Ryan Hall: Solving Martial Arts from First Principles | Lex Fridman Podcast #169 | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Ryan Hall: Solving Martial Arts from First Principles | Lex Fridman Podcast #169".

1970-01-04T03:48:03.000Z

Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Opening Remarks

Introduction (00:00)

The following is a conversation with Ryan Hall, his second time in the podcast. He's one of the most innovative scholars of martial arts in the modern era. Quick mention of our sponsors, indeed hiring website, audible audio books, ExpressVPN and element electrolyte drink. Click the sponsor links to get a discount and to support this podcast. As a side note, let me say that I've gotten a chance to train with Ryan recently and to both discuss and try out on the mat his ideas about grappling and fighting. What struck me is his unapologetic drive to solve martial arts. It reminds me of the ambitious vision and effort of Google's deep mind to solve intelligence. In Ryan's case, this isn't some out there martial arts guru talk. This is a style of thinking about the game of human chess, of seeking to define the rules and to engineer ways from first principles of escaping the constraints of those rules. This style of thinking is rare, but is ultimately the one that leads to the discovery of new revolutionary ideas. If you enjoy this podcast, subscribe to it anywhere. Connect with me at Lex Friedman. And now here's my conversation with Ryan Hall. You're known as a systems thinker in martial arts, but you also, I think, are willing to think outside the rules of the game, outside of the system.


Conceptual Overview Of Martial Arts And Jiu Jitsu

First principles approach to martial arts (01:17)

When you're thinking about strategies of how to, you know, solve the problem, particularly problem of an opponent, whether that's jitsu or in mixed martial arts, what's your process for doing that, for figuring out that puzzle? I would say, I don't know if I have a specific, like A to B to C process for that sort of thing. I try to do my best to appreciate that. I think a lot of the thinking or maybe not all the thinking, but a lot of great thinking on conflict, on battle, on war, on martial arts has been done already. Not that we don't have to do any sort of background investigation or reassessing of these ideas or axioms that have come down through things like the book of five rings or the art of war or, you know, like, like, gloss to it's even anything like that, really. But is trying to understand the lessons of the past that I think oftentimes we don't take with us problems on, we paid lip service. And like, you know, a victorious fighter, the great fighter, you know, he knows victory is there, then he then he seeks battle. Everyone else is looking for victory in battle. Yeah, moving on. And that's why I'm going to double jab and throw my left hand. And I think a lot of times our actions don't reflect our stated belief structure. And I think that oftentimes you can tell what I believe really or what my fundamental operating system is based on my actions, whether I'm aware, I have an operating system internally, whether I'm aware of it or not, or certainly whether I'm fully aware of it. So I guess when it comes to strategy, I try to think about how things interact. You mentioned systems thinking and I try to do my best to understand how systems exist. But I think that systems have a fundamental strength and a fundamental weakness. They work how they work and that's great, but they're readable. So if you are aware, if I am operating on a system of which you're not really read into, then I think oftentimes I can seem like shockingly effective, particularly if my system preys on certain weaknesses that that maybe you are you're given to. But what happens when you've read the same books that I have? I think that a lot of times that makes me deeply predictable. I think about systems in Jiu Jitsu and a lot of times people think that they're doing Jiu Jitsu when in reality they are doing an expression of it. Let's say I'll use there's the more celibar Cia system. There is the Hensograssie current Hensograssie system. There's the old Gracie Baja one. There's the Gracie Academy classic Gracie Jiu Jitsu. There's the art of Jiu Jitsu kind of aatos approach. And there's some crossover between a lot of these. But oftentimes I think when it comes to understanding how I'm making decisions and how my opponent is making decisions, I have to appreciate whether or not I'm an end user or something and I'll use my phone as an example. I was thinking of this the other day. And as an end user of my phone, I can't I have no idea what it does. You know, like Edward Snowden comes up and goes, Hey, guys, you realize your phones are listening to you from like, really? What? All right, I believe you. And then of course that that comes out. But to what extent I have no idea? What is my phone capable of? I have no idea. I can mess with the font though. I really like blue screens, not purple screens. So like as an end user, I can change some of the bells and whistles that have nothing to do with the underlying source code of it all or how it functions. The same way in my car, I'm an end user of my car. If I do this with the steering wheel, it goes. If I push on the gas, it goes. If I, yeah, I know how to fix it when it's out of gas and I had to fix it when it's out of oil. And I know how to fix it, you know, when when a flat tire comes. But short of that, or actually beyond that, I have nothing. So I think that oftentimes, you know, I've been around in Jiu-Jitsu long enough to encounter like a new wave of like good grapplers. And it's very, very interesting sometimes how they're running systems. They don't realize they're running. Like I'm like, oh, yeah, I trained more Solar Gracias Academy for a long time. You know, and a big fan of more soloism as a student there, encountered a lot of the auto style Jiu-Jitsu a number of years ago, been, you know, very, very, you know, deep into foot locking and leg attacks and whatnot for a long, long time. I understand your system better than you do or I may. And let's say you understand my system better than I do. That would be a huge issue. That was something that I encountered a long time ago trying to come up in Jiu-Jitsu, where I was trying to utilize systems that were created by, let's say, Hoffa Mendez or someone else. And I'm basically trying to do what you're doing. I'm just not doing as good of a version of it. So not only am I not doing it well, but I'm entirely predictable. And I think that that can be a big issue. So to come back, I think of systems a lot of times now in terms of, you know, particularly like end user type of systems, like an iPhone is a really, really fast way for me to be able to do all sorts of things. If you were to take it from me, I couldn't recreate any of that. So you want to be more of the NSA unless the end user? Exactly. Exactly. That way, that way I'm listening to you. I'm going to be the NSA of combat. That's right. We're watching UP. But basically, you know, it's, I guess what I would, what I would come back and say is, if you understand how things interact on a fundamental level and what type of games exist and what type of interactions exist, then you can transcend a lot of the, the systems. You, it's almost like a cook versus if I can make certain things in the kitchen, I can, but I am not a chef. You could give me a bunch of ingredients and I could probably cook not well, but a couple of different things. But a master chef, you know, would be aware of the implications of all of the things that they're doing, you know, extra time in the oven, less time in the oven, putting this, you know, flavoring or spice in, you know, what you're doing with various things. And also they could make, they could turn all of these ingredients into Chinese food. They could turn all these ingredients into Italian food and they could turn all these Italian food ingredients into chicken parmesan or it could turn into lasagna, but they're not limited to a specific thing because they have knowledge of how food interacts, how, what it does to create taste, what it does to create texture. So to come back, let's take rock paper scissors. Rock paper scissors is built on the idea of a couple of different things. Actually, I'll tell you what. Can I, you might ask you a question. Yeah. What's your favorite dinosaur on the same on three will go one, two, three. T-rex. T-rex. I'll meet soon. Oh, man, this is we're going to be best friends. So it's okay. If so, what's the first question when you say, Hey, let's play rock paper scissors. It's like, Hey, is it rock paper scissors or rock paper scissors? Shoot. And you're like rock paper scissors, shoot. You're like, okay, because if we go rock paper scissors, shoot. And I'm like, Oh man, I got lucky. And I want, imagine I want a hundred times in a row. Yeah. That'd be luck. We luck. If I was honestly doing that. But now let's say, for instance, I go on rock paper scissors and you go on shoot rock paper scissors shoot. Here comes the rock, right? If you lose, whose fault is it? It's yours. This is built on a parody thing where the I don't get to pick second. If I get to pick second, it's like being able to investigate your background before going to meet you. And then I'm like, Oh, hi. Oh, I too love the New Jersey, you know, the New Jersey Nets, which is a statement that no one in their right mind would ever make when I was growing up. So anyway, you'd have to have personal knowledge of somebody. So anyway, to come back, let's your if you understand how games are structured. You construct to realize that there's huge gaps and huge holes in a lot of the, the thinking behind all of it. And if you can create the illusion of choice, I'll play one more. If you don't mind, this is one of my favorite ones to do this in class all the time. Have you seen this before? No.


Illusion of choice (08:59)

OK, may I ask you some questions, please? Sure. OK, fantastic. I'm scared. There's everybody wins. Don't worry. All right. So could you, could you please win? Could you please pick three fingers and tell me what they are? You're thumb. OK. You're pinky. OK. And your middle finger. OK. So could you please pick two fingers? Your middle finger and your pinky. OK, could you please pick one finger? I'll go with his middle finger. Woo-hoo. OK, could you please pick one finger? Uh, pinky. OK, let's play again. Can you pick one finger, please? Uh, your middle finger. OK, can you pick one finger, please? Your thumb. Yeah, your pinky. OK, now pick two more fingers, please. Your middle finger and your ring finger. OK, could you please pick one more finger? Damn it. So I thought that enhanced the illusion of choice. It's the illusion of choice. If I'm asking the questions provided, I asked the right questions. There can be no correct answer. Doesn't mean that ultimately, if that's what you wanted, let's say, like, I thought I was guiding you to something I wanted that turns out that was the outcome you want. Well, let's now let's here's now I'm going to ask the wrong questions. I might not get what I want. So by the way, Sergeant, you're up for people that might be just listening to this. That no matter what trajectory we took through that decision tree that Ryan was presenting, it was always ending up with a middle finger, ironically enough. I was surprised. So and all of us were surprised. And we're both winners. Yeah, if we all everyone I felt like a winner. All right. So now now I'm going to now ask some different questions. If you don't mind me, can you please pick two fingers to put down? Uh, your middle finger and your pinky. All right. So awkward. That's like the worst finger positions. OK, can you please pick a? Wait a minute. That's, oh, hold on. Yeah. Well, what if you picked two other fingers to put down? Uh, you're throwing me a pinky. OK, my thumb on a pinky. Can you please pick two fingers to put down? Well, whatever it's who you like. OK, your middle finger and your pointy finger. Ah. OK, can you pick two fingers to put down? What's the name is index finger? I call it the point. It's the point one. That's the one we usually point. It's weird to point with the ring finger. Uh, sorry. What to put some more to put down, please? Ah, the middle finger and the ring finger. Ah, man. Is it what if you pick my my ring finger and my index finger? Yeah. Yeah. Uh-huh. I win. Yeah. So even though I'm asking the questions, it's not impossible that I arrive at a good outcome for me, but it's it's no longer guaranteed. I went from a situation where I literally can't lose. Yeah. It's a pretty low probability. Right. Super low probability. And the second you realize what I'm doing, you would never let me win. Yeah. Because the ball's truly in your court. So I guess that that's kind of what I'm fundamentally trying to put into play almost all the time. It can I ask the right set of questions? Can I develop the ability, um, skills wise, understanding wise and then discipline wise and then have the courage and the constitution and the and the discipline necessary, the patience necessary to ask the proper questions and wait for the proper answers. And if I can all assuming like the perfect world, I win period. Uh, yeah. So does that make sense? Yeah, it totally makes sense.


Game theory (12:32)

So I don't know if you know, sort of the more mathematical discipline of game theory, there's something called mechanism design. So game theory is this field where you model some kind of interaction between human beings. You can model grappling that way. You can model nuclear conflict between nations that way. And, uh, you set up a set of rules and incentives and then use math to predict what is the likely outcome depending over time based on the interaction, given those rules mechanism design is the design of games. So like the design of systems that are likely to lead to a certain outcome. And so what you're suggesting is you want to create what you want to discover systems whose decision tree, all the possible things that could happen, feel like there's choice being made. But ultimately one of the parties doesn't have any choice in what the actual final outcome is, uh, you're making them feel like they're playing a game too. So it's not like you don't feel trapped. It's kind of like, well, the best traps. I don't, you don't look very threatening. So I'm like, oh, I'll walk over there. I guess it wouldn't that, I guess that's kind of an interesting thing. If a lion's, when is a lion roar? It's an interesting thing when you watch like lions hunting, don't roar when they hunt, they want to, when they want to move you back, they do stuff like that. When they actually want to come and get you, they're pretty slinky. It's like water coverage. It's like furry water. And I guess like when you keep that in mind, um, it's funny how, like for us, a hobby, actually, you know, brilliant guy, like one of my MMA coaches and the head coach at TriStar, um, he brought this up one time. I thought it was a really salient point. So let's say we have a million person bracket, this was impossibly huge. Like Frank Dukes went in the Kumite level huge bracket. He claimed to knock out like 250 consecutive people and you're like, that is all of Hong Kong was in that thing and everyone kept their mouth shut. But anyway, that's pretty cool. But it's a cut to come back a little and problem. Pretty cool. Um, so let's say for instance, like there's no cheating going on, no cheating going on and we're flipping coins, right? Someone is going to have an unbroken string of victory through that bracket, which is pretty insane. How many, how many consecutive like toss ups this person won? And then at the end of it all. Imagine we like alien show up and we go, Hey, they want to flip a coin for the earth, the earth, uh, you know, gets to, gets to continue. They'd be, oh, I'll do it. I'm good at this. That would be tempting as a person to, to do you like, I'm a lucky guy. Oh, yeah. Are you sure? Maybe, I mean, maybe effectively you are. We could argue that effectively you're incredibly lucky, but basically, uh, is that an actual ability? Is like a perk in a video game? Or is that just this thing that happened? So anyway, uh, how many times are someone you could go through an entire career, you know, particularly in a fight sport. Well, let's say you get 15 knockouts and 15 toss up scenarios. Cause you see that happening all the time in the flight game, a toss up scenario. It's not like you're mounted on me and like, and that's not a toss up scenario. Many, many, many, many, many striking scenarios. A lot of grappling ones, but tons of striking scenarios are dead toss ups. And, uh, somebody wins my knockout. They win five times in a row. Then I lose a couple of times in a row and we go, what happened? You're like, what do you mean? What happened? They were always flipping the coin and then they win five more to go, ah, back on track. Can you imagine that? You're flipping the coin and like heads, heads, heads, tails. What tails? Tails heads again. Oh man, I'm back on it. I'm flipping good now. That's basically what's going on. I think the vast majority of the time and then humanity's, you know, tendency to see a sign and almost anything, you know, it starts to present itself. And then we build a narrative in our mind to convince ourselves that we're in some sort of control and reality. I was in a marginal situation at best the whole time. Yeah, without having much control, without having a deep understanding of the system, the same story is told, the stock market with many of the human, these distributed human systems, we start telling narratives and start seeing patterns without understanding actually the system that's generating these patterns. So if we can see the system, that's incredibly valuable, but then you go, well, what system is above all of the systems? I guess maybe physics, maybe it's not like a game theory explains these things. Like, I guess what are the, what aspects of the system can I, can I put my hands on that I can touch and understand? And what am I, what am I missing? What, what, what's going on in the world all around me to continue to lean on, on the dune that I don't have, that I don't, you know, you talk to a blind person about, about the world, about sight and talk to someone that doesn't have everyone who's got coronavirus now, so no one can taste or smell. They're like, this is delicious. Like, is it? So anyway, you know, again, what, what senses am I missing or what understanding am I missing that's preventing me from seeing the dots connect in the world all around me? And I think sometimes if we oftentimes, at least personally, have screwed this up a lot, I'm so nose deep in the, in the trench of trying to understand what I'm doing that I can't take a step back and realize, you know, that I'm in a forest, not just headbudding a tree and I may be doing, oh, maybe both. Two things should be true at once. But, uh, so I would say when it comes to strategy, trying to understand that, but then also you go, well, okay, well, how can that sounds cool? But how can you actually do that? And then I'd say that's a really good question because if I imagine I say, man, I should fight like Steven Thompson. I should fight like Wonder Boy. It's like a good idea. Go do that. I'm like, I'm not thinking not the guy. I would fight like could be even a vagamade off if I could, you know, it seems to work. So anyway, uh, you go, well, what if I could develop? What if I could take my time developing skills so that when these strategies become apparent that you are, they are executable to you. You actually have the ability to like, in or to again, to be the person, the arena, the be the person required. Whereas there's plenty of great ideas like dunking a basketball is a fantastic idea. Alas, for me, unless there's a small trampoline nearby, I'm not the guy, but that doesn't make it any less good of an idea. I just don't have it develop the ability or I lack the ability. So anyway, I think a lot of times, at least when I watch people in fighting, I'll use an example. Um, we're so, we're so concerned with trying to win early on rather than develop skills that I'm going like, well, what's the best way to fight with my current set of skills? And usually the, the path forward is like the barbarian route, like the, you put on the one ring, take the damage you need to take to hit that guy. And that was something I realized very early on in my MMA career was like, I'm not that good at striking at that time. Not a world class striker now, but I'm way better at striking than I'm given any credit for because it helps people sleep and I think, but, um, I'm serious, but, uh, um, yeah, yeah, you're always introduced as like this message, like master go, grab them. I'm like, that's nice of them to say that maybe I'm not that good at grappling. We haven't even seen that. And, but the funny thing is where I'm like, just because people almost go like, well, Lex, like, see, you're really good at this, but you got to understand like, we're equal. Man, like I'm good at this other thing. Maybe you're really good at what you do. And I'm just mediocre. That's also possible. So there's plenty of people that define themselves as a striker that do that just because that's for lack of other options. Not because they're really good striker. Really. I'm a grappler. I was a grappler as a blue belt. Not really. So anyway, I guess to come back, uh, if, if I'm constantly going, how can I win with what I've got right now? I think oftentimes I never take the time to develop the skills that I want to develop. And I also never take the time to develop the strategies that I want to develop. And that has actually been one big blessing of, uh, fighting someone frequently, which has been really frustrating as a result of injuries and, uh, time away. And, you know, some of those people being hesitant to get in the game, but, uh, it gives you so much time to, to be out of the trenches and focus on developing your abilities so that now it's almost like developing money. Like you mentioned the stock market that you can now put in. I'm actually used to me. Bitcoin was a great idea. Five years ago. And I had eight bucks. Man, if someone told me Bitcoin was a great idea, five years ago, and I had, you know, 50 K, I'm like, Oh my God, it'd be sleeping in my bed of money that I would then set on fire later. So they just to do it. So all the due to all the injuries you've been mining Bitcoin all this time. And now you're a rich man. Well, no, actually, so you told me I was trying to mine for Bitcoin, actually, like in a cave. And then I found out recently that it's actually mining is like a figure of speech. You miss a literal thing that you do. But I mean, in my defense, English language is difficult. It is. It really is next time talking to me. I'll explain. And Russian is more is a ritual language. You should learn. You should learn Russian. I'll help you out. I believe you. Thank you.


First fight (20:53)

So can you do a whirlwind overview of your career in MMA leading up to this point with the injuries and the undefeated record? And then what's next? So that's why on the topic. Well, I did my first fight in as a blue belt. I've been training for about a year and a half. I did nine just to tournaments in 10 weekends or eight, maybe eight just tournaments in 10 weekends prior to my first fight in April, 2006. I got punched in the face a whole bunch. I didn't realize it was professional fight and found that out like the day beforehand. That was great. Thanks, coach. But it was in Atlantic City where another place no one ever goes on purpose. So that wasn't great. I got into three actually three car accidents. In the preceding 36 hours before the fight, I had my car totaled. I wasn't driving for any of them. That was great. It was 2006. 2006. Yeah. Then I you're a blue belt. Yeah. Yeah. I've been training for about a year and a half to blue belt. You're getting I mean, if you haven't lived, if you haven't gotten punched in the face in Atlantic City, that's true. I mean, I so these are I would a lot would have loved to have it happen for different reasons. Yeah. But yeah, well, what's funny is that, you know, I remember, you know, getting punched in the face of bunch trying to do inverted guard. I won one round, lost two rounds, definitely lost the fight. And you went for inverted side to interrupt. You went for inverted guard. Like can you tell the story of that fight? Yeah, sure. It was three, three minute rounds, which is not a professional fight length. Although I don't know if professional fight length would have been any better. It's just more time to get punched. But I found out part with you, I was like, I remember walking back to my corner in the first round, I'm like, yeah, this guy can't hurt me. And he's like, yeah, my corner was my friend Tom. And then someone else. And he's like, yeah, I would still encourage you to stop blocking somebody punches with your face. And it's going to be a fun one. Appreciate that. I'm going to try that. Um, anyway, uh, I remember like I was not allowed to upkicks. So I'm like, great. I was, I had no martial arts skills. It really at all. But if I had anything at all, it was jiu-jitsu is very, very little jiu-jitsu. Uh, but definitely no wrestling, definitely no striking. Like I was basically a magnet for punches. So that was your time. Uh, you know, rough necking out in Atlantic city as we all do once in a while. Can we fast forward to when you're actually dominating the world as a black belt? Well, actually, I took the little bit of money that I, they're like, Hey, we were paying like really? Okay. Like the stories with Ryan Hall. Well, then I went to, I went to the casino, whatever, like the traffic Canada that was right there, the casino, because that was a boardwalk hall. I'm like, you know what, man? This was, this has been a not great, not great evening. I'm going to, this is, I'm going to win it back. It's going to be great. 15 minutes later, they had all the money that I had from the fight was gone. Yeah. I remember like walking out of the casino super pissed and like, I don't know what I was thinking. Like, I'm not good at gambling. Why this was not going to make my night better. I just thought that there was going to be some sort of cosmic balancing. And maybe it was the cosmic balancing all at once with things had done in the matter. Long term though. Yeah. Of the, the balancing. We'll see. I hope so. But to come. So, That in the end though, that is true. Time will get us all. Yeah. So, well, that was, so that was the first one. And that was when I realized I'm terrible at MMA, but I like it. I should just stop this until I one day learn how to actually grab all much less, learn how to fight. But I remember there's this guy named Dave Kaplan, who's the reason my ears are all messed up. Who was on the ultimate fighter and got punched in the face and knocked out by Tom Lawler, who always appreciate for doing that. But anyway, David Tom, I appreciate Tom. I appreciate Dave too. David, Dave's great. Dave was just a huge bully and used to like, really not completely unmercifully, but relatively unmercifully beat the crap out of me. And anyway, the years look good. So appreciate that. I tell people it's a tumor that I got. And I'm going to, if they want in on a class action lawsuit with AT&T, they should, you know, send an email. But anyway, you're very financially savvy. I'm good. And I just give the impression that Dave basically said, Hey, don't worry, man, you're never going to be good at MMA. And you're never going to be at a grappling either. But even if you are good at grappling, which in my opinion, you will never be. You will never be good at fighting. And I said, Dave, if I do nothing else in my life, I'm going to keep training until I can make you pay for that. And now that I can make him pay for that really easily, he doesn't train anymore. But I love Dave. Dave's awesome. He actually won the singing beat. What an interesting dude. Super interesting guy. But anyway, yeah, none of the Virginia, like speaks a couple languages. Super interesting guy, like shockingly good at jeopardy too. Not that I'm any good, but still shockingly good at jeopardy.


Defense (25:09)

So anyway, years later, met for Azahabi, actually John Danner. I met John Danner and he put me in touch with for Azahabi. I started training at TriStar. You know, immediately loved working with for us and learning under for us, started training at TriStar. And I did my first real professional MMA fight as someone that actually does head practice a little bit higher in, I think, August 2012. And that was against the guy. He was four and five at the time. So, you know, had some experience, good kind of like first go for me, honestly, and won that fight by TKO. And then it was a little bit of a time off. And then I did another fight against a tough guy named Magic Hamo. He was five and two at the time. If he was three and I was an amateur, you know, good, good little bit of fighting experience. Won that one in the first round of Iron Man Naked Choke. And then started to experience difficulty getting, getting fights at that point. You know, you continue to introduce as like the master of grappling, the submission. At least that was my thing. If I don't know if I was. Is that was the source of the fear for people? I think so because I mean, I definitely wasn't much at striking at that point. You know, I definitely am a lot like to think I'm pretty hard to hurt, although I try not to lean on that. And I played baseball for like 16 years, so I can hit things pretty hard. I just wasn't able to. I recognize pretty early on that I had no idea how to actually hit things hard without becoming hitable myself. So I think that's kind of the big thing is a lot of times, like almost you were mentioning before, if you try to go and get people too early, you can hit them if they're not that good, but you're going to get hit yourself. So you're making, you're basically making a wager. You're making a trade of your own life for the ability to hit them. When you watch guys like Israel, a lot of Son, you know, Floyd Mayweather, Stephen Thompson, Conor McGregor, when he's fighting really well, it's not a trade. They're not you're hitting them and they're hitting you. It's they're hitting you. But it takes years and years and years and years to be able to learn how to do that. Tan Lee is another great example of that. You know, Mike Coles is training partner, one of our best friends. And currently now one champion, one championship in Asia, the champion of the featherweight or I guess lightweight featherweight 155 over there now. And he recently defeated a Martin win in a really great fight and Tan knocked him out long time champion and Tan doesn't let you hit him. He doesn't let you touch him. I feel so fortunate to have met guys like Stephen and Tan to go early on in career and go, holy moly, I can't even it's not even like, oh, you'll let me walk over and find you. It's like fighting a ghost that periodically shows up with a hammer and smok she in the melon and then disappears into the ether again. So the way the approach to fighting game is thinking, how can I attack without being hit? So every every strategy, every idea you have about what you're going to do has to do with like that, minimizing the the returns. Absolutely. I mean, that's what all good fighting is done. All poor fighting if you know, throughout the course of history, most generals, whatever they saw read or, you know, they they did battles by attrition. You know, it's like, yeah, man, I've got 150 guys. You've got 50 like, yeah, 60 of my guys died killing your 50. Like that's great for me. But that's not so great for the 60 guys that died. You know, I hope it's worth it. So when you realize that not only you're not just Kobe Bryant and you're Phil Jackson too, you got to do everything. You know, if you've got to run across the beach and normally so be it, but that better be you should have made sure we thought this through. And there's like, Hey, there's no way we can like, you know, walk around the side, huh? Because oftentimes there there is. And I think a lot of times there's a lot of incentives in professional fighting to for people to want to do that. And we come up with all sorts of, well, I'm trying to be exciting. Are you? Is that really what you came here to do? Cause I came here to win. And I think that anyone that that's really successful came there to win. And if it ends up being exciting, well, that's fantastic. I hope that people enjoy watching something and that's great. But that's a qualitative assessment. Anyway, you know, you want to also be able to, you know, live the rest of your life. I think it's easy, you know, I'll use Meljorik Taylor. I'm a big boxing fan. Meljor Taylor is an excellent fighter. Um, came this close, uh, to a world title and was stopped with like, he was in a fight that he was winning with seconds. I mean, literally seconds remaining and they probably could have just let it go. And he would have been world champion. And it was brutal. If you ever watched legendary nights like HBO boxing show, it's, it's great. But, um, heartbreaking, it's absolutely heartbreaking. And also like the beating that he absorbed in that fight, changed him for the rest of his life. And also, you know, don't think he'd never been hit before, but it was one of those where you go, it's, it's all fun and games until you can't remember your name at age 44 years old. And I didn't come here. What are they? What are they? Pat and saying nobody, nobody wins the world by dying for his country. You make the other poor bass would die for his. And, uh, I think that that's kind of what we're shooting for. And, you know, the lionization of absorbing damage and that not being a big deal. Like you hear that all the time, so and so can take shots that would put a lesser fighter down. What does that even mean? Yeah. You know, like, so make it this straight, your ability to absorb damage is a part of you. I mean, I guess that don't get me wrong. That is an attribute that's nice to have if you, if you need it, but there's plenty of people that actually have really porous defense that are just very, very difficult to hurt for whatever reason. That's a fascinating fighter's perspective on the thing. I mean, the, the, the story that is inspiring and I know it goes against the artistry of fighting is when you have taken the damage to still rise up and be able to defeat the opponent. So it's a, but that that's a flip side of a basically you failing to defend yourself properly. Right. I agree. But let's say for, I think it's a try, that's a triumph of humanity. That's a try that's amazing to witness such a thing is unbelievable. But you still go, this is. There is a cost here. It's like I've been fortunate enough to spend some time working with the military and I've been like around in red medal of honor citations. They're unbelievable. Like you read the story and you're like, it's, it'll florida. But it's like a cost and you don't want to be paying that cost or a long time. And most of the time with the cost was everything. And then sometimes you go, Hey, yeah, the value here. It's worth everything. It's like I defend your family, defend your country under certain circumstances. And if that point is extension of your family, you're like, Hey, this is worth it to casually throw your life away or throw your health. It's foolish. There's nothing, there's nothing great about that. And like you said, it's still an amazing thing to see. But it's also amazing to see you not take damages. The Floyd Mayweather, it's the artistry of like not being hit. And I wonder if maybe that's why people don't resonate with Floyd as much as obviously Muhammad Ali was such a time and place, a great man for so many different reasons, although it was funny to remember like there were times when he wasn't very popular. We love him now because of time of context, you know, time to move away from some of the nonsense he had to deal with. But we got to see him struggle. And also he had unbelievable sacrifice both in and out of the ring, you know, that that we all got to witness. We've never really seen Floyd struggle like that. And granted, obviously Floyd isn't like a civil rights figure like Muhammad Ali was is different time, different place. And he's a different man. But basically, you know, I wonder if part of the thing that made us, that made everyone think of Muhammad Ali is the greatest in addition to, of course, the unbelievable things that he did out in the world and the stands that he made, we saw him struggle in the ring. It's, it's almost it's humanizing. You know, it's weird when people respect be, but again, it's we saw a GSP lose and GSP came back stronger. Khabib is amazing, but I wonder, I wonder how people feel about him long term, not like they won't think of him as amazing and great. And he's been a respectable person and champion. But the time we he hasn't, we he hasn't had to fall. Yeah. If that makes sense. And also coupled with Ali had a way of being poetic about sort of the way he was in the ring, sort of being able to explain the artistry that he's, I mean, he is, there's like joke and it's being playful, but really he was able to describe the flow like a butterfly's thing that could be like he's able to actually talk about his strategy without talking, without crossing that line into the Floyd made, whether when you're just talking about money and just talking shit. That's true. Actually, Conor McGregor, when he's not talking shit, it's pretty good at like talking about the art of the Marshall, like the first. And I wish Khabib did the same. Actually from like the said, he have brothers. There's a few, there's a culture of like being poetic about like being scholars and also, uh, bards or whatever, the poets of the game. And Khabib was more like just simple and he less his actions speak, which is great to put in a some way. Yeah, it's great, but it's nice when you can tell stories and, uh, you know, that, that's probably why Ali was the great catch me up to you went to three fights. I think undefeated. Yep.


Waiting for a fight (33:53)

BJ Penn, we talked about last time you defeated BJ Penn. That's a, that's a, I mean, that's an incredible accomplishment, but you fought a lot of really tough guys. Um, when was your last fight and then catch me up with the injuries? Well, a lot of people kept more and more and more or unwilling to fight you. Yeah, that's been, that's, that was why I was out for two years following the gray mannered fight between, uh, the fighting gray, um, and BJ and the gray mannered fight was actually one I'm really proud of because, um, great was very tough. He's very big, very strong, very experienced. I had only five fights at the time. Um, and I didn't have a lot of skills. I don't get to fight gray with what I have today. I had to fight gray with what I had in December, 2016. And that I, it really took a lot of discipline, a lot of focus, a lot of challenge or, you know, to stay the course to do what I needed to do in that fight and to win in, in ultimately dominating fashion, just not in the dominating obvious sense that you see when someone runs across and just does that to somebody, but that wasn't on the list for me at that time. You know, so, um, that was a, that was an interesting one, but the time away again was very frustrating. It was incredibly difficult for that fight after that fight. That, well, cause I, uh, met, I beat Artemlobov and the final of the ultimate fighter in Artem is another guy that's tough, a lot of experience and, uh, gets, gets, you know, he, he's a funny guy and he said some things on the internet. So any, he gets a lot of heat for that, but, uh, you know, he just knocked out three of my teammates. I'm like, he put a couple of people in a pretty rough shape at the end of that. So he was doing well and that was a tough fight. Again, if I got to go back and fight that fight now, it would be not competitive at all. I mean, it wasn't competitive at that time, but it very, it was similar phase. It wasn't close, but it was competitive. So you're improving and growing fast. Yeah. And it was nice to have time away. I wish I'd had more time in the ring, but again, I'd only been doing MMA for three years at that time. So the, uh, improvement from doing what the Bitcoin mining was over, uh, over riding the ring rust. I think so. I don't really believe in ring rust, if I'm honest. You know, I can understand why, uh, you know, people could feel a certain way, but if anything, it's almost like you just kind of forget what competitions like and you realize like, oh, you feel butterflies or something like that. And you go, Oh my God, this is different. There's no, that's, that's your body getting ready to perform. It's okay. It's normal. How do you not have ring rust? I think I try to, I want to try to practice performing no matter what, you know, like whether it's seeing karaoke and whatever it good, but like anything, you name it talking in front of people like, you embrace the butterflies. Um, yeah, it's almost like I remember my last fight. I'm just staring at the wall and you're like, huh, I guess I guess I'm going to fight in a couple minutes. All right. Hey, you, I mean, of course we all heard the phrase like you can never walk in the same river twice because even if you were this, even if the river is the same, you're a different man. That's a, I think it's a really important thing to understand because at various points in my martial arts career of thought, Oh man, how should I feel? I remember when I used to do well in competition, I would feel, I would think these thoughts, listen to this song, think, think about this. I would feel a certain way. And then if you don't feel that way, I would start to become stressed because uh, I was self-inflicted versus going, you'll feel how you feel. Your job is to show up with what you have on the day, do your absolute best. It's like I will never quit. I can be sure of that. I can't be beat. I, you know, I can definitely be beat. I could have lost every single fight that I've ever had, but I control my effort and I control my attitude and that's I will, you know, I will do my very best actually in the game plan and the events not working. If I have to, I'll put my hands up and walk dead forward. If I need to, it's somebody, you know, we hope that that's not where it goes. But, you know, like again, that humanizing moment where you're shooting for like just the inner, like the inner, you sacrifice the outer and all you have left is will and you hope it doesn't happen. But if it does, you'll be there. But I guess to come back, like the extra periods of time in between fights, I think was a valuable because it was, it was deeply challenging. It was incredibly, it was heartbreaking, sometimes of a monus man. It's like, I didn't want to, it's just waiting. Oh my God. It's just their politics involved. There's some sometimes, you know, like I, I, you know, it's every single time you step into the ring, nothing's guaranteed. It's, you could be hurt. You could hurt somebody. You could win. You could lose, you know, throwing away, just like I said, throwing away your healthier life cheaply makes no sense for anyone. And, you know, having demonstrating some degree of, of, of temperance is not cowardly either. I mean, but again, you're, if you wait too long, you have nothing. So I guess like, I was trying and always being, I'm always open to fighting the absolute best people possible. I'm never turning down fights ever. You know, some random jabroni decides that he wants to fight him to go away. If I wanted to just fight random, I would just start at stand to the, you know, on the table at Denny's and start yelling and I'm sure it would have, you know, some people who'd be willing to indulge me. But, you know, you want to fight, you know, meaningful opponents, challenging opponents and I, and I know who and where they are. And sometimes they say, Atlantic City, you know, I did the Denny, but you put the Denny's behind you. I did. And, you know, and, you know, I'll be honest, if they were, if I'd have stood up after that fight, I don't know if I was in great shape to expect to win in the other fights that evening, but I could have, I could have tried it. I'm sure there were some takers in the crowd, particularly after they watched me fight, they're like, yeah, I'll fight that guy. So, okay. So when was the last fight that was Darren Elkins? That was six months or seven months after the BJ fight, which was great. Because it's, you know, I love maybe five really tough, a very tough opponent, very tough guy, super tough dude. And that was in July 2019 and then right when I was about to fight, you were ready to fight regularly after that. Yeah. And trying to find a fight. Yeah. And we got Ricardo Lamas. So no one else, none of the, I was ranked in the top 15 at that point. And then people didn't want to fight. We were struggling to find an opponent and then Ricardo Lamas, a great, you know, former title challenger, you know, it may, you know, really great history. And I mean, they recently retired, but we were supposed to fight in, I think, March, March, March, May of 2020 and then coronavirus happened. And so that scrapped the whole show, you know, training. We were just scrambling to try to keep the gym alive and take care, you know, I have five or six full of five, six, I think five full-time employees that, that I, you know, are my responsibility. I have to, their livelihood is in my hands and it's, um, that'd be irresponsible of me to not take that seriously. So anyway, uh, we were able to navigate through that time and then, uh, we were able to reschedule the Lamas fight and that was in August of last year. And I got a, a medical like flag like, Oh, hey, you, you, you have like a medical condition that we need to look into. Uh, you, when I got pulled from the fight and this immediately was concerned, because of course, any serious medical condition, you want to go, man, well, I guess I would like to look at that. Yeah. It turns out it was a giant false positive and, you know, we find that out, you know, all of five weeks later and you go, you have a kid in me. Yeah, it's frustrating. And then we're still waiting for a fight, waiting for a fight, waiting for a fight. People won't sign up. Um, asked for a number of different opponents, basically said, Hey, I'm willing to fight anybody that's, that's tough and moving forward. Um, finally got a, you know, a great opponent in Danny Gay. Um, for, uh, I guess it would have been, uh, this, uh, this March. And then, um, I was training in January working on, working on some stuff. I was out training with Raymond Daniels in, uh, in California, Raymond's amazing. Um, unbelievable. You know, keep boxing, karate style, keep boxer, fantastic martial artist, great teacher, great training partner and good friend. And, uh, you know, just really bad luck. Uh, you know, kind of a fall in the middle of, uh, in the middle of training. And I tore, uh, my hip flexor halfway off of my femur. So that wasn't great. And you go like, man, right at the time where you're like, Oh man, all right. Finally moving forward, you know, having the opportunity to fight. Dan's a really tough guy. You know, you have to fight well if you want to have a good chance to do well. And if you don't fight well, it's going to be a rough night. I'm like, that's exactly what it signed up for. That's what we want. BJ, that's what we want with the Elkins. That was gray. And then the universe goes, Hey man, I hear you, but there's also this. So anyway, uh, fortunately it's healing up and then hopefully, uh, would you think you, you know, when, I think, um, made this year, may of this year. Yeah. So it's been, it's been about five weeks since the injury. You'd be able to heal up, do you think? Yeah. I think it'll be okay. By then, like I don't need a big camp at this point. I've had years of camp, um, not going to curtail my drinking or anything like that. Obviously, you know, come on, man, life is meant to be lived. And, uh, you know, so it's, uh, you know, I, I've, I'm in good shape. I was always training. I'm trying to do my best to train around the injury to the extent that I can right now without, you know, hurting myself long term. So is there a particular opponent here thinking about? Yeah. Anybody, anybody forward, you know, I mean, I tried to, I asked, uh, I asked the second that I got hurt. I sent him a message to Dan and I said, Hey man, like, uh, I just wanted, you to be the first person to know. Um, I, you know, I just was pretty reasonably injured. We just got an MRI doctor says, like, Hey man, you're out and you need to take like three weeks off off. Don't do anything or you're going to immediately, you're going to tear it the whole way and this is going to be surgery. And then it's going to be an additional like eight weeks on top of that to start to rehab it through PT. And anyway, uh, yeah. So I let him know, Hey, if you can push this thing back, I would love to keep on the car or love to keep the fight. You know, it's like a special lot as an opponent. And also it's been brutal trying to get anybody to sign on. So if you're into it, I'm still there. Unfortunately, he turned that down. Uh, I understand he had other things going on. He and his wife were expecting a child coming up. So, uh, he needed to, he needed to fight. And anyway, uh, you know, I guess we'll see what's coming forward. Um, is there somebody's like super tough in the featherweight division that you. You seem to like enjoy the difficult puzzles. Is there somebody especially difficult that you would like to fight? I would like to fight. I know that I'll need to win at least one fight before this. Um, and I look forward to coming back and giving my best effort to do that. I want to fight to beat, uh, magma, but share a pop. I want to fight. Yair Rodriguez. I want to fight, uh, Korean zombie and be a complicated man. Yeah, that would be a, that guy. I would love to see that fight. That's a fascinating fight. That would be fun. Um, he would be very challenging. All those guys are very challenging. And, uh, so I look forward to just staying healthy to the extent that we can coming back and I'm going to fight multiple times this year. Hell or high water. Hell yes.


Free will (44:01)

Hey, by the way, uh, I completely forgot because you were talking about the systems and, uh, decision trees and the illusion of choice made me think of Sam Harris and I forgot to mention it. So he talks about free will quite a bit, huh. And that there's an illusion of free will. So it's like the claim cotton. That, uh, you know, maybe the universe constructed that little game where you, it makes us feel like we have a bunch of choices, but we really don't. We're really always ending up with a middle finger. That would be hilarious. Yeah. That's it. That's, that's what you see before you die. Yeah. Giant middle finger. It's like, Oh, fuck. I knew it. Uh, I knew it. Do you think there's a free will like we feel like we're making choices. So you're thinking, again, we're talking about, okay, here's a system of martial arts that's, uh, hands are graced through this different schools and whatever. And then you're thinking, okay, how can I think outside these systems? But then there's also a system that's our human society. And we feel like there's an actual choice being made by us individuals. Do you think that choice is real or is it just an illusion? Well, I, okay, that's a really good question. I'm not necessarily equipped to answer this, but I'll do my best. Um, okay. I guess I would say to start with show will be interesting if it wasn't real. If the choice wasn't real. Yeah, um, we'll be pretty interesting if it is real. Uh, first off, I would start with a facilitated beliefs versus not facilitated beliefs. It's almost like, uh, I think the world's out to get me true, not true. What next? Probably not a facilitated belief. Even if you imagine you believe there's no free will. Okay. Now what does that justify every single impulse that you're going to give into? Or does the belief in free will does the belief in my ability to work hard, to focus, to be disciplined, to improve my position, prove my situation, whether it's true or not. Although I think that at least many of us would argue that least whether, whether there's some sort of internal driver that allows for that. Yeah. Like we live in a material world. Your actions do affect the world. I can choose to pick that water up or not. Um, and anyway, uh, I would say a belief strongly in the idea of picking facilitated beliefs. Um, you know, and going, Hey, I will adjust whether this belief system is right or wrong on a cosmic level. I'm nowhere near smart enough to understand, but I can say me deciding that. Let's say, for instance, I'm going to walk over to have a conversation with someone in the hotel lobby and they've never met them and I go over and I start with, uh, this is going to be interesting. And I just walk over there versus in my head, I'm like, what's this asshole want? We're about to have two very different conversations. I could be right that this person's not very polite or as, or thinks negatively of me right from go, but I think that that's probably not a facility to believe people talk about. I mean, how is that going to help me navigate the conversation to a positive conclusion? And I think about that for, uh, um, you know, let's say fighting. It's a good example, like confidence, people, plenty of people believe plenty of things that aren't real myself included. I'm sure, uh, all the time. And, uh, anyway, believing that you can do something. I'm like, Hey, I think I can win. Doesn't guarantee you a positive outcome, but I would say it, it, most of us would probably help. I'm most of us would argue that it helps. Um, and you're thinking, what's depression? If, if not a negative, unfacilitative belief that is not always, that oftentimes it's not reflected by reality, but you projected onto reality and it's understandable if it makes you feel like, Oh man, this isn't going to work out. I don't think the prospects are going well. And then if you feel like you can't get out of that loop, that seems pretty rough. And I see a lot of things out in society right now where you go, whether, whether you agree or disagree with various positions on things you go, is that a facilitative belief, even if that is true, which is arguable, anything. So what next man? So what, where does this end? When, when is the positive? What's the happy ending here? And if they go, well, there is no happy ending, I'm like, okay. So it's now what? So what do we do here? And I guess, uh, so choose the facilitative belief. And in your intuition, believing that free will is real is, uh, is more productive for a successful life. Absolutely. Because otherwise, how am I not, how am I, first of how can I, how can society function if it's not real? So how can I blame you or anyone else or hold anyone responsible for anything if free will isn't real? Well, no, that's exactly the point. You, but at the surface level, what you're saying is true. But perhaps if we truly internalize that free will as an illusion, we'll start to figure out something that, uh, that transforms the way we see society. For example, we are very individual centric. So, uh, believing that free will is real puts a lot of responsibility and blame on people when they do something bad. Maybe if we truly internalize that free will as an illusion, we start to think about the system of humans together as, um, as like this mechanism for progress, as opposed to where individuals, people are responsible for their actions, uh, good or bad. So we like remove the value, the weight we assign to the accomplishments or the, uh, or the violence, the negative stuff done by individuals and more look at the progress of society. I don't know what that looks like, but it's almost like as opposed to focusing on the individual ants of an ant colony looking at the entirety of the ant colony. That I, so that I think it makes perfect sense. I would just say that that's a reasonable thing to suggest. It's a seismic shift, right? And it's hard to say whether that would be, you know, better or worse, but I guess I'll use this as, uh, this is a convenient one for me. Um, so I remember the last time we spoke, I brought up, you know, one of the most reviled evil characters in certainly recent history, probably human history period, Adolf Hitler. Well, I'm a big fan of making people live in the world that they want to believe in. Well, if free will doesn't exist and it's just about how things move forward, when are we going to be high fiving this guy or what? Like this is, you know, because I remember what I said and, you know, that actually brings me to something else we discussed, you know, uh, yeah, people who don't know, Ryan brought up or I brought up. There's literally a giant book about Hitler, my, so I've been obsessed with, uh, Hitler World War II installing recently for the recently. Oh man, this has become like a meme. Joe Rogan with like DMT and me, or Hitler. That makes something more positive. Like cat in the hat or something. I don't know. But you brought up Hitler as an example of something in particular of the, the some philosophical discussions we're having and the excellent eloquent and, uh, the, the full of integrity MMA journalist, uh, clipped out something you've said about, uh, bought Hitler and said that, uh, you know, I, I forget what the headlines are, but there were the, the most ridiculous possible implementation. Basically it was intentionally misrepresenting intentionally misunderstanding what I'm saying. Then it's like, I get that they're stupid, but I'm stupid too. So I know what that's like. So I don't have a lot of stuff. No stupid. Yeah, exactly. It's, it's, yeah, exactly. I don't, I can't give you a pass on that. But basically intentionally misunderstanding what's going on. But what I find funny is that, Hey, we got to be careful of what we believe. And again, back to the cancel culture thing that we discussed last time as well, where what I would, I like to apologize. I mean, no, actually something about cancel culture that we've been seeing things culturally. I'm like, I will be dandified, apologize for anything that I don't need to apologize for because I was intentionally misunderstood in that instance. Now you could say that I don't nest that I'm not a historical scholar, which I would agree immediately. And also that I'm, that I oftentimes, in eloquently, or in articulately, phrase things, which I'll agree that what does again, but ultimately, you know, going, Hey, I want to make you believe, live in the world that you will, that you're suggesting ought to exist. Okay. So if there's no free will, is everything, how, how far of a step back are we willing to take cosmically before we start going, Hey, this is good because we're experiencing a social, you know, reckoning in our country at the moment, you know, for good and for other probably, I guess. And basically, but hey, it all worked out, right? So that's probably not something that would fly. And I think that's a fair thing. That's interesting. I mean, it might not fly from the individual perspective, but if you zoom out and think of, you know, appreciate society as, you know, just like an an colony as a beautifully complex system, like we kind of, from the individual pro perspective, we value progress, especially progress of the individual, but in whole progress of societies. But if you accept that this is just a complex system that's not necessarily headed anywhere, but this is almost like that river is just flowing. I think that removes the burden of always striving of what was trying of always like the struggle and so on. So it's possible that if we have no control, you can like arrive at some kind of other zen state. Does that sound very human though? That's that's that goes against, I think our current human condition as we experience it, but we've communicated that to each other. Like, so we've taught like through these social forces, taught each other that our lives matter and so on. Maybe if we convince ourselves that we're just sort of like little things in a stream and ultimately none of it matters, there might be some kind of enjoyment to be discovered to that process. I don't listen. I'm a capitalist, like, but I guess I think you bring up a really important point. I guess almost anything like capitalism, I only get to experience it as I sit here now and I get to live, I was raised in the United States, have traveled around the world a little bit, have had the, you know, good fortune of meeting many people from many different places. And I'm an end user of capitalism. I don't really know how it got here, whether it was, I wasn't there at the start of this idea, I wasn't there for, hey, how do we come up with this idea? How do we arrive? And I'm nowhere near well read enough to understand any of that really, even second hand, and I guess recognizing that communism, Marxism, socialism, anarchism, anything is these are all perspectives that all have, I guess, various strengths and weaknesses. But I guess one thing I'm always, I guess I would say the burden, it seems to me that if you want to make a change, the burden of proof is on the person implying that there needs to be a change. And it doesn't mean that there's nothing there, but it's like, if you want to create a small shift, a ripple that's fine, but a seismic ripping shift in how we exist or how we experience the world as human beings. And you mentioned fighting why watching someone undergo of take abuse on a level in the ring that's just shocking. And then triumph in spite of it is like, it's, you're like, this is unbelievable. This is part of the magic of combat sports. Now it's part of the magic, the other side of the magic that doesn't get talked about sometimes is that the trajectory of that individual's life later on is not always great or there's a little phrase, there's a cost for that. But, you know, if this, if we remember, you mentioned removing the struggle. I don't personally, the struggle is what makes life, is what makes life life. And also, I guess, you know, something for us has brought up to me on a number of occasions is that as, and it makes sense to me, it's basically a humans only understand things through relative comparison. I only understand, you know, heat because I've known cold. I only understood it's, I guess, like it's like talking to someone that's never experienced any sort of hardship and then their, their latte isn't right. And then they, they pitch a fit versus someone that's gone through a great deal of challenge struggle, you know, in their life. They tend to have a little bit more of an even perspective and anyway, and of course, even as a relative thing and what I proceed to be even, maybe I'm particularly softer or something in the other direction without realizing, because I can only understand what I can understand. But the idea that, that we want to fundamentally alter ourselves as a species and as people seems like an incredibly, incredibly high bar to prove and also like an incredibly dangerous idea, because it always comes back to, well, who's going to be responsible for this? Who gets to do the choosing? What's a good idea? What's not a good idea? And I guess that actually brings me kind of to a, something I've been encountering recently in discussions with friends. I feel like there's only two types of people that I, that I encounter at this point, people with a more or less libertarian tilt to their thinking and people without it. And when I say libertarian, I don't mean that in the political party sense or even the belief system, basically, I'm like, Hey, you do you buddy. It's not my, it's not what you're up to. It's not my concern versus what you're up to. Isn't my concern? And I'm, I guess I've always watched, you know, various points in history, people on this side of people on that side are more, more or less, you know, I guess problematic, I guess you could say and let me know in the internet sense. You know, more of more of an issue, but the world is always full of people that want to tell you what you need to be doing as opposed to more or less doing a harm. And I guess that's one of the ones anytime I'm trying to tell other people what to do, I'm going to help them write. And it's bizarre to me how many people are so confident that their side or their position is the one that's not only right for them, but right enough that they can enforce it on others. And that just seems incredibly dangerous to me. And I guess that comes back to even Sam's point about, oh, we want to, if I'm trying to spread the idea that free will doesn't exist, I'm not saying it's damaging, but if very well, maybe, and plenty of other things could be as well, I'm not, you know, it goes way over my head as to, you know, the implications of all of these. And I guess all of us are in evangelists for something. But I guess it's weird that we've gotten this far as a species. And now we want to take like sharp, sharp turns. Well, we've been taking a bunch of sharp turns for history. Yeah. That's what, you know, that's, that's the way, you know, okay, humans love power. And one way to attain power is to say everything that you guys are doing is wrong. And I have the right thing and I'm going to build up a giant cult of people. And I'm going to overthrow and indirectly what that results in me is me gaining power. And that's how you get all the big revolutions in human history saying I'm done with the thing that the powerful are currently doing. So I'm going to overthrow. That's, that's where probably all the identity politics that's happening now is people that didn't have power before are looking to gain power. And they're also, you know, that's where Jordan Peterson criticized identity politics is people with the right, with the good intentions, I should say, are in seeking power, allow power to corrupt them as power always does. And so they lose track of like the, the, the devils that they're fighting by becoming the same kind of devils, the, the same kind of evil that they're fighting. And so that, that's just the progress of human history. But hopefully as these power greedy people keep attaining power with the, with the progressive mindset, over time, things get better and better as they can. As they have generation, each generation, a lot of, a lot of unfairness happens. A lot of hypocrisy happens. A lot of people are trampled along the way by those who mean well, but over time, like lessons are learned or like human, like civilization accumulates lessons. And in part learns the lessons of history and it gets better and better over time, even though in the short term, there's people acting not their best selves. And, you know, that seems to be the progress of human history. The idea of internalizing free will not being real. I mean, you're actually making me realize that that ultimately leads to a kind of. Doesn't it go in a nihilistic direction? Yeah. It's both nihilistic or if you want to make it a political system, then it's more like communist type of system where like the, the value of the individuals completely reduced, removed, or another perspective is like the freedom of an individual is not to be valued or protected. And so from us, our current perspective, the systems that seem to have worked, the United States works pretty damn well. Despite all the different criticisms, it seems like freedom of the individual in all its forms seems to be fundamental to the success of the United States. And so we should, it's, uh, however the hell you put it, it's like, doesn't matter whether free will isn't or isn't an illusion. The belief that it's real protects the individual from the group, which is fundamentally crit me from wrong. That always seems like the big issue of history. Hey, there's more of me than there is a view deal with it. You're like, yikes. Yeah. And you want to be yourself. You want to be different. You want to have a different religion. You want to be a different skin color. You want to do this. All the bad tribal things happen when there's more of me than you. Crept me from wrong. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. But then that's always the fundamental power imbalance though, right? Well, the interesting thing about the libertarian thinking, I guess I, I don't know. Those words are really maybe they're all charged. I know. Yeah, they're all. I mean, I may not scale up, but I mean, we're more like on a philosophical underpinning. We're like, yeah, basically, hey, you feel free to believe I'm a fool and I'm not, I'm plenty of people do. I'm sure. But as long as you don't chase me down the hall and hit me in the back of the head with the textbook, what's the big deal? Yeah.


Freedom and compassion (01:01:48)

So the libertarian viewpoint, which I probably espouse, like that's, I'm very much like, uh, freedom of the individual is very valuable and like leave others the fuck alone, unless they're trying to hurt you. The thing is you also have to, I believe put in the, the work of empathy of understanding what others, how, what leaving people, the fuck alone means to others. But isn't that an interesting thing? If I believe in freedom of the individual and I take that, like all of these, like you said, you take them past their first quit. Why question? And he asked, why, why, why, why, or how, how, how many times should that not extend to respect for you, respect for your position, respect for your individual lived experience, which could be grossly different than mine. Yeah. This is the problem with saying, I'm an individual. I'm not going to bother you. You don't bother me. That's just like, that's not actionable because to be, to make it actionable, you have to think the why, why, why, why, why you have to do the steps beyond, right? You think, what does that actually mean? That means understanding how even my very existence, like hurts others. Because you have to understand that, like, I'm not, you're not just sitting alone in a room, you're, you're using like a public transit, using the police force, you're using fire fighters, you're using that, like, you're using a lot of resources that are publicly shared and some of those resources are, are unfairly distributed. Like, we've agreed that we're going to pay taxes and those taxes are going to go towards building some kind of infrastructure. So that's already towards social. That's, so you're not a real, you're, you're not a real sort of, I talk to Michael Bales, like anarchists, right, saying like basically full, just leave me in the fuck alone and I'm going to collaborate with whoever the hell I want. We're not that's not the American society. As it stands currently, we've agreed that there's going to be certain social institutions that we pay into. And some of the sort of discussions about race and all those kinds of things is about those institutions being institutionally unfair, whether it's race or gender, all those kinds of things. Listen, I, you know, I have a bunch of criticisms of the way that a conversation carries itself out. But the thing is what's valuable is to actually listen and empathize. And that's not over and often talked about with the, leaving the fuck alone mindset, because you're, it doesn't have, it doesn't have that little component, which I think could be fundamental to the function of a society, which is like social, like, it's the, what is it, the Obama, you didn't build it or you didn't build it alone or whatever, however that goes. But basically we wouldn't be, we wouldn't be able to accomplish anything as individuals without the help of others. And to be able to then start the thing, okay, so what is, what is, what is my duty? What is my responsibility to other human beings to be respectful, to be loving, to help them as part of this functioning society? That starts, that's actually a lot of work to start to think about that. Sure. Cause then I have to like think, okay, Ryan, what's his life like? Like, is a business owner doing COVID? What's that like? And then he has the, there's employees that run the gym. What's that like? What's that stress like? Or about the fighting and the injury and so on. What's that like? That empathy takes a lot of like compute cycles. And also a lot of energy, right? But I have to go through that computation. If I want to be an individual, that's like, doesn't hurt you. If, if I may, I guess like to come back to Muhammad Ali, one of the things he said is service to others is the rent is the rent that you pay for your, you know, there's these, there's a price you pay for your rent here on earth. Yeah. And now I have one of the things that I think that I see as a result of the internet all the time is people talking about global giant problems, social problems that are society-wide that are massive, like truly massive. And frankly, beyond the, beyond the power of any of us to solve, that's certainly on an individual level. So I have, you know, I've discussed things with friends. I got my father's an environmental attorney, like, you know, it has been for a long time and it has been an engineer for a long time. And, you know, sorry, I'm not, not barely know anything, but I'm read in a little bit of various things, but a climate change. Oh my God, I'm so concerned about climate change. What am I supposed to do about climate change? I'll tell you what I can do is I can not litter. I can try to conserve energy where I can. I can do whatever I want. What can I personally do about some giant social problem that is, that I didn't start and I just out of my control. I'm like, well, I can be decent to the people around me. I can mention I can demonstrate empathy and I can demonstrate consideration for the people in my circle and to the extent that I can the people outside of my circle, but yelling at the trees over things that over problems that are borderline cosmic doesn't seem very productive. It just makes me feel like I'm cool and important because I'm talking about something. Well, hundreds of years from now, the water will rise. Maybe it will. Maybe it won't. I can't. It's completely on my head. I know nothing, but focusing on the problems that we can actually solve, it comes back to the same thing. I want to win a fight. I would love to win a fight. Uh, I can't control that. What I can do is I can control each individual step that I take around the ring and try to make the next correct move. I can't look. No, it, it gets people's, uh, you know, they, they get all excited. You know, I'm trying to keep my language in check, but they get all excited, thinking about a, you know, problems that are like Superman couldn't solve these problems. Like you could be that powerful and you can't make all of the bad things go away, but you can absolutely change yourself. And I think a lot of the lessons that, you know, like the good lessons from religion that happened and the good lessons from the great men and women throughout history that we, that we were inspired by that talk about change starting with within. And, you know, again, treating the people around you decently and feeding the people around you decently doesn't even necessarily mean the golden rule. Doing to others as you would like them to do to you, I go, well, maybe what I would like and what this person would like on the same thing. Well, how am I going to get to the bottom of that? Cause I could be attempting to be decent to this person and by my stand of them being decent, but maybe I'm, uh, maybe I'm missing the mark by theirs. Well, I can't possibly, if I just interacted with you, like it's like someone talking about some nonsense microaggression. Like, so let me get this straight. I've never met you before. You never met me before. And you're interpreting some minor comment that, that I've made in the least charitable way possible. I'm not saying that, that you couldn't be annoyed, but your expectation for that level of consideration is you're going to be, you're going to be disappointed a lot. Now, if you, if we're someone that's in your life on a consistent basis and they're like, Hey, I really don't appreciate what you're saying or what you're doing here. Do you realize that this is how I'm, this is how I'm perceiving, you go, Oh, man, I'm, I'm so sorry. Of course I would hear what you have to say, but I guess trying to recognize that, you know, my, I guess my job is to treat others with dignity in general, but that level, the level of specificity that that, that that requires increases as it gets closer to you. And I have, as a person, I have a very finite amount of resources financially, intellectually, emotionally, physically. If I chuck, you know, point zero, zero, one percent of it in every single different direction, what am I doing? It's like when people go, Oh, I, I cared deeply about Tibet. I'm like, why aren't you over there? Go build a house, man. Get on a plane. Go build a house. Oh, you don't want to do that. So really what you want to do is post on Facebook and, and, and accept high fives for how much of a good guy you are. I got an idea. Go help somebody in your neighborhood. Go be, go play with, go play with some kids, go be a friend to someone that doesn't have a friend, read a book, try to educate yourself. And so I guess to, to come back, it's all of these problems aren't solvable on a grand scale, but it's almost like by attempting to address them in our personal lives, we do better, but rather than a giant airing of the grievances on a, on a consistent basis, not that that isn't, you know, sometimes necessary and valuable, but after you air your grievances, you go, Hey, how about we sort this out? What's the next step? And, and I guess again, when we're trying to address it on a giant social level, it just seems unmanageable to me, even if you're, have the best of intentions. Yeah. I mean, but nevertheless, there's, there's a lot you can do on social networks. I mean, I, I enjoy tweeting and consuming Twitter is just, I apply the exact same principle that you just said, which is free will and discussion. Which is like, I approach it in a way that I don't get stuck in this loop. That's counterproductive. I try to do things that are productive. And like it's just like you said, that's like, like what kind of things can I do in this world, whether that's tweeting or building things, those are low effort tweeting or actually building businesses or building ideas out as high effort. What can I do that will actually solve problems. And that's, that's the way I approach it. And I do wonder if it's possible to at scale, encourage each other to approach like social media and communication with fellow humans in that way.


Social media (01:10:50)

I don't know. How do you think that would be done? I guess like to improve the, improve the quality of discourse, maybe, like, or even like you said, the empathy or the, the decency of discourse. I think people should be, you know, incentivized, encouraged to do that. I think most of what's we see happening on Twitter and Facebook and so on, has to do with very small, but very powerful implementation details. It goes down to like, what is the source of the dopamine rush, the like button, the sharing mechanisms, just even small tweaks in those can fix a lot. Really? I, I believe so. So like a lot, a lot of the stuff we see now is the result of just initial implementations of these systems that we didn't anticipate. So the modernization comes from engagement and the, the tools we have is clicking like and sharing. It was not always obvious. It was not obvious from the beginning. It was an obvious while Twitter and Facebook grew that there's a big dopamine rush from getting more followers and likes and shares. So we've gotten addicted to this feeling like how many people are commenting? How many people are saying like a clicking like and so on. So that's that dopamine rush. So we want to say the thing that will get the most likes on, and like unmasked in society. And then the other thing that was expected is the controversial, the divisive will get the most likes. So we had to do with the initial mechanisms of likes and shares, resulting in an outcome that was unpredicted, which is huge amounts of division, irrespective of like any of the basics of human connection that we've actually all come to understand society is valuable at the individual level, like we're saying, but unmasked what results is like you throw all that out and it's all just divisive at scale discourse. I think it could be fixed by incentivizing personal growth, like incentivizing you to challenge yourself to grow as individual and most importantly to be happy at the end of the day. So feed like incentivize you feeling good as in a way that's long lasting, long term. I think what makes people actually feel good is being kind to others. Long term in the short term, what feels good is gaining a lot of likes. And I think those are just different incentives that if implemented correctly, you could just build social networks that would do much better. So do you think it comes from a structural perspective? I guess at what point does you mention like you mentioned free will and also you mentioned feeling good, like and again working hard, you know, I know that you have a, I guess the, was it a race or? No, it's all the the goggins. Yeah. It's four by 40, four by four by 48 challenge where you run four miles every four hours for two days. That's awesome. Yeah, it's it's a bunch of it's it's the challenge of it isn't just the running. The running is very tough, but it's mostly the sleep deprivation. Right. You just training every four hours. But it's a struggle, right? And that but the struggle gives meaning. And ultimately, I guess, so how can we, because you mentioned, like you said, adjusting things on like a, I guess like a programming level, almost a base programming level so that the interface is different for the user. Yeah. But at what point does the user have a responsibility to, you know, as a, as a man or a woman or a person to just behave more decently? How can we, I guess, utilize what can we do? It seems like, you know, our society is so grossly missing, like a Martin Luther King right now, like the great inspiring characters throughout American history, throughout world history. Where are the great leaders? So the leadership is part of it, but I, you know, that's definitely where the great leaders are. Very good question. That's that's more of a question of our political systems, why they're not pushing forward the great leaders, but there's also just the. OK, there's some just basic engineering shit, which is. When you and I, when you, Ryan and I are in a room alone and we're talking, even if we're strangers, the incentives are for us to get along. Like just when we're together in person, that's what I'm saying. I'm not even saying some kind of, but when you remove that, when we remove that, the, the, the implementation of the, of social networks as they stand right now in the digital space, a very different set of incentives. It's more fun to destroy others, to be shady to others and that it becomes this loop, endless loop. Like you were saying, that's ultimately destructive and not productive. And I think it has to do with just the interfaces of making it feel good to be nice to others, because currently it doesn't feel nearly as good to be nice to others on the internet. And it doesn't feel nearly as bad as it does in real life to be shitty to others on the internet. So the incentives are just wrong. I think there is a technology solution to this, or at least the solution to improve this, this communication mechanism. It's not obvious how a bunch of sort of more detailed ideas, but this is fascinating because I've gotten the chance to talk to Jack Dorsey quite a bit. This is the CEO of Twitter and he is legitimately has, you know, in this conversation, he would agree with everything and he's a good human being. And he has a lot of really good ideas how to improve things. The question when you're a captain of a ship, whether even it's a question, whether a CEO is even a captain, how much can he actually steer that ship once it's gotten large enough? There's so much momentum. There's so many users. There's so many people who are marketing and PR and lawyers. It's very difficult to change things. Is it difficult because of the fallout or is it difficult because it's actually like literally out of this power? Uh, so power is weird when you have a large organization. This is why the great leaders, what this, what great leaders do, whether it's presidents or leaders of companies, Steve Jobs, I would argue Musk is that way is to walk into a room full of people who don't want you to create drama.


Leadership (01:17:11)

It's weird, man. When people just kind of want to be nice, the niceness creates momentum and nobody wants to, it's the systems thing. Everybody just behaves in the way they were previously behaving in the way they're supposed to behave. And nobody wants to raise a fuss. It takes a great man, a woman leader to step in and say, what we've been doing is bullshit. Okay, you're fired. You're fucked. You're cool. What is it? That right? I'm out. Yeah. I think you have to create constant revolutions within a company that's very, very difficult to do structurally and psychologically is very difficult to do. To, to be able to sort of, yeah, to constantly challenge the way things have been done in the past. And which is why another way it's often done is a startup, like a small company, basically a small company because really successful and then no longer can turn the ship so a new startup comes along, a new competitor that then challenges the big ship and then that starts out the winner. That's like Google came to be, it's a Twitter came to be in Facebook and so on. And Apple has, you know, that was the dream of Steve Jobs is it would succeed for, for many decades, for like centuries. That was the idea that you would keep, keep creating revolutions and under Steve Jobs, Apple successfully pivoted a bunch of times, right? Just like reinvented themselves, which is very difficult to do because, I mean, for at least I don't know if this is accurate because I wouldn't know anything, but I've heard plenty of people complain about Steve Jobs. Yeah. But in reality, the reason that all of these amazing things were done was because this person was willing to, well, obviously brilliant and then also willing to rattle the, you know, rattle everyone's cage periodically and say, Hey, what's going on is not what we need to be doing. That's a really interesting thing. So he would rattle the cage, but he would also, I don't know if those are intricately connected or always have to be connected, but he would just be a dick. So maybe by my, maybe by his standard, I am lazy and worthless. Well, that's, you see that to you. Is he being a dick though? If by his standard, I mean, like, again, it's like everyone's stupid compared to somebody, you know, I guess, but it's, so you, you apparently are able to take that kind of thing is sometimes you just, you, there's, there's ways to cross the line. And I mean, this is okay. The, the fascinating thing about being a leader, especially a leader of companies is it's a people problem. So each individual in a room. So as a leader, you're only really interacted with a small number of people because they're leaders of other smaller groups and so on. But each of those individuals in the room have their own different psychology. Some like to be pushed to the limits. Some, some like like to be screamed at. Some have a very soft spoken and almost afraid to speak and they have to be, uh, you have to, you have to hear them out. Like there's a, and those, those could be all superstars. But we're not, we're not talking about like the C students. We're talking about the eight students. Well, it's funny that, yeah, but the, the thing to man, the skill to manage all of those people is completely separate from the skill to innovate something. I mean, not that they're not connected, but it's funny how it's, it's almost like, uh, you know, why do we have shitty, why do we have shitty representatives? Yeah. Well, I mean, the thing that you do to get elected is nothing to do with governance. Yeah. So well, that's exactly it. But the great leaders have to have both skills. So like you have to have the boldness of, if you look at the great presidents through history, you know, usually it's in a time of crisis is when they step up, but they basically say, okay, stop this old way that Congress works of this bickering of this like compromised bullshit. Here's a huge plan that caused billions of dollars in today's days, trillions of dollars, no extra pork, no extra additions. Just like here's a clear plan. We're going to build the best road network. The, the world has never seen or going to build some huge infrastructure project. We're going to revolutionize internet or we're going to, for the coronavirus, we're going to build the largest like testing facility the world has ever seen in terms of the, we're going to get everybody tested several times a day, all those kinds of things, huge projects and say, uh, fuck all this, uh, the details that everybody's bickering about. We're going to give everybody, uh, $2,000. We can give everybody $3,000, like huge projects. And at the same time, so that's the boldness and the leadership of saying, throw out all the bullshit of the past. And at the same time, be able to get in the room with the leaders of both parties or for the powerful individuals and smooth talk the shit out of them in the way they need to be smooth talk to. So like both of those skills, it seems to be when they're combining one person, that's that creates great leaders must appears to have that Elon. I don't know if Steve Jobs. It's interesting. So the criticism of Steve and a little bit on Elon is he misses some of the human part, but maybe it's impossible to have a really, uh, you have like, Siding in a doll who's a CEO of Microsoft. You have, um, who's really good on the human side, really, really good on the human side, like everybody loves them. Uh, the CEO of, uh, Google and alphabet, uh, there's also the same way. So like, I don't know if it's possible to have both. Uh, you only get so many step points. Yeah. You only get in this, in this RPG of life. Yeah. You got very good at you just through very fast.


How to get good at jiu jitsu (01:22:59)

So you want, I mean, you told the story of blue belt and so on, but you want, you want to black belt really quickly. Uh, and not just in terms of ranks, but in terms of just skill level. I mean, uh, you didn't go to black belt nearly as fast as your skill said, developed, you're like doing extremely well at high level competition. So you're a good person to ask, how does one get good at Jiu Jitsu? We talked about solving problems at the elite level, but when you're a beginner at the, at the martial arts, how do you get good? How much training should you do at the very basic stuff? Like how much training, how much drilling? Okay. And then the mental stuff like where should your mind be? How should you approach it from a mental perspective to? I'll just tell you my perspective on this one. And I guess I would say, uh, I feel step one, I feel lucky to have found, uh, you know, a good training situation, particularly for the time. Um, you know, in, uh, in where, in where I was at. And, uh, I drilled a ton. Um, I, I would drilled and drilled and drilled and drilled and drilled. And, um, one, one thing that's really important to understand though, is that it, I was able to, in a relatively brief period of years go, go from zero to reasonably good, but, um, I think I probably crammed more hours in those small years than most people did training, let's say in two or three times the length. So it may not, it may masqueraded something else other than it is. I could say you have to put in the hours. Yeah. No way around that. I think so. Oh, what did you put in those out? So that when you see drilling, can you break that apart a little bit? What, what, what does drilling look like? Is there any recommendations you can. Absolutely. Simple one, I would say your choices matter, like, uh, there's a, I think that one of the really important things that I think we should consider about Jiu Jitsu is that there's a lot of junk in the system right now. It's like Jiu Jitsu is exploded in terms of, uh, the number of positions, techniques, strategies, this, that rule sets. That's really cool. On the one hand, on the other hand, there's probably a. Just metric shit ton of suboptimal things that are out there that are being taught. Um, I myself included. I've taught things that are looking back five years, three years, two years, one year, I'm like, Oh, I would not do it like that anymore. Straight up. Sometimes I wouldn't do it like that. Other times I would literally never do even that particular movement. Um, I don't think the shrimp is a real move. Uh, it's like, it's a giant spiel and seizure to show in person, but long short of, is there's a lot of things that are, if we think of as fundamental, that I think that are, uh, really pretty negative and also, you know, um, that's Harrison Jiu Jitsu, isn't it? The shrimp. Exactly. It's like the holy, we all worship the shrimp. We love the shrimp. We love the shrimp. Now for people who don't do Jiu Jitsu and you should, the shrimp is, uh, you scoot your butt away from your opponent. Yeah. And it really, it's like a really athletic looking position where you look like, like someone that's trying to stick their butt out on Instagram and then you push your hands away and you expose your face. And then, uh, you lay on your side because someone told you to do that. And you look like a, yeah, I guess you look like a shrimp. Yeah. It's like that time that, uh, you know, someone really credible told me to drink unletted gasoline. I did it for a while. And then, uh, you know, it got to the point in my life where, you know, the next best, the thing that I needed to do to really improve my life was stop drinking unletted gasoline. Yes. And, uh, I would say that there's like a lot of stuff that's, that's in there, that step one is like, uh, it's junk. It's actual junk. And it's, it's not only will it waste your time. It's, it will straight up, it will, it will be like an albatross hanging on you because it affects how you think about things going forward. So although, um, it was, it's funny, like the operating assumptions that we, we work under, um, have a huge, huge, huge influence you mentioned, like growing up in the United States or this being a capitalist society. Like, woo. All right. Now, of course I think that I don't really know any different otherwise. And I think that a lot of times people go, Oh, communism is better. I'm like, haven't seen it. I haven't read any books about it. It's going to be better, but, uh, it's possible. I mean, I haven't experienced it much myself either. So I can't dismiss it out. Right. But I guess I would say it's a fundamentally different, different operating system underpinning and all of my choices, all of, if I honestly believed in that thing, many of my choices on a moment by moment, on a day by day and certainly on a lifetime basis would be very different. So I would say that, uh, it's tough when you're, when you're young in the martial arts, and I mean, all of us are always trying to do our best to learn, but when you're young in the martial arts, you always go if you're a reasonable guy. What do they, what do they call it? Like done in crew, grandminese. I can't remember this is the right one, but basically you go like, Oh, I know what I'm doing here. And so I can say that's not right. But then I read a new story about baseball. I don't think about baseball sounds credible. Um, and it's, it's bullshit, but I can't call bullshit. If you're a reasonable person, you can't call bullshit on things that you don't understand. Even if you suspect it's not right, you're like, well, I've got a reserve judgment. You never, ever, ever set aside your, your need and also obligation to understand why you were doing what you're doing. And don't ask why once ask why over and over and over and over about the same thing. Oh, well, I want to shrimp. Why to make space? Why do I want to make space to get away from the guy? Well, why do I want to get away from? Well, because he's dangerous. Well, why is he dangerous? And you can oftentimes get down to wait a minute. I didn't even need to move three quarters of the time you're actually acting in the other person's self interest. And I, and I guess a lot of times I can't, this kind of goes beyond what we can, you know, demonstrate here, but I would just say, uh, trying to understand what my base operating assumptions are and consistently reevaluate them, which can be fricking exhausting, frankly, and also conson is confidence destroying. But you mentioned that I, that I did pretty well relatively quickly. I was at, um, I started in 2004 and I was at Abu Dhabi, ADCC for the first time as an alternate in 2007. I want to match there against the Blackout World Champion. Um, and the fact, frankly, the fact that I was able to beat someone like that was neat, but at the same time says a little bit more about what Jiu Jitsu is and some of the issues with it than it does about how cool I am or was because that shouldn't really happen when you think about it. You're like, okay, you're, you're champion at ostensibly the one, a very high level of the sport. You enjoy a three inch, four inch height advantage and a 35 pound weighted advantage and you just got beat like that should not exist. I'm serious that I'm dead serious that should not exist. If that happens, you're doing it wrong. Is it that I'm doing it right? Or is it that you're doing it wrong? And there's enough variance in the way that you're doing it that you're allowing me to win. And now I did happen to win that with the 50 50 heel hook, which was 50 50 50, but, um, but basically, which was one of the early examples of like, Hey guys, by the way, people can try to hurt your legs. And that was something like, uh, we mentioned John Danner mentioned, like, you know, myself, Dean Lister, a lot of the guys from the Hensil Grace team that have had amazing success. They've gone and done great things. Um, you know, Craig Jones in the competitive grappling world, basically taking advantage of being very, very good in what they're doing, but also a glaring, glaring, glaring issue with the operating system of Jiu Jitsu, which was, you know, a huge vulnerability, um, in the lower body and not only not attacking it, but having no idea how one does attack it, which means you can't understand how to, how someone will assail you. So anyway, um, I, I guess to come back is if in the, in the absence of knowing what to do, I try to polish what I've got. So if I've got a knife and I'm like, I don't know how to use them. Okay. I'm just gonna sharpen the edge and polish it and make sure that when I need to use this thing, I'll be able to do it because trying to put together a system when you don't have an idea of what's going on. A lot of times you end up making, you know, sub-optimal choices, but as long as you're consistently reevaluating what you're doing, and that's something I've tried to do over time, over and over and over again and try to seek out the, uh, the most, um, the best and also most, uh, articulate or insightful instructors or people of various love, doesn't matter if they're well known or not, that could say, Hey, Ryan, I think you should do this. I think you should do that. And I think all I've ever done in martial arts is try to treat people with respect, honestly, try to, um, demonstrate appreciation for the many, many people who have helped me over time and be the type of person that they want to train with. Not the type of, because we've all trained with people that make us think about beating the ever loving crap. And I never wanted to be that guy. And I was basically saying, like if, if I train with a black belt when I'm a blue belt and, and this person enjoys training with me, that's in my interest. Selfishly, not only do I not want them to beat me up, but selfishly, I should, you mentioned being decent to other people and incentivize being decent to other people, right? With his structure of what you're doing. Selfishly, I'm incentivized to be a nice guy, even if I'm internally a scumbag, which I like to think that I'm not, but basically going like, Hey, this guy's way more likely to help me or this person's way more likely to help me. If I shake their hand, say, thank you, I really appreciate you help me out. And, uh, that thing that they tapped me with four or five times, I'm going to ask them about it. And then they don't have to tell me they're in no obligation, but I'll say, and where they tell me, don't, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it. And, uh, that, that's it. You know, okay. So to summarize, so the way you brilliantly described, I just want to make sure we're keeping track of it. I went all over the place. No, you didn't. You're, you're a pretty on point. But, uh, so the first thing is basically, which is difficult. I want to know if we can break it apart a little bit is don't trust authority, essentially keep asking why. Be respectful without trusting authority, right? Right. Which is, and then the second thing is be the kind of person that others like training with are like being around sort of, uh, being a good friend. So so many people just enjoy being around. So one is completely, which is, yeah, you're right. It's attention, which is like completely disrespect the way that things are done. So asking why constantly one of it is your own flaws and not understanding the fundamentals of what's being described. And then once you get good enough, not understanding, um, like going against the fact that the instructor doesn't understand. And my inability to understand what you're saying, though, doesn't invalidate it. And that's something like you mentioned, like me mentioning, keeping in mind our own flaws. And then also again, the flaws that any of us have is the instructor to your point. And I guess I can speak to being kind of weird. I don't, you know, I like to sit in the corner, but, um, so everyone's a little bit different. Some people, like, you know, I wasn't terribly popular in high school. I, you know, like, uh, I didn't like high school very much, but anyway, I would not going to be rude to people though. I was never going to bully anybody. Yeah. If you said hello to me, I'd say hello back. I would hold the door for you if you walk by, you know, and I would just say, like simple things like that go a long, long, long way. And that actually takes us back to our, uh, um, to our social discussion. We're like, Oh man, how do I become great at jujitsu? It's like, well, I'll start by not pissing off this person who can beat the crap out of me and not disrespecting the person who is probably the clearest, the closest thing to a font of knowledge at that time for me. So, and then recognizing that I should do that for its own virtue because it's the right thing to do when I should try to treat people decently, but beyond that, even selfishly, it's in my interest to do that. But see, the thing is, this is interesting is, um, there's a culture in martial arts, a culture that I like, or the instructor legitimately. So carries a aura of authority. And it's not comfortable to really ask why I'm not. It's, it's a skill to be able to have a discussion as a white belt, the black belt instructor of like, why is it done this way? Like, and saying why again, like, would, I mean, it's a skill to show that you're actually legitimately a curious and passionate and compassionate student versus like somebody who's just being an annoying dick who saw some stuff on YouTube. There's a line between to walk there. I just wonder because like it's the drilling thing. And, you know, I, um, for example, like in my, when I was coming up, there was so much emphasis placed on like clothes guard, for example. And you might, you might actually teach me now. I don't know. But to me, it was like, why do I need to master the clothes? Like, why is the clothes guard on top or the bottom? But the bottom really is the fundamental basics with you. Jitsu, who decided that my body is not my body says this is wrong. I'm like this, like I have short legs, but doesn't even matter the length of legs. There's something about me that just I don't understand how leverage here works for my particular body. Like, so it's just, it's a field thing too. Like it feels like in my basic understanding of leverage and movement and timing and so on, it feels like these certain like butterfly guard or even like half, basically every guard except closed guard. I, I can play. I can dance. Closed guard feels like you're shutting down, uh, like the play that I that wrong or is that make sure that's what you want, because that's almost like an innate characteristic of this guard position, but it's not sold that way, right? It's like, Hey, this is a good guard. It's like, Hey man, here's a bow and arrow versus, and you know how to use this thing, right? Like make sure you're far away and like up on a hill or something, because you could take that bow and arrow, run up on something and try to use it. But if nobody told you not to do that and they told you it was foundational. It's very foundational. It's very important to everything else too. Right. That's back to the shrimping thing. How many things are we taught that even if it's not, let's say, itself is not a garbage thing. Might be effectively garbage. You could give me a Ferrari, but if I try to make it fly, it's not going to work. If you're like, here's a plane. Here's another plane. Here's another plane. Here's another plane. Here's another plane. Here's a Ferrari. I'm like, Oh, it must be a different type of plane. Like you could be forgiven for leap if we're going there, you know, like, Oh, maybe the wings come out or you just go fast enough. It's like a bullet. I'm like, you can make these crazy leaps in your mind and people are doing that all the time. So if you don't provide the context for me or worse yet, you provide improper context. Like how much of a problem is that going to be? Well, I think the skill of the white belt should be just be nice, but so in the complicated human space of one year intention, at least on the in the big picture view is good. That's the question is it's not always when your intention is good. The actual implementation of it is good. So you might be just almost and that's much. It's not the case for you. It's much more the case for white belts. They don't even know their intention might be good, but they don't know all the lines they're crossing all the, right. So they're not actually able to and like interpret all the ways in which they're being totally insensitive to the requests of others, like explicit requests of others. So your job as a beginner is to be a really good listener of those social cues. It's like a visitor in a foreign country, right? Yeah. Like you were representative of people that look like you, people that talk like you, people that have your passport and you're like, man, I'm going to go over here. Oh, I've got my foot up on my knee. Well, if I was in certain countries in the world, that's rude. I'm like, oh, I'm so sorry. But can you imagine as someone says, hey, I really appreciate if you take your foot off. That's pretty rude. And then I want to tell them, well, not where I'm from, man. I'm in your house. I better again, I may go that direction, but let's say I could get away with that. Now I'm a bully. And if I can't get away with that, I'm about to maybe be on the wrong side of something. But I guess, like you said, if we have positive intention, that's fine. But I also have to recognize who I am. And I think that that's one thing that I tried to do and continue to try to do over time. Like we're, oh man, hi, I'm the one that's asking for a favor here. If I spar with Raymond Daniels, Raymond Daniels doing me a favor. I ain't doing him a favor. Let's not get it twisted. So thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate these are not. And this is not like some affected nonsense. This is serious. I'm like, thank you. If I spar with Stephen Thompson, I'm the one being done a favor. George St. Pierre takes his time to spar with me, which he has in the past and not even kill me, which is really, I appreciate that. Cause that's why I consider here. George is not a prop for me to, to, to get my rocks off or see what's going on. And also I'm going to do that and then expect him to just take it. And I've seen it. I've seen, he's a gentleman. I've seen people getting nuts with George and have him just like, he has a, he's a patient of a saint. I don't have that level of patience, but I would just say to come back, what, the figuring out like, Hey, so what, what role am I here? And that comes back to like, at least what I see people on the internet. Yeah, man, I have a beef with Joe Rogan. You're like, no, you don't line. You're some goof. Now I'm like, I'm some random dude. Joe, like people want to, they almost want to like elevate so that we can somehow be level or peers here. If I go into Farazza hobbies, Jim, I'm not a peer of Farazza hobby. I'm a student of Tristar. I'm a guest in the academy. And if Faraz asked me for something short of him, like, you know, telling me to try to do a triple back flip so I break my neck, the answer is yes, sir. I can do a free for us. No man. No worries. And it's, and hopefully it should come with, I guess, a level of graciousness. But I guess that's kind of one of the things that I see nowadays with how accessible people are. Cause I grew up, you know, being a big huge base sports fan of all kinds. I couldn't send Derek Jeter a message and even much less have a possibility of a reply. And if I do, it's like, you know, I have people send me messages. It's very nice that people send some people again, and everyone, not everyone has come from the same place. But plenty of things are like, yo, dude, I need you to do this for me. And I'm like, well, I'll tell you what's never going to happen that I have no idea who you are. And that was how I was addressed. And I don't need, oh man, you're the greatest one, because that's weird. And too, cause I'm not, but just, Hey, Ryan, how are you doing? Hey, do you think you could do the following? If you get a second, like, if I get a second, you're damn right, I can't. Why not? It's easy. But it started with some level of politeness. And I guess like that's maybe being semi-southern. Like I grew up in Virginia. Yes, sir. Yes, ma'am. Like, yeah. Yeah. Well, then there's all different kinds of implementations of politeness. I mean, all most of the successful people I've met, it's been surprising to me how much of, you mentioned peers, like, I could think of Joe Rogan, you mentioned Joe Rogan, but Elon Musk, they don't, like, they almost treat me like I'm the superior. You know what I mean? Like it's not even, it's, it's, that's the politeness. Like, you know, that's the approach. The feeling of it is like I'm the student. I'm the beginner. I'm like approaching a situation. Like it's, it's, it's almost like method acting of like you're better than me. That, and that's how I approach a lot of interactions. Like I have something to learn from this, even if it's like a young, like. Do you think that they're on genuine? They're totally genuine. They're, but it's not a funny thing. Like in spite of who they are, they're incredibly genuine because they respect correct me from wrong. They respect you obviously for what you're putting the table. No, they approach everybody like this. That's what I, they, they, they, I'm sure they respect for what you're putting it. They say, well, beyond that though, there was, they're treating you with dignity as a human being. It's a human being. Which is right. And when they could probably get away with treating most people without a whole heck of a lot of dignity. And I guess what does that always say that like, you know, again, like you can always tell someone of, of, you know, quality because they treat the king and the, and the janitor the same way. But that's what we're seeing a lot like, I guess I don't mean to like to nitpick, but that's where we take issue, I guess, a little bit or, or disagree with the internet. That's where it says with the internet again. I know. People on the internet. The whole man yells at, yells at clouds. But, but anyway, but I guess what I mean is just like the way that people address each other because it's so casual now. You know, and it's, it's great. On the one hand, it's nice. On the other hand, you go, Hey, I just, why can't do, am I somehow, are my worried about diminishing myself? It's like the way that I'm sure that people talk to like, talk to women sometimes. And words, it was so girl. She's bitch. You know, versus like, well, that was supposed to get a good response. What about that was going to elicit a favorable response, you know, versus being anything, anything other than, than just, yo man, what's going on? And I guess that doesn't make any sense. It makes total sense. And that's something that you're referring to. I feel like that's an important, that's an important part of human communication. Let me ask you this.


Learning how to learn (01:43:12)

Sure. You're a new back attacks instructional. First of all, awesome. Yeah. Second of all, you drop a lot of fascinating insights in that, but you quote Galileo out of all people in saying that you can't teach a man anything. You can only help him find it within himself. So we talked about how to start in Jiu Jitsu. What about if we zoom out even more and how do you learn how to learn? How do you optimize the learning process? I don't know the answer to that, but I can tell you what I'd like to do. And I would say like, I can't step one. I don't, I'm not. Maybe this is a little bit easier for me because, you know, I've, I've never had a ton of friends. Honestly, I've, you know, I've got my close friends and people that I know, but I never had tons and tons of people. So I spent a lot of time, you know, thinking. And anyway, I can't, I can't control you. I can't control anybody else. I, you know, I, um, all I can, I want to take my foot. Oh, it's a Marcus Aurelius thing. It's like, you know, I guess the trick to life is figuring out what's in our control and what's not and focusing on things that are in our control, I guess. And so step one is figuring out both internally and then also out in, in the world as a, as a pertains to Jiu Jitsu, what is actually in my control and what is not like passing someone's guard is not in your control. People think it is it ain't. If I can't just do an activity and be unchecked, then it ain't in my control entirely. I can always breathe. I can always, um, you know, become, I can always, no matter whether I'm concerned or not concerned, have, what if you want to call it nerves, you know, I can step forward across the line and say, I will, I will face the challenge ahead. That is all entirely. No one can stop me from doing that. That's entirely me. I control. And that's why I know that every single time that I walk into the ring, I will walk in and out of there with my head of high because there's, I will fight with everything that I have. I can't promise that I'll win. I would say I'd take that same first principles. You mentioned last time we talked, you know, with Elon and the importance of that and going, what are the first principles? And I guess to come back, a lot of times in my opinion, things that people think are the basics are not the basics. You can't learn if you think you're reasoning for first principles, but you're actually like level six. You're actually like layers up. You're making so many, there's so many baked in assumptions to what's going on that you're going to struggle to understand why anything is actually happening internally externally. You name it. So I guess what I would start when it comes to learning is first principles and trying to understand what's going on, but then also simple things first. I can control my posture. I can control my breathing. No one can stop me from doing that. I can control where I place my frames. I can control where I place my limbs. I can move my feet. I can develop the ability to do these things better. Of course. And I do that through practice, through drilling, through watching people. I've been incredibly fortunate in my time in martial arts to train with many of my heroes, to train with many of the people that I looked at. And I was like, that guy is amazing. I want to train with this person. Like Steven Thompson, Kenny Florin, George St. Pierre, Raymond Daniels, Farazahabi, you know, I mean, like Bruno Frazada, Marcelo Garcia, all of these guys that are just. Unbelievable. And I go, well, they're moving in a way that's different. Well, how do I do that? Well, sometimes you can ask them and they can tell you directly. Other times people, part of the genius of what they do is that it's intuitive. And maybe they don't think and understand and see the world the same way that I do. That was something that I experienced more solo. He's amazing. But in a different way than his, it's just we see things fundamentally different. We experienced the world differently. It seems to me that we do. And again, that taught me a really important lesson because I was wanting when I trained there to have someone go, Hey, Ryan, do this, this, this and this. And then that's how it works. And I'm like, all right. Because that's how I understood martial arts at the time. I wasn't ready to have someone tell me like, Hey, it feels a little bit like this. And I just kind of do it, which is kind of what more solo would do at the time is. He was less experienced as a teacher, but that is what he was doing. I was completely, I couldn't separate in my mind performance and understanding. I thought that if I understand, I could do it. And I would also wonder, I would also struggle sometimes to wonder why I couldn't execute things that I thought I understood and why guys like more solo were just so elemental. I mean, in like the like lightning, when like that type of thing, like it's just so in touch with what they wanted with with their capabilities, they could summon their powers. It will. I couldn't always do that. And I guess so recognizing that there was more than one way to the top of the mountain. And also I had a lot of science, but I didn't have a lot of art or I had some science, I should say, but I didn't have a lot of art meeting people like Marcelo taught me. And then Josh Wadeskin actually brilliant guy, chess champion, former owner, maybe owner of Marcelo's Academy. Really great friend. If you give us a book on learning, he does. Yeah, the art of learning, but yeah, he knows a thing or two about it. But a great guy. And anyway, he sat me down one time was like, Look, man, you're doing this wrong. You're missing what the missing, the genius, the brilliance that's right in front of you. And it took me one time. What do you mean? That I was frustrated with with my inability to grasp certain things and sometimes the teaching style being different. Not wrong. Just it was it was it was tough for me at the time. You were trying to replicate what Marcelo was saying is supposed to understanding the the sort the the fundamentals from which it was coming. Right. I couldn't see. I couldn't see where it was coming from. And also sometimes I'm like, well, why can't you explain it in the way that I would want you to explain it? And he said, well, why can't I know where he's coming from? Yeah. So anyway, it was a really important time and less and very, very frustrating from Montes, but it's not. I'm so thankful for that time. And anyway, you know, I guess. Always first principles trying to understand the basics first starting at the place where you can control things, the very basic elements of what you can work with and then when there's other mentors and teachers to meet them where they're coming from, meet them to the extent that I can rather than I'm not like, again, it's like, why are you not talking to me the way I want you to talk to me as opposed to, Hey, where are you coming from? Back to your point. Yeah. But I know that's not entirely specific, but you know, like if you can focus on that and back to the whole, you can't teach a man anything. Marcelo didn't teach me anything, but he taught me in so doing like another another people like that to, you know, to find it within. And it's like, I guess something else that I've heard before is that all learning is self discovery, but all performance is self expression. And I always thought that Marcelo was a brilliant master of letting what's inside out. He would, he was so consistent in his performances. And a lot of times I felt like there was a block there personally, particularly at the end of the year, too, when I was very, very results oriented. And I wasn't, I think I think my focus was, was not ideal. It was definitely not not in the place that I would like it to be. And whether it would have won more or lost more hard to say, but I know that it would have performed better if I'd have adjusted that. And anyway, that recognizing that, again, Jujitsu, I think I've said it before, Jujitsu studies of science, but expressed as an art. It doesn't matter if you can articulate what you know how to do. What matters is if you can do what you know how to do it only matters if you're, you know, I guess if you're teaching in a verbal fashion, it's where they're not just going to articulate it, but recognizing the difference between learning on an intellectual level or conceptual level and being able to to translate that into the physical. And I guess like that's been the thing that I feel like fortunate over time in my own academy to be able to kind of fiddle around and learn on my own and practice my students. And, you know, sometimes I struggle to have great training partners, like when I say great training, I mean, other world class people to spar to roll with, but I've gotten a lot more honestly than I ever would have thought out of being able to practice and learn and fail and try and succeed in my own without, like my own little sandbox, figuring out how I can take an idea and then come up with drills and drills to practice it so that I can actually practice putting it into play. Because again, knowing an idea and then not drilling, what's the point? I'll never have it. It will never, it'll never shoot a light a day.


Deep Dive Into Jiu Jitsu Foundations And Philosophy

Questioning the foundations of jiu jitsu (01:51:18)

So in that DVD, in that instruction, it's an online instructional. I keep saying DVD though. Nobody has DVDs anymore. Do they not? VHS. I don't know. Who has DVD? Well, like Blu-ray. I possess some DVDs. I mean, like I've never watched them. What do you use them for? Like a cup, like a cup, like a thing you put a drink on? I mean, it went in a pinch, yeah. What's that even called? Coaster. Yeah. My matrix coaster. The matrix goes to zeros and ones. OK. So in that instruction that people should should get, I've been watching. I'm really enjoying it. It's I don't even know when it came out recently, right? You like December or something like that? Yeah. It's it's part one. You're actually like ended up being like 18 hours long and I was like, oh, my God, we're going to chop in half. And when it comes together, the whole thing, I think I hope people will like it. Yeah. Well, it's even part one is really good. It's actually had people on Reddit. We're really excited for part two as well. Really? And you also have a back. Oh, the old one, the old one that I that was really helpful to me to understand some very basic aspects of control from really back. Yeah, that was a. You know, that clicked with me. There's very few instructionals. There's very few things I've watched that ever clicked with me. And that was definitely it. It taught me. One thing I don't know. It's you have you drop a lot of sort of bombs. You drop a lot of really interesting details. And it's funny that there's only specific things that really click. Like a lot of it rings true and you kind of take it in and it's like, oh, that's interesting. OK, yeah. But there's certain things that really click. And I remember that first instruction will click with me is like the importance. I don't I don't remember any more like how you communicated it because I'm now integrated. It's now mine, you know what I mean? But it was more about you just describing upper body control and the importance of the upper body control from the back. And just like the there's certain like that you did describe different details on the grips and so on. And as I started trying it, I realized how important upper body control is versus like me. I mean, maybe as a blue belt or something. Well, it was I thought like you have achieved victory when you got the two hooks in. And then I realized like, at least for me, that the hooks were not even for my body type, for my style, for the way I approached things, they were not even important at all. It's supplemental for the most part. Yeah. So they were there for the points, but I can establish a huge amount of control. In fact, the hooks were you were talking about like illusion of choice. It's it's it almost made people panic a lot more when you were like fighting for or establishing that kind of control. They weren't a lot less panicked when the hooks weren't involved, even though they should be a lot more panicked. Anyway, I realized a lot of those kinds of things, especially that had to do with judo because so much of judo on the ground is centered around aggressive, efficient, very fast choking, like different kinds of clock jokes and all that kind of stuff. What a brilliant thing that is only going to start to make its way into it to coming up, but like the judo style approach to like clock choking, trialing from the top of the turtle and stuff. So powerful. Yeah. And the there's something about judo that emphasizes obviously due to the rules, the urgency. So they're you only do techniques to go fast. And then the other thing is which I guess you just emphasize this too, but judo really does, which is the transition. So like while the person flying in the air is the easiest time. I mean, this is like Ryan Hall type of shit, which is like, why not put in your submissions or positional control while they're in the air? And they have if you could, why would you not? Right? Well, I don't throw well, we'll learn how to throw and then do it. And so you should think, I mean, in a transition when they're flying is the easiest time to put in stuff. And that's when you think about jokes as you're throwing, you should be thinking about the choke. And then everything becomes a lot easier. You ever see flabio, conto? You. Man Brazilian judo. Yes. So like with stuff like that. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. But but that has to do with the first starting principle of like, stop thinking this as a two phase game of standing and then ground, start thinking about like the standing in the group. The standing comes before the ground comes after, but everything happens in a transition. Well, I'm also you're attacking. What is the art of war? Like, and we all like everyone's like, oh, yeah, the other world. Ah, yes, he's just. And then they immediately throw it away and then fight like a frickin barbarian. But, uh, yeah, I mean, like, I'm serious, but, uh, you know, how many people quote stuff and then like, you know, it's like, what is it? The family guy joke where they're like, you know, quoting Jesus and Jesus walks in. He's like, you know, I work with you by work. What are you talking about? Anyway, uh, basically, um, you know, like what do you like the art of war? You know, one of the things that's like the only thing that you can be sure of being successful in attacking is something that's undefended. Yeah. Well, like, yeah, but you know, the other in a fight though, they're defended. Well, are they? There's moments all the time where I'm borderline defenseless. And if you were to attack at that moment, if you could see it and then seize the moment, if you were capable of both, you should not only expect to be successful. You should be damn sure you're going to be successful and more and more important than that. You'll be successful. And even if somehow not, you won't be countered. And I guess like, uh, that that's the trick of almost all, all, like conflict, right? It's like showing up when the other person's, you know, taken a nap. And then it's so funny. Like we take like a protracted war. It's like, oh, it takes five years. And there's, you know, lulls and there's a battle this month, but then there's a couple of weeks in another battle. It's like, well, if you just shrink that down as the micro cause and macro cause and my idea, that same thing, that whole war is taking place in five minutes or 10 minutes or 15 minutes. And there's moments of lulls of person effectively going for a snack, you know, being like, you know, in a horror movie, like, Hey guys, I'm going to get a beer from the, from around the way. Like I'm dead for sure. So anyway, um, is there on this particular instructional, if you can convert it to words, uh, you talk about finishing the submission. Is there some interesting insights that you find beautiful or profound about finishing the rear naked choke or just finishing submissions to the back control? Is there something like, you know, you talk about the squeeze and the crush and all these kinds of principles? Is there something about control about the process of finishing that, uh, you find especially profound about this position? Absolutely. The opposite of one profound truth can be another profound truth. So like, uh, it's, I, I, I do, uh, Jesus say that. No, I don't, I actually was a guy on tumblr. Um, but, uh, yeah, um, yeah, it's really, really cool. There's like a, like a tree in the background, but anyway, uh, um, but so let's say like, I'll use, I'll use examples. Like first off, um, I saw someone finishing a 50 50. He'll hook in the UFC one promo that it was like some chubby dude, Nick Rottige. He'll like inside he'll hook another dude and you go, huh. Well, I didn't know they were doing that back then at least. And whether they were doing it all how many times does someone do something. And then that works. And then we go, okay, cool. Versus, Hey, maybe we should do that all the time. So anyway, how long did we all talk to the seat, both the way we all do the seatbelt in jujitsu? Like long time. Why works? In fact, it works so well. And it was so, it was the end, the people who used it were so prolific that we went, well, solve that one. Good to go. All right. No more thinking. And then you go, imagine you were like the Merkel and Merkel flip all those positions that were showing in the, uh, in the DVD, which is pretty much, or the, whatever the heck it is, and the digital VD. Um, no, not VD. Don't want that digital, digital video, something, but basically, uh, recognizing that doing it on the wrong side is at least as effective. Doesn't mean that the other side wasn't good. There could be something that's the literal borderline opposite of that. And you go, huh. Well, that's something like imagine, like, I would say almost all of these things, all the tactics and all the strategies. So I guess that was something that we came to like training in the gym, like. Year ago, maybe I'm then playing with since, and it's just, it's huge. I'm like, oh wait, so let me get this straight. First off, I can use my strong side seat belt, my, my right arm over the shoulder and it all the time. Well, that's, that's really helpful because that's a lot better than my left. I knew both sides of my left, but if I had to bet my life on, on being able to finish it, I would want my right arm over. Huh. Everything that's a tactic or a strategy evolved from an idea, like capitalism's an idea, you know, anarchy is an idea. And then it becomes, well, what does that all mean? And what are the, what are the consequences? What's the fallout of all this? Right? So what if we start with Jiu Jitsu, the idea of the guard, right? And we go, well, I mean, Wendy, why do you use the guard? No other martial art really has developed the guard in the same way that Jiu Jitsu has. Well, what is the guard of guards? And I defensive idea where you're kind of on your back to some extent or another, and you're using your legs as a wall between you and the other person and the other guy represents danger. And you're like, yeah, yeah, that's a great idea. Is it? I mean, it clearly works, at least to a certain extent. But what if, where do I want to put my legs when I want to get up? Not on the other dude. I'm trying to put them on things on the floor. If I want to generate a ton of power, what's the first thing I do with my feet? I anchor them to the floor, drive for a punch, you name it, move away, jump, dark. Yeah, you name it. So does it mean that that's a terrible idea to be on your back? No, clearly it works. And clearly it, it literally has function. But what if the function that we're giving it and we're, and the, how much, how much focus we're assigning to it is disproportionate to its effectiveness? Maybe what if it's not a good idea? I'm not saying it's not a good idea, but what if it wasn't? That's a foundational idea of Jiu Jitsu. And then how much because no one questions that foundation, how much innovation is built on top of the idea? Well, of course I want to be, my being on my back is no key position. So now they're innovating, but they're innovating within a closed system that they don't, they think they're innovating in, in like, in this open space of, Oh, my God, it can be anything. When in reality, it could be anything within this little set. Yeah. But you don't realize that you're in a set. You don't realize that you're in a box. There would be answers that would become so immediately apparent to you. If you were willing to look outside of that, but you're, you'll literally never even look over to your left because you don't even realize the left exists. Do you think there's a lot of places in Jiu Jitsu, whether it's back controller or generally guards and all the different positions where there's a lot of space, like a lot, a lot to be discovered by questioning the basic assumptions? Maybe if you can give examples of like back control, like, is there something you've discovered this? Like Merkel versus Seapelt. Was Merkel with Seapelt? Seapelt is right arm over the shoulder, left arm under the arm. On, I'm on the, I'm on the same side as my choking arm. Merkel is just, I do the same thing. I don't even adjust my hands. I walk myself over to the left side. I'm on the opposite side. It's actually a powerful position. Yeah. For people listening or for people who might not know Jiu Jitsu is a sea belt is a control. We're talking about when one person is on the back of another person, which is a really dominant position in Jiu Jitsu, Seapelt is a, I guess, widely accepted way of holding your arm. This is almost, that's right. This is, yeah. And it's worked so well. So it's a one arm over, one arm under. And there's a certain side you're supposed to be on when you're on the back. You know, everyone teaches there's a choking arm that's on, that's over. Your body's supposed to be in a certain side relative to that. And then Ryan is describing questioning these like basic assumptions of all which side you're supposed to be on. And let's say that's even just like a mid-level assumption. It's not even a first principles assumption, but it's pretty close to it's getting there, but let's just say for sake of argument, it goes a lot deeper, maybe. I think most of the innovation that I see is not innovation. It's like basically changing the color of a car or polishing like the window a little bit where you're like, hey, you made it, you made it a little bit different. You made it a little bit better. It's like, oh man, what if I did the same guard and then grab the lapel? I'm not saying this bad, but you're not fundamentally changing anything. I think most of the big seismic shifts that we see in almost anything come from. Hey, that thing we thought was right was wrong rather than not only is it right. It's even writer and you're like, it's not wrong. It's not bad, but that's your, your, it's like, oh man, let's say, for instance, I didn't make the triangle better, but let's say I made the triangle a little bit better than it was or then it was taught. Um, I mean, you can call innovation. I don't know, man. It's not like the person that said, hey, have you guys ever heard of a triangle before and came up with that? We're like, that is, I feel like that's, that's on the list. You can do this thing to people. Are you kidding me? Can you imagine you invented the straight right hand? You'd be like one punch man. You can walk around and just, just lay low every single person you got into a fight with because it didn't even occur to them to hit you with their backhand in a world full of jabbers. You throw your backhand. You're going to kill people. So basically, by the way, I mean, just to pause on that, first of all, somebody did invent the triangle probably, right? Sure. It's not a trivial thing. What's it like? No, it's like many of these giant things that we all go like, oh, yeah, yeah, we all use that now. Can you imagine you have triangles and heel hooks and rear naked chokes and I don't have those? You're on your board. I mean, like that's, that's why that's we all experience every single one of this, particularly those of us. I mean, when did you first start training elect? Uh, 12, 13 years. Well, let's not calm wrestling, but 13 years ago with just right on. So let's say about that time where particularly it was still like kind of, kind of undergroundy, you know, and you're like, hey, we all experienced being like a relative, like a mid-level wipe belt and being able to easily beat up all our friends because everyone wrestled other buddies. And it was one of those ones where like they don't have weapons to end the fight. You have weapons to end the fight. That's so, that's such a crazy, you know, asymmetric advantage that if you lose, it's on you now, man. Like you get like you had the next time it's like, I've got this rifle and you have nothing and I decide to put it on my back and then run over and try to karate chop. You're like, okay, next time, just make sure you use the rifle. But I'm like, oh, yeah, I should do that. So yeah, it's kind of fascinating to, I mean, everything you're describing is a, there's a fascinating tension between like whatever I show people for the first time, what I try and go as just like regular people. Uh, it's like they're discovering is like, Oh, okay. That's interesting. I mean, MMA has changed that, but people haven't watched MMA. That's an interesting move. It doesn't make sense why that would be a choke. And they kind of quickly accepted that's a thing and they accept the basics without questioning. Wait a minute. What's actually being choked? What, how is it that a shoulder of a person can do the choking? Like I'm, I'm not sure I fully question the fundamentals of all of that. Like I claim I have either. What exactly is the blood supply that's being cut off? Like what, what is the anatomy and the physiology of all of that? Why does this work? And if you understood all that, what else could we do here? Yeah. What else can we do here? That's the really important thing. But if we know, if I'm an end user, which almost everyone is of almost anything, I'm serious where I'm like, I think about stuff in my life. The only things I really think about are like martial arts and martial arts strategy and like, I don't know, some other couple, couple of other things, but not much. And anything else in my life is borderline unexamined. And I like to think that if I put a lot of effort in something, I'd like to think that I could figure at least some things out about it. But I figured out almost nothing about anything in my life, because I haven't even looked. And, you know, if you're an end user, what do you capable of versus you can literally alter the source code, you are neo in the frickin matrix. If you can alter the code and I can't. And it's like, we think, ha, ha, ha, but imagine you are a world class, anything, or even not even world class, forget it, like a purple belt compared to a white belt or compared to a no belt might as well be John Jones or Marcelo Garcia. You're going to beat them up comparably bad. So it's a that's that actually is a common thing where people can't tell the difference between levels. Like, Oh, man, I've trained with my black belt instructor. How much better could someone so be like, so much better. You're going to have a hard time wrapping your head around it. I remember when I first trained with Marcelo Garcia in 2007, I was a decent purple belt. And of course, you mollywock me very gently. And then, uh, training began in 2008. I was definitely better. I won the Guillain-Nogi Worlds that you're a purple belt. So definitely not for the record. I'm definitely not a Jiu-Jitsu world champion. I wanted the purple belt, but like that's not the same. Winning a black belt and tough accomplishment, but not in the same thing at all. But anyway, um, like I was definitely better. He beat me up just the same way. Okay. 2009, I was a lot better, got a medal at ADCC that time, won the trials, crushed everybody, like no, submitted everybody, like, bop, bop, bop, train more. So I see it. It was worse. And 2010 train more. So I see the same same. So the idea was, uh, I wouldn't be able to tell you the difference and the outcome difference was the same in all of these rounds. I was significantly more experienced and more and more adept each time, each time that this occurred, but it was like, how many number of times did this person submit? You were past your garden around them. Like, I don't know, probably like, let's say five, each one, because it's a brief period of time. And let's say it was three on one, six on the other, whatever. It's comparable. It's six, one, a half dozen. Would I be able to easily tell the difference? No, I would just say I know in concept that he's way better. So much better, but there's plenty of other people that could have beaten me just as bad as Marcelo did when I was a pro belt or when I was a brown belt. Then maybe I would watch more solo walk through like their borderline, not there. So it's neat. Like if you, that's back to kind of what I was talking about about certain people getting to really like peel back some of what's really special about the martial arts or any activity I presume, um, is they get to a level of understanding and depth. That they're playing with like the almost the reality of that thing. And I'm playing by rules that are not rules. I'm not, I'm not even one of these, the matrix analogy. I'm not even an agent, which is the best version of something playing by the rules. Yes. I'm like one of the regular people or one of the regular people in that got out of the matrix. So I'm like, oh, I'm cool. But when I fight an agent, I lose because we're both in the rules, but they just play them to the, play them to the bone. And I'm just here one. Then the agent encounters Neo and they can do nothing. You're like, why? Because operating outside of what the rules are, but not really what the rules are, what they perceive to be the rules. So anyway, I guess that's kind of my point about Marcelo or certain other people that are doing things. We go, that doesn't even seem real. It doesn't seem real to me because I don't understand what's going on. And I guess if we can get down to base assumptions, but like if we can constantly strip away, strip away, strip away, let's say we always thought that turning left was right. It was correct. And it turns out that turning right was correct. Change your life. Yeah. It's a, what's the soccer you said? The unexamined life is not worth living. So you just basically have to rigorously just constantly examine every, just every assumption over and over and over. But doesn't that give your life meaning to come back to the struggle, to come back to free will, to come back to what if we could strip all that away? All right. Cool. All right. Let me just take the needle in my arm and that's that. Yeah.


Humans cannot fully comprehend reality (02:10:23)

No, I mean that that constant striving for understanding yet another lower layer of the simulation we're living in is is something that's actually deeply fulfilling that I don't know if it's genetically built in, but there's something about that striving to understand that seems to be deeply human. We just funny, what makes a human? We don't talk about the soul anymore, man. I went to Catholic schools, a kid. And whether you buy into all that stuff or not, you're like, what, what about the soul of a person, the spirit of a people, the spirit of a nation? Anywhere, the spirit of humanity. We don't, we don't, we don't, we don't, we talk about everything like it's this quantifiable thing when maybe certain things are maybe everything is. But then what happens if there's things that just aren't quantifiable, that nothing in our understanding can or will ever explain? And that doesn't mean that that should be our assumption. It's for your assumption that we can explain everything and let's get to the dang bottom peel peel peel peel. But what if there is actually something that like that you that we need challenge for? Yeah. And we could be looking in the wrong place by going, ah, where is it in the jeans? Maybe it is. I again, I'm not saying we're looking wrong place like I would know anything. I do karate, but basically, uh, not even well. Um, but, uh, yeah, we do karate mediocre. Just ask Raymond Daniels or Stephen Thompson. But, uh, I guess to come back though, you just, are you a yellow belt? Yeah. You're, you know, I actually have, you ever see the, yes, sign felt up. It's over Kramer fights the kids. Yeah, I did that at Raymond Daniel school under the kids, kids won in class as in addition to the, uh, the alleyway. Oh, yeah. But I just did it off. Yeah, exactly. When I was on my last legs, but, uh, but yeah, I would just maybe it's funny. I feel like there's something deeply missing from, you know, from public understanding anymore that it's almost like the idea that we can figure everything out, which I deeply believe in, but also the possibility that there's some things that we'll never really see and some things we'll never understand. And there's something you, like you said, uniquely human about the human experience that even if I had the power to change, I don't want to fuck with it, man. I don't want to change that thing. Oh, yeah. Well, I wouldn't it be great if we just immediately knew the outcome of everything and you just press this button. You know, I got to ask, what's the point of living life? Even if you could do it, it's the, it's the, you're seeing Jurassic. Well, I'll leave you to be sorry. I know I'm talking about in Malcolm Jurassic Park, Jeff Goldblum, right? Life life, uh, uh, finds a way, but we were so concerned with whether or not we could. We didn't stop to think whether or not we should. Maybe. I think there's an, I mean, it's a deeply human thing, but it's also a really useful thing to. Always kind of assume that there's this giant thing that you don't understand. So you can forever be striving to understand because that process gives you meaning, but also keeps making you better. Like thinking that actually even just thinking that you can't understand everything will lead you to stop too early. So like, uh, I think there's something to whether it's the soul or whether it's like religious stuff, like assuming that there's this thing that you cannot possibly understand is a really good assumption under which to operate and under which to do this first principles kind of thinking, because you can just keep digging and keep digging and keep digging, even when it seems like you're at the bottom, because you don't fucking know if you're at the bottom or not. And back to your original back to one of our, I guess our, our other kind of tangents was that comes back to everyone's a human being. The smartest human being in the history of humanity is so hilariously weak, like short-lived and not intelligent. You create self-bro. I understand. I didn't say, no, I'm not saying comparison to me. Comparison to me, everyone is awesome, but that's, that's why I don't do the goat thing. But basically, uh, you know, we're, it's just from on a cosmic level. Can you imagine if you were vampire, you're like 900 years old, like how much you would seem, you would seem like a lowercase, G God to people. Yeah. You'd be like, how can you have, how could you know so much? How can you have such a long view perspective? It would be insane. So I mean, that it seems like we're, we're talking about AI now, right? We're creating things that are infinitely smarter than us effectively and live all this time. And it's probably going to do what we tell us to do, right? No, it's probably, well, I hope he keeps us around.


Artificial intelligence (02:14:34)

Do you, by the way, think about AI and the existential threats, like speaking of gods, are you is this whole technological world? We talked about social networks and this increasing power of technology around us. We ourselves are becoming less human because we keep becoming, we keep relying on technology more and more. So we're becoming kinds of cyborgs, but also there's a future that's quite possible where the technology becomes smarter and more powerful than us humans. And, you know, starts having a life of its own in ways that perhaps we don't imagine as human beings. I don't just mean like two-legged robots walking around and being humans, but smarter. I mean, like an intelligent life that's, that's beyond and fundamentally different than our human life. It's infinite. It's a little secret in your species. Yeah. And you, and you kind of species, not even just a new species. You talk about systems, but like it lives in a space of information. It lives in a different time scale and a different scale of all sorts of spatial scale. It operate like we speak, we spoke about individuals. It doesn't operate in the sense of a single individual, like a embody. It's not embodied. So it's not like a thing that walks around and it like it looks at stuff. It consumes the world. It's able to do much larger scale sensing of the environment around it, all that kind of stuff. I can barely even try to, I can barely conceive what that would be like. Are you scared or are you excited? I don't define, scared or excited. I feel like I try to tend to define them like the same way. Or I'm like, I guess I'm kind of like when before karaoke. It's the same. Well, that's actually kind of my happy place. It's not so much everyone else's. You know, it's everyone else is probably heading for the door at that point. But you know, it's while you're doing it or leading or leading up to the karaoke. Well, it depends whether or not, whether or not they know it's me. If they know it's me, that's before I start, if they have, they're like, who's that guy? Then they're like halfway through the song. They're already throwing their beer. What categories of song or particular song are we talking about in terms of like your happy place? Oh, man. Are you kidding me? I mean, obviously we hate me in Rhapsody. I mean, there's no question because I don't have to sing it here. It's that. So I can remember, can I be, can I be, can I get a course? Is he here? No. Yeah, then yeah. Yeah. All right. If you like, you're no, that I have a torn. I've a I've torn feelings about the human rhapsod because I like the beginning part, the sadness. I like the solo heartbreak. But the second part, I understand it. But it's so it gets ridiculous. It's so ridiculous. It ruins it for me. But it's more about flexing on people. I think if you can actually hit hit that hit that you know, the falsetto. Yeah. So it's it's not okay. So you appreciate not for the musical beauty and complexity of the song. You just like to flex. It's like for all. Yeah. Like what's the purpose of anything except for just to let everyone know that you think you're cool. And there's no better way of doing that than karaoke. So I'm not sure why I brought a cast of audience. Yeah, exactly. Oh, a lot of fear and excitement of artificial intelligence. I mean, you know, me, I don't know anything about it. I just basically, I don't I don't understand the implications of any of this. I would just say that like, radically altering what it means to be human in such an unbelievably short period of time. It just seems like such a crazy thing. And also it's not like we're I can't remember who said this to me recently. I mean, you like I can't remember. So this is definitely not my idea. But we're we're not even going, Hey, would you like to opt in everyone? Everyone is being opted in, you know, and particularly when you want to talk about like large scale robotics, a large scale AI, like the world is changing people in Senegal are opting in right now without realizing it. It's not even like any again, I don't mean to pick on Senegal. It's just this whatever country comes up to mind, but it's in the developing world. But basically, you know, recognizing that this huge shift is coming. We have no idea. This is a decent idea. And also something else I've always been considered is, you know, you think about most of the really awful, awful, awful things that have done in history, large scale slavery, holly, you name it. It didn't, people say that it came from this motivation or that motivation. Maybe it did. Maybe it didn't fundamentally the issue, at least in my mind. I'm not a historian, power differential. If you, if you and I can't contest, we don't contend, it's not like you, we fight and you might win or we fight, even you'll win comfortably. It's you are so unbelievably powerful compared to me that there's nothing I can do to stop you. That seems like a recipe for something really, really not great happening because if you think about like, you know, European countries encountering each other, and I'm just speculating I don't know anything about history, but let's say countries that can contend with one another versus countries that can't, let's say an alien species, alien race shows up, you know, right now we don't want that. I think Stephen Hawking said that makes perfect sense to me. We don't want that. If you can come here, we better hope you're nice because what are we going to do? What are we going to hope that you invade the water planet like they did in, you know, one of the, uh, Lord of the world. So I guess what I'm trying to get across is like shocking levels of power differential between groups makes the next world ripe for horrific abuse in the event that someone decides to do it. It's like, like you imagine an adult hitting a child, like hitting, hitting a child? No one in their right mind would ever go like, oh yeah, that's a great idea because it's such an, it's so grossly imbalanced. You're like, this is wrong, but it's also on the table only because of the gross imbalance. So I guess to come back, it's like whether we create AI and it's on some crazy level of its own or it's, I'm in charge of it or I just, it seems like we're, we're creating, you mentioned like a game theory and nuclear war, what prevented nuclear war. I mean, I presumably mutually assured destruction. I mean, hopefully also humanity and the humanity and the, the reasonable, you know, cooler heads prevailing and going, Hey, I can, I can understand the veil of ignorance and I, um, I don't go, Oh yeah, let me kill those guys because I can't go. This is wrong period. And in concept, this is not an action I should take, but it's also nice and easy to keep me honest if I know that I can't get you without being got myself. Yeah. But what happens when I can get anyone, anything and I'm more or less untouchable? Like that seems to me to be like, like various times in colonial history, you know what I mean? And what happened? We know what happened. But so the possibility of really bad things are plentiful. The possibilities, but the possibilities of really positive things are plentiful. Like, like what though? I'm not saying wrong. I don't actually. So I can give a million examples. One is just the examples of the parents and the child. You said, uh, there's a power differential there and we don't like a parent hitting their child. What? Not just hitting like beating. Like, really. Great. So beating their child, how often percentage wise do you see that happening? Even though that that, uh, power differential, first of all, other people's kids, let's just put this on the table. I love kids, but others people's kids can be annoying sometimes. Sometimes you got to deal out some justice. I get it. But we don't practice. We don't take advantage of that power differential. Like there is ethics, there's moralities that emerge that allow the power differential to be used for good versus for bad. So like you're one of the assumptions with Stephen Hawking or with, uh, if Russia became much more powerful than America or America, much more powerful than Russia in the Cold War, your assumption that immediately that power differential, not your assumption, but what express itself, right? What express itself in the, in the same way that it was trying to express itself when there was a more, uh, level competition, but it's also possible when the power differential grows, the incentive, the joy, whatever the mechanisms that, uh, made sense when it was at the same level, the, the incentives become very different. That's not as fun to destroy the and colony. You start becoming more the kind of a conservation list. Like one hopes. What's an evolved perspective though. Yeah. Well, I don't know if it's evolved or not, but it's definitely a possibility. It's unclear to me that something that's many orders of magnitude more powerful than us will want to destroy us. Well, I mean, what did we, what did, I mean, how did, how did mass slavery occur? How did, you know, like just big dogs playing with not? I think, I think slavery and a lot of the atrocities in history happened when the power differential was not as great as, as we're talking about with AI potentially. Is that not somehow worse than it would? It's not obvious to me. It's not obvious that things that are way more powerful. That's sure. Okay. So I think, I think you're, I guess how do you restrain it though? Uh, there, there's a lot of different discussions of how to, uh, I guess even restrain each other because let's say I go and decide to strike someone's child, which I'd like to think I wouldn't do. Yes. I will be promptly, I will find myself in front of a judge. And so I feel like there's a lot, can you imagine how many people used to get murdered just in the woods? Yeah. I mean, I would just presume it's a lot, you know, and I don't think most people are, are lunatics like that, but I would just say, if you're given though, if you're given to that, your ability to get away with it was, was greater in the past because of chance of detection was less. So that doesn't, I don't know, it's gonna be a reasonable. This is what's called an artificial intelligence, AI safety research called value alignment of ensuring as you build the, the systems that become smarter and smarter and more powerful and powerful, make sure that their values are aligned with the entities over which they're becoming powerful with the, with humans. So if you were to talk to an AI that's becoming smarter, first is dumber than unit, but it's becoming smarter and smarter. You have to create mechanisms, where you both value the same things. I guess one thing I wonder, so I guess I'm, I'm probably not like sharp enough to grasp this if I'm honest, but I guess like I wonder like, I used to do chess programs. You know, was deep blue, stock fish and then like alpha zero and alpha zero teaching itself to beat stock fish without any help in four hours. Like it becomes orders of magnitude more intelligence than us in effectively an instantaneous period. I guess what I always wondered like, if you were that much smarter than me, I feel like your ability to manipulate me would be pretty significant or at least potentially, you know, but manipulation implies that the incentive is to overpower everything around you. Like there's implied incentives. If your value is to actually like, it depends what you want in life. Okay. What you want in your system, it's, it's not clear that the goal of an AI system that's all powerful is to destroy all humans. No, I don't think that I don't think that it is either. I guess what I'm even in slave all humans. I, that's fair. I guess what I'm trying to suggest is that something adequately powerful, these, these actions are on the table. Yes, they're on the table and that's scary. And that's why a lot of people are really concerned about it and are working on it. Like I'm just trying to make the case for AGI because if they're watching this, he's the one to kill. No, actually I was thinking I was, yeah, I, I, I watched toilets like really well. There's, there's. No, I mean, that, that's the main concern for all the people in the AI, I say to research, people talk about AGIs. It's, it's kind of disturbing how little people are working on trying to create mechanisms that keep AI's values aligned with ours. It's completely unshocking. Yeah. We, we humans seem to do only good when like, you know, even look at like coronavirus is like when, like the water has to be leaking from the ceiling. You have to be there. Fine, fine. Blod everywhere. Fire, just destruction. We just seem to ignore completely any. Writing all over the wall. Writing all over the wall. This is fine. It's nothing to see here. We'll be okay. But we do all right, especially in the United States, you figure out even when it's becomes a really serious problem, taking actions last minute, there's something about the innovative spirit that results in a solution last minute right before the deadline. That's, that's, well, I mean, how, I don't know how you did school probably a lot better than me.


Deadlines (02:27:27)

But that was exactly how I did school. I couldn't be more, I was no motivation up until like the last, if you're like, we have 22 hours to do the entire semester's award, like, let's do this. Yeah. Yeah. Like 19 freaking Mountain Dues. And then, yeah. Well, that's, that's why you and I are failures in life because I just talked to, I mentioned Cal Newport with his books, Deep Work and so on. He is of the variety of these creatures that basically does everything ahead of time. That's shocking. Because he, this, this likes the, he thinks it's unproductive to experience the stress and anxiety of the deadline because you're just, you're, you're not going to be your best performance wise and you're not going to do the best work. So it doesn't make any, it's completely irrational to, to a function based on the deadline. You should have a system, a process that gets stuff, a little bit of stuff done every day. But like you should be, and constantly be systematically honest with yourself. If you say, I'm going to get this stuff done today and this week at the end of the day, at the end of the week, you have to then reflect on what you did, who you planned and improve that plan, update it constantly, update every day, every week, every quarter, whatever those durations are. As I'm listening to this and reading his stuff, it's like, oh, yeah, I grew with everything. I'm like, yes, I'm clapping. But like the reality is, and then I go back and just eat Cheetos and like, don't do shit until like last minute. It may be in cheesy. Yeah. Yeah. I don't eat Cheetos, but yes. But actually, like again, not that it'll ever matter, not that it's ever going to matter because he's so shockingly productive and well thought out that whatever I've decided to think about trying to monkey wrench in there is, is definitely going to be able to deal with. But it's funny that again, because you're a human being, not a God, all of your strengths are you have a corresponding weakness, the less you practice working under the gun, the less comfortable you are working under the gun, the more practice you have working under the gun, the better you get it, the downside is you're always working under the gun. So you're less productive. It's like your work quality maybe drops. So it's an interesting thing. It's like, it's almost like, hey, I wonder if this, I wonder if Khibib Nomega Madoff has a lot of heart and I'd say the answer is almost certainly yes, but you go, well, he hasn't struggled a bunch. Maybe he doesn't struggle well. And it just so happens that he can also work under the gun really well. He just doesn't like to do it. But yeah, but it's an interesting thing. It's like, I guess what is it, the aerosautical? We are repeatedly due. We are all practicing something all the time. So I guess it's funny. I guess that's a question that I have though. I would love to ask him if he really needs is a certain jobs. I mean, obviously you want to have preparation always, always, but certain things have like a degree of like entropy in the system and you go, I need to practice working under the gun. I'm not saying that's what I need to do because fighting it should be for the most part. It's a really sterile environment. The grand scheme of things like fighting in a cage is very sterile compared to most other things in life, right? But dangerous, but sterile. And unless of course like, you know, like the other guy, the ref decides to hit you with hilarious. But anyway, I guess just going like, okay, so at what value do you get out of adding a degree of, let's say you could even be planned by someone else, but junk in the system and you just have to work under the gun to make it happen. Like say, for instance, for like police or something like that, the situation turns left hard at some random point in time and that could happen to any number of people. So I guess it's interesting things that allow for perfect planning or quasi perfect planning versus things that are inherently unstable. And then what are the, what's the psychological fallout of comfort with that? Because I think a lot of people that are really comfortable under the gun, let it happen a lot for all the good and the bad of that. Does that make sense? Totally makes sense and it was, I mean, his answer would be that you have to be honest with yourself. If it's valuable for your success to practice being under the gun and then you should schedule that. Yeah, he's more. He should plan that. He should systematically and then as opposed to doing it half-assity because it's as opposed to letting the environment choose the randomness, like control the randomness to where like you optimize it. I wish it's so efficient at shocking to see here about it. Yeah, no, he's, he's annoying. I mean, the same way you are. He's annoying in the same way, which is like he, he drops truth bombs. It's like, yeah. Yeah, that's so true. Yeah, we're probably comparably, yeah, doing that. No, he does. But he's, so he, his profession requires that. So he's not just like a motivational speaker, whatever. He, he's a computer scientist, theoretical computer scientist and he needs the long hours in the day of doing like serious math. So it's mostly math proofs. And for that, you have to sit and think really deeply. It's like really hard work compared to like what most people do. Like even what I, I mean, what I do, like programming is way easier than rigorous math proofs because you have to basically have this machine and you have to, your brain is brain to turn out logic in a focused way while visualizing a bunch of things and holding that in your brain and holding that for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, hopefully several hours. And you're not just like doing homework. You're doing totally novel stuff. So like stuff that nobody's ever done before. So you keep running up against the wall of like, fuck, this is a dead end. Oh no, wait, is this a dead end? And like that whole frustration, that's serious mental work. It's like incredibly difficult mental work. So he knows what he's talking about. That's amazing. But like you said, he's like, this seems like the standard for the quality of work that he needs is so high that almost anything less than this level of systematization and organization would preclude it, right? So he can't afford the kind of bullshit that I don't know about you, but that certainly I do, which is like last deadline kind of stuff because you can't do that kind of work last minute on kind of stuff. So my question for human general is like, and for you and I is like, well, here's these negative patterns that we do of like doing shit last minute and so on. Is this just who we are now? Or are there some? I don't think I'm really big into free will. You know, I was thinking that it's mostly predestination. At least in this regard. It's the same with like communism. Like as long as it fits my whatever is the lazy thing to do, I'll just not believe in free will. Yeah, I'm not a communist one opportunist or that's when that was. I'm an opportunistic communist and capitalist. I just do whatever is cool at the time. Exactly.


Tie choke (02:34:19)

Let me ask you to examine some fundamental principles of a particular thing that Joe Rogan brought up to me several times online and offline, which is that he thinks that the tie that I wear is something that makes me vulnerable to attack that you should be the reason he doesn't wear a tie is because he can get choked very easily with a tie. It's a big concern. Okay. My contention and by the way, he wore a suit last time too. He didn't wear it on the podcast. He wore it for dinner later. Yeah, I wore a suit the other day and I had no socks on. I didn't realize. Yeah. You're supposed to wear a socks? That's my understanding. Why'd you wear a suit? You go to court? No, no, not in that one. No. I just wanted to play. I wanted to pretend I was an adult for a day. Okay, cool. Yeah. So my contention is like the jacket. Everything is more dangerous than a tie. That's kind of where I was going with that. Yeah. That's kind of where I was going with that. That's my first thought too. Like if the once the tie becomes an issue, like, yeah, like everything else is already an issue. It's already an issue. Yeah. Now, without messing with it now, to me, has some of the similar problems that a belt does. So, like, for example, I don't know about you. Maybe you can correct me, but I'm not sure you can use the belt as tied. I know there's some kind of guards you can probably utilize the belt with, but the belt sorry when it's tied around the waist. Maybe we're talking about a belt belt or a gee belt. Sorry, gee belt. Sorry. It's important that gee belt. It's not that great of a thing to use in most cases, I would say, because it slides. Yep. It doesn't. You can probably invent a few interesting ways to use it as leverage, as control and so on, but there's just so many more things around the belt that are better. Better, better, better. Yeah. And so for me, the tie with people don't realize. That's better. I'm trying to sell a DVD here and have some widgets and bells and whistles, because in that case, the belt is really important part of what we do, and I would really encourage you guys to look into it. If we're trying to actually learn something and say, like you said, we're surrounded by better options. Well, that's the thing. I mean, it's not obvious to me that the belt, maybe there's actually undiscovered things about using the belt. I think people have used putting a foot inside the belt somehow, inside the gee belt. This is a no-punch gee grappling situation. Yes. So it's fairly contrived, right? But with punches too. Okay, let's talk about a street fight with a belt that's a gee jeans belt, like a belt clothing belt. Okay, so I get to take it off and whip them in the face with the buckle? How serious is this street fighter? We talking like that? No, but they're not just... Or are they... Get beat up? Or are we talking like... No, like death. Like one of you has to die. Oh, yeah, actually. Whoa. Okay. Oh, you ever... I'm in this situation all the time. And there's a reason I'm still here. I have something. I have something to start a fight with the Starbucks. I fight kids. We're talking about a power differential. Yeah, yeah. Hey, just beat up kids all the time. Just pick the ECW. You just got to get the ECW because you want the hard ones. I'm undefeated. And come around the playground and watch what happens. No, like to the death, what is their clothing that's useful? You know, from my perspective... You mean like for your use or their use? Both. Or my use, their use. No, like, I like how you wanted to take the belt off and use the buckle to hit them with. But first of all, how are you going to take off the belt? Well, there's a lot of effort involved in unclothing. Well, what I was figuring was when they started to see me take my pants off and the fight, they were like, "What?" They're going to pause and rethink the situation for a second. Yes. And I'm making dead eye contact, obviously, so on. So, yeah, exactly. Nodding. And then, you know, by the time they realized you took a belt off until you could whip them with it, you actually, you're already one, possibly two steps ahead. Okay, so fine. Let's not talk about your own clothing. Let's talk about their clothes. Okay, I'll take off their belt and hit them with it. No, but that's much harder. No question, but if you can do it. Oh, I'm maintaining. I got no. I just said, "How do they come to this?" The point is there's alternatives that are perhaps more effective. In my perspective, this might be clueless. There's almost no clothing that's more effective than almost assuming the situation is no gee grappling. Like, I feel like clothing. Particularly when you start to add hitting. Like everyone else, I'm going to talk about grabbing your clothes. You start hitting and something like nothing could work, but most of the time you're like, "Why am I not using my arms for something better than what I'm doing them right now?" Right. Yeah. It's very difficult for me to, I don't know, in terms of just distance. I can't imagine a case of different distances, even like situations where let's not talk about like a situation where you haven't both yet agreed that a fight is happening. Mm-hmm. Solid clothing is nice if they have it on then. Solid clothing? Oh yeah, something like a good jacket because you can snap somebody on their face. Snacks. Snacks down. Yeah, you know, it's like if you took my, like, you know, like you snap down in judo, like how easy it is to snap down a beginner. Yeah. It's like. So I agree with you. Actually, a tie in that sense might be a really effective way to snap down. So the snap down is really powerful to change the, like, disorient the situation and give you a lot of different opportunities for, you know, taking their back, taking them down, doing hilarious stuff, like snapping them down with a tie into your knee. And then when they come back up doing this and you're already. So yeah, in that sense, I agree, but not as a choking mechanism because the certain Joe had is a choke. I think you probably choked me with your tie more easily than I could choke you with your tie. Probably. I'm serious. Because like if you get, like you get my back and you can put it around somebody's neck, you know, like, like, like you ever see a die hard? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Even when, when the super Swedish looking blonde dude or whatever was, was trying to choke Bruce Willis with the, with the chain. Yeah. And then he ended up getting choked himself with the chain. If I recall this properly. But anyway, yeah, like, like that. But, uh, I don't feel like, I feel like if I start grabbing your tie, you have too many other great options. I mean, I do like the snap down that you actually made me realize. No, I think you have, yeah, get there. What's that? I think you're on the right path with it. With a snap down. Yeah. Particularly if you start with like one of these, like, you know, like, like you like you post your figure much as then snap down real quick. Oh, yeah. Cause it, it also socially speaking, it's not a threatening thing to, you know, to, to reach for the tide. It's not particularly like a business setting. You know what I mean? They never see it coming. Yeah. Cause I was thinking choke, but this is not, it's a really good leverage point. Cause like grabbing a jacket, the jacket will slide. If you try to snap down, you really have to get a whole, like a really good hold. That's a good point. Cause it's around the back and then what if it's a clip on how much of a jackass would you look like? You feel like, and then they just, yeah, I stick you on. But you ever see the, uh, Japanese politician or I think it was Japan. The dude on the wrong? Yeah. It was the guy's so, he was so common cool. And like it was, it was beautiful technique. The level of, uh, of actually the throw was even gentle. Yeah. But, uh, yeah, it was perfect. It was amazing. Well executed. Yeah. More of our politicians just toss the shit out of his head. Yeah. We need more Teddy Roosevelt's exactly. I like our politicians like talking about fighting when it's clear that none of them even it would ever have been in the fight ever. Yeah. Somebody was saying Teddy Roosevelt is interesting. I didn't realize this as he's one of the greatest presidents this country's had. And he was one of the greatest presidents even though he faced no crisis whatsoever. He literally willed himself like nothing happened during his presidency. He's just a bad motherfucker who made really great speeches. Yeah. So you like, you know, uh, this made me realize I was just talking to my story and that like most of the people who we think are great need also a good crisis that they've, that reveal their greatness. Muhammad Ali, right? This Muhammad Ali. I mean, in sports, but you know what I mean? Like the circumstances, what is greatness? You know what I mean? It's like you have to, it's not just your capacity. It's what you, what you face, right? It's the quality of opposition circumstance, what you overcome. So I guess what you're saying is Joe Rogan is wrong about the Thai thing. You know, I don't want to go so far as saying it's wrong. I, you know, the man's I hear to defend himself. Maybe he has some things that I'm not understanding. No, he has not deeply thought this. This is my main criticism of Joe. He's not deeply thought to this. And the MMA journalist will be like, Ryan Hall says Joe Rogan is wrong and hates ties and hates ties. They'll integrate, hit their back in there somehow. Nice.


Hardship (02:42:48)

Nice. What's, you're talking about greatness and greatness requiring a difficult moment in time. Can you like reflect back and think what are some of the hardest, if not the hardest thing you've ever had to do in your life? Well, you know, I've think I've had a bunch of things. You know, I've had a lot of things not go my way. You know, I've been incredibly fortunate. I've had a lot of things go my way also. But leaving, leaving Team Lord Urban in 2008, which I firmly believe was the right thing to do is one of the, that was very difficult at the time. Not, like, not a difficult choice, but it was because of why I was leaving. But psychologically, first of all, loss in general, leaving a family of all kinds doesn't matter what the circumstances. I didn't lose any friends. What I lost a lot of people I thought were my friends. And I lost training. I lost. I'd also had like a really serious, my wrist only does that. So like, I had a really serious wrist surgery like that. I didn't know if I was going to be able to compete anymore after that. I just got my brown belt. That was a, it was a tough time, like psychologically, physically, everything. But I was very, very motivated to do my best and to push through it and to, you know, just to carry on in a positive direction no matter what in a different direction. And, I mean, I think that's the thing about family, even if it's an abusive family, leaving, it's tough. People are complicated. And even people that I, that I don't think very well of, that I think on the whole, I don't think very well of it's, it's unfair to paint them with one brush. Um, you know, obviously there's greater and, and lesser examples of that, like the person we discussed last time who's an infinitely, you know, beyond almost anyone that we could ever imagine meeting in our own personal lives. Yeah. Yeah. Bloody elbow. In terms of forgiveness and hate, I mean, do you, do you have hate in your heart for, for people in your past? No, for that process. No. I mean, there were definitely times where I've been negatively motivated to prove people wrong or do accomplishments despite. And I think that some of that is valuable. If I'd be lying, if I felt differently, I think particularly, uh, I do really well in conflict. Um, I'm useless. That's the usual deadline thing. I'm useless. Yeah. I'm useless. I'm useless. I'm an antagonist. I like fighting. I like competition. I like being pushed. I like feeling like if I don't play well, I'm going to get hurt. I have no choice but to play well or play with everything I got at the very least. And I guess I would say though, is a, you know, as I've gotten, um, you know, more time and, you know, lived a little bit longer, you see, you know, various situations for, uh, you know, you know, with, with increased, uh, increased color, I guess I would say increased clarity. And, uh, you know, there are a lot of lessons to be learned even from, from times in history or bad experience that we have. And the question is, can we take those lessons and move forward? And that's again, what I think we're seeing in sometimes socially right now, we're forgetting important lessons of the past. And that's not good. Not saying, Hey, I don't get why we, why we could be going in this direction or that. I understand entirely, but hey, let's not forget the lesson. I would want to learn them again because that doesn't really serve anybody. And anyway, I guess I would say I'm thankful for all of the experiences difficult and otherwise, mostly difficult. Honestly, most of the times I remember I'm thankful for every loss we've had, particularly the tough ones. I'm thankful for, uh, you know, for all the relationship. I've, many people have taught me many things and continue teaching many things, some of whom are still some of my closest friends, some of whom are people I really don't get along with at all. And some of whom are people I think really poorly of, oh, there's not many of that last group. What I guess I would say is, uh, there's, there's been a lot of things and opportunities to learn and, uh, you know, throughout that. And also it's not as if I've never done made any mistakes myself. Now again, there, there are magnitude differences I like to think. And I can definitely say that none of the mistakes that have ever made have been mistakes of intention. You know, I've screwed up a lot of things in my life, but I can confidently and, and easily say that I've never had ill intent towards people as I've done it. It's sit there and like, man, it's just the right thing is the right thing. And sometimes it's been wrong. But, uh, you know, you never sit out with malicious intent. And I think that when I find that I think people do things differently when I do think that there is malicious intent, I have a difficult time forgiving that. How does love win over hate?


Closing Remarks

Love (02:47:09)

Ryan Hall in this world. We talk about social media. We talk about forgiveness of, uh, some of the more complicated people in your past. Uh, if we scale that to the entire world before the AI destroys us and although the human race is lost to history, how do you think love wins over hate? Well, I'd like to preface this by saying I try to make pancakes the other day. Yes. Didn't work, but I'm happy to comment on this. So, uh, basically, uh, I think like, I think most of the times that, that I can think of that I've struggled, you know, it's, uh, and can, and the times that I've read about is being unable to see the humanity in other people and also even in sometimes our enemies and the people that have done awful things and you go, what would allow people to do this, that or the other. And that doesn't forgive what they've done depending upon, you know, some things are forgivable, some things are less so, but you want to understand why it's like to our knowledge demons don't populate our world. Neither do like literal angels walking around being actually perfect. A lot of times the things that it's, I find it deeply amusing watching, you know, people hoisted by their own buttered on Twitter, even though it's gross and it's really unproductive. It's actually like equal parts amusing and like awful because you're not, you're not happy that someone's being raked over the coals, particularly unjustifiably. But it is funny when it's the exact same thing. They were raking others over the calls for not like a week or two prior and that's happened repeatedly and will continue to happen. I guess I would say as you mentioned, you know, a prior, you know, like a recognition of the humanity of others of that all of us make mistakes that it's difficult to understand intention. I've had arguments of close friends of mine over text message where both of us ended up super pissed because we were completely misreading what the tone, the intention of what the other person was doing. And even if I was reading it correctly, which I wasn't, it's so easy to ascribe the most negative possible, you know, the least charitable assessment of what they're doing. And I think that that's such a dangerous way to live your life. And it's also just a fruitless way to live your life. You know, it's one thing to go, Hey, why did you do that? I was pissed. Did you, what did you do? You just, you did that to make yourself feel better. Like you're damn right. And have I done that plenty of times? I'm like, yeah, I would lie if I said that I didn't, you know, why did you, why did you punch that guy in the face? He was going crazy at me and hit me and I asked him to stop. And then I gave warning and I put him on his ass. I'm like, no, I'm not sorry. But then looking back now with years to sit on him, like, do I understand why I did what I did? Absolutely. Would I like to respond differently now? Yeah, I would. You know, and it doesn't mean that I think plenty of things that people do are understandable. Doesn't mean understandable doesn't mean correct. Understandable doesn't mean that you go, Oh yeah, that's great. You go, I could, I could see someone doing such a thing. But I guess just trying to understand and see the humanity and others, because if I can't see the humanity and others, how can I see it in myself? And also, you know, how am I meant to interact with everyone? As you said, whether, you know, even if we're a society of individuals, for at least for the time being, hopefully, you know, in perpetuity, we still come together as a whole and watching. It's weird. Like you said, it's if I only ask why once I start with stay out of my way, I'll stay out of yours, leave me the fuck alone. You're like, okay, that's fine, Ryan. That's easy for you to say living in a society that doesn't actually function like that. So it's a little bit cheap. But if I recognize that that's step one is I don't hurt you and you don't hurt me, but then we go, well, but how can I help you? That step two, and then it goes way beyond that and a lot further than I've thought about it. But I guess what I would just say is again, recognition of the humanity and others, and that we all have different strengths, we all have different weaknesses and it's, you can never really be sure where the other person's coming from. But if we approach things charitably, as charitably, as we would hope others would approach us, I think we'll do a lot better. And I guess one thing that I read that I liked that I thought was accurate and unfortunately disappointing was everyone is a great jury or read their, I'm sorry, a great lawyer for themselves and a judge for others. And I think that's a terrible way to live life, even if it's an understandable one. Yeah. I don't know. I think probably flipping that is the right way to live being constantly judgmental of yourself and defender of others. And that results ultimately in the interaction that deescalates versus escalates. Right. Yeah. And we can all live in a world like that. And sometimes you're like, hey, man, people that deserve punishment won't get it. Like, okay, hey, what do they say? Better to have 10 guilty people go free than one innocent person burn. And ultimately, I think that is a better world than the other way around. And if all else fails, join the team that builds the AI that kills all humans. Yeah, obviously. I mean, if you have to be on a team, pick the winning team. That's my hiring pitch, actually. That's a good hiring pitch. You can still take it resumes. You want to be on the team that doesn't die during the great apocalypse. Not immediately. You want to be on the one that's a, you know, eventually long suffering and step-dolling, right? Yeah. Life is suffering, Ryan Hall. This was an amazing conversation. I really enjoyed talking. I could probably talk to you for many more hours. I hope I do as well. Ryan, I love you, buddy. This was a great conversation. Thanks for talking today. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. Thanks for listening to this conversation with Ryan Hall, and thank you to our sponsors. Indeed, hiring website, Audible AudioBooks, ExpressVPN, and Element Electrolytrink. Click the sponsor links to get a discount and to support this podcast. And now let me leave you with some words from Frank Herbert in Dune. I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path, where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain. Thank you for listening, and hope to see you next time.


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