BJJ’s “B Team” – The Austin Texas Wrecking Crew

The Danaher Death Squad dominated the world of NoGi grappling for years. When the crew split into two parts and moved to start gyms separate from each other, it shook the Brazilan Jiu-Jitsu community to its core.

Not all was lost, though. From the ashes of the notorious athletes rose a new powerhouse of a team. The B Team set up shop in Austin, Texas, with a strong mission to progress alongside each other with leading-edge submission grappling and wrestling.

The superior technique of the Austin team is not all that grappling fans can look forward to. Most importantly, the team will bring a group of athletes with good heads on their shoulders to the top of the BJJ competition scene.

Why Did the Danaher Death Squad Split?

After the reign of the Danaher Death Squad ended, the former team members did a pretty decent job of keeping the whole reason for the split under wraps. John Danaher, the namesake of the team, announced the split, and for the most part, the athletes kept a civil silence.

It was not until a short while later that Nicky Rodriguez, a current instructor for the B Team, explained to the public that the new crew had issues with the former team that revolved around one athlete in particular.

The Death Squad found themselves unable to clear the bad blood, so two halves of the squad parted and began new journeys on separate paths–although those two separate paths happened to take them both to Austin, Texas.

Gordon Ryan, Garry Tonon, and John Danaher moved to the city shortly after Craig Jones, Nicky Rodriguez, Nicky Ryan, and Ethan Crelinstein. These two separate groups each started up their gyms in different parts of the city, so their interaction has likely been minimal.

In such an individual sport, BJJ athletes need to do what they feel is most conducive to their growth in grappling. Sometimes, this means a split from a close-knit team. While there may have been bad blood involved, the split of such an iconic team sends a positive message to fans about making moves that are best for their Jiu-Jitsu.

Stepping away from one of the most renowned NoGi Jiu-Jitsu instructors in history must have been a daunting decision, but if they could do it, then any grappler can.

Plus, the team’s core members are still actively training and competing for BJJ practitioners to watch and learn from. A good chunk of the team even stayed together to train and teach–the B Team is making waves in technicality and competition on the NoGi grappling scene.

Who is the B Team?

The B Team is a martial arts academy in Austin, Texas, that blends submission grappling with wrestling. Four high-level grapplers serve as the head instructors of this NoGi grappling gym. These four athletes include:

  • Craig Jones
  • Ethan Crelinstein 
  • Nicky Rodriguez
  • Nicky Ryan

These famed names in the sport certainly bring their elite grappling technique to the mats every day, benefitting their students with innovative concepts to take them to the top of the competition scene.

However, what sets them apart from a lot of other gyms is their mission to keep the mats a simultaneously safe and productive place. These instructors enforce a safe, ego-free, and judgment-free environment so that they may both progress alongside each other and provide the best experience possible for their students.

With four notorious grapplers creating an environment that maximizes every student’s ability to learn without unusual mental or emotional hindrances, the grappling that comes out of the B Team rocks the BJJ scene.

The gym would not be what it is without the abilities and reputations of the instructors that founded, teach at, and train with the B Team.

The Instructors

The instructors of the B Team are not the usual neighborhood martial arts instructors. These are some of the most high-level athletes to grace the grappling scene. Their reputation speaks to their skill, and their skill is what makes the B Team such an effective and powerful crew.

Craig Jones

Any fan of grappling has surely heard of Craig Jones, a grappler known for his competition gear’s funky flair, smooth and quick style, and an 82% submission rate.

His credentials are numerous, but a few of them, in particular, stand out. From 2018 to 2019, Craig Jones took home two separate wins at Polaris in not one but two different weight classes.

The 205 and the 185 lbs titles for Polaris are not the only big wins on Craig Jones’ resume. He has also placed second in the single most esteemed NoGi grappling competition in the world, ADCC.

Not to mention, he has also earned bronze at the 11th Eddie Bravo Invitational and at the 185 lbs Grand Prix and 205 lbs Grand Prix for Kasai.

His coaching resume is impressive, as well. He served as the grappling coach for Alexander Volkanovski, a UFC featherweight champion.

Ethan Crelinstein

Aggression complements Ethan Crelinstein’s superb technique, making him one of Canada’s most impressive grapplers.

Ethan Crelinstein’s opponents should watch their backs. Otherwise, he will take it and hit them with a submission to benefit his already-high sub rate.

This ADCC veteran has won ADCC trials twice now, and he is also the 145 lb Eddie Bravo Invitational overtime champion.

Nicky Ryan

As the youngest member of the B Team, Nicky brings a fresh style and novel game to the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu mats.

His win at the ADCC trials took him to the big stage and made him the youngest ADCC veteran in history, not once but twice. He is also the 145 lb Polaris champion and a veteran of Who’s Number One.

Despite being so young, Nicky Ryan is already a well-seasoned competitor with impressive wins under his belt, and even the most casual of fans in the sport know to look out for his name.

Nicky Rod

Nicky Rod has earned himself the nickname “The Notorious Black Belt Slayer,” and with good reason. Aggression, quick-thinking, and stellar technique have not only given Nicky Rod a seat at the table, but they have taken him to the top of some world-class competitions.

He is an IBJJF world champion, and the ADCC west coast trials champion in 2018 after only a few years of training. In 2019, he stepped onto the ADCC stage and was the runner-up.

Perhaps the most noteworthy part of this grappler’s journey is that his milestone wins came so early in his career. The wrestling skills he brought to the world of competition shook the grappling world up and forced the competitors around Nicky Rod to level up and match his skill.

Final Word

Now that they are training together in an environment that is both chill and high pressure, the crew of grapplers can only go up from here.

Training out of Austin, Texas, the B Team is sure to continue to dominate the competition scene, and the students at their gym are sure to make great competitive come-ups with such high-level instruction.

If you’re traveling through Austin, you absolutely have to drop in for a class with the B Team.

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