If you saw him on the street you might not guess he's a world champion. Adam Sachnoff, also known as "Big Red" and "The Red Destroyer," doesn't carry himself with the arrogance that often follows talent and success in competition.
The 27-year-old is the lead instructor at 10th Planet - San Mateo in Northern California. His school is a welcome addition to the Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) scene in the Bay Area for several reasons. First, the gym, as with all 10th Planet gyms, focuses on no-gi competition. For aspiring MMA fighters looking for skills more immediately applicable to the cage, the no-gi focus is clutch. While other gyms in the area sometimes teach this form of jiu-jitsu, often it's an afterthought. Just as important, Sachnoff has a proven record of success in jiu-jitsu competition. For students looking to test themselves in any of the hundreds of BJJ tournaments across the country, Sachnoff offers a wealth of firsthand experience.
Then, of course, is Sachnoff's unique story of how he got to where he is. Sachnoff isn't a part of a new wave of BJJ students who picked up the sport in early childhood. Rather, Sachnoff started in BJJ late in life, under not ideal circumstances.
Sachnoff's dedication, and near obsession, with BJJ allowed him to cram what might have been a decade's worth of training into just a few short years. His application to the sport also allowed him to quickly rise through the ranks under Denny Prokopos — the first black belt graduated by 10th Planet founder Eddie Bravo.
Along the way, Sachnoff developed not just a list of accolades at tournaments around the world, but also a keen eye toward teaching the intricacies of the sport. Coupled with his approachable, easy-going manner, it's easy to understand why students are flocking to his gym.
Recently, I sat down with Sachnoff to talk about his experience with wrestlers transitioning into BJJ. We discussed how no-gi jiu-jitsu is a more natural fit for wrestlers who either want to become fighters or just want to try any form of jiu-jitsu because they aren't forced to wear the gis that look and feel so foreign to wrestlers used to only wearing thin spandex in competition. Then, Sachnoff noted that often the most common pitfalls for wrestlers in any form of BJJ had less to do with whether or not gis are involved, but rather a certain mindset and certain positions that wrestlers bring with them into the new sport. The video breakdown of these common mistakes is a must-watch for any wrestler thinking about trying out jiu-jitsu or a wrestler who's already picked up the sport but wants to improve his or her BJJ game.
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A former college wrestler, Taekwondo black-belt, and wannabe boxer, Paul Navarro (aka Fight Like Sugar) is now a full-time lawyer, part-time fight scribe, and high school wrestling coach.