10 Questions with Ari Bolden Knazan

Ari Bolden Knazan runs a little website,… you might have heard about it.  It’s called Submissions 101.  If you haven’t, we at the CombativeCorner are not really sure what planet you’re from (we can assume it’s not Earth).  Besides running his website, Ari teaches jiu-jitsu at his school, Victoria JuJitsu Academy in Victoria, British Columbia.

Website –   –YouTube Channel

(1) When did you start your martial art training (in what styles) and did you always want to teach professionally?

I started martial arts training when I was a kid (at age 10. I got serious about the martial arts at 14 when I saw Above the Law with Steven Seagal. I was amazed at Aikido because it was so different than the chop em sock em movies of the 80’s (karate/kung fu/ninjustu). I moved from judo to Aikido to Jujutsu (Japanese Jujutsu: Daito Ryu and Goshin) to nogi 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

I had always wanted to teach but I never saw myself as martial arts teacher. I thought I was going to teach high school at one point. I’ve always had a passion, and I think, a gift, for instruction. I kind of fell into teaching martial arts in 2003 when a bouncer I worked with suggested I open up a school.

(2)  You currently have almost 56,000 subscribers on youtube and are #58 most Subscribed (Canada).  Was there success right away? Or did it take a good while before viewers-equaled-students?

You Tube is a funny thing. I just started putting up a few videos and didn’t think anything of it at the time. I just wanted to share some on my Japanese Jujutsu with ‘people’. It took about 6 months and I started getting requests and more people joining up. I was kind of surprised to be honest but I soon realized that there was a major lack of instructions (martial arts) on the internet. I also found a niche in doing submission videos. My style of teaching really seemed to appeal to people and I just kept going on from there.

(3)  What is the hardest part about running your business?

If you are talking about Submissions 101, it probably is the insane amount of time I have spent recording video, editing and emails. I have (thank goodness) stream lined it down to a fine science now and I also have many people doing videos for us. This is a GREAT thing as my vision was to have many different people bring their flavor to teaching jiu jitsu. I get over 100 emails a day ranging from you tube comments, to request to general emails to people joining our mailing list. Its a lot.

(4)  As an avid follower of professional mixed martial art competition, who do you most enjoy watching and why?

I always cheer for the grappler. I can’t help it. If a BJJ guy is fighting, that is the guy I want to win. However, there are some really exciting guys that I like watching such as Aoki, Guida, Cro Cop, and Wanderlei (to name a few).

(5)  Who was your martial art idol growing up and who’s your idol now (if different)?

As a kid, Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris were my big ones. I actually met Chuck Norris is Vegas at age 8 and told him how much I liked him. I was also a HUGE Sho Kosugi fan (Enter the Ninja!). Later on, Steven Seagal was the guy who pushed me in a strong martial art direction. I don’t think I have idols anymore…but I certainly have mentors and people I admire.

(6)  What is your least favorite chore/errand/task that you have to do? (either daily or weekly)

(laugh) My wife and I call them “Blue Jobs and Pink Jobs”. Taking out the trash, emptying the liter box, mowing the lawn…those are all blue (male) jobs in my household but those don’t really get to me. I really don’t like to empty the dish washer. I do like doing laundry and vaccuuming though (strange, huh?).

(7)  What is Mr. Bolden passionate about outside of the martial arts and why?

Film (dark intellectual stuff) is one. I also LOVE listening to music. My music of choice is ambeint, dark wave, 80’s new wave, house and moden hard rock. I am also big on writting.

(8)   Does Mr. Bolden teach his wife ju-jitsu or is this too dangerous?

I used too! But she does yoga full time so she doesn’t have time. She has a NO JIU JITSU rule at our house. I will start to play wrestle with her and she drops the “NO MOVES” line. Oh well…

(9)  If you had to pick one or two of your favorite ground techniques what would they be?  or if that is too hard…. an alternate question could be “What are one or two of your most used techniques”?

My favorite moves change from year-to-year, but if I had to pick, I would say the triangle arm bar from side control, the heel hook and the peruvian necktie. My most used techniques though? Collar chokes. I find my self choking people out about 80% of the time.

(10)  What’s on the plate for Mr. Ari Bolden/10th Planet/Submissions101? Any big news, events, products, etc that you’d like to unveil… or (as an alternative question), “what’s one big, future aspiration for you and your business?”

Submissions 101 is going to get a face lift. We are adding more videos from BIG names and I want to reach 100,000 members by 2012. We have several side projects going on and an iphone app in the works. I have a DVD that I will start filming in a few months on “street Jiu Jitsu and self defense” that I am looking forward too.

But my main goal is the one I have had since the get go: Build bridges and bring jiu jitsu to those who don’t have access to it or just spread the word of it. It is a WONDERFUL art – be it nogi, gi or traditional. I also want to share my philosohy that there are many ways to do the same techniques. Don’t get too narrow in you view of the world or you will “miss all the heavenly glory” (to quote Bruce Lee!).


5 Responses to “10 Questions with Ari Bolden Knazan”

  1. Scott Marker Says:

    Great interview!!! Love Sub101 and Ari… Thanks for all you do!

  2. Hey Ari, fantastic channel you have on YouTube, and great interview here. All the best to you!

  3. Also, Michael, thank you for doing these interviews and exposing people to all these valuable sources of combative information.

    • T.J., this is a fun project and I hope I can continue to do this for a long, long time. I’ve amazed myself that I could pull in such high-caliber teachers & artists. If we continue to work hard, amazing ourselves becomes easier – hence, I don’t plan on stopping! 😉 We’ve got your interview coming up NEXT… just waiting for November to roll around to unleash it!!!! Combative Nation… watch out!

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