Brandon “Never Quit” Quick is a name you should recognize as being at the top of the no gi BJJ scene. No stranger to the digital age in which we live, Quick has spread his techniques all over the world, making use of sites like YouTube, offering online training seminars, and most recently, the release of a three-DVD set, Fade to Black. Formerly affiliated with 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, Quick is now focused on the development of his own students and school, Trinity Combat Academy.
Over the past few months, I have been exchanging calls and emails with Quick, talking about everything from his new DVD set to his philosophies on jiu jitsu to his extensive tattoos. He arranged for me to receive a copy of Fade to Black, and my review on that will be coming soon (Hint: Anyone who wants to step up their choke repertoire in a big way should pick it up) but for now, I have narrowed my own focus to the man behind the DVD set and the ideas and motivation behind the man.
Quick was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. His parents split when he was young, and while his mother stayed in the Valley, his father bounced around from Manhattan Beach to Marina Del Rey to parts of the Valley. Adopted as a child herself, Quick’s mother tried to give back to society by welcoming in foster kids herself, a move that Quick said “just added to the chaos in the end.” In addition to the fact that seven or so people would live with them at different times, Quick’s mother also adopted some of the local boys who Quick thought of as his brothers. However, these additions to his family also brought them sorrow as one of his oldest brothers ended up missing and one passed away. However, Quick’s oldest brother, by blood, is still alive and doing well.
Quick has no qualms about the area in which he grew up, saying, “[it] sure wasn’t Disneyland and it seemed like everyone was involved with gangs,” and even his mother’s relocation of their family to Santa Clarita, which also saw his father relocate to the area as well, came too late for some. By Quick’s own admission, he got into his fair share of trouble, but when he realized he was going nowhere, he signed “a contract with Uncle Sam and I was off to Basic Training.”
“I joined the Army and specialized in explosives. I went to Iraq the first year it kicked off in 2003-2004. We went all over from Baghdad to Fallujah to the Syrian border. It was a lot different then, less politics - we smashed the enemy. Now the troops have one hand tied behind their backs with all the political junk that is going on. I have even been on missions that were totally distorted by the media. It made me so mad at all of it I still to this day don’t watch the news. There were some friends of mine who came home and some who didn’t. The real story is the guys who have been to Iraq three times and Afghanistan twice and yet the media cares more about Michael Jackson than they do the worst fighting that has gone on in Afghanistan since the first day we stepped foot there. We as a nation have become desensitized to the wars we are in and what our troops are doing. Some care but in reality 99% don’t even think about it once during their day.”
Quick’s experiences in Iraq contributed to a small part of the extensive tattoo work he has spanning both arms and his chest.
“My whole left arm is evil - dead friends, skulls, ghosts, Iraq and a spider web represent all of the bad stuff I have experienced in my life. My right arm has the crucifixion, Jesus, two arch angels, my daughter’s name and phoenixes all symbolizing my turn to Christ and rising out of the ashes. The battle of good vs evil is on my chest with my name in the middle because we are all caught in that battle. I have FTW [F**k the world] on my bottom lip [that I got] when I was at a point in life when I hated life. Now I love life, my wife and new daughter. My calf has a person’s face splitting open to a skull reminding me of two-faced people”
Quick’s martial arts background is not limited to only BJJ. He has also trained in boxing, muay thai, mma, and wrestling for sport, and krav maga, Japanese jiu jitsu and kali for self defense. However, Quick’s involvement in BJJ came at a young age. Describing his exposure to the art as a “typical story” of seeing Royce Gracie’s skills in the UFC, he got into BJJ around 1996 but always like striking as well. “As a kid I got into a ton of street fights,” Quick said. “My boys and I just loved to scrap. Sometimes you might see us in the front lawn or garage scrapping just for fun. It was the early days, though, hardly anyone knew about the ground game and it wasn’t as big [as it is now].” But even in the early days, Quick recognized the inherent strategy inherent in BJJ, describing it in terms of a “chess match”. It’s that aspect of BJJ that intrigued him the most and why he still does it today.
“[My motivation is] the love of the sport! The next generation of kids! Competition! Fighting, fitness or fun…sometimes it’s one more than the other but either way I take what I do seriously because I want to know that whether a student has been training one day or five years that if they need to use what they learned that [given] day they can. After being in combat zones and lots of fights on the street I know what fighting for my life is like, literally. People can use jiu jitsu for the cage, street or competition but I train them all the same. I teach them that BJJ is finesse, an art form but at the same time [it is] kill or be killed.”
And Quick takes great pride in making sure his students are ready for whatever situation they encounter, and he places a high value on the student/teacher relationship. He wants to impart to his students his style of grappling, teaching, his values and the importance of being open-minded to learning. In addition to teaching, he still trains and competes himself. Four days a week he trains two hours during the day and two at night and one day he utilizes one free roll session. However, he also understands the value of training with people outside his own group so he also spends some days rolling at another school to refine his own techniques, which include wrestling. Trinity Combat Academy has a college wrestler from Iowa teaching both Greco and Folk style, and Quick works wrestling in almost all of his no gi classes. In addition to all this, Quick also incorporates conditioning workouts and weight training, and at least once a week drills only technique with a sparring partner.
“It’s the greatest feeling on earth when you see people rolling how you taught them, especially when they have never trained anywhere else. Even more so is when my students go and compete with the techniques and values taught to them and win time and time again. On the other hand it can be difficult to train myself when I am teaching so much and it’s difficult to compete at the same event my students are coached by me at. The last competition I coached for nine hours and them competed. I will never do that again. I have to compete at different competitions than my students so I can focus on myself more. As for me being a student, that is why I choose to align myself with someone. I can always learn more! As one of my students said “In the same way you are a mentor and coach to us, that is what you need for yourself.” To add to that I bring in people in to the school for seminars and I travel and train as well. When I teach seminars I learn from people as well. I seem to always find a new movement or variation when I go to other schools. That is what is so beautiful about grappling. It never ends and I can never know enough.”
Quick prefers no gi BJJ to gi simply because he likes no gi better. “In [no gi] competition, practically everything is legal: leg locks, cranks, slicers, Twisters, and everyone can compete, such as submission grapplers, sambo players, BJJ players, wrestlers, pankration fighters, and MMA fighters. I just don’t like the rules in BJJ. I have nothing against the gi, I hope BJJ goes to the Olympics. I just prefer no gi.”
When it comes to individual techniques, Quick’s favorite is the Darce. When I asked why he chose to put a DVD set focused solely on chokes, he stated, “Those are my favorite submissions and I work them the most, just ahead of leg locks. A choke is harder to defend, takes more energy from you, can stop a dude on anything from adrenaline to drugs. In war it kills your enemy. An armbar will just make him scream. I had put a lot of time into the head and arm chokes, there isn’t a real good video on them [out there], Darces and Peruvians have been out there [for a while] but not an instructional [DVD] on just those and their options. When I was with Eddie Bravo he gave me full blessing and had faith in my teaching ability as did I. It [the DVD set] also includes guillotines, gators, reverse arm triangles (aka the RAT) and arm triangles. Budovideos produced it and did a sick job.”
Quick is also a fan of the competitive aspects of the art and their application both in traditional tournaments and in MMA. For traditional BJJ, he lists Robert Drysdale, Marcelo Garcia, Jeff Glover, Leo Vieira and Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles as some at the top of the game. For MMA, he sees Shinya Aoki, Wagnney Fabiano, Miguel Torres, Demian Maia, and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza as the fighters with the top grappling skills. But Quick also commented that MMA has recently exploded in popularity and so it is hard to just pick one guy, but he does love watching Aoki, both for skill and entertainment value.
Wrapping things up, I had to ask Quick about his recent split from Eddie Bravo and 10th Planet. As word spread that Quick had left, the forums were awash with rumors and speculation, not just about Quick leaving but about his military service, his skill level, everything. Here is what Quick had to say:
“I am no longer with Eddie Bravo or waiving the 10th Planet flag. The whole thing has turned into a big game of telephone on the internet. “I heard this from this guy, on this forum who says he heard from another guy that he heard Brandon say this.” Eddie and I split. I am not going to throw mud at Eddie because in the end I will still have mud on my fingers. What has become comical is these guys on the internet of all places have made it their life. It’s all some people do - sit around on a computer and talk smack and in reality they don’t know squat. They just know what someone told them. One guy even brought my family into it. So I have washed my hands of the whole situation, what is done is done and I have moved on and so has 10th Planet. People just talk smack to each other now, it’s not even about me anymore. 99.9% of these guys use it as entertainment for themselves. All of the internet drama hasn’t changed a thing except me not doing seminars at a 10th Planet school. I still conduct seminars world wide for schools and the military, am opening a second school, coming out with Fade to Black the book, have my online training BrandonQuick.com and my students are still with me including instructors working underneath me in Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas and New Mexico, my students continue to perform well at tournaments as usual. I am working with another BJJ instructor right now, Robert Drysdale. He is a super cool person and his jitsu obviously speaks for itself.. I could easily just call what I do Submission Grappling but I have been training in BJJ so long that I want to stay with it. There are many reasons, I would like to earn a black belt still, my students want belts and I would like to offer gi and nogi at my school but will offer judo, wrestling and leg locks as well.”
The split has not slown Quick down a bit (no pun intended). Just yesterday, Quick returned from a trip to Sweden where he was hosting seminars. Additionally, he still has stops to make in Oklahoma City and Denver just this month.
Thanks to Quick for taking the time out of his busy teaching and training schedule to correspond with me over the past couple months – I have definitely learned a lot about him and had a lot of fun, and I have really enjoyed Fade to Black. As I said, my full review on that is coming soon.
For more information on Brandon Quick and the Trinity Combat Academy, head over to Trinity Combat Academy. To register for Quick’s online training courses, go here. To purchase Fade to Black, check out Budovideos.com. For information on seminars and private instruction, feel free to email Brandon - bquick[at]trinitycombatacademy.com
Here is the video trailer for Fade to Black: