Countdown to 100 Shows: 8 of Jeff’s Favorite Moments

As a five-day countdown to our hundredth show, we’re going to be posting two blog items a day until Friday, culminating in two big giveaways, one big announcement, and finally our 100th show. Stick around for the top two announcements for sure — I think you’ll be as excited as we are.


Starting this show has meant meeting a lot of new people, getting to talk to some of the all-time best in the art, and getting to know a bunch of people I thought I knew a whole lot better.

All of these are reasons I’m glad we’re still doing this after 100 episodes, and all of them show up in this list of  eight favorite moments. In no particular order …

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Dave Camarillo and Jason Culbreth busting on each other. We did the interview with Dave out at Forged Fitness Cary, where Jason Culbreth served as an uke during my private with Dave. During the show, Dave says words to the effect of hey, Jeff, you did a really good job during that private. I was pretty surprised, given that you train with Jason sometimes. We all laugh. Then, with the comedic timing of a pro, Dave says: “I’m kidding, of course, I’m kidding, noI’mtotallyserious.”

They didn’t stop with the banter for even a minute. My one regret from the Dave Camarillo interview is that I didn’t have tape rolling the whole time. I would watch a YouTube series featuring these guys just making fun of each other, no joke.

John “Bagels” Telford drops nutrition knowledge. Let’s not mince words: I could train every day and eat nothing but kale and still not have the abs Bagels has. (I know: I’ve tried). So hearing John’s theory of nutrition — the infamous “fluffy carb” theory, which justifies the consumption of Snickers bars — was equal parts hilarious and infuriating. If Kelly Quinn tells me he eats like this too, I’m starting to eat junk food.

Talking to father-and-daughter fighters, John & Aaliyah Schell: This was before John’s first MMA fight, and getting to talk to them about jiujitsu and MMA was fascinating. You really got to see the bond and love there, especially when I asked Aaliyah if she was scared to watch her dad fight. Her long, thoughtful answer started with “of course.”

A lesson in Australian slang from Sophia McDermott: Sometimes the show airs live on WHUP, which is bound by FCC rules. Sometimes I pre-record it, and then we can use … colorful language. Sophia McDermott (then Sophia Drysdale) gave me a lesson in regional idiom from the land Down Under, while laughing the whole time, and it was great fun.

Lourdes interviewing Sami Seff while Sami was on painkillers at Toro Cup: There’s a lot about this show I love, including Nico Ball explaining favela jiujitsu and the Terere Kids Project, talks with black belts Seth Shamp and Jeremy Arel, and the festive atmosphere of the Cup generally. But Lourdes cornering a fresh-from-surgery Sami Seff and getting her live commentary is priceless.

First Tournaments: It’s rare that you get to make a plan and have it work out the way you want it. The reason the show is usually live is that, between training, working a day job, and various other side projects, I just don’t have a ton of time to produce the show. So when my fiancee and co-host Betsy decided that she wanted to do a tournament, we had a plan for our First Jiujitsu Tournaments show: we’d document her training, interview her before and after, and get some stories from other folks as well. As it happened, Betsy won some, lost some, had close matches and not-so-close matches, so she got the full gamut of tournament experience in one, and being there for that was cool.

The generosity of Michelle Nicolini: You never know how much time you’ll get with someone. I had always wanted to train with and interview Michelle Nicolini, one of the best ever, so when she came to Charleston to teach a seminar, I jumped at the chance and booked a private. I told her I’d be happy to use 20 minutes of the private time to do the interview. She said no, we’ll do it after. Because she knew I had a super match scheduled, she spent an extra 20 minutes with me teaching me specific stuff for my opponent, and did this interview after. It was an incredible day and if you ever get the chance to learn from her, take it.

Leka Vieira’s First Day of Jiujitsu: This is a special show to me for a lot of reasons, but hearing firsthand from Leka Vieira the story of how a girl who would become the first woman to win black belts worlds walked into a gym full of tough fighters as a teenager — and stayed — still inspires me.

There is a moment that would definitely make this list if the show had come out, but you’ll have to wait for the 100th show for that. Here’s to many memorable moments to come.