Train Like The Death Squad

BJJFlowCharts-Train Like The Danaher Death Squad

In modern grappling, the Danaher Death Squad is one of the most (if not the most) recognized teams.

With their achievements and media coverage, the squad is followed by thousands of avid practitioners, trying to model their games based on the Danaher principles.

But how does the squad train daily?

Over the last 12 months, I made two trips to their lair, the infamous Blue Basement, where I could train among them and take notes of their training regimen.

In this article, I share what I've learned and observed so that you can get inspiration and train like the bests in the world!


The class has two parts: techniques and live training.

There is NO warm-up! It starts with drilling techniques right away. The technique part lasts 40min, where they drill four techniques (4x10min). The first technique is always a takedown. The next three are selected from one of the Danaher systems.

The way they drill is essential. They're drilling as slowly and precisely as possible. Each movement is carefully executed, and they (mentally) comment on each part of the sequence while performing it, like they're reciting a lesson. By training this way, they're developing their precision, which allows them to later perform the move at high speed, with maximal efficiency.

Then comes the live training. This part is six rounds of six minutes, specific training. It goes in this order:

  1. Mount
  2. Turtle
  3. Single Leg on the Mat
  4. Closed Guard
  5. Open Guard
  6. Standing

For Round 1 and 2: Every time the bottom player gets back to closed/open guard, ends on top, or a submission occurs --> Back to Mount/Turtle.

For Round 3: The action resets when someone has achieved a clear top position. The goal is to end on top.

For Round 4, 5 and 6: The action resets when a submission occurs.

BJJFlowCharts-Train Like The Danaher Death Squad


They have two hard training sessions a day, six days a week. In between those sessions, a key thing is the study of tapes! They're continually looking for new ideas, techniques, or patterns. That's a big part of their training. And it should be a big part of yours!

When we're not on the mats, we should take a few minutes a day to review some instructionals, flowcharts, matches, and get new information.

The more you know, the more you dare!


On top of that, they are lifting weights four times a week. If you want to compete, you have to. Yes, techniques conquer all, but let's be real. At equal skills, physical strength and endurance will play a massive role in the outcome of the match.

I'm not a strength and conditioning coach, but I've tried different approaches over the last five years. What works best for me is Calisthenics training. It's functional and translates very well into Jiu-Jitsu. You also don't work with heavy loads, which preserve your joints.

I use I don't have any affiliation with them. I enjoy their work and find it perfect for my training.


We've seen what it takes to train like a member of the Death Squad.

From what they do during a training session
How many sessions they do
What they do in between those sessions
And what they do on top of all of that.

You can now adjust your daily routine, and train like a pro!
What you cannot replicate though is to have John Danaher coaching you all day :)


If you have any questions, requests, suggestions, or if you just wanna chat, send me an email or a message on Instagram @maxigarami, and I'll be more than happy to talk with you and to hear your feedback.