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Brandon Quick & the AGF American Grappling Federation

I recently had the chance to catch up with Brandon Quick, Jiujitsu black belt and one of the owners of the AGF (American Grappling Federation) which is growing like crazy.
Budo Jake (BJ): Brandon your first instructional on chokes, Fade to Black, was a huge seller and really blew the doors open on all of the variations of head and arm chokes. Were chokes always something you focused on in your training?
Brandon Quick (BQ): Early on in my JiuJitsu I learned an Arm Triangle which was pretty Jiu Jitsu standard and I did not think too much of it in the 90's. I knew it was an easier catch for a longer armed guy but i was new to jiu jitsu and didnt know squat. Fast forward to when I was training at Legends MMA where I lived in Hollywood, California and owned by Bas Rutten and Randy Couture. It was around 2007. Bas was the coach of the IFL Anacondas and many fighters were teaching classes. Jason "Mayhem" Miller taught the Darce choke from Half Guard and I really dug it! I kept trying to grind out that particular move a ton and then Jeff Glover came thru a couple times and I visited Hollywood BJJ to see him once or twice. Back then it was a Paragon affiliate and Paragon had dudes like Jeff, Bill Cooper, Paul Walker, Tyrone Glover etc So if I heard Jeff was teaching I'd be there. I ended up learning what is now called the Ghost Pass Darce. On my DVDs I call it the Glover not just because I learned it from him but because he was landing it in competition. It was these two experiences with Jason and Jeff that sparked my deep dive into the wormhole of all arm triangle variations.
BJ: I see you travel around the world quite a bit teaching and holding events. How are your grappling events going?
BQ: The AGF (American Grappling Federation) is absolutely kicking ass to be honest! We are in our 13th year of operations, hold 120+ events a year in the US and Europe and are evolving with the jiu jitsu community. America is leading the world in a new wave of jiujitsu. I call it the Great Merge. Wrestling and NoGi Jiu Jitsu is rapidly meshing together. Judo and Gi Jiu Jitsu is not so much. It has been done and the arts are very similar. In the Gi we primarily see new developments in Lapel Guard play while NoGi is developing in every aspect of the game. The AGF sees this, is owned by 2 Americans who are black belts and we are responding to what the public wants. We are trying to IMPROVE the game and people's experience not just repeat what has been done. What are the top 3 things people hate about jiujitsu tournaments? Bad reffing, bad customer service and being there all day and night. We have tried fixing those or at least having a checks and balance system. We train our refs differently. We have the 1st and only currently running video system that each mat has an instant replay we can watch after a coach tosses in a Challenge Bag. We give coaches a chance to advocate not just coach. Refs make mistakes, I have as well. It happens but there needs to be a better way than just the refs opinion or where his angle was from. We prioritize customer service as well. Thats a priority to us. Lastly, our scheduling system and bracketing is like no other. My partner Chris Carlino is a software programmer so we create our own stuff and can modify things as we want. Other companies that outsource can not do that. We honestly care and are trying to change the game in a positive way. With that will come success in every form of business.
BJ: When some people travel they come back with a greater appreciation for their home country. In some cases it’s just the opposite, they find much more to appreciate outside of home. How do you feel about it?
BQ: Typical Americans or anyone for this matter doesn't travel as much as I do. My last trip a couple weeks ago to AGF Poland was my 118th international trip. I visit gyms, ancient buildings, eat local food, stay with friends (locals) and go to local recommendations with local people. I am very lucky I don't travel like a vacationer spending thousands and staying in a hotel. I really do get to know people thru jiu jitsu on the mats and socializing after. Sometimes my life is kind of hard for people to relate to. Some places like Belgium I have been to 25+ times and some places like Brno, Czech Republic are new. There are things to learn about every culture for sure. Some things in my home are from various countries I have been to. America is an amazing place but there is more than 1 way to do things. Tradition, climate and adaptation all play factors. I cornered UFC fighters and taught jiu jitsu out of country for 10 years before AGF took me overseas but this is a new chapter and now I can share it with more people like family and give financial opportunity to crews in other countries. Before, it was just me teaching everyday and on that grind.
BJ: It’s nice having the common language of jiujitsu, even if we can’t speak the same language we can communicate through grappling. As you look around at the current jiujitsu landscape are you able to see any changes from the past few years?
BQ: As I was saying earlier, the Great Merge is happening with NoGi Jiu Jitsu and Wrestling. Its not just America either. The Europeans love it, the sport of MMA and its fighters love it as well the rest of the world. AGF recently partnered up with USA Grappling as well. We are holding their Team Trials Qualifiers and Team Trials to make Team USA. The Grappling World Championships is held at the United World Wrestling World Championships every year. Grappling is a sport that officially broke off from Wrestling and Team USA Grappling heads are steadfast pushing it to the Olympics. The Russians and Kazaks are too. Many other countries are taking the United World Grappling scene very serious! It is getting people a full ride to the Worlds. Next year Kazakstan, Last year Poland, year before Spain. A ton may change if it becomes Olympic and on the contrary it may not and promoters keep doing what they are doing. Either way I am fine contributing to Team USA by holding their Qualifiers and Team Trials.
From a jiu jitsu technical standpoint I believe people learn best and catch opponents best thru system based learning. The catch 22 is that people are losing the minute details of certain positions. Obviously leg locks is running wild but I think people are training enough of it these days the general game and awareness has elevated for sure. Right now it’s about wrestling and I am glad to see it. It has been embarrassing to be the most dominant ground fighting art in the world but have a hard time getting people to the ground. Its going to take a few more years but it'll get there.
BJ: What's next for Brandon Quick?
BQ: What's next is continuous motion of AGF, pushing into other countries, adding more media, adding more perks for the public and of course being a family man. I do everything for them! In terms of next year, I start with AGF Pro, a live event in Belgium of grappling superfights, then AGF Spokane, February is a USA Grappling qualifier Ill commentate and AGFs 1st time in Vienna Austria and Warsaw Poland. It just keeps going from there lol. A personal thank you to you Jake! I miss you and hope you are well.
BJ: Thank you Brandon! It was great catching up with you and I'm happy to hear of the success of you and the AGF!
Check out the AGF and find out if they're having an event near you.
And also check out Brandon's 2 instructionals:

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