What was your journey into the martial arts like?
I started around the age of 9 or 10 in a karate program at the YMCA in the small-town of Shawnee Oklahoma for a month and then later joined a taekwondo and Hapkido School and eventually received my black belt in both arts in 1989. In the 90s I took a break from martial arts to pursue my musical career and at that point started playing in local bands and eventually moved to Oklahoma City to play drums for one of the more popular local bands at the time. Around 1997 is when I met the band Tool and their singer Maynard James Keenan. I also was fortunate enough to meet Maynard’s bodyguard at the time who ended up being Henry Akins. Henry at the time was a blue belt under Rickson Gracie (now the third American black belt) and was getting dropped off of the tour in Oklahoma where his family lives. We exchanged numbers and he came over the next day to my house where we ended up training on the carpet.
I will never forget how magical those moments were and how blown away I was by the techniques. Me and Henry became immediate best friends and remain friends until this very day. Because there were no Jiujitsu schools around me or even in Texas at that point I started training at a reputable judo school called USA stars. USA stars was not just a judo school, it had all sorts of wonderful martial artists, teaching everything from Thai boxing, filipino arts, Japanese Jujitsu, combat jujitsu, judo and MMA. Around 2002 I received my black belt in Combat jujitsu. In 2002 I also started training with Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Leonardo Xavier and by 2007 was a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Although I loved the sport aspect of Brazilian jiujitsu it was much different than the Jiujitsu I was first shown by Henry Akins. As a brown belt I left my association a little bit disillusioned and in search of the original art I had fell in love with in the late 90s. In 2009 Rener Gracie came to my school and did a seminar. I knew at that point I had found what I had been looking for. I have been following him and his brother Ryron ever since.
I received my Gracie jiujitsu black belt from the Gracie Academy in 2013 and it is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.
How do musicians balance all that they have to do with their training?
It’s hard but you find time for the things that you love. There is now even a Facebook group for touring musicians that allow us to find the schools that are most receptive to our training schedules. There is also another click that me and my rock ‘n’ roll friends who train have created which is called Rockjitsu!
One day I have a vision of my band (EVERYBODY PANIC!) doing a huge show or even going on tour with other like-minded artists such as Tool, Trivium, Powerflow, Five finger death Punch, King 810, Nothing More, Dragonforce, Travis Barker/blink 182 and many others with hopes of making it a charity event with a huge seminar early in the day taught by different members of the bands who train and then later that night having a huge rock ‘n’ roll show🤘🏼
It might seem like a crazy idea to most people in the music industry but I always have a knack for making crazy ideas work – so I’m cool with it.
You and Jennifer are “Double Threat” (Gracie pun). How has her influence improved you?
[speaking of Jennifer Gray, Interview]
She is my rock and my muse.
Jennifer is what a truly strong person looks like.
Without her I would be truly lost.
Because of her I’m not only a better practitioner of the art of jiujitsu, I am also a better practitioner of Life.
There has always been a lot of talk about gi jiujitsu and nogi jiujitsu. Whenever we see pictures of you, it’s always with a gi? What is your general feeling about the gi and its use?
I love training with the Gi but I also love training without it. There are many aspects to this beautiful art so I try not to limit myself. Gi, No Gi, Gi with gloves, No Gi with gloves, weapons, Close quarters, flow rolling… the list goes on and on and all of these things are important to me.
I also think it is important to train one day a week as if I am 70 years old in preparation for the day where my “young guy moves” are no longer efficient.
In a purely self-defense situation, what (in your opinion) are your 3 most reliable techniques.
- Verbal Jiujitsu
- Situational awareness
- Distance management
How did you come to form Redline JiuJitsu and what was that experience like?
In 2004 is when I officially started my Academy. I was pretty intense back then so the name redline comes from the tachometer on a race car. I feel very fortunate to have had the first Brazilian jiujitsu school here in Edmond, Oklahoma and still be around today. I used to be a sprinter but now I am more of a marathon runner when it comes to my philosophy of jiujitsu and even business.
As an owner, business man and instructor of a Jiujitsu school, what is the most important lesson that you’ve learned?
95% of everyone who I have given free tuition to never valued the program and ultimately left the art. At the same time you cannot put a price on the ability to know how to keep someone from taking your life in the worst case scenario, so I do not charge people for jiujitsu, instead I charge them for the things that I need to live and to create the environment to transfer this priceless information.
As the lead singer of a heavy metal band, how to do injuries, sore pipes (from chokes) and such affect your performance or the way you structure you days?
Injuries typically do not affect me at all because I just don’t get injured that often. The reason for this is because I have no problem being tapped out by someone and I also have no problem taping fast (my defense is pretty good too).
What are Ty’s musical influences? (and are they the same artists that he plays when training?)
Tool and Nine Inch Nails are two of my biggest influences in music, but to be honest I really love all music. As for playing things at the Academy we typically restrict it to music with no words. (any genre)
During the last chapter of the blue belt test the student is required to free roll with me or one of my instructors and during this five minutes we typically play Meshuggah (bleed) because of how it can immediately induce anxiety.🤘🏼
If jiujitsu didn’t exist, what other martial art might you have gravitated towards and why?
Judo, the reasons should be pretty obvious
What are Ty’s top 3 future goals; now or far in the future?
- Financial freedom
- Help more people reach their full potential through the medium of jiujitsu and music
- Stay on the mat forever
FOR MORE ON TY, JENNIFER AND REDLINE JIUJITSU
VISIT THERE WEBSITE
FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER & INSTAGRAM