How Analytics Fits into a Competitive Jiu Jitsu Career (Breylor Grout) - KNN Ep. 106
Updated: Jul 21
Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing Breylor Grout. Breylor is a data analyst who has built his work lifestyle around his full-time competitive Jiu-Jitsu career. He was born and raised in San Diego, and graduated from Cal Poly Saint Louis Obispo in 2017 with a major in math with minor in statistics. Since graduating he’s been putting more and more time into Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which he has been training since 2010 but did not compete consistently until after graduating from college. More recently, Breylor won the IBJJF No-Gi brown belt pans and was featured on “Who's Next” the jiu-jitsu equivalent of the ultimate fighter. In this episode, we talk about how Breylor was able to find a role in analytics that matched his training schedule, the surprising similarities between Jiu-Jitsu and data analytics, and why maybe you should explore the sport in your free time. This was a special episode for me because we were able to combine two of my passions. I loved talking with Breylor, and I hope you enjoy it!
[00:00:00] Breylor: For me, working from the office wasn't the deal. Like, I don't really need, you know, the extra social circle in there, whatever I got jiu-jitsu, I got my buddies, but like, everyone's different, you know? So some people might really enjoy being in the office. They might enjoy the group of people they have in there.
They might enjoy the whole routine. Everyone's different. I'm not like, you know, you know, trying to like talk bad or whatever about anyone who's like in that routine, and isn't getting out of it because it could be perfect for them, but I just know, yeah, it wasn't perfect for me and sacrificing a little bit of money for, you know, the happiness and ability to pursue some of the things I'm passionate about while I'm young, I think was a fair trade-off.
[00:00:47] Ken: This episode of Ken's Nearest Neighbors is powered by Z by HP. HP's high compute, workstation-grade line of products and solutions. Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing Breylor Grout. Breylor is a data analyst who's built his work lifestyle around his full-time competitive jiu-jitsu career. He was born and raised in San Diego and graduated from Cal Poly Saint Louis Obispo in 2017 with a major in math with minor in statistics. Since graduating he’s been putting more and more time into Brazilian jiu-jitsu where he's been training since 2010, but did not compete consistently until after he graduated from college. More recently, Breylor won the IBJJF No-Gi brown belt pans and was featured on “Who's Next” the jiu-jitsu equivalent of the ultimate fighter.
In this episode, we talk about how Breylor was able to find a role in analytics that match this training schedule, the surprising similarities between jiu-jitsu and data analytics. And why maybe you should explore the sport in your free time. This was a special episode for me because I was able to combine two of my passions, data and jiu-jitsu. I love talking with Breylor, and I hope you enjoy this episode. Breylor, thank you so much for coming on the Ken's Nearest Neighbors Podcast. I actually recently saw you on “Who's Next”, which is a grappling, I guess, a reality show.
And I found out there that you are a data analyst when you're not doing jiu-jitsu and I wanted to have you on, because I think. There's so many interesting things between the two domains data, as well as jiu-jitsu, both of which I'm really passionate about. And I wanted to be able to bring you in to talk about some of your experience in both those areas and maybe how they intersect at some point in your life.
[00:02:27] Breylor: For sure, man. Well, thanks for having me here. I really appreciate it. So, unfortunately, your intro to me, wasn't my highlight reel of my jiu-jitsu career. It was, it was an awesome opportunity getting out there on that, “Who's Next” show, you know, it's like I'm going out there, you know, getting flown out to, you know, staying in Austin for a week, compete against some of the best guys in the world for a shot at a big contract and some big matches coming up that time.
It didn't go my way in probably about the worst of ways, but you know, it's all about a learning experience when that goes down. So luckily we came back we rebounded things have been going right lately. Took a lot of good lessons from that one. And yeah, man, we're here still doing jiu-jitsu, still doing data analysis.
[00:03:10] Ken: Well, I love it. You know, something. That I think it's really important to remember for everyone listening is that jiu-jitsu data analytics or jobs. It's not about the times that we lose or that we struggle. It's about the consistent resume that we built over time. And you have a fairly decorated jiu-jitsu resume at this point.
And I think that that's, you know, like that's a ..., we can't hang an entire career on one decision. We hang an entire career on all of the different things that we've done and the resume that we've built over time, because anything can happen in an individual project and an individual match and any of these types of things.
So you know, I love that we've been able to talk offline about , you know how that is just maybe one, one bump in the road of this much bigger picture.
[00:03:59] Breylor: For sure. It's all, you know, people take things to me in many different ways. Of course, at the time I was really bummed about it. You know, I just felt like this big, old opportunity that I had just came and went and I squandered it. You know, I, you know, you probably saw my interview after the match. When I got my loss, I was bummed. Didn't really have much to say, but you know, you can either harp on the past and, you know, live and regret, or you can objectively look at what did I do, right. What did I do wrong? You know, gather your thoughts and come back from there.
So, yeah, man, I agree. It's anytime I've lost big in jiu-jitsu or, you know, in my professional life, if I make a, you know, if I screw up on something it's best to just not to get too emotional, look back objectively and you know, change for the future. So luckily I took some good lessons from that one as I will in all future losses I have cuz you know, no, one's perfect. It's just gonna happen again. So, you know, we're ready.
[00:04:53] Ken: Unless you're Hicks and Gracie, I don't think...
[00:04:55] Breylor: Exactly Hicks and Gracie. Maybe he's the exception, you know, Kabe, you know, he retired early, whatever, you know, I'm not retiring early, I'll stay around. So I'll take my ...
[00:05:05] Ken: I love it. I love it. Well, let's get like to the very beginning of your origin story, I'm super interested. Every time I have a guest on where they first got interested in analytics and data. So to me, that's, that's a really telling thing. Was this just a pivotal moment? Did something happen where you're like, Wow, this is fascinating. Or was it just slow progression over time?
[00:05:26] Breylor: For sure. So just starting from the know the base up all my life. I've been a math guy, you know, like in elementary school and middle school, you know, math came very naturally to me, other things such as, you know, English, history, I didn't really have much of interest in, and also I just wasn't good at learning it.
So my you know, my parents are, you know, pretty analytical people as well, so I'm sure it's just in my DNA. So I've always, you know, came naturally to math. And then obviously going into college well, yeah, you know, in high school, we, I was going through advanced math courses, you know, got through 'em pretty easily.
So I was like, Okay, math, I guess I can handle it, you know, at a higher level. And so when it came time to choosing a college, basically there was a number of colleges on my radar and one of the, so I ended up going to Cal Poly Saint Louis Obispo and at Cal Poly Saint Louis Obispo, you have to choose your major ahead of time.
You can't go in there with an undecided major. So, my whole reason for choosing San Luis Obispo actually ties back into the jiu-jitsu element a little bit, because I've been a huge UFC and MMA fan for the past, what maybe like 12, 13 years or so. And then I started jiu-jitsu a few years after that and, you know, big Chuck Liddell fan, even though he was sorted before my time.
And I knew that he trained over in San Louis Obispo and he went to the gym over there, called the pit slow. And when I saw that and I liked Cal Poly, I liked the area. I was just like, Okay, you know, this seems like a good spot for me. Like, I want to go train. I was thinking I want to do MMA then, which maybe in the future I might, right now it's on my radar.
But, because of that, I had to choose my major ahead of time at Cal Poly. So I didn't know anything. I mean, I was young going into college, you know, I was one of the kids who graduated high school at 17 and started, you know, college at 17. Not, not that being 18 would make much of a difference, but I was young.
I had no idea what direction my life would go, but I was like, Okay, I'm good at math. I sort of wanna train at the pit. Let's just apply at Cal Poly as a math major. And then, so I applied did this early decision thing, ended up getting accepted to Cal Poly. And while I was there, yeah. Side note, I never ended up training at San Louis Obispo that place was sort of run down by the time I got there.
So we'll get to that sector of things later. But so I apply to Cal Poly. I get accepted under a math major and I was like, Okay, sweet. You know, I'm good at math, you know, this should be fine. And then after, you know, the first year, I'm not really thinking about a job or anything yet. After the second year, you know, you sort of start wondering like, Okay, like what's gonna happen after college.
Like, what am I gonna do? And there was one of those you know, there's an info session, basically on a data scientist doing a presentation. And I didn't really go to many of those, you know, presentations or whatever. Back in the day, I sort of would just go to class and go home and hang out, you know, go train later in the day or kick it with my buddies.
But for some reason I went to this one, maybe they're giving away free pizza or something that probably enticed me. And so I went to this data science, you know, presentation, and it just sort of spoke to me cuz I've always been the type of person to, you know, I see something happen and I sort of wanna know why it happened.
Like, I'll ask a bunch of questions when people tell me things that they probably like, aren't sure why I'm asking, cuz I just wanna know like the whole deal, you know? So that's sort of the same in data science, obviously when it comes down to it's like, Okay, this event happened, let's find all these, you know, variables that led to it.
Like what sticks out, what seems like it's meaningful to cause this to occur. So basically that was the reason why I got my eye on data science initially and then you know, started applying to some internships, ended up locking one down in LA for the summer after my junior year. And yeah, man from there ended up sticking with it. That's, that's sort of what opened my eyes to data, data science, just not having any idea what to do. And then we saw it and I was like, Okay, that seems like it's interesting. Let's give it a shot.
[00:09:43] Ken: I really like that story. I think something that I found is a very common theme in a lot of the guests I interview is that people have a tremendous amount of success with almost a greedy algorithm when making decisions, right.
It's like, Okay, you pursued this college because at the moment, everything lined up with where you wanted to train the program, that they had the, the school. And it makes sense to make that decision there. Next, you're choosing this major, you're pursuing this path because, Wow, this speaks to me at this moment in time and I can see how it lines up.
Well for the future. I think so many people think of all these different variables and, Hey, how is this gonna work out for me? What are all the options that I have right there sometimes the most efficient and most exciting way to approach something is just like saying, Okay, what are the best options that I have right now?
What do I like doing right now? And for some reason, it's really easy to lose sight of the short term and what we're enjoying and what we wanna spend time on. And so, you know, you, you did pursue an internship as you described but it didn't seem like the, the Mo the best learning experience. Can you tell me a little bit more about what, what that was like for you?
[00:10:57] Breylor: Yeah, so luckily it was pretty cool, man, because at least going into it was a paid internship. So, you know, being someone in college who I was just working part-time, you know, thankfully, you know, my parents were able to help me out with like, you know, you know, rent and all that stuff back then I was, you know, working just enough for spending money basically.
And then when I saw that internship, so basically. It wasn't one internship. I had my eye on like anything you sort of gotta fail before you succeed. So I, it was getting close to the end of my junior year and I was like, crap, I gotta like, get a head start. I can't, you know, graduate college and have no experience in this area.
So I spam applied to just so many interviews, I, or sorry to so many internships. And I probably applied to maybe 30 and I think heard back from two, and then I got one of 'em. So, you know, power and numbers. You know, if I would've been bummed about the first 10 failures, like there, I would've, I don't know who knows given up on it and just, you know, been working at the pizza shop still or something.
So instead of that, I yeah, applied to a bunch of the in interviews and then, or internships once I got in there, like you're saying it wasn't so they promised 10,000 bucks for a broke college kid. You know, I was like, Oh man, 10,000 bucks for like two and a half weeks. Let's go. So that was cool.
That made it less painful to sit there, but when I was there, yeah, it just, they, they didn't really have me doing too much. I think it was one of those things where maybe some higher up wanted to create an internship and the people who were, you know, managing it, weren't maybe as involved as they could have been to, you know, set it up for a learning experience for me.
I honestly, like, couldn't even tell you, like, one thing I learned, like did that like technically there, other than like clicking through some Excel spreadsheets, so, and, Oh, well we did one team project, but it wasn't really related to data analysis in my portion at all. So I was sort of just paid to like, you know, sit around and pretend like I'm doing something for like, you know, 10 weeks, which, which is cool. I was paid, so I was happy. But luckily, even though it wasn't a great learning experience, it was points for the resume. So in the end that helped out.
[00:13:07] Ken: Yeah. I think that, unfortunately there are a lot of internships like that. And, for better for worse companies just still view that as experience, right. And they still rate that higher than your coursework or any of these other things. And it's, it is so important to get that on your, on your resume. In general, something I thought was really fascinating is the way you described your application process, where a lot of things went well, I mean, not, not well, right?
You ran into a lot of failure, but you realized that was part of the process. Something I've seen is that people are really unaccustomed to failure based on the academic system that were put in. Right. I mean, you can go into a class and half the class in theory can get A's. Right. It's very rare that you're failing regularly in just purely academics.
If you're a high performer on the other hand in sports, it's a very different thing. Like you go to the gym, you're getting your butt kicked. Every day, you're used to that getting beat down and you're used to recovering from it for me in golf. When I was playing competitively, I'd go in and I'd, you know, I'm playing against 150 other people.
Thoughts that I win a tournament are, is just very, very low. And I'm used to week in, week out just getting beaten down, but still coming back and competing. And it's, you know, that's one of these areas where I think sport or doing something outside of the realm of academics to build some mental fortitude, I guess can really help you in like the job market or in your career because things don't always go according to plan, especially in the interview process, but even in your career, you run into to issues, you run into algorithms or models, not working, how they, you expected them to. And I'm interested in sort of how you've felt that maybe jiu-jitsu played into that, of, of building that mental strength or making these other things in your life seem like not that big a deal.
[00:15:08] Breylor: Yeah, that is a good point because, you know, obviously as you know, you train as well. It's like when you're getting started in jiu-jitsu, you don't really have much to offer these guys, you know, unless it's a beginner, then it's just gonna be like a too scrappy, like freaking cats fighting in the street or something.
No one knows what they're doing, but just going crazy, which, you know, obviously be careful in those situations don't wanna get hurt, but, it's yeah, you you're used to getting beat down. So you realize that it just takes a lot of repetitions to get things, you know, done the right way. At that point in my life, I probably wasn't, you know, maybe tweaking my resume or like taking what I could from like these failed attempts and like using it to better myself to get a better shot at getting the job.
I wasn't taking those extra steps, which if I would've, maybe it would taken less than, you know, 30 applications, but still, like you're saying at least the mental fortitude of like just the UN unwillingness to give up, like that's crucial, especially in this day and age where. To apply to things is mostly online and it's pretty hard to differentiate yourself from other, just, you know, documents, you know, do doc files flying in.
It's like, Okay, everyone sort of looks the same, you know, they got different experience, but yeah, it's just the dot or it is just the willingness to, you know, keep trying. Yeah, I've got some of my buddies, you know, trying to like get another job and they'll give it a few applications. And then they, you know, miss one interview or, you know, they fail one interview and the guys don't want 'em and they sort of give up, but I'm like, just keep throwing 'em out there, you know, it's powers and numbers.
[00:16:43] Ken: Absolutely. There's a very data, data centric, philosophy associated with that, right? It is in some sense, a numbers game. There are things you can do to improve your odds, like tweaking your resume, whatever it might be, but you have to get volume in order to have some success on that domain on that front. I'm also very interested in your more recent job. So a after your internship you landed a position and then more recently you've changed positions if I remember correctly.
[00:17:11] Breylor: Yeah. So out of college, well, actually, so I forgot to mention, I had another slight internship. When was it? It was, it was maybe just for like two or three weeks or whatever, like during my senior year, when I was back for winter break.
So it was something very minor, which got me a little more data savvy. I like at least understood like what SQL was, you know, like sort of understanding like what goes on here. So that knowledge also sort of helped then to land my first job where I was a junior business and technology analyst as they called it ... bank to San Diego.
Yeah. So it's just like it's a fancy title for a data analyst, basically, you know, they just name it a little different. And so that was, you know, a standard office job where, you know, I had to throw my collared shirt, wear the slacks every day, going in. And yeah, it was good, man. It was a really good learning experience because there, they actually built me up into like a baseline, you know, data analyst to start like, you know, just simple stuff, pulling data, using SQL, like, you know, creating summaries, like, you know, creating reports and Tableau or SSRS and things like that.
And that really got my, you know, footing going in the data analyst world. And so that job lasts Sydney maybe a year and a half, maybe close to two years somewhere around there. But. I think, as I mentioned it to you before, I, you know, I love doing jiu-jitsu. I sort of love I'm born and raised in San Diego. So, you know, I like cruising outside, you know, sort of a little bit of freedom, you know, just being able to do what I want.
And for me personally, just being in the office environment, wasn't really like my place to be, I think cuz I also, I'm a fast worker, so, you know, I'd get my work done maybe in like five hours and like finding, you know, time to kill otherwise or something. And you know, I just sort of felt like it just wasn't my life wasn't like as efficient as it could have been, you know, like it could have been doing a little more in the jiu-jitsu sense of things.
And also maybe like my free time outside of the work during those work hours. So that led me to realize that maybe I shouldn't work in an office, you know, maybe working from home would be better for me because a lot of times these, you know, higher level jiu-jitsu training sessions are in the middle of the day rather than way later on in the day.
And also, you know, You're sure tired later in the day, after working for eight or nine hours, you know, and come in and trying to train it just wasn't like, I just wasn't progressing to where I wanted. So again, went through the pipeline probably applied to like 30 or 40 work from home data analyst positions, cuz I was like, Okay, let me just get some freedom.
And then you know, a couple of them stick. And luckily one of them that I landed with is now my current job still. I've stuck with it for a little over two years, maybe like two and a half. I don't even know I've lost track at this point. It's been a while. But so now I work from home. I leveraged my experience in the data analysis sector to get a job where I can work more on my own schedule and doing a higher level of work.
So through that pre pandemic before it was cool, I started working from home and still doing it. Now I can I wake up in the morning? I I'm sort of on my own schedule. Don't have to sit in traffic. I'll drive to go train around, you know, 11 or so each day, come back at two. And yeah, I got a lot more you know, it's a lot more fun for me personally. Everyone's different. I like structuring my day that way.
[00:20:46] Ken: I think there's something really important about finding the role that is the best fit for you. So many people who I talk to, including myself, they make all of their, their work, you know, their life revolves around their work, right? And it obviously doesn't have to be that way.
There can be other things in our, in our lives that are just as important, if not more important than our work. Some people work to live. Some people live to work and there is a balance in between there. It seems like, and it, and it's obvious that, you know, jiu-jitsu is a huge part of your life.
You're doing that competitively. You're traveling for that. You're doing all these things and. Your role and the specific data work is something that fits really nicely into that lifestyle. And a lot of the time that's all you need to get from work, right? Yeah. I mean that that's, to me, such a beautiful thing and a sort of flexible thing about this career path is that you have the power to find a lot of positions.
You have a lot of opportunity so that if you did wanna make your work something stable and consistent andsomething that you enjoy, but isn't necessarily like the center of your life, you have the power to do that. And that's essentially what I've done with my career. You know, I work my like quote unquote nine to five where I'm remote.
And then I do content on the side, in the podcast, YouTube, all these different things. And I have the ability to focus on, on those two things equally or give them as much time as I need. And for you, that that gap would be filled obviously with a, with a lot of training. So I really, you know, ad admire the fact that you've. Identified that you thought about, Okay, how do these things coexist?
How do I find it might be the ideal career for your, for your to practice jiu-jitsu andto train as well. You know, there could be something better who knows but it seems like you found this really interesting synergy there. How did you go about making that leap? Like, what was the thought process where you were like, Oh remote is a viable option. I have enough skill to do that. Now you like, what was the linchpin that made you get to that decision?
[00:22:53] Breylor: Yeah, so, man, it's funny because I've never been someone in my life to, you know, get like anxiety or anything like that too much, you know. Like, I I'm generally, you know, you know, positive, upbeat person, you know, obviously everyone has their, you know, days and stuff like that, but I, towards like the end of myself working in the bank, like. It was weird, man. I don't know. I was just like, not enjoying sitting there, like driving there each day.
I was sort of just like having just like weird freaking feelings inside of myself. Like, like that sort of led me to get into things more. So, which I've been slacking on lately, unfortunately, but like meditating and things like that, because like, it would just be like a few hours into the day. And I knew I had like six more hours or five more and like, I just wasn't really fueling it.
So I just like run out to the car and like, it was weird, man. Like just not feeling great. So I just realized, Okay, something has to change like this isn't the spot for me. And I did a few sessions where if I didn't have, you know, my manager having me do something in the middle of the day that I could run out and really quickly run to this other school, I was training at, at noon, get a quick workout in, get a quick shower and rush back and like getting lunch on the way.
But it was a very rush process, you know, it was like in and out, like, Go, go, go. And then, so after doing that like a couple times I was like, man, maybe I gotta get a job where. I can just do this without having to stress about it, where it can be a regular thing. And yeah, I've always been the type of person too, like in college, you know, some people go and work in the library for their homework or some people, you know, go and work with like groups of people for this or that.
I've always just sort of been good at like going into my room and shutting my door and just getting it done, you know, by myself focusing in. So that just sort of like, all those factors led me to believe. I was like, man, maybe if I could find a job where like I could work from, like, that would be ideal.
And also my manager had the ability to work from home, which he wouldn't do much, but you know, if he was sick, he'd be doing it. And so like that was in my head. I was like, man, if he can work from home, like why can't I just do all this stuff from home? Like why do I have to drive in here? You know? And so that all, all those things basically just led me to like, you know, Google searching in my freaking four extra hours a day sitting in that office.
Unfortunately don't tell my old company that or sort of maybe on company. I mean, everyone's done that yeah. it's like, is my manager looking over my shoulder? I hope not, but yeah, no. So I was just like, went on all these work from home websites and yeah. Started sending out the applications, man. Just, you know, had to switch something up.
[00:25:23] Ken: Yeah. I think again, just so many people don't realize that you have a lot of freedom. In the career that you choose and there's benefits and drawbacks to everything. So, you know, I chose a career path. I chose the current company that I work at. I took a pretty big pay cut from what I would make it like a big tech company. Right.
But the amount of freedom that I have, the amount of autonomy and control over the project and workflow is unprecedented. And I can do all the content creation, all these other things, right? Yeah. The trade off of pure income comes with the benefit of all of these other opportunities.
And, you know, sometimes you don't even have to take a pay cut, but like, it's really important to think about what you value in a role, which might not even be purely financial. Right. I mean, it could be this freedom and you know, if I'm making money from the content that I produce, it's like, Oh, I don't need to make all my money for my work. I can make money from these other sources. Right. it's a very empowering thing to be able to realize that. Exactly this role fits better than some of these other roles.
[00:26:27] Breylor: For sure, man. And it's funny too, because I haven't even brought up like the whole concept of, you know, money yet in this whole discussion. So I mean, obviously we all want money. We all wanna be successful. We want to get things we want, but it's like, I could have probably like, instead of getting this job that I have now, I probably could have taken a job and maybe made like 30, 40% more or something, which obviously like, is, you know, it's like tempting, but I just don't really see the point in, you know, working for all this money if you're just not enjoying day to day life.
Like and it's funny I say that cuz sort of right now, I'm in a grind focusing on a lot of things where I don't have quite as much free time, but it's sort of more so for the future, but it's all things I do enjoy, but if you're just. You know, say you're making like 500,000 bucks a year, but you're driving there and you're freaking not liking the drive every day.
Like, what's the point, you know, I don't know, it's it. andalso like touching it back a little bit. It's like, for me working from the office, wasn't the deal. Like, I don't really need, you know, the extra social circle in there, whatever I got jiu-jitsu, I got my buddies, but like, everyone's different, you know?
So some people might really enjoy being in the office. They might enjoy the group of people they have in there. They might enjoy the whole routine. Everyone's different. I'm not like, you know, you know, trying to like talk bad or whatever about anyone who's like in that routine. And isn't getting out of it because it could be perfect for.
But I just know. Yeah, it wasn't perfect for me and sacrificing a little bit of money for, you know, the happiness and ability to pursue some of the things I'm passionate about while I'm young, I think was a fair trade off. And currently I'm working towards other, you know, income streams as well. So hopefully that'll come too. We'll see.
[00:28:19] Ken: Awesome. Well, you know, you mentioned fair trade off and I think that that's the most important thing. I mean, some people I know, they're like, Hey, I just wanna make a lot of money. I still enjoy the technical work that I'm doing. And I'm like, that's totally fine. Like in some sense, I I'm like, damn, I wish I could, could enjoy that type of work as much as you are and, andget paid in that same way.
But for me, it's just like, Hey, I would be totally miserable if I was approaching it in the same way. And that's the beauty of sort of introspection is, is the understanding that, Hey, I'm different from these other people. And I found the system and the setup that, that works for me. , I personally believe if I've made a choice to do something.
I have this like incessant need to be congruent and enjoy it. So it's like, Oh, I've chosen to record a podcast every week. That's not on anyone else. No one, no company is telling me to do that. I've chosen to do I have, I have to do it and I have to love doing it. So it's one of these things where like you've made that choice to pursue you know, pursue jiu-jitsu, pursue a work from home. And because of that autonomy of choice, it makes you enjoy it more. You're not forced to do any of that other stuff, which is a very empowering feeling.
[00:29:31] Breylor: It's a great point, man. And it's like, you know, work is, you know, for me, I don't consider things that I'm really into like, and having fun with is like work. Like you're saying, like you know, you're doing what you want, you're flowing, you know, you're in the flow state basically. And it's funny. I don't know, we don't need to harp on this for too long, but right now I'm studying a whole bunch of stock trading and like reading these books on like price action and getting very technical, which is, you know, hopefully gonna be another thing in my future.
But it's funny. Like, I'll catch myself, like, you know, at nighttime, like when my buddies are drinking beers and chilling, like I still might have had a beer or something, you know, hanging out, but then I'll start cracking, open this book and reading it and it's all this very technical stuff. And it's sort of weird to me, but it's like, it's fun.
You know? It's like, if it's fun, do it, you know, if you don't like it, I don't know. Maybe do it. Maybe not.
[00:30:21] Ken: I had that exact, I learned this when I was in college, so I took an economics course and I loved it. I had never liked a single course I'd ever taken in school until that point. And I, and I got my first A, I think I'd ever gotten in that economics, in that economics course.
And I was like, Wow, like, I can be good at this if I actually care about it. And so there was this progression where I started taking classes. I cared about more. And then I started tricking myself into liking a lot of these other subjects more, and I completely transformed my academic career. And it's one of these things where like, there's so much power in that is like, if you can convince yourself in some way that you're doing it for fun.
[00:30:58] Breylor: The effort required to go into it is so much less like it just comes naturally.
[00:31:05] Ken: Exactly. Exactly. So let's change gears just a little bit here. I really wanna learn more about the intersection of jiu-jitsu and data in your life. So it's obviously intersected in terms of the work style and work life that you've chosen. Are there any other places where these two fields collide?
[00:31:25] Breylor: For sure. So it's funny actually, like just to start out, I feel like I feel like every segment here I'm giving a little background info, but oh yeah. I just gotta, I gotta fill in the gaps. So it's sort of funny. Up until three years ago. That's about when I started competing more so in jiu-jitsu, even though I've been training for about like maybe 11 years, it's been a while. Shit, maybe 12 it's, 2022, I guess, you know, 12 years. But so for the longest time, like I would like in high school and college, like I would just go to jiu-jitsu.
I wouldn't really think too much about like what I'm doing. I would just show up I'd roll, I'd have fun. I'm a bigger guy, you know, I'm six, five. I wasn't as heavy as I was back then as I am now, but I could sort of get away with just, you know, just, you know, forcing things a little bit. I wouldn't have, I wouldn't be the most technical, so I'd show up, I'd roll.
I'd sweat, have fun. Talk to the buddies and go home, not think about it too much, but now as I'm getting more and more, you know, into higher level competitions, I'm like. Getting very aware of my game and like analytical and what I'm good at what I need to work on, what my opponents are good at things like that.
Whereas before there was none of that, like, it's funny, I was telling you I've been an analytical person my whole life. Like, I like to know why things happen and how, but jiu-jitsu was like an outlier. Like I just didn't even think about it. I would just show up, just go and just come back. I wouldn't even know what I did.
I would just be like loss. So now that I'm like coming into more, you know, the higher level competition, it really is like, it takes measured practice to get better at things, which is the same thing as, you know, data analysis. So it's like, say for example, you know, we're working with some new function in like in like, you know, a, my program or something like, you might not know how to use it at first.
You'll see the function. You'll see like what inputs you're supposed to put here. And then like, example of output data. Then you'll look through examples maybe of, you know, what happens when I put up plug in these variables, what does it give. And then you start messing with it on your own until you sort of figure it out.
So it's sort of that measured practice where you have to be aware of what you're working with and cognizant of, you know, what's happening. Why am I getting this air? Let's dive into the air and then figure it out, which always came natural to me in math and, you know, SQL and starting out. And it's the same with jiu-jitsu.
It's like, you know, if I'm working, say for example, like for a while I was deficient in leg loss. Unfortunately that's still how I lost this, that match on the “Who's Next” show. But I'd like to think I'm a lot better at them even now seven months later, that was like in early November that we filmed.
But so it's like, Okay, I need to work on leg locks. Let's watch videos on it. Let's see what the best guys are doing. And then once I have a better idea of what's going on, let me put myself in that position over and over and over again, and think about what I'm doing. Once I get out of the, if I got caught, let's think about what happened.
You know, if I caught the other guy, if I reverse him, let's think about what happened. And like, it's just measured practice really in both aspects. Like you have to be aware of what you're working with and you know, you can't just like plug and chug and just smash on the keyboard and hope it's gonna work out.
It's like, Okay, we gotta dive into this issue. And same with obviously jiu-jitsu things like, you know, journaling help. I just write down a ton of stuff throughout all aspects of my life, these days. And yeah, it's the repetition, but not just mindless repetition, you gotta be paying attention.
[00:35:05] Ken: So it seems like the deliberate practice is a key and pretty much any, any success anywhere, and that, you know, that's coming from you. Who's one of essentially like the best in the world at, at jiu-jitsu, which I think is a really, a really powerful thing, you know, as a data analyst, as a data scientist, right? Like I'm not as the pinnacle of the career there's, you know, maybe at best on like an 85th percentile data scientist, right.
And it's a very different mindset that you have to take into competition at the highest level versus like your work, which is almost never gonna be at the, the highest, highest level in this domain. Sure. And I think a big differentiator there is execution, right? So in jiu-jitsu, in any high level sport, there's a point where you have to detach from analysis.
And you have to, essentially like when you compete, you have to forget about the analysis and just compete, right. you build the analysis into the practice and the repetition and the deliberate practice, so that you're completely free to just execute when you're, when you're in the moment. And when you're yeah, we, we don't necessarily have a parallel to that in the workforce because we can always...
[00:36:19] Breylor: I was just about to say that that's a very good point because in SQL, in data analysis, it's like, you can all the times, like you can take your time. You can think through this, you can refer back to your notes, obviously, like you're saying, and sorry to cut you off and jiu-jitsu, that's not the case. It's like, it's that deliberate practice that puts it in your mind. And I think Mia ... says something where it's like, if your mind is in one place, you know, you can freeze things like that.
So you gotta keep your mind empty. Your mind's gotta be nowhere, so it can be everywhere. It's not quite the case in data analysis, but at least, yeah. The learning process is there, but then I guess yeah, in data analysis, you're not going and freaking having a data off with the guy on the other, you know, company.
So it's a little different maybe if there was a big competition actually that would get into play. But the fact that there's no time constraints, there's no instant wins or losses yet you don't need to deal with that as much in the data sector.
[00:37:14] Ken: Well, I mean, I guess in theory, like technical interviewing that that could be relevant and that's where you, yeah, that's true. You know, you want to get to that point where you can just execute. I mean, I ran into this issue when I was playing competitive golf is that I would overanalyze, right? Like, ah, I loved jiu-jitsu because it's dynamic in golf. You go from a static position to hitting a ball. So there's a lot of time for you to think about man, everything that could go right or wrong when you're over the shot. But you know, if you're, if you're doing that, when you're competing in jiu-jitsu, That time, time is really important. There's that lapse. And you know, you're gonna get choked.
[00:37:52] Breylor: You cannot, you cannot freeze up. You cannot think really? Like, it's like, Okay, I'm in this position. Should I go here? Should I go here? And then before you know it, he's cranking on your foot, your knee fucking pops or freaking pops. Sorry. Didn't mean to cuss and then you're out. It's okay. It's funny. Actually. Speaking of golf, man, I just wanna say this real quick yesterday, I was hitting with my dad and I was putting, and I was on fire.
I was just like making all these putts, like two putting everything, no matter how far it was, it was crazy. And then my dad starts bringing up. He's like, man, like your clutch today, blah, blah, blah, your clutch. And then like our last putt of the day, I was just thinking, I was like, man, I am doing pretty good right now. Huh? And then I screw up on the last one of the day. So it's like, yep. Gotta keep that mind empty.
[00:38:37] Ken: It tends to happen. And then that's the, that's the beauty of it. I will say. I got really lucky. Like moving from golf to doing a lot more jiu-jitsu now is because if I can keep thoughts outta my head over the course of, you know, like a 10, 15, second routine for a golf swing, I can do it when I'm on the mats fairly well. Oh, for sure. Which is like, which just like a very nice, very nice parallel.
[00:39:03] Breylor: Yeah. You got less time to think in jiu-jitsu. So if you got minutes to think and golf and you can keep it quiet, then dealing with a five second intermission in a position is a little easier to come.
[00:39:13] Ken: Yeah, well, I mean, that's, that's something I found really interesting. I mean, I'm training mostly Gi right now. So for those who don't know, you have generally, like two ways you can compete in jiu-jitsu is in a gee, which is like a more traditional martial arts uniform or no gee where you're in essentially like a rash guard or you're in like more traditional, tight fitting street clothes.
And in Gi you have a lot more time to think because you're in these stalemates, you're kind of moving a little bit slower. And it's like, for me, that's a lot easier to learn because I still can think a little bit, and I can slowly, slowly limit the amount of time that I'm thinking till it becomes natural. Very hard for me to do in no Gi though.
[00:39:53] Breylor: Yeah. You'll get there. The Gi is a good way to start though, for sure. Right. Slows things down, cuz yeah, like, like as Ken was saying, like in the Gi you can actually grab onto the clothes. So it's like, if a guy has a sleeve, you can grab the sleeve and it's a little slower to come by. So yeah, more time to think out there.
[00:40:10] Ken: This episode is brought to you by Z by HP. HP's high compute, workstation-grade line of products and solutions. Z is specifically made for high performance data science solutions. And I personally use the ZBook Studio and the Z4 Workstation. I really love that Z workstation can come standard with Linux, and they can be configured with the data science software stack. With the software stack, you can get right to work doing data science on day 1 without the overhead of having to completely reconfigure your new machine.
Now back to our show. So you mentioned something a little bit before about dedicated practice, but what other things can someone in the data space learn from jiu-jitsu and maybe someone in the jiu-jitsu space learn from a data practitioner?
[00:40:59] Breylor: Yeah, so it's probably just a lot of like, I mean, learning anything is a skill, you know, it's like learning how to learn. Is, you know, something that some people haven't, you know, had to do before. So it's good to know how to learn things. Especially if you approach something that, you know, you're very unfamiliar with.
Like, for example, like I remember looking at my first, like I was saying in that second internship I had, where I learned a little bit about SQL and how to pull data. I remember like seeing, like, it was like a data poll with like a hundred interjoins and it was like, this was going on and that was going on.
And I just looked at it and I was like, what the heck? I do not know what I'm looking at, but you can sort of break things down piece by piece once you gain like the familiarity to get there. So I think with anything that's pretty analytical, it's just. Learning how to see something that you're not so sure about in the beginning, but then having confidence that you can get there to learn it.
Which was the case for me is for example, like in my math major, Cal Poly slow like in some of these more theoretical math classes, I remember I'd just be seeing through a lecture and like, and after 50 minutes, the class is over. I'm like, Wow, I just do not know what was just said. I didn't understand any of that.
Like what the heck? And then, so, but luckily that would happen on a regular basis. So once I saw that whole lecture and didn't know what happened, coming back to it and having the confidence to break it down and understand reading the textbook, I was like, Okay, if I see something that I don't get, it's like, I have confidence that I can learn how to do it.
So I guess that's another parallel probably in data in jiu-jitsu is like in jiu-jitsu. For example, if some guy's going for a heel hook, the guy who's getting heel hooked counters and uses a bear and bowl to take the back. It's like that whole string of that whole sentence, I just said probably would just like blow, go over a lot of people's minds away, even if they know a little bit about jiu-jitsu, but once you learn what is a lay lock, what is a heel hook?
What is a back take? What is a berimbolo? How does that lead to the back. Then, it's like, you can sort of piece things together. So I'd say that's another good parallel. It's not specific. Like, like we said, the deliberate practice, these things, maybe aren't specific to jiu-jitsu and to data analysis, but there's parallels in learning everything, you know? So it's you know, the confidence to see something that's not understood and turn it into something that you do understand.
[00:43:26] Ken: think something that's common in jiu-jitsu as well as any data analytics or any career really is jargon. And just learning to break those things down, like for example, berimbolo.
If you look how it's spelled it doesn't exactly. Look like how it sounds, right. There's a lot of things, a lot of moves that are named after people essentially. And it suggests nothing about what the actual moves are. And so going and Googling, Googling these things. And like, if you hear it, just Google it, like that happens so often when I'm looking through code I'm like, what is this library?
Do? I've never seen this before. I'll just Google it. I'm like, Oh, I understand that now. Like, I've seen this now. I know what they're talking about. And it's pretty exciting. I mean, I haven't done something. I mean, jiu-jitsu's still very new to me, but it's unbelievably exciting when I go, I learn about something and I hear someone talking about it. And now I'm part of that conversation because yeah, I understand the concepts that are going on. I I've seen it before. I'm I'm. More aware of the world, this being out built out there.
[00:44:31] Breylor: Sure. It gives you confidence, man. You're like, Okay, I know what these guys are saying. Like, it's like, I heard this word before.
I didn't get it now. It's like, we're learning and yeah. Shout out to one of my buddies that I train with at Legion, American jiu-jitsu, my buddy Mike Salazar, he sort of turned me onto the whole BA bolos and what they are, even in no guy, I didn't even know him up until like, he came here like about a year ago.
It's funny, man. So yeah, it's, you know, I had been doing jiu-jitsu for what, probably 11 years at that point. And I didn't even like really get it, you know, but then I was like, Okay, let's just work through it. And now it's like, whenever I hit one, I just love it. You know? And like, I'll see people setting 'em up. I can see it coming from a mile away when they're trying to do it to me. So yeah. It's just fun fun to learn.
[00:45:10] Ken: Well, I mean, that's the other part of it too, is like when you, when you see it or when you actually do it or when you execute it you know, let's say like a query or your code runs, right. or you hit a move in practice, like in an actual role. That's so exciting. The excitement you get there is so much, it's so worth it compared to the initial fear that you feel about approaching something that's new andintimidating.
[00:45:37] Breylor: For sure. I think that that's how we grow, you know, if it intimidates you to start, it's like, Okay, let's figure it out. Then we'll grow from there.
[00:45:44] Ken: Well, you also have these lasting effects, right? I mean, I still look back on some of the things that I've done in my career, whether it's like making the decision to like try and pursue playing golf professionally. Right. I didn't succeed, but I still like went out and I did it.
I went back, I look at going and like doing a master's in computer science when I had no coding background to me, that's like, Hey, I, if I was able to do that, I can learn how this freaking Python library works.
[00:46:12] Breylor: Exactly. It's like, it gives you confidence to learn more, you know? Yeah. Like it's like, Oh, if I can learn that, then like the possibilities are endless, you know? Yeah. Just keeps going.
[00:46:22] Ken: Well, it's funny. I get, I did. So I did my first jiu-jitsu competition and then a week, two weeks later, I gave my first keynote speech and I kept thinking, I was like, Wow. I was so much more nervous for the jiu-jitsu competition than I am speaking in front of like four or 500 people.
And if I could make it through that competition, then I can, then I can approach this and like be comfortable out there. And, and, you know, like in one you're literally like fearing for your physical health and another it's like, Okay, I embarrass myself who cares, right?
[00:46:57] Breylor: Yeah, yeah, exactly. It does make other things a little bit easier, right.
[00:47:02] Ken: You know, something, something that we talked a little bit about before, which I wanted to make sure we brought up is this idea of unconscious resolution. So the idea that you're putting in a lot of the hard work in any of these things in jiu-jitsu, in coding practice, in SQL, whatever it might be. Sometimes it just needs to have a little bit of time to like to work, but it eventually does. Can you touch on that a little bit.
[00:47:30] Breylor: For sure, man. That's a good point. I'm glad you brought that up actually. Cuz I forgot like to mention that probably in the similarities between SQL and you know, and data analysis and jiu-jitsu. Cause it's crazy man. And I think I mentioned this to you before. I think it's from you know, Stephen Pressfield's book what is it? The war on art there's he touches on something. He touches on something about how basically you gotta commit yourself to a task and you know, if you commit yourself hard enough with as much intent, like I think you refer to him as like what was angels or I forget exactly the terminology he uses.
It's not a religious book, but he basically says like some higher power. Once you commit yourself this hard to a certain, you know, skill set, getting better at things you're gonna commit yourself. And then maybe later on in the day, like, say, I'm trying to run this, you know, SQL query. And I can't quite figure it out.
Like it's just driving me nuts. And then it's like really in my brain though, like, I'm really trying to figure it out, but I can't do it. Sometimes. The best thing to do is just sit on it and let your unconscious brain sort of resolve the issues on its own, which is another reason why having jiu-jitsu in the middle of the day for me is good.
Because sometimes I'll be stressing in the morning trying to figure out some coding stuff for work. And then as I'm driving to jiu-jitsu, I'm not even thinking about it then outta nowhere, I'm like, Oh shoot, I forgot to convert this variable over to this, you know, right. Format. Or, you know, it's like, I'm not grouping by like all the things I should be or this or that, you know, it's like, it just sort of pops into your head.
So it's. Have, you know, being passionate about these things and working towards these goals, it's obviously hard work is a lot of what it takes, but then also like pulling back and sort of just allowing like your hard work to sort of set in to your subconscious minds can figure things out. Like, man, it's funny, like a few weeks ago, one of my buddies was visiting who I was training with and then we were going over some stuff and then I got sick for a few days where I couldn't train.
So I was just thinking about jiu-jitsu more than usual because I'm not actually doing it and I'm not trying to think about it, but it's like, I'm just have like these like pictures in my mind of like key little details on what I should try when I get back, you know, it's like, Oh, on the berimbolo against this, you know, leg attack, like keep my knee pinched on their thigh more so than in their hip, because it's gonna allow better rotation of their legs to slip in the far side hook.
Sorry, non jiu-jitsu people. You have no idea what I just said there, but it's yeah, it's just putting a lot of effort into things. And then that's, that's a similarity, I guess again, not just with data analysis, Ory, but with anything it's like you put in the work you put in the effort, maybe it's in your off time that just randomly like the answer's gonna pop into your head that you've been looking for. And yeah, it's easier that way than stressing about it for 20 hours straight. I'll tell you that.
[00:50:24] Ken: Yeah. Well, you know, one of my favorite stories related to that, I mean, it's about a golfer Gary Player. So he is like hitting sand shots. Right. And he holds one out and then he holds another out and a guy watching him.
He says, Wow, that was really lucky. And Gary Player says, you know, The more I practice the luckier, I get.
[00:50:45] Breylor: Ah, I love that one.
[00:50:47] Ken: And the idea is that, you know, if you're putting in the, in the work, you will see dividends, but it doesn't have to be like immediate. Right. All of the good fortune, all the good things that happen. There is some randomness involved, but you're moving. The probability distribution, the like the positive outcomes slowly, slightly over to increase those. And the better you get in that domain, the more likely you're gonna have good opportunities. It doesn't mean that you're, they're all gonna rain on you.
It just means they're more likely and they'll probably come pretty unexpectedly. And I think we're so used to this immediate payoff that we get discouraged if something doesn't happen immediately andthings just don't happen immediately, unless you're really lucky.
[00:51:31] Breylor: Yeah, it's a great point, man. It's funny. It's like a lot of times, like the time in like jiu-jitsu or mixed martial arts, or even maybe data analysis, I'm sure like there's, you know, people who come into the spotlight, what seems to be very quickly to everyone else. And they're like an overnight success, but it's. Probably wasn't overnight, this guy's probably putting in work for years and then like, finally, the opportunity comes and then he just strikes it.
You know, like you're saying the harder I work, the luckier I get, it's like, yeah, I still get lucky in training, but I get a lucky a lot more than I did eight years ago. It's like, is it luck? I don't know. Maybe, but you know, probably, probably not just luck. Eh.
[00:52:12] Ken: Well, you bring up a really important point there too, is that success and personal growth and it isn't necessarily linear.
So let's take bear and Belo for you. For example, let's say you hadn't been using it and you integrate it to your game. It fits your body type very well. Like you have long legs, you have, like, I would imagine you could invert pretty well. It seems like it would probably fit that might transform your jiu-jitsu game completely.
Right. If that becomes a major staple of it that could transform you know, like that could give you a huge leap. If that's something you'd never been really using before. Same thing. In data analysis, I start learning like Python or some dashboarding tool and I fall in love with it. Right.
And I get really good at it. And that's all I want to do that like transforms the nature of my work that might open me up to a lot of job opportunities. It might, it might change the way I approach things. This new framework might leap you know, make me leap forward very far. Just because I had access to it and I was working on things parallel to it.
It's sort of that randomness of finding the thing that fits into your bigger system that makes you improve. And so many people think it's like, Oh, I just work day after day and I get better. It's like, no, there are these other things. That you specifically work on that can sort of supercharge something.
And yes, maybe there's some luck in finding those specific things, but I also think there's some introspection and understanding who you are and you know, what your game is and what you like that can lead to that monumental progress as well.
[00:53:48] Breylor: For sure, man. And I just want to throw out their side note for everyone watching in case you're wondering what a berimbolo is the spelling, as Ken mentioned earlier, it's sort of tricky to spell it's B E R I M B O L O.
So go ahead and YouTube it, and then maybe you'll understand a little bit more about all this berimbolo talk because yeah, it's a funky one, but yeah, man, that's another great point as well. It's yeah, the links are, you know, undeniable for sure.
[00:54:19] Ken: Well, you know, speaking about those links, I mean, I obviously have fallen in love with jiu-jitsu. I mean, it's something I train about four times a week. It's something I like. I look forward to it every single day I go and train. But from a more advanced practitioner, why might it be worthwhile to pursue jiu-jitsu just recreationally or anything along those lines? I find that there have been some incredible like benefits to me, but I'm interested in your perspective, especially for a lot of the data scientists, data analysts, software engineers, who are sitting at home quite a bit.
[00:54:53] Breylor: I was just gonna say specifically, Okay, I'll start out specifically catering to the data crowd, and then I'll expand more so broadly. I it's funny, man, in jiu-jitsu, you wouldn't think so. A lot of people might see like jiu-jitsu and this and that as like a meathead type thing, which sure it is, you know, it can be, it's like, you know, we're wrestling, we're trying to submit each other and choke each other out.
You'd be very surprised in jiu-jitsu. How many data guys there are? How many staff guys there are math guys, scientists like. It's like a very, like, like there's a technical crowd. Of course there's guys of all different, you know, occupations. I'm not saying it's like all data and out and analysts doing jiu-jitsu, but you know, you'd be surprised, honestly, how many, like technically minded people there are.
So it's funny. So that sort of fits in right away. As we mentioned before, the technical analysis required to understand data issues and things like that. You learn to bake things down piece by piece and see what's going wrong. The same, the same, you know pattern of, you know solution identification basically can be implemented into jiu-jitsu.
You can break down your issues very technically if you want, or you could be like me how I was prior to three years ago where you just show up, roll, sweat, go home. But you know, since this is a data savvy crowd, I'm sure if anyone hadn't done jiu-jitsu and got into it and got hooked, Within two or three months, you know, they'd be like you thinking about it in the off time, thinking about these positions to work on fixing their issues, just because it's fun.
It's like human chest basically when it comes down to it. And then, so I actually wrote down a short little list to this answer, this one, because I didn't wanna forget anything. I knew you were gonna ask this question. Everything else is off the top. And this basically all is too. I wrote this like two minutes before our video.
So health, obviously exercise is good for a human being, whether it's physical, you know, health, even mental health, you gotta get your blood pumping. It's, you know, we're animals. We gotta, we gotta work our, you know, biological system. We can't just, you know, sit at a computer all day. Otherwise our back's gonna hurt and you.
You know, unhealthy things gonna happen. Yeah, exactly. So it's a healthy way. It's a little bit more fun than just going to the gym and lifting weights or throwing on earbuds and, you know, paving weight at the road, which both are actually fun to me. But you know, a lot of people who, you know, aren't as excited for exercise might, you know, not take to those as much.
So it's healthy, it's fun. It's a social circle. You know, when I'm sure, you know, as well as I do your gym, that you go to, you see the same people all the time. You talk to, 'em say, what's up, see what they've been up to, you know? And then, you know, you casually try to strangle each other and wrench on each other's arms and then afterward it's sort of, you just feel like a better person.
I don't know. you guys are chatting after the, you know, class, you're all tired. Sitting there exhausted sweaty. And before, you know, it you've chatted for like 30 minutes and you're like, crap, I gotta get out of here. So it's a good social event, you know, you're, you know, you're building friends having, you know, in a good positive environment, anxiety relief, for sure.
You know, data analysis specifically can be a stressful job, data science, you know, anything among that nature, especially if you're in the deeper field, such as, you know, machine learning and things like that. I'm sure it's like stress is gonna happen. So again, tying it into the health aspect it's stress relief, which again, in turn is healthy for you.
So, you know, you can get rid of that if you're, you know, like I said, you're slamming on your keyboard, trying to figure out why you're getting this air. Maybe it's on the way to driving to jiu-jitsu. It'll pop into your brain and figure it out. Maybe not, maybe just, but going to jiu-jitsu, at least we'll alleviate the, you know, anxiety you built up through the day, not getting us to work.
You're sort of relieved after you can go hang out, relax and feel. Okay. This is something we touched on when we were had our initial, you know, conversation, which is a really good point. And it's really good for, especially in this modern day and age, it really keeps you in the moment, cuz like, if you're in jiu-jitsu, if you're rolling with someone grappling, you can't really be thinking about too much else.
Otherwise things won't go great for you. And trust me, I've been there. I, you know, sometimes I'm like, you know, sort of like getting messages from my manager or something on the side as I'm training and then I'm like, I just don't do good cuz my mind's not focused. Luckily I've gotten better at blocking that out.
But so you're in the moment you're immersed. Like it's not many times in today's day and age, you know, where. You know, we got our cell phones all the time. It's easy to get distracted. We're scrolling on Instagram. You're just like, always thinking about all these different things basically. And then yeah, so basically it'll just help keep you in the moment there for sure.
And yeah, you just, you know, can block other things out a little bit easier. And then and then other more, you know, reasons that might stick out to someone right off the bat is self-defense, you know, you can learn how to defend yourself in case you're ever in a situation where, you know, things are going wrong and you gotta protect yourself.
You know, of course, hope that doesn't happen. Unfortunately, you know, speaking bluntly here, especially for females, knowing jiu-jitsu is a very good skill for self-defense too, because of course you don't wanna bring it up, but sexual assault is a thing. And you learn to use your legs as weapons. When in jiu-jitsu it's like if some guys in your guard between your legs.
You can go ahead and you know, punch their wrist down and get them in a triangle choke with your legs. And yeah, man, I, I just rattle off a whole bunch there, but as you can tell, there's many reasons to sell someone on it. There's too many benefits and, you know, drawbacks or unfortunately injuries. It's part of it. So, you know.
[01:00:54] Ken: Obsession and time consumption is another.
[01:00:57] Breylor: Exactly obsession for sure, man. It takes time, but yeah, man, it's there's ton, ton of reasons, you know, to go ahead and get started in it.
[01:01:06] Ken: Yeah, I mean, one, one I definitely want to add is that I think training is something that helps you deal with adversity. We touched on this a little bit before, but to me it's so, so important to like condition yourself, to get over or to do hard things like something I write down or I, you know, like I try to do every day is I try to do at least one thing that I perceive is difficult so that it just. Other things seem less difficult.
Yeah. Right. If I sit in an ice tub for five minutes, that makes me sit writing, you know, 10 lines of code, pretty easy in comparison. And the same thing with, with jiu-jitsu, you're doing something physically taxing, mentally stimulating that's difficult. And you know, it sucks in the beginning. A lot of people tend to quit because they get beat up on a little bit especially to start.
But that's sort of the fun of it is you see the people who've been doing it for a year, for two years or five years for 10 years. And you see the difference in the skill. And you're like, Wow, like that's a place that I could potentially be if I continue to invest and to grow and kind of take these, these whoopings just a, just a little bit.
And that, that to me is something that I've always really relished is that if we get through the hard stuff, it makes the next difficult thing we do far easier. And then pretty soon. Like almost anything will, will seem easy for us if we've done enough hard things.
[01:02:32] Breylor: Like you said, presenting in front of a couple hundred people is a lot easier after you go through a tournament where some guy's trying to, you know, crank your face and things like that.
So yeah. Doing hard things makes other things easier. I agree completely. And the ice bath yet again, I know we talked about that before. Key part of my staple of my routine as well. That same, same type of thing, man. You learn to sit through that, you know, then five minutes, anywhere else is a lot easier.
[01:02:58] Ken: Yeah, yeah. Actually out outta curiosity, what temperature do you usually try to get the ice bath to? Or you just throw some ice in it.
[01:03:05] Breylor: No. So, I've got a chest freezer that I converted, so I put it on, you know, a power outlet basically to freeze it for like four hours at night or so under the exact same thing.
Yeah. Cool. Cool. Perfect. So the way I know when it's cold enough is when there's giant ice chunks that I have to break to get into it. So I've taken the temperature before and it's about you know, 34 degrees or so under there. So I, yeah, I try to get it as cold as I can.
[01:03:31] Ken: I can't get in if it's less than like 45, that's too cold for me.
[01:03:37] Breylor: Oh really? Dude, it's easier for me. It's the weirdest thing actually I've tried it without it like sort of being frozen on top and like, I don't know, for some reason, like. It almost like shuts off like some nerve system or something when I get in, when it's real cold. I don't know. Hopefully, hopefully it's a good thing.
I don't know. All I know is that , I've gotten in it before when it like wasn't fully frozen. And I was like, Wow, this is a lot harder to deal with, but that was only a few times. And now it's always just freezing. So maybe I just haven't done it in a while.
[01:04:06] Ken: Who knows? Who knows? I think I just need to tough it up a little bit, but, so I did wanna touch on one thing. I mean, at the beginning, we obviously talked, talked about how “Who's Next” didn't go. Exactly. According to plan and that's something, you know, like dealing with that adversity. And I'm wondering a little bit about how you approach when things don't go to plan, you know, how, how do you approach it? You know, those types of adversity, how do you create the mindset to get over them?
Rather than to just dwell on it because that's something that, again is so common with people in the interview process that I. Right where, you know, we're getting rejected by, you know, 50, 60 jobs andit's just devastating, but like you still have to move on, you still have to progress. We, we touched on it a little bit more, but I really want to dive into that andrefine it a bit.
[01:04:59] Breylor: A hundred percent. So yeah, I mean, it's a big bummer in the beginning and you know, it's hard to get around for sure. It's like like I had been looking forward to that for like months. I knew it was gonna happen probably eight months ahead of time. And that I had a good shot of getting onto the show and that like, you know, like I was just looking forward to it.
It was gonna be like a week and a half off work away from my day job to where I could focus on jiu-jitsu fully for the first time ever. And I've watched ultimate fighter growing up my whole life. And it's basically the jiu-jitsu version of the ultimate fighter. So I was like, I was hyped to be on it. You know, it was like a really good opportunity.
And then. Unfortunately, like the way things went down is so it's a no time limit, submission only matches. And I think I was maybe the fifth or sixth match of the day. And I, I always had like a very strict routine going into my, you know, matches and I need a certain hard warmup and I need to eat this and eat that.
And like, I still like to get those things, you know, good if I can. But on that day obviously it's no time limit matches. So it goes until one guy gets a submission. So we get there maybe 9:00 AM or something, and then like, Hours later, basically it's the match before mine. And then, so I'm like, I'd already warmed up, but once or so, twice before then, and then once the match before mine's about to start, I'm like, Okay, this should be a quick match.
It's like a black vote versus a blue belt. I think, you know, let me warm up again. And then, so I warm up again. I'm ready to go. And then I'm sort of sitting there just like trying to time the match when there's no like ability to, and it ended up being a match that lasted three hours long which is really crazy and unexpected.
And it's funny actually, on the reality show, they edited the matches in a different order, probably just for viewer's sake. You know, they didn't show that one, which was before mine, but that really threw me off too, you know? And then I realized like by the time my match came around, I was sort of tired. I was flat.
I'd been sitting around, I'd drink freaking four cups of coffee throughout the day, which I'd never done. I'm like coming down from the coffee. It's just like crazy. So anyways, now that my excuses are outta the way for the poor performance, basically. I look at things that go into the day, the preparation beforehand.
So, and then technical wise sort of, you know, so I was thinking like, Okay, what could I have done different leading up to the tournament? Like maybe I was thinking like, maybe I could gotta just like put less emphasis on how cool this is gonna be and how much I'm looking forward to it. And just try to make, move forward, you know, more monotone and stoically, I guess, you know, like whether it's good or bad, just be normal.
And then I look into like, what did I do wrong the day of I sort of break down like, Okay, maybe I shouldn't have warmed up. Maybe I shouldn't have tried to time this. Maybe if anything, I should have just tried to get like a really quick warm up in when I knew it was my time to go, maybe I should have, you know, I basically find all those variables.
And then of course we look at the technical aspect. It's like, Okay, well it's not all, you know, what went wrong beforehand. I obviously also screwed up on the technique somewhere along the way. So then it's like, Okay, let me get this technical details ironed out. So it's like, for example, the guy slapped my hand.
He basically got a good grip, pulled me into his guard and then went on a leg attack right away, which I'm usually good at countering, but sort of like in my head about how cool this situation was and I gotta win this match to get into the house. It was big pressure and I'd warmed up a few times. So trying to, you know, like we were talking about earlier, you, my mind should have been more empty.
I think I had too much going on through my mind at that point. And then technical wise, like I said, he went into the leg attack and then I got out of the first one. Then I sit back to my butt and then I'm playing this thing. That's called a knee shield guard where my leg is sort of hanging out at an angle to where my opponent, if he wants, he can grab my leg and sit back to the ground and start attacking leg locks.
And which is what he did. He tried a straight ankle, then switched it to an outside heel hook and submitted me really quickly. So that was the technical aspect I had to break down is like, Okay, maybe I gotta not leave my leg hanging out there, you know, not do this. So I try to be as objective as I can, whether it's the mental side of things or, you know, the technique and things like that.
And yeah, just try to break down what went wrong and then. Try to yeah. You know, account for it in future trainings. So, you know, putting myself in that position and escaping the leg lock a lot and showing up to training without, you know, warming up and just jumping in there just to know, I can do it to have the confidence. Oh, if I don't get my warmup, I'll be good. So yeah. Filling in the gaps like that.
[01:09:41] Ken: I really like the way that you just described that. I think something that people don't appreciate is that you can be objective about a lot of these things, right? Like what is in your control? What is outside of your control?
And there's a lot of randomness that goes into everything. There's so much randomness that goes into a jiu-jitsu match. Like if you put the same two people up against each other 20 times, you know, the, you know, if they're of reasonable skill, you're gonna get a distribution of, of, yeah. Of, of like. You know, wins and losses, right.
Just what happened in that specific scenario. For sure. And, you know, I always use this example with the interview process is that people don't realize the, the probability that you get a callback from a cold application of a, of a, for a data science job, just the callback is like 2% right.
So you have to essentially send 50 emails or 50, not 50 emails, 50 applications before you get one response. Like the average. Right. And people always say, Oh, I sent out 20 and I didn't get any responses. Or I got one response. You're like, well, you're actually doing like, better than double the average, right.
And so there is this, like this baseline that people don't give themselves in like a quantitative way where they think they're doing a lot, they think they're doing bad, but in actuality they're doing something that's good. And the way you've described things, I think like, there was no way you could have possibly known that there was gonna be this long wait ahead of you. Right.
And if you're doing things that were along with your process and whatever it might be, and it just so happened, the other guy didn't approach it in the same way. That's not something you could fault yourself for. It's something you can prepare yourself for in a future thing. But it's like, Okay, is this really on me?
Is this something I should super focus on? Or is this just the bad luck of the draw? And for some reason, humans have just such a tough time differentiating those things that I really believe that is like a legitimate superpower that we can develop is to say, Okay, how much of this was on me and how much of this on me that I can work on.
And how much of this was this random, like stuff that's in the ether that I didn't really have the ability to control. Yeah, of course. There's the slippery slope. There's a A couple professional golfers that I've seen where they're like, Oh, the, you know, like the, the course is in such garbage shape and all of this type of stuff.
And it's like due to everyone's playing the same course. If you can't, that's not a good excuse. Right?
[01:12:14] Breylor: Exactly.
[01:12:15] Ken: But, but you know, as long as you can, like, be honest with yourself andlike, you know, not make excuses for yourself, but say, Hey, this is how it is. And this is what I had control over. And this is what I didn't have control over. That's something they can carry so far, whether it's in any sport or it's in your, in your career, because I know I've had some of those issues where like, things didn't go my way and I was blaming myself and then someone just talked to me and I was like, is this really your fault?
And I was like, no, because there is power in having that internal locus of control right. Where it's like, I control my own destiny when I succeed. It's because of me. And when I fail it's because of me, and that's generally a good mindset to have, but you can really take it too hard andnot be objective and be completely unproductive because of that too.
[01:13:00] Breylor: For sure, man, I think it's all about like, and also after that loss, I sort of, you know, was trying to like reflect and figure out ways to improve myself. And you did too. And also outside of it and started reading a little bit more, getting more into like stoicism and you know, the books I mentioned earlier, like the war of art and things like that.
Like, you know, I guess some people call 'em self-help books, but it's just like, I just see it as like taking knowledge that other guys who are smart and accomplished have put forth and, you know, absorb me into my brain because it's sort of a cheat code to learn things. And so. Anda major concept in like, you know, stoicism is basically like focus on what you can control, can control, you know, and what you can't control.
It's like, well, you can't really do anything about it. Anyways. Obviously it's easier said than done, but for example, that guy, you know, complaining about the bad golf course or something, it's like, Okay, yeah, it wasn't in my control that it was a bad golf course, but what is in my control, maybe I should practice on a bad golf course so that I could get used to it, you know, in case this situation ever happens again. So, yeah, man, it's just take it down to what you can change and what you, can't, what you can't leave. It don't stress what you can make a change or learn from it, you know?
[01:14:12] Ken: Amazing. So I have one last question and then I'll let you go. Thank you for spending so much time with me here. So from a quantitative perspective, I think the jiu-jitsu belt system is very interested. I was wondering how you feel about that. And if you think there should be some reform or, you know, it's just one of the idiosyncrasies of the sport and it's just, you know, it is what it is.
[01:14:38] Breylor: So it's funny, man, because like, yeah, the belt system, it's a very traditionalist approach, you know, it's like in karate, there were belts, you know, obviously in a lot of martial arts, there are belts to signify, like your progress.
How far, you know, are you beginner? Are you an expert? Are you intermediate? What are you? Nowadays, so there's level, there's a few layers to this thing. So I think what the belt system really helps to do as in ju to, as like Monetary system is to get people, you know, interested and like work towards their next belt, which will maybe keep them in the pipeline, you know, spending more money because they wanna see that progress like that.
It's sort of like you know, people, you know, American people, any people really like working towards something and getting an accomplishment for it. So I guess it's like caters to that side of us, you know, it's like an instant gratification type thing for a delayed gratification practice. So, so that's one thing it keeps, you know, and if that gets someone interested and if they stay in it and love it, you know, so be it maybe better off.
But the belt system is a little bit funky these days because. There's so there's like, you know, obviously like a blue belt guy who's wrestled his whole life might beat up some black belt guy because like, he just, you know, isn't used to dealing with the pressure that the guy's putting or it's a different style or this or that.
When in reality you would think like, Oh, he's a black belt. Shouldn't he just submit a blue belt easily. It's not always the case. For me too, for example, it's like speaking, you know, speaking of the show, the guy who submitted me his name's big Dan, luckily he's gone on to win a bunch of stuff lately and he's been doing really good.
He won his way into like this big jiu-jitsu championship for Nogi. There is, he's a blue belt and I'm a brown belt. So like at the time that like hurt my soul, you know, I was like, what the hell? What just happened here? You know? But then I'm seeing the kid crushing it, killing it now. And like, It's it's he's not an ordinary blue belt, you know, and anyone would say that, but it's up to the professor to give him the next rank.
So it's, so, you know, the belt system's subjective in that sense. It's like speaking about myself again. A lot of people, you know, like not trying to like to my own horn or whatever, they'll be like, man, why aren't you a black belt yet? Blah, blah, blah. Like you've been training this long you're so, you know, you're this good, blah, blah, blah.
And I'm like, well, one, I don't really care too much about it. I'm just, you know, worried about getting better, but also I'm more, you know, competitive. So someone who doesn't compete as much might get their black belt a little bit quicker because they're not representing their school against other black belts.
Whereas, you know, like I'm competing against all the hardest, you know, toughest brown belts in the world, soon, the black belts and stuff like that. So it's very subjective in that sense, you know, it's divided like for competitors, for, you know, You know, more casual practitioners andthe final point about this is you only wear the belt in the GE.
So that's, you know, like, as Ken mentioned earlier, he trains in the GE. So we wear the uniform, which other people call a kimono. So that's like basically a rope. Then you put your belt around it to tie it on and Nogi are not really even wearing the belt. And so it's not really a part of daily training.
And also belts are a lot less looked at in Nogi these days, especially in these bigger jiu-jitsu competitions like they'll have, for example, meat. I was a blue belt or I, sorry, I was a brown belt going into blue belt. There was another blue belt going into black belt, which was the three hour match.
So it's like, you know, technically people wouldn't think it would last three hours. So it's a very subjective thing. Ma'am I think it's the belt system somewhat unnecessary, but I see it. I see why it's there as a traditional. System and also just to keep people hooked for the next, you know, ranking or whatever, but it, if you're, you know, if you're getting into it, just don't think that the belt is the end all be all for someone's skill. I'll just put it that way.
[01:18:46] Ken: Yeah, I just, I think from a purely like analytical perspective, I've always struggled with it. It's like, there's no clear qualifications. It's hard to yeah. Say, Hey, I want to do these specific things to level up in the next, you know, to continue and to progress. And some schools obviously have that, but there isn't this like uniform thing in competition.
It's like, well, you know, someone can be a blue belt. That's been training for forever. And just because. Their professor didn't promote them. They could just be shredding everyone. And it's like, well, you know, I, you know, I haven't been promoted, so I'm still in this category and it's like, well, ...
[01:19:24] Breylor: Like guys wanna win those competitions to keep a guy back, you know? And yeah, it's funny like me, I've been like, you know, submitting black belt and training since I was like a blue belt. So, you know, it's like, not all of 'em obviously, like I'm saying everyone's different. It just depends on the person. So yeah, man, it's not the most objective qualification that's for sure.
[01:19:45] Ken: Yeah. Well, I still think it's fun. I mean, I really agree with you on the Nogi front where it's like, Hey, there are these larger buckets that you can fall into. And if you're shredding people just move up. For sure. And it's a, it's a pretty great system.
So Breylor, this is awesome. Thank you so much. That's all the questions I have. Do you have any final thoughts? Anything you wanna share? I definitely would love to have people be able to reach out or learn more about you in any way.
[01:20:14] Breylor: Yeah, man. Thanks so much for having me on first podcast. I've done. So thank you for that, you know, we're learning here. We're, we're figuring it out. You know, if you, if anyone here, you know, wants to reach out, my Instagram is just my first, well, it's actually my middle name, but you know, my name here, Breylor that's B R E Y L O R. Thanks for listening.
You know, if you guys listened all the way through, please let me know what you think of it. Like I said, I want to improve in ways. I wanna see what people liked, maybe what, you know, you know, just get some thoughts on it. So that'd be really cool. Also I am, yeah, I'm competing on a pretty big event here coming up.
July 14th in Austin, it's gonna be streamed on flow grappling for the finale of that “Who's Next” show where unfortunately I had that crushing first round loss. Luckily, this is the redemption story to come. So, I'm going against another guy who was kicked out first round competing in a live event on the big stage.
So, that's gonna be real fun. July 14th, it's streamed on flow, grappling.com. It's other than that, that's it, man. I'm just gonna be chugging away, jiu-jitsu data analysis and freaking day trading research over here. So if you guys have any suggestions on any of that, otherwise, thanks again, Ken, I really appreciate it.