resonate through the halls of academies worldwide, inspiring countless individuals to embrace the boundless journey of self-discovery and mastery through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Through the lens of John Danaher’s odyssey, we glimpse the profound impact one individual’s passion and intellect can have on a global community.

Danaher’s videos can also be purchased on BJJ Fanatics.

Post navigation

Leave a Reply