In this Months Featured Black belt section, we interviewed a really cool and great professor. One of 8 Degree Black belt, Pedro Sauer’s Black belt: Idaho’s one and only Keith Owen Aka the Rhino.
You have most likely seen him in many videos on YouTube and on FB because he works with the well known Ari from Submission101 and also awesome Black belts such as Piet Wilhelm, Foster BJJ, Classy Grappler.
Prof. Keith always shows some very good stuff on video but the reason why we wanted to do this interview is because he also has a great personality and energy. Always smiling and respectful towards everybody. Always has that “Cool” appeal and answers the students questions and cracking Jokes.
GP: Professor, Tell us about you. How did you find BJJ and who have you trained under and received your black belt from.
KO: I started Gracie Jiu-Jitsu back in 1993-94 back when there was very few people training. I was already a black belt in Kung-fu. I watched Royce Gracie in the UFC and thought that was the best thing I had ever seen. I found Professor Pedro Sauer in Salt Lake and haven’t looked back. I got my black belt 6 years ago and now I’m a second degree black belt under the greatest Professor ever.
GP: A day in Prof. Keith’s Life, how does it go, usually?
KO: I get up early in the morning have some ACAI and then bust my ass all day to be the best I possibly can be. I have class most days and I try to train at least three times a week. It’s hard when you are teaching to get your training in but I manage to do it. I also do a lot of firearms training and teaching. I go to bed around midnight and repeat it all over again. I work a lot. I’m usually doing something concerning business or martial arts. My personal motto is “Going for Greatness.” To do that you have to work very hard!
GP: LOVE that Motto. What is so special about jiu jitsu that made you want to stick with it throughout your life?
KO: I have always loved to grapple. I used to watch Pro Wrestling as a kid and me and a bunch of kids would do pro wrestling in someone’s back yard. We would make card board belts and walk around as champions. It was a fun time in my life as a kid. I never did do wrestling in high school. I don’t know why it just didn’t appeal to me. I think it was because you had to wear Singlets..lol I think wrestling is great and we need more take-downs in BJJ too. When I discovered Gracie Jiu-Jitsu I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life.
GP: That is awesome…:) What is your philosophy about this sport?
KO: I like the fact that Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a small man’s art that always assumes everyone is bigger and stronger then you and that we strive for perfect technique. My goal is to make all my students masters in Jiu-Jitsu and to do that we have to minimize injury and minimize strength for technique. You should be doing Jiu-Jitsu at a high level into your 60’s and 70’s.
GP: When you teach and give classes or seminars, what do you want to make sure is achieved, what do you really want a student to learn for example?
KO: I seriously try to give the best class or seminar I possibly can. I want to always leave saying that I have done my best. I always try to connect moves together from one position. I don’t jump around from position to position. I just focus on one position and give the student options.
GP: What are the things that pleases you the most in the community?
KO: The people please me the most. I love the people in Jiu-Jitsu. I know a lot of people don’t like me but for the most part everyone in my circles is very kind and genuine and that’s what I want to be.
GP:I don’t see why people wouldn’t like you … What are your pet peeves in jiu jitsu or in it’s community? The things you dislike the most?
KO: My pet peeve is that many people are physically strong but many many people aren’t emotionally strong. I find that people get their feelings hurt easily and get discouraged easily when they are on the receiving end of roll. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a place where weak people get physically stronger but many don’t work on their emotional strength. You have to be physically and emotionally tough to do this sport. Your instructor can work on the physical but only you can work on the emotional. Have confidence in yourself and don’t give up!!
GP: How do you see the growth of BJJ in the next 5 years? do you see it grow steadily? ups and downs? no real change from now??how about the women in BJJ?
KO: I have taken a lot of criticism when I talk about women in BJJ with my blogs. We need more Women in BJJ because more rapists need their arms broken in a self -defense confrontation…lol It’s tough being a women in Jiu-Jitsu. It’s a hard road to black belt even for a man, let alone a women. As for the growth in BJJ I think it will continue but I just want to keep the high standards. I think it should take 8 to 10 years to get a black belt. I see that slipping. It’s unfortunate.
GP: BJJ in three words?
KO: Technical, Tough and Technical
GP:Nice choice of words :) now, What are the music that you like to listen to the most when you are on the mats, rolling? or when you are driving or going to your place of work (the mats)?
KO: I have never been asked this question. I like all music. I go through phases though. I even went through a Rammstein phase at one time…lol When we roll I would prefer silence because you won’t have music to roll with out on the street or at a tournament. People use it to get into a groove. You should get YOU in the groove and not the music.
GP: We love asking different types of questions.. lol. Let’s say, someone that is new to the sport or has an outside look of things to our sport, who doesn’t understand it and/or has trouble with it in his first class or too and you see has some difficulties. You know he might not stick to it because of it and never come back. how do you try to change his mind to make sure that he stays and gives it a chance?
KO: I’m very sensitive to new students. You need to spend time with them personally. You need to give the new students a lot of praise so they feel success. You get that success into them and they get hooked, then you got them. I’m like a Jiu-Jitsu drug dealer. They need to get high on Jiu-Jitsu. Then they will be a good customer. Unlike drugs though, Jiu-Jitsu will improve your life and make you a better person.
GP: Who have you trained with? rolled with? how was that experience? where have you been or traveled for jiu jitsu?
KO: I have trained all over! I especially enjoyed training under Sergio Penha in Las Vegas for a couple years when I was there as a firearms instructor. That was great and a different view of Jiu-Jitsu. I’m glad I did it. You should always train somewhere when you are out of town. I have also rolled with a lot of famous Jiu-Jitsu people..many times with poor results..ha ha. I want to roll with Marcello Garcia..but who doesn’t?
GP: What is your best moment in BJJ? That one moment that you remember the most??
KO; When Professor Sauer gave me my blue belt. It was amazing! Back then there were very few blue belts in America. I was someone! The second best time was my black belt. There were very few black belts in America. I was someone. My best moments, however, are still to come. I want to be a master!
GP: That’s super cool Prof. Blue Belt was a big step for me too in BJJ.
Is jiu jitsu a means to an end or an end to a means??
KO: This question hurts my head.
Thank you so much Professor for the time and opportunity to have this interview with you. We are big fans and love the Person you are. Stay strong and keep the great work up. See you on the mats very soon.