E4: Vellore Caballero -- Achieving Success With Unity

Sep 16, 2019

Episode four features Vellore Caballero--BJJ Black Belt and General Manager of Easton Centennial. This episode further chronicles the company's efforts to build unity and cohesion--taking the entire organization to the next level. Vellore also shares the tactics he uses to build and run one of the most successful kid's martial arts programs in the world.

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Transcript:

- Hi guys, here we are. Episode four, with the Easton Online Podcast. Vellore Caballero, how are you.

- I'm good, thanks for having me.

- [Eliot] Thank you. And as always, we have Jordan over there, hi Jordan.

- [Jordan] Hello.

- I always like to say hi to everyone in the room. I think it's rude when you don't.

- Yeah. You got to.

- You have to.

- Well he is your Jamie, so.

- He is my Jamie, oh yes. Vellore's been listening. Has anybody called you Jamie yet, Jordan?

- [Jordan] No, it's probably gonna start eventually.

- That'll be his name.

- [Eliot] That'll be his name. How are you, man?

- I'm good. I'm good, really good.

- [Eliot] Came up to Boulder yesterday.

- I did, yeah, it was really cool. Got to check out the program a little bit, and, you know, see the place, I told you it looks much different, you know?

- [Eliot] My wife's a boss.

- She's a beast, yeah.

- [Eliot] She's the boss of this, you know? She's really good at, she's got the eye to like, And I was like, baby, don't make this place look too stupid.

- [Vellore] It looks amazing.

- It is a fights, we are fight gyms, you know?

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- But she made them look amazing.

- [Vellore] Yeah. I can't wait to see what she does with Centennial.

- Yeah she's gonna do a good job. So Vellore, you are the GM. Are you still the GM of Centennial?

- [Vellore] I am.

- Okay, so you're the GM of Centennial, I don't even know.

- Things change fast, you know, a lot going on, so.

- My wife also asks me all this stuff, she's like hey, what time is the so and so? I'm like babe, you do not want me knowing that information. What time are the kids class is, in Castle Rock? No, baby, come on, no, I got nothing, and if I know that, that means I'm like, I'm the front desk employee down in Castle Rock.

- [Vellore] Exactly, yeah.

- You know, like the front desk employees, our first impressions specialist, they know like, what time every class is, boom, boom, boom. 'Cause they're saying it all the time.

- Yeah. But not us.

- Not us, right? Not us.

- A lot going on, yeah, for sure, so I GM Centennial and stuff, and then I'm also the program director for the kids department.

- [Eliot] Alright. And we just, so man, it's cool, we met with Larry. And I'm gonna have Larry on.

- [Vellore] Yeah. Larry Dressler?

- Larry Dressler, and we got to assign all these roles, you know, and the one that you got was program director for the kids. We're gonna talk about how you got there. But first I wanna talk about the GM of Centennial.

- [Vellore] Okay.

- 'Cause it's not how we do it now.

- [Vellore] Yeah. Not at all. Yeah for sure.

- [Eliot] How did that go? What happened?

- You mean as far as like, how did I end up in that spot?

- [Eliot] Yeah.

- So, that's kind of an interesting story. You know, we opened Centennial down there.

- I ain't scared, bro.

- Okay, let's talk about it, so, you know we opened the Centennial school, and originally the three people that opened that school were me, Rob Sanchez, and Busy, or Mario Correa. And so the three of us went down there, and you know, I don't know how much you wanna talk about what kinda transpired, but over a couple of years, those guys kind of found a way to exit the scene, and I was kind of the last one standing.

- [Eliot] Right.

- And you know, at that time, there wasn't a whole lot of people.

- I forgot that it was just like, after Busy left.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- It was you and Rob.

- [Vellore] Me and rob.

- Rob, together.

- Yeah, the two of us were running it together. And when I first went down there I was a blue belt. And then over a couple years, you know, of training and competing and doing that stuff, by the time that Busy had left, I was a brown belt. And so Rob and I were just both brown belts and we were running the school together. And Amal came down, and he was like, look. I need to be able to say when something's wrong, like, you're their person, so which one of you guys is it gonna be? And Rob said, him. And so that's how it happened, it wasn't like we really had a formal process about it, or like I asked for the job, or anything like that, it was like...

- You didn't even really do any training, right?

- No, not at all. None, zero, yeah. And so it was just--

- You were like, teaching some classes.

- I was, yeah, I was teaching some classes, and then, you know, Rob kind of made it clear that he didn't want that responsibility, and so there it was, it was on me. And, yeah. Then it was many years of trying to figure things out after that.

- Figure that shit out.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Right, like as you go.

- Yeah, and I would say this, I definitely got like, clearer goals, I think, along that timeline, Amal, and you know, the different people involved would come through with like, clear goals about things we wanted to do. But not a whole lot of direction, you know, back then it was kind of like, well, we need more students. Figure that out, you know? So, it was cool.

- I guess we've been, the organization didn't have a direction, really either.

- Yeah.

- Separate schools, all three separate, like at the time. So up until a couple years ago, there was three main schools, there was Boulder, Denver, and Centennial.

- [Vellore] Yep.

- And Arvada was, Amal had 10% I think. Castle Rock I think he had 10%. There was no such thing as Littleton.

- [Vellore] Nope. And there wasn't a lot of direction, you know, or cohesion. Certainly not a lot of cohesion, I think I used to feel like I was kind of out there by myself kinda flapping. But yeah, it was a different time then, for sure.

- And I know we all used to butt heads a little bit, about, a lot, right?

- A lot. About a lot, yeah.

- About a lot. Talk about that a little bit. So we had this organization. But it wasn't an organization.

- No, not at all, and I would say at the time, I think it felt kind of like a bunch of individual entities.

- [Eliot] Right.

- And in a way it was almost kind of like, back then I think it felt more like competition, to be honest, you know I think now, the way I would describe it is, it definitely very much feels like a team and a family and stuff but back then, I think we kind of, we're all competitive, you know, I think we all were just kinda looking at each other like, you know, we're gonna be better.

- And we're too old to really competitive again. That one's all over.

- Right? That ship has sailed.

- Yeah.

- But yeah, at the time I think it just felt really, you know, like very much like us against you guys, even still, and not in a negative way, but like, you know, we're gonna do better than them, or something, you know? So it was weird, it was different.

- It was different, yeah, it was different and like, things just weren't smooth.

- No, not at all.

- Things weren't smooth. And getting... So, I don't know how, like, okay, so I mean, let's just like, so Ian, Mike, and I were very close, and we have been for a long time. So the cohesion between Denver and Boulder came.

- [Vellore] Yup.

- But you kind of felt like an outcast.

- I did. Yeah, I think, and you know, in retrospect, I think a lot of it was just because, like a jealousy, probably, of you guys' closeness.

- Right. But we were close before any of us were working together.

- Yeah. And that even added to it I think, you know, just kind of this understanding of like, man, they're friends, you know, and like, I'm probably the black sheep over here, you know, like they don't really care about me or my school as much or whatever, you know, like that's how it felt at the time, I think, or at least that was the narrative I was spinning in my head.

- Sure, that's how it felt at the time to you. We're not, yeah. And I know from, I'll just speak from my point of view. I was like, goddamn, why won't he just get on board? Why won't you know, like why won't, you know, why won't this happen?

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- And it was a lot of butting heads sometimes. And then I would say with Amal's personality, Amal hates conflict.

- Sure.

- Hates it. So, like to get him--

- His advice would be for you guys, when you would have these conversations if I recall, at least it's the way the story's been told to me is like, ah, just kinda let them, you know, leave them alone.

- [Eliot] Right.

- Let him do his thing over there, it's working, whatever, it's going okay.

- It's working, it's working, it's working.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- And we're like, yeah but, but, but, can't we just, and at the time, he was the 100% owner. So we couldn't, like I couldn't force my hand at all a little bit, there was no like, I could like, gentle, be like, hey man, do you think we could? Like if you could.

- And he would do the same thing, he would come to me and he'd be like hey. You know, Eliot said, you know, what do you think about this, or whatever. And being completely honest like I was very disagreeable about those things at the time. You know I remember he would bring different things to me, hey, you know they have these systems that they're doing, and like, man you should really check it out, and stuff, and I'd be like, man, fuck that. You know, like I don't care. We're doing the thing down here this way. And I was just so sure that what we were doing was the best thing or whatever, you know, and so it was different for sure.

- Right. So it was just a lot of personalities. And I think that was a lot of it. Like my personality, Mike's personality, your personality, Amal's personality. 'Cause I'm not saying that, I mean and Mike and I are like, yo, get this like, we're like, let's fucking go. Let's, like, do it, yes, you're gonna do it, okay. Tomorrow, is it done? No? Amal, what the fuck, man? And he'd be like, guys, guys. You know?

- And I think you guys definitely got on the like, business side of things sooner than I did, you know, for sure. I definitely was still I think, very much trying to run the business off of love.

- [Eliot] Right.

- You know, and like oh, man, I'll just love the students and I'll just love everything and it'll be great, you know?

- If I call people back, I call people back.

- Yeah, or if I answer an email ever, you know, then that works, whatever, you know? I haven't gotten much better about these things, I'm trying, but--

- Nah, man, you're all you. With me you're like white on rice bro, I fucking call and you're on it.

- Oh yeah, well you know. There's a few people that for sure have that space in my mind, for sure. You, Amal, Mike, any of you guys call, I'm probably gonna answer it no matter what.

- I get mad when I don't have that space with people. I'm like, yo, goddamn it.

- [Vellore] Answer the damn phone.

- Hey, answer the phone, I'm calling you.

- [Vellore] Makes sense.

- And then I remember, I'm like, wait a minute, I don't have that. I haven't put in the chips with that person yet.

- [Vellore] Right.

- Right, that we're not there yet, it's okay. We'll get there. You know, and it's nobody in school.

- And it was the same thing with us I think. Right, like we had to get there, and you know, part of it, I think you and I have talked about it, you know, at least, 'cause I didn't really know Mike. I didn't really know Mike at all, other than like the couple of little run-ins and stuff with him and so I think if I can be honest, right, sitting across from you right now, most of my rejection to those ideas and stuff I think had to do with kind of how I felt about you at the time. I don't think at the time, you know, when you were fighting and stuff like that, I really wasn't a fan of Eliot Marshall. Because the run-ins we would have back then at the time didn't always make me feel so good, and I remember talking to you about this, and you kind of explaining where you were as a fighter and how some of that stuff went down. But yeah, man, like that's what it was for me, it was just that time, you know? It was like, okay. I don't really, I didn't trust you at the time.

- [Eliot] Yeah, of course.

- We hadn't had any, you know, there was no reason for me to trust you I guess, in my mind, you know?

- Professional fighting doesn't lead to the... the very best scenarios.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- You know? It's very egotistical.

- [Vellore] Sure.

- It's very self centered. It's all about you. And that was the narrative that we were, one, forcing and being told and all of us kind of doing.

- [Vellore] Sure.

- Right?

- Yeah, and I mean honestly, I always tell everybody, like it was definitely a big shift for me, when you did stop fighting, you know I think, the whole vibe for me just changed with you. You know, like I think the timing coincided pretty nicely I think, with when you were done fighting.

- Yeah, and it just, it had like, for me, I just saw a better way.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- And that's, I think that's what we try to do with our fighters now.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Like we're not talking like, when we talk to people at the end of class, like, or at the end of fight practice. We're not talking about like--

- [Vellore] Individuals.

- Individuals, we're not talking about, be the best, like champions, and you know, we're talking about like hey, you have to deal with you.

- Well one thing I like you say, that you say all the time in practice is, no one person is more important than the team.

- [Eliot] Right.

- You know, and I definitely think, you know, I was fighting and stuff alongside of you back then too, and I definitely remember it was definitely a different vibe back then.

- Well we all were like that.

- You know I think everybody, yeah, everybody was doing it

- Everyone was like that.

- for themselves, and that's it, and so yeah, it's a different thing for us now, and man, and I'm grateful for the whole experience, you know, 'cause like, I think that that difficulty between us and as a company I think is part of the reason why we've come out so strong on top.

- [Eliot] I think so.

- We had to have that...

- Obstacle is the way.

- [Vellore] Exactly.

- The obstacle is always the way.

- [Vellore] Absolutely.

- When did it change?

- You know, I think, I always make this statement, I think I'm the kind of like, two or three times kind of person. I gotta make the mistake two or three times and I have to read the book two or three times, that's just who I am, you know, like the first time I read it, I don't always get it. And I think this stuff, for me, the awakening about like, trying to get on board and be part of the team was the same thing, I think Amal came a few times. And was like, hey, man, like, you know. We should probably do this, and I was like nah. And then another time he'd come, you know, hey, you know. Nah. And then probably like the third time that he kind of brought things up, and honestly I think it was like, we started having the meetings.

- [Eliot] With Larry.

- With Larry. And yeah, that was some powerful stuff, you know? Like I pride myself, I think, on like trying to not be, and this is a bad thing, I want to say that, but like on trying to not be vulnerable I guess, and like, those meetings really brought that out of me.

- Larry's a G, right?

- He really is. And I mean even just the dynamic of all of us sitting in a room, I think, you know, brought some of that

- I remember...

- tough stuff.

- Hold on, I'm gonna get another cup of coffee, Jordan's gonna grab before me, and then I got my point, hey Jordan. Jordan. No, it's over there, can you grab it, and pour a little milk in? Ah, jeez.

- [Jordan] Jamie never has to do this shit.

- That's right Jamie never has to do that shit. He's with Joe Rogan, you're with me, man.

- Yeah, think about the entire ship too, Jordan, you know what I'm saying?

- [Jordan] It's already poured. It's already poured, a little milk right there.

- Jordan had no clue what it was gonna be like when I was like, hey dude. You want to start doing my podcast? And he was like yes, and now, you know. He had no clue what was coming for him.

- He didn't know what was around the corner.

- Like there is a fire marshal experience. It can be intense.

- [Vellore] It can be intense, yeah.

- Between me and Mike, blowing his Voxer up, his girlfriend's gotta be like, yo.

- That's funny.

- It's all good. She's outside all day.

- That's awesome.

- Gotcha. So. Man, so, Amal and I met with Larry.

- [Vellore] Mm-hmm.

- And then we sat down with Mike. And we were talking about, who are the crucial parts of people that need to be part of this? And it had to be you. But at the same time we weren't all there yet. So it was like this, alright man. Like, I think none of us said it. But I wanna say it was like, okay. If this doesn't make the click, then we're probably gonna, I don't know what we're gonna do, right? Like what are we gonna do, we might have to go a different direction with Centennial. Because, we have to be on the same team. And if we can't all be on the same team, this thing that we're trying to do isn't gonna work, because Larry got it very clear with what we were gonna do.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- And then how we were gonna do it, we needed people.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- And I would say you came in, man, and it clicked. And you were good.

- I think the timing was right, you know? I think, because honestly, when I look back in retrospect, I think, you know. Call it... arrogance or whatever, like I just don't think I was ready, like the first couple of times that topic came up, you know? But whatever it was that was going on, you know, in my life and in you guys' lives, I think it was the perfect storm, and I think Larry, you know, big credit to Larry too. 'Cause I think he was really instrumental in helping to orchestrate that.

- He can facilitate conversation so well. It's so crazy too, because I meet with him still, like as friends. And he's so different.

- [Vellore] Really?

- Oh he's so different.

- [Vellore] That's awesome.

- Like, he's very focused, he doesn't, like, he'll be like, okay five minutes, go. You guys can do your thing.

- [Vellore] Oh really?

- Like how he would let us just...

- [Vellore] Oh yeah.

- But like, in the meetings, like and you know me. I'm always like, pew, pew, pew, with the, you know? And he didn't, it didn't happen.

- [Vellore] Yeah, no, not at all.

- It didn't happen, so... So, you're bought in.

- [Vellore] Mm-hmm.

- And I would say we're all friends now.

- Yeah, absolutely. And honestly, you know. I'm definitely one that's also like, driven by the data I think, and I think that the meetings was important for that, because I had never really seen, on paper, kind of like how Boulder was doing, for instance. And I think that that was a big piece for me, like business-wise, was actually seeing that stuff, because I think before that, I really did think, I was like, oh, man, like, you're doing great. Like this is awesome.

- [Eliot] Sure.

- You know, and then when I saw how well Boulder was doing under Mike's, you know, control there, I was just like, whoa. Like, I--

- That's so funny, because we had the opposite. We could see how you were doing. And were like, god, hey.

- [Vellore] Please.

- Please!

- [Vellore] Yeah, just hear this.

- You have like... Maybe the second best location. Like Centennial. Good median income, families, moms and dads, all want to train. Like you should be way better than Denver. You know?

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- And you're probably going to be, once the expansion happens. I mean as far as numbers go, you know? Like it's like, I don't wanna say better.

- [Vellore] We're all awesome.

- When you're looking at statistics and I'm like, okay, revenue, members, yada yada.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Once the expansion happens, I would say that it isn't, no discredit to Ian, 'cause Ian's doing a great job in Denver.

- Just a different location.

- Just a different location.

- Yeah, yeah.

- Different location, we're surrounded, our five mile radius or three mile radius has a bunch of poor Mexican families that can't bring their kids to jiu jitsu.

- [Vellore] Absolutely, yeah.

- Which is something we're working on.

- We're in a much more affluent area for sure.

- Yeah, you're in a much more affluent area, it's easier to get to, it's all these, these are huge things when you're looking at opening a school, guys. I know we haven't touched on any particulars like that yet, but, yeah, don't move to the hood.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Like Lloyd Irving goes to the hood now, he buses people in.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- He doesn't open in the hood. People have to pay. You have to pay the rent, you know? So. So we could see the numbers.

- [Vellore] Mm-hmm.

- Right, like, we could be like, dude. You did 40,000 in revenue, man. And like, you'd be like, sweet, I did 40,000 revenue! And we'll be like, dude.

- Well, you know, part of it I think for me was at the time, the only thing that I really had to go on was just like the kind of loose goals, you know, it was like members, and things like that, and so, I would hit those goals, and think I was good.

- [Eliot] Right.

- Not realizing that there were all these other metrics and stuff that go in there, that matter, you know, like revenue per member and stuff like that, you know, so like I had the members, but you know, the revenue per member was sad.

- [Eliot] Sure.

- In comparison to what Boulder was doing and what Denver was doing and stuff like that, and these were just things I just wasn't aware of.

- [Eliot] Right.

- And so because of that, and I think most people probably aren't aware of that stuff, I think, if they're--

- Sign them up, sign them up, sign them up.

- Sign them up, and you know, do a deal to get them, whatever, you know, and the next thing you know, you're kind of in over your head, you know you got a whole bunch of students, but it's like you're getting paid for half of them.

- [Eliot] Yeah.

- And I was kinda there.

- [Eliot] Lot of problems.

- Yeah, I was in that space.

- Cheap members cause a lot of problems.

- Yep. And so that's where I was, and it wasn't until we did the meetings with Larry, and until we started having the GM meetings. Where I was getting, you know. The data was made available to me.

- The dashboard's ninja, right? I love the dashboard. Woke up a little late today. But I look at the dashboard every Tuesday morning. And the dashboard's ninja, 'cause it just doesn't lie.

- [Vellore] Yeah, it's right there.

- Like hey, our percentage, our conversion rate on calls to walk-ins, it's this. You know and I can call Mike.

- [Vellore] Yep.

- And...

- Well, and I think also too, there's the fact that it's like, it's just so streamlined, you know, like you can see everything that's there, and it compares apples to apples for us, you know, which is important, you know, as a company, we can kind of see, even though this school is bigger than this one, you know, it's still, there's still, you know, really really tracking right alongside, you know what I mean, like, so it's really cool, it's good to see, yeah.

- Because the price per member, things like that. Revenue per...

- Visits per member.

- Visits per member. Revenue per square foot, things like that. These are, like you want that to be the same. So if you have a 10,000 square foot school, or you have a 5,000 square foot school, there's numbers. Like okay, the 10,000 square foot school might have double the members, it might have double the revenue. But it's got, all those other numbers have to line up.

- You know I think it's important to point out that like, this conversation, these things that we're talking about right now, I literally had no idea about. Like, none. You know what I mean, like I literally was just like, oh, jiu jitsu. And like, families, like, people, you know, so I was completely approaching it from that standpoint. And it was mildly successful. But it wasn't until...

- And people would have been fine with it.

- Yeah. But I don't think it was until we really started diving into these processes and you guys started teaching me that stuff, that we saw the real growth.

- I mean, look. I think you were profiting like six grand a month.

- [Vellore] Mm-hmm, yeah.

- People are fine with that.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- If I told somebody, I got off the phone with somebody yesterday. And he was like, dude, look. If I could just make between five and $10,000 a month, I'll be straight.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Like, so yeah. I mean that school was fine.

- [Vellore] Yeah, it was cool. And size and numbers wise, you know, I had hit the holy grail. You know like, what it was, 300 people, is like, man, you're killing it, right? So, you know, I felt real good at night, you know what I mean, I was like, man, I got 300 students, you know? My tribe is big.

- Right. And they loved you too.

- Yeah, and they did, you know, and so, man, to that end, I think, you know I don't regret that part of it. I do think that really approaching it from that standpoint did really help that part, you know, I do feel like the culture was real strong as far as like, the love for jiu jitsu and the love for our team down there and everything like that, so, I'm really happy about that. But yeah man, there was, I had a lot of work to do to catch up, and I still do, to catch up, as far as like, the business stuff. But it's been really cool, you know?

- Reading, right?

- [Vellore] That's it. Every day.

- It's just reading.

- [Vellore] Reading, watching, learning, yeah.

- Learning.

- And you know what's weird is like, when I was younger, that was a big part of my life, I did pretty good in school and stuff growing up. And I think, I felt like maybe that was a box that I had checked, you know what I mean?

- Right, me too, man.

- You know, oh man, I did good in school, you know, I did all this stuff, like I don't have to necessarily do that, you know?

- I think, ah. Different topic, but I think that's what kind of led to my personal breakdown. Was I just stopped learning. Like I was like, okay, just work, work like a nine to five. And even though I was working in the school, it was just a nine to five. It wasn't nine to five, it was...

- [Vellore] 12 to nine.

- What's that, it was, you know. 12:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.. Like it's all day, your phone can ring.

- [Vellore] Oh yeah.

- So it doesn't just go away. And the whole like, learning for me, process, was over. I was learning, like I would learn like business stuff. But I would learn business stuff so that I could run the school.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- And that led to me, you know, crying on the couch.

- [Vellore] Yeah, yeah.

- Which I'm about to go do here in two hours.

- No, I got you.

- But like, now I, like I try to learn every day.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- And it's such an important thing. Even, look. Some of the stuff that I'm trying to learn has nothing to do with the business.

- [Vellore] Yeah. I'm not there yet.

- [Eliot] No?

- No, 'cause I think again, like I said, for me, I'm still catching up. I think you guys were there a few years before.

- But it comes back. Like this whole digital thing we're doing. I was like, doing my podcasts, trying to figure out, like, the digital thing. And I sat, I told Jordan this story in Hawaii. The ocean does it for me sometimes. And I was just listening to Jean Jacques on Rogan's podcast.

- [Vellore] Right.

- And he was talking about like, being with nature, there's something about being with nature, the mountains don't do shit for me.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Going for a hike, pfft. I get no bliss, like, this is just me carrying 250 pounds up a mountain. I only remember Albuquerque.

- I know what you mean.

- But I get in the ocean, and when I'm in the ocean by myself sometimes, and I'm just like moving with the waves. I get this ideas of like where to go, with like a direction. And then literally, I came home. After that vacation, and the first thing I'm listening to, I was listening to this YouTube, this guy on YouTube. And most of it was absolute bullshit. Like he was just like, selling, selling, selling. And then he said something that caught me though. Document everything you do. And I was like, okay, I'm gonna learn how to document everything I do. And it was literally just for my podcast.

- [Vellore] Right.

- And like, my Eliot brand.

- [Vellore] Right.

- And then I was like, wait a minute. What the fuck am I doing?

- [Vellore] Yeah, it's the same thing.

- And bigger. We're gonna have a way bigger reach. And it's gonna help us. 'Cause now we'll have videos on how to train people. And we'll be able to give that out, and sell that, and oh, and then boom. So my learning started at me. Like I wanted to learn. But then, in that process, able to take it to like, the Easton Online.

- [Vellore] Yeah. No, I mean, and the learning for me I think has been about trying to like, follow through on things that I've always said.

- [Eliot] Right.

- You know, like, and I've had this problem I think as a manager and stuff over the years of like, having great ideas and talking about them, but not always following through.

- [Eliot] Oh god.

- And I think that, you know, that's been a big piece for me.

- The Monday meetings, bro, the Monday meetings when it was just me, Mike, and Amal, oh my god. Shoot me in the fucking head.

- [Vellore] Yeah, it was different back then. I hear about those times.

- Yeah, shoot me in the head, man. 'Cause we'd have all the, ah, yeah, alright, yeah. I mean and I guess we started collecting the numbers. Like you were in by then, though.

- [Vellore] Yeah, yeah.

- And the Monday mornings, where we'd call each other. And then write the numbers out on the board.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- So like this was a start.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- I can remember doing all this data stuff that we've been talking about. I can remember, when Brian was still in school.

- [Vellore] Yeah, Carlson.

- Carlson. And he didn't have time to make this API that he made for us. Whew, I was trying to do this, bro. I mean, I was on the phone with Mindbody every fucking day.

- [Vellore] Oh yeah.

- Every day. Hey, hey, hey. You know, what about, this is wrong, and . And I couldn't like, and then...

- [Vellore] Yeah, that was tough.

- It was the beginnings of it.

- [Vellore] Oh yeah.

- But now, where we are now is just, I mean it's just so clear for you, right? And you can just see, it lays out where your mistakes are, it lays out, it almost lays out where you need to go learn.

- Yep. Or where you need to point your attention.

- [Eliot] Yeah.

- You know, which is really really key, you know. In a lot of ways I'm jealous of the guys that are coming up now. 'Cause I feel like, you know, a lot of the hardships that we had to endure to get there, you know, are really...

- That's how we always feel about the next generation.

- [Vellore] That's true, yeah. Yeah, fair enough.

- Like everyone's like, oh, millennials.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- You know, oh, millennials.

- Well you know I don't even think about it like that, I just like--

- I'm just saying in general, like, generations are like that.

- Well, but yeah, absolutely, but I mean like, when I think about how fast, you know, 'cause for me I really wouldn't say that we were successful as a company now, like in retrospect based on what I know until like a year or two ago. And we've been around for 10 years, you know, and so.

- 20, yeah you've been 10, yeah.

- [Vellore] 10 years, and so...

- So you're talking Centennial, sorry.

- Yeah, yeah, and so then when I think about, you know the other schools that have come up like Littleton and stuff like that and how fast they're able to go from, yeah, you know and it's just like, man, I think it's a--

- Peter went from zero to 150 in a year.

- [Vellore] Yeah, and I think it's a real testament

- Almost 200, yeah. Less than a year.

- to the stuff that we had to figure out, you know, as a group, and whatnot. And we're still figuring it out.

- That's what you're supposed to do.

- [Vellore] Yeah, yeah.

- We always change it.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- If you're not changing it, you're not learning.

- [Vellore] Yeah, you're being still, you're dead.

- Yeah, you're dead.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- So, where you did crush it in Centennial. Right, even though we're gonna, you know, we talked about kind of like, where you weren't crushing it here so far and like, before you were bought in and yada. And all of that. Kids.

- Kids, yeah.

- [Eliot] Man.

- Yeah, so we had a really successful kids program down there, and it's funny because the way it happened, a lot of people don't know this. But Amal made me do it. So, you know, and again, a lot of people have never heard this story but like, Amal came down and he was like, hey, I need you to run the kids program, you know, blah blah blah, and I was like no. Like, I didn't want to teach kids. Like when I first started teaching, and getting involved, jiu jitsu did a lot for me in my life, and you know, coming out of the military and things like that, it just really saved me. You know a lot of people say that, but it really did, and so I wanted to be able to do that back for people, and when I envisioned being a leader and a manager of school and stuff like that, I just saw a big adult team, and like, you know, I've got fighters or something, you know. Like that was my vision for it, and so when he came and was like, yo, you gotta do kids, I was like what?

- Fuck off.

- I'm like, no, yeah, hell no. I'm not doing that. And so he came once and said that. He came another time and said it, and I said no again.

- Third time's the charm?

- No, third time he said you have to. So it wasn't an option.

- [Eliot] Whoa.

- So the first two times, I felt like he was asking me.

- [Eliot] Whoa.

- And the third time he told me. He was like, you have to do this.

- Dude, that's a big deal, Amal doesn't tell anybody to do anything.

- I know. But he did. He really did, and like, he was like, you have to do this. Like we need it. I need it, and you have to be the guy. And I was horrified. I was so afraid. And so I think that that fear is probably why it went so well, because that fear motivated me to just try to learn something I had no idea about. And so I did everything I could, I went to karate schools, I went to all of our schools and watched their classes, I got online and tried to learn as many things as I possibly could, and then I just tried to smash that in together to some sort of formula that I was gonna use.

- Yeah, amazing, so what's the formula?

- [Vellore] What's the formula?

- What's first?

- You know, for me I think it's about having a good class, you know, and that's the first thing, right, 'cause if the class sucks, like, nothing else is gonna matter, so, my first thing was like, how am I gonna run an engaging, like, cool class that kids are gonna be on board with? Like that they are gonna enjoy? Right? And so I think that was the first piece was just kinda trying to tackle the minutiae of what it takes to run a good kid's class.

- What do you think some of those things are?

- Energy is probably a really really big one. I think that kids will lose interest really fast if you're boring, or if you're monotone, or if you, you know. So I think that was a big one, the energy. I think, involvement, like getting them to be engaged in the class, so like, they're giving back a little bit, you know, you're asking questions, they're responding, that kind of stuff. And then, I think that there's an element of rapport building with kids that's even more important than it is with adults. And that's twofold, and it kind of leads into the other thing that I think is really important with the kids, which is their parents. And being aware that, the way I always tell the kid's instructors is, there's two shows going on, you know? There's one for the kids, and there's one for their parents. Right, because every kid's gonna wanna quit. I mean we wanna quit, as adults, right, like you have a bad day, I come in. You know. Get smashed on the mat, it's like, man, I wanna quit. But with the kids, when they wanna quit, who's gonna keep them coming?

- Mom and dad.

- [Vellore] Mom and dad, and so...

- Every kid wants to quit.

- [Vellore] Every kid.

- Your best kids.

- [Vellore] My best kids have wanted to quit.

- Your best kids have wanted to quit.

- Multiple times.

- Yes.

- Yeah, and so making that connection, not just with them, and making sure that they're enjoying the classes and stuff, but with their parents, so that when they have those lows, I guess, in the training or whatever, that their parents are there to say, nope.

- My kids wanna quit.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- And they know.

- So you get it. It's not an option, right?

- It's not an option. For me, like they, like when they say daddy, I'm like, hey, what's rule number one? And they're like, daddy!

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Right, but--

- [Vellore] They know.

- They've never said I wanna quit. Because they know it's like...

- It's not even up for conversation.

- Love your brother, love your mother. Get along with me. And you have to do jiu jitsu, right? These are the, like... You know, first of all, each other. Then their mom. I mean I think jiu jitsu's more important than me. Because for me and my kids, I know that, I have two boys. I wanna try to say this, Jordan, you might be cutting this out if it's too misogynistic, okay? I think where you see things go really wrong with kids a lot is when the father leaves, both the male and the female children.

- [Vellore] Yep.

- When there's not a strong male role model in the house. It goes really really badly.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Like... For girls and for boys.

- [Vellore] Sure.

- So for me, I know that they will get really really strong male role models in jiu jitsu, and they need them outside of me. You know? And I know that if anything ever happened to me as well, you guys would take care of my kids.

- [Vellore] Absolutely.

- Like, you guys would, my kids would still be doing jiu jitsu, and you guys would be taking care of, like somebody at the school would be coming and picking my kids up for jiu jitsu.

- I think that's an important thing that you just talked about, because like, for me, like my dad wasn't around, you know, when I was growing up. I just met my dad when I was 40. And I always tell people that are close to me, because I don't share that with everybody, but, that the most important male role models I've had in my life have been in jiu jitsu too. So yeah I agree with that 100%. You know, and I think that's an important thing to consider, you know, for parents, and so you know, with that, and all the other positive things, the resilience, you know, all the different things that kids are gonna gain from jiu jitsu, I just try to communicate that and maybe even overcommunicate it with the parents, so that they understand what my goals are with their kids. And I think that when they run into those times when the kid wants to quit, it's like, no way, 'cause we know, like, Professor Vellore is, you know, what he's doing up there with you and there's no way we're gonna let that stop.

- It's not allowed to stop.

- [Vellore] Yeah. So that's it you know?

- If I had to say one thing that your kids, if you told me brush your teeth or do jiu jitsu, I'd probably go with jiu jitsu. We'll figure out how to eat some other way.

- Yeah, that's it. Yeah, yeah, no, I'm with you on that, and obviously it's been a big piece of my life so that was it. You know, and yeah, I mean, that's it, I think, you know, and obviously I mean we teach hour long, you know, hours long classes on how to teach kids. But I think the main components, you know, to go back to your question, was, is, you know, teach awesome classes for the kids where they're engaged and they're having a good time. Make good rapport with them so that they really appreciate who you are, and so that you can kind of leverage that with a little bit of disappointment every now and then. And then have good relationships with the parents. You know, and authentic relationships with the parents. Like man, I like to feel like, and I think there's probably a lot of people who would agree with me. But I think I'm like an uncle for a lot of the kids that I've worked with over the years. You know, like not just their jiu jitsu coach, but, you know.

- Some of your kids are older now. Teenagers.

- Yeah, some of them are grown.

- And some of them are going through some problems.

- [Vellore] Sure, yeah.

- And they're calling you.

- They are calling me, yeah. And it's interesting. That's a side effect that I didn't expect, you know? Like I wasn't expecting to have that big of an influence in some of the kids' lives. But I can say that without a doubt, that that's been the biggest blessing for me, you know? Unexpected blessing you know? I didn't even wanna teach kids. And the way that it's impacted my life has just been so huge, and you know, my mom made me do it, and it was the best anybody ever made me do.

- Man I know I struggle, like I have Anna and Nick, who, I mean they're like, I call them my second kids. But I struggle with them, plus I didn't have them at such a young age. I don't know what happened to them when they were six and seven and eight, I only got them like, late. And Nick I can kinda figure out, 'cause I was a 17 year old boy too. Anna, I'm like, oh my god.

- [Vellore] I don't know how to do this.

- I don't know how to do this.

- [Vellore] Right.

- Like and then I say something, and she's like, wicked upset with me. And I'm like, ugh. 'Cause I don't know how to do it, you know, but you've been there with a lot of these kids since they were eight.

- Yeah, I've got one I think that started with us when he was eight or nine, and now he's 17.

- [Eliot] Cameron?

- Yeah, Cameron, and so, yeah, I mean and I've got several of those, you know and one of the kids that I trained, who actually left, you know, like he trained for several years and then left, I think when he was 14 or 15. He's about to go off to college and he just calls me out of the blue, I mean out of the blue, I haven't seen him in years, and he's like, hey. I'm about to go off to college and I wanted to meet with you before I left, and I thought that was so cool.

- [Eliot] It's so cool.

- You know, but, yeah, that's what teaching kids jiu jitsu has done for me.

- Yeah, I started teaching kids.

- [Vellore] Yeah, I know.

- Karate.

- [Vellore] You were one of the first ones I watched. Even at here, you know, I know you were teaching kids in karate when you were younger, but yeah, you know, your class was one of the main ones that I stole from. You know, whatever I was.

- [Eliot] Did it better, tell the truth, quadruple.

- And Jamond does it better than me.

- [Eliot] That's the way it's supposed to go, right?

- Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

- [Eliot] So that's another thing, is you got your kid who's older, Jamond. Who is probably the head kid's instructor down in Centennial.

- Without a doubt.

- Crushing it. Crushing it.

- Yeah, he's the man. And I think that, you know, a big piece of that is, for him, has been, you know, coming up in that program down there, you know, he started teaching and coaching when he was 18. He's 25 now, he just turned 25 the other day. So he's been doing it for 7 years already. And you know, he got the opportunity to come up with us while all that good stuff was happening down there. And then you know, he's just a really smart guy, and he's kind of...

- It's amazing how like--

- [Vellore] Taking to the next level, you know?

- Yeah, I think, I hope I don't make him upset here, but like, look he's not gonna be a fighter, it's just not in his personality.

- [Vellore] No, not at all. He wouldn't be upset by that.

- But look, he's got this thing with jiu jitsu now. A different part. And he's making monsters. Like some of these kids are, like, and it's not like when you go oh, like, when you think of our toughest guys. Jamond's not one of them. He's only a purple belt. And...

- And he admittedly will tell you that he's not a giant fan of like, the fight energy, and like all of that, it's not really his thing.

- Not his thing. But he's making really tough kids.

- Sure. Not by himself, you know, it's important to note the team down there, Nick, and Phil, and all those guys are doing an amazing job as well.

- Right, but he's the leader of it.

- Sure.

- You know, I'm sure, like if I have him on the podcast, he's gonna start giving credit to all these other people.

- [Vellore] Absolutely, yeah.

- But I don't see that. I mean I see it a little bit, but, you know, he's the leader of the program, he's the one, what'd you say this weekend, last weekend, unscrewing the trophy because it was too big?

- [Vellore] Exactly, yeah. Yeah, that's it.

- Did you hear this, Jordan?

- [Jordan] No.

- So we won the team trophy for Fight to Win. And everyone had left and Jamond has like a smaller car. And he couldn't get the trophy in his car. So he had to take it, disassemble it.

- All apart. I see, I come in on Sunday, and he's at the academy putting it back together, you know, and it's like 1000 pieces. But yeah, that's... Yeah, that's Jamond though. You know?

- So, right, but... So even when you're not a champion. Even when you're not, he has no interest in being a champion. Zero. Not even a touch. You still have this place for jiu jitsu in your life.

- You know, I love that you said that, and I was hoping that we would kind of touch on this a little bit at some point, and I'm glad that it did, because I think this is a good point for me to inject something in here, that again, a lot of people might not have known. But you know, I was a competitor. I wasn't very good at it. But I think that it's, you know, I fought MMA and stuff like that, I was on the same team with you and Shane Carwin and all those guys and stuff, but I didn't do very well. And one thing that I'm really proud of about our organization is that I think that it would have been very easy for you and a lot of other people to, you know, to maybe shit on my dreams a little bit.

- Oh, I was so mad at you bro. For a little bit. I was so mad at you. I'll be honest.

- No, and I'm glad, you know, I'm glad. But here's the thing, regardless of how you felt about it, I feel like you guys were always supportive, and even now, you know, even now, where I know that sometimes I might be going against the grain a little bit or whatever. But because of that, I think if we would have gone down that route, like if you would've said, hey, stop this, or whatever, you know, maybe I wouldn't be as bought in. Or maybe I wouldn't care as much about it. But I think part of being bought in for me was the fact that even when, like you guys always supported me. Like always. You know, even when I was being a knucklehead and didn't wanna listen about the systems. Even when I was fighting and doing horrible and somebody probably should have said hey, hang it up, you know, or whatever, like you guys were always just there, you know? And so that meant a lot to me. And I think it says a lot about the organization and what it's about, the people first thing.

- Yeah, it's hard, that part's hard, the fighting thing is hard.

- [Vellore] It is, yeah.

- You know, I get stuck there a lot, because you don't want to get fucked up.

- [Vellore] Yeah, you can.

- You know, it's, every fight you could, every fight you're running the risk of looking like Mike Perry afterwards.

- Yeah, absolutely.

- With that smashed face.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- You know? Who shouldn't be fighting is Paulo Costa.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- He's very good at fighting. He's very very good at fighting, but that dude should not be fighting, he is way too pretty. Right, like, I mean like look at Luke Rockhold, Luke Rockold has like some million dollar Polo or Ralph Lauren contract. Come on, man. Come on, you quit this, you don't need to fight Yoel Romero ever again.

- Ever again, yeah.

- Don't do that, you know? Don't do that, you are way too good looking. Look how pretty you are. You have two grown men standing on a podcast, well I'm the only one taking about how pretty he is. Like, he's beautiful. You know, a specimen of a human.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Don't fight, man.

- Well, you know what though, like I think, I think you would probably tell people not to fight now. But I think you would do it from a much different space, and place, and it would probably feel different. I think if you were to tell me that now, back then, you know, like the Eliot you are today was to tell me, I probably would have been okay with it, and even maybe felt better.

- I handle, yeah, we've learned, as a company.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Which has made us learn as individuals, how to have good conversations with people. And it's hard some times.

- [Vellore] It is, yeah.

- It's really hard, like, this, god, we keep coming back to it, it's a people thing.

- [Vellore] Yeah, people first.

- Like all this stuff is a people thing like, you know, we talked about it with Mike, people first, it's just, there's no other way around it. Like all the systems, you can put all the systems in place in the world. You can have the best kids program with everything dialed in. Boom, boom, boom, like everything happened, all the videos say, and I think this is where we're gonna stand out.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- This is where Easton Online's gonna stand out. The people are who matter.

- [Vellore] Yep.

- It's not the systems, it's not jiu jitsu.

- [Vellore] Nope. Because the people are the ones that are gonna do it.

- [Eliot] Yeah.

- You know, they've the ones that are gonna make it happen, and you know, man, I think the biggest learning lesson for me, and there's been so many. But I think being a part of Easton has been that. The importance of the people. I think I can admittedly say I was probably one of those people that grew up pretty like, shielded, you know, and tried to like not really get close with people, or whatever, you know, kind of selfish and out there for myself, and that's the biggest thing that I've learned, I think, through this experience, is just that...

- Dude, people call me all the time. After they were allowed to do a job at the school. That I hated, I did not want to do. And they're like, thank you for the opportunity, I was like, thank you for the opportunity? Shit, man.

- You did me a favor. Like that wasn't gonna get done without you doing it. 'Cause I wasn't fucking doing it, I don't know how to do it! Like... So that, and I'm just shocked by it. What the people first thing does, because it's someone's niche. Like Matt Horrigan. Matt Horrigan crushes fixing, he's the maintenance guy in Denver.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Dude, he's got a staff now. He has a staff of maintenance guys.

- [Vellore] That's awesome.

- That go, and, like, you know the new emblems that are up, the new, like the...

- They do all those things.

- Yeah, I thanked him, and he was like, I didn't do it. I was like, damn, you know? He's like, I just had these guys do it.

- [Vellore] Heck yeah.

- But he has the leadership role now, after like, being the guy that had to do the work.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- And he's got a job and a wife, and...

- Well, and I think that's another thing people should be aware of, you know, I know you guys touched on it a little bit too, but just, you know, how much that bringing people up through the company really matters to you guys. You know, like when I got out of the army, and I was teaching 6:00 a.m. class in Denver, you know, back when it was on Third and Broadway.

- [Eliot] Right.

- And, you know I would work security all night, and then get off work, and then come teach the jiu jitsu class, just you know, 'cause I wanted an opportunity. And then when I fast forward to now, like where I am, you know, like I'm a part owner in a couple of the schools, and man, like, I get emotional about it a little bit, you know, like I can't... I just don't even know how that happened, you know?

- Yeah, me neither man, right?

- You know what I mean? It just, it was life changing, you know, for me, and another thing I like to share with people is like, man, I never asked for any of it. I think for me the thing I wanted to do was just do jiu jitsu and like, be a part of it, and like, be a part of Easton. And you know, all the other, excuse me, all the other opportunities came, you know, because you guys saw fit, you know, I mean like, and you just really took care of me along the way. So like, the people first thing is like, it's not just a conversation, you know what I mean? It's not just something that we talk about as a company, it's like I've seen it, I am an example of it.

- [Eliot] You have ownership.

- I do.

- Yeah, I know. But we're talking, right? Yeah.

- Sure, yeah. I know you know. It was your idea.

- Yeah. It was my idea. Because, when you own something, it's different.

- [Vellore] It is.

- You know? It's different. And what that does for the person.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Right? I don't want everyone who's gonna listen to this podcast to think that you, like, that everyone's getting ownership, everyone's not getting ownership.

- [Vellore] Definitely not, no.

- You know? I don't know how much more ownership we will do. That will be determined later.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- But you've been a soldier, I would say, from the very very beginning, you know? And even with our disagreements and with our butting heads and maybe you not liking me and me not liking you, once we moved past that, it was, you know? It was something that Mike and I talked about a lot, I mean, yeah, this was a point of contention a lot, like the, are Amal and I gonna give up ownership? 'Cause it's a motherfucker.

- Yeah, it is. And like you said, I mean once you're married in a way, in that way. And so it's tough, 'cause like, who do you wanna get married to, you know? And so yeah, I mean, I've been blessed by those decisions from you guys, and just to be able to be a part of it and see all of that turn into something much bigger than I ever would have thought, you know what I mean? Like for me when I started teaching jiu jitsu, I was like, I'm just gonna be poor, and, you know, and that's what it is, you know I won't have any kind of financial security or anything, but I'm gonna be happy, 'cause this is what I really like to do. And so then all the other stuff that's come as a result of it, the ownership, the program director, all those different things have just been icing on the cake and just made it all that much more worth it, and it motivates me to do even more, you know?

- So I'm gonna say this for school owners, I would say. We get so wrapped up in the money of it. And what we have found is that part of the people first has to be that that person feels like they can financially support themselves. So for me on my end of the financial piece of it, I always would choose to give up a little money. Because, what you, I mean, take the people first away for a second. What you get back is way more.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- You know, like, I guess it's buying it a little bit, but I don't know if it's buying it, but like, man, like I know that if I'm going, if I want you. Okay, I want Vellore. Well shit man, Vellore can't be struggling. 'cause if Vellore's struggling and he sees me doing really well, then that's, like, eventually you're leaving me. Like there's no, because you're like, dude. I'm working my ass off. Like that's why...

- Yeah but you know what, I think a lot of people recognize this, but they don't do anything about it.

- They don't do it, yeah.

- You know, or they do something about it as a result of the other person complaining, right? Like they come and they're like, yo man, like I'm struggling over here, like what's going on, and then they're like, alright, here, I'll, you know, whatever. But that wasn't it, you know, that wasn't the experience for me, you know?

- If somebody offered you double your salary to teach at another martial arts school, yes or no?

- Never. Not even a chance. It's not even close.

- Because it's more than that now.

- It was more than that before that. Like that's the important part I think.

- I'm just saying, now.

- But yeah, absolutely now, but yeah, even then, you know, I've always felt like this about Easton, I think, you know, even before I even had any dreams of being an owner or program director, anything like that, I think, and I think that's why it grew to what it is now too is because I think that that part has always been there, you know, as far as like everybody being so giving with their information and their, just everything, you know, I was in the army. Like I've been in all sorts of organizations and nothing has felt to me like Easton has. So, I would never leave.

- I don't know how we got here, but we got here. I mean to talk about all these like, particulars on the podcast, but we keep going back to the same thing.

- [Vellore] People.

- People.

- That's what it is, man.

- And kids, you have to like, you wanna teach kids? You gotta be a kid a little bit.

- Yeah.

- [Eliot] A little bit.

- A lot a bit.

- A lot a bit. But you gotta play this line of, they know who the boss is.

- [Vellore] Sure.

- But they like that.

- Yeah, and you know what though, it's funny that you mention that, I think a lot of people don't realize that, you know, even instructors that I work with now. You know, they don't realize how much the kids like the structure, the other day I taught a class that I hadn't taught in a long time. And the kids were kind of messing up a little bit and stuff and so I was really really hard on them. Like to the point that I was like, as I'm closing the class, I'm thinking, man, like was that too, you know, am I gonna get all these calls from parents and stuff or whatever?

- You get the opposite.

- Well almost, yeah, I did, yeah, they called, and they're like, oh my god that was awesome, like we loved it. And then all the kids too. One by one came up, oh, thank you for the class professor. Like, thank you. And I was like, oh man. You know, it's important to realize how much kids want that, like they want the structure, they want to be driven and pushed.

- They wanna know what they're gonna get.

- [Vellore] Yeah. Yeah.

- Right? They wanna know, man. Like you think it's fun. Like, just think about a child.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Your mom. Your mom and dad are up in the bedroom, having sex, or doing drugs, or watching TV, or doing whatever, and they're not home, and you get to come home and do whatever you want. That's terrible.

- Horrible.

- You feel terrible.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- You don't even feel good about yourself.

- Nope.

- Nothing. You come home to house of structure, dinner's at six. Bed's at 7:30. You know, or eight. This is how, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, and I know, even, man, look. Next door. We got these neighbors. They're amazing, they're family. Our kids love each other. They're just walking in the house, there's no nothing. Like you know, you need an egg, I don't even ask for the egg, I just walk in, open the door, go in the refrigerator, grab an egg, 'cause if I need eggs, like, and they do the same. Oh yeah, it's amazing. And our kids love each other like brothers and sisters. They were like, they were gone for a month, they took a month vacation. This was miserable. Like I noticed that were like, letting our kids, just, rather than, 'cause normally they'd get up and go over there or somebody would come over here. My kids were on their iPads. And like, dude, they were such little shits.

- Yeah.

- You know, 'cause there was no, I had to like, get some structure back in their life, I had to be like, okay, no iPad today. Or you get half an hour. And like, once I, they were better.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- When they appreciate it too.

- They were nicer to me, they were nicer to each other. Like I'm not even saying that I played with them during, like I still had to come up here and do work. But I was like, you get a half an hour. 'Cause the iPad is just so not structured. Hey I need you to do this, this, this. They have to get up, clean, go do the yard. Do the dishes, boom, boom, put their lawn, boom, boom, boom.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Like it's just, and now they're happier. They don't notice that they're happier but they are.

- And sometimes they do notice, though. I do think so, 'cause I've had people, you know, say, kids, say that to me. Like man, I really liked that. You know I appreciate the structure, or how hard you were on me, or something like that, you know? Like the kids have said that.

- They're gonna get, they know what they're gonna get.

- Well and I think that doing that shows an element of care, too, you know? 'Cause you gotta care to put somebody through that, right? You have to care to hold somebody accountable.

- It's energy. The iPad is so much easier.

- And attention. It's attention and it's energy, right? And so so much of, you know, well I think it was Sam Harris or somebody said, you know, that we're guarding time and all these things, but what's really important is attention.

- [Eliot] Attention, yeah.

- And then so when you can give kids that through structure and stuff like that, I think it really matters, it impacts them in a positive way. And that's what we try to do.

- When they see that you're excited that they pulled the move off, like we were talking yesterday. One of the coaches started, being like, yeah, yeah, yeah, he started coaching really loud and you're like, dude, we need three more people doing that.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Because that's what they love.

- It is what they love, and I only learned that through my own experience, you know, I was with Alec Gracy one time, and a long, many years ago when I was in the army, him and his dad did a seminar for the military, for like a week, and I remember, you know I was like, no stripe white belt at the time, and he shows...

- He must have been a kid.

- Oh he was a kid, yeah, he was 18 I think at the time. And he showed, like, we did a private with him, me and my coach at the time and he showed an arm bar. And I remember doing the arm bar at some point throughout the thing and he got so excited. Like he was like, oh yeah, man, that was the move, like, yeah! And it just, it filled me up, I think that might have been like, you know, kept me going for a couple more years in jiu jitsu. And so I definitely think that that's super important, I always try to tell the kid's instructors that too.

- A coin got deposited, right? Boop, boop, new life. Boop, new life. Boop, new life.

- Yeah, and for the coaches, you know, we try to instill that in all the coaches at Easton for the kids is how important that is, you know, like we have to remember that we're kind of rock stars to those kids. And so when we get excited about something that they do, it's just really powerful for them.

- You're their uncle.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Uncle V.

- Yeah, Uncle V is excited.

- Yeah, Uncle V's excited.

- Yeah, because I did a good job.

- And now that will also, like I think you said it really well earlier, that will allow you to have some disappointment points down the road, like when you have to be disappointed in them.

- I know we might be short on time or something.

- [Eliot] No, we're good.

- But I want to make sure that we talk about that for just a second, because,

- Yeah, go.

- me and Jamond talk about this all the time, and I think it's one of the most underutilized tools in kid's teaching, is disappointment.

- [Eliot] Talk to me about this.

- Well, so, you can't do it if you don't have rapport, right? 'Cause if I don't have rapport with you and I just--

- You can't be disappointed first.

- Right. 'Cause if I just come in, like your first day, and I'm like ugh, that was horrible. Right, you're like, god, this guy, who is this asshole, you know? But what I try to do is make sure we build a rapport and that we have a connection and then now because of that, when the kid does a bad job, or when they're not applying themselves 100%, when I'm disappointed, it matters. Right, like I'm like, man, seriously? Come on. What was that?

- [Eliot] Right.

- You know? And again, it was a similar lesson that was taught to me, right, 'cause who wants to disappoint people, right? Most of us don't wanna do that. And especially people we care about. So, you know, creating that care where they care, and then utilizing it, you know, I think Isaiah's probably the best at this I've ever seen, with the kids. His ability to use disappointment is, like, oh my god. He just makes a face. He just makes a, yeah, and it's like, and you just see it, just... And the next thing you know, they're giving their all. They're giving 100% because they don't want, that's not okay with them, they're not gonna disappoint Isaiah.

- [Eliot] Right.

- You know what I mean?

- So, you know, I think that's a really valuable tool.

- Adults are the same thing.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- What's the first thing you say when you lose a fight?

- [Vellore] I'm sorry.

- I'm sorry.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- Right? And everyone knows not to say I'm sorry.

- [Vellore] But you still do it.

- But you still do it.

- [Vellore] Yeah. 'Cause you don't wanna disappoint the people that are important to you.

- You don't wanna disappoint the people that are right there.

- Yeah. Yeah, and that's important, so, you know, and again, I think a lot of coaches that I've seen struggle, even in the Easton system and stuff over the years, it's been with stuff like that, right? Like they're afraid to use that disappointment.

- [Eliot] Right.

- They're worried that maybe it will diminish the relationship. And in reality I think that sometimes it can strengthen it. If used appropriate,

- You have to build it first.

- yeah, you have to build it.

- You have to build it first.

- You have to build it and you have to wield it appropriately as well, you know, you can't go too far. It's a thin line, but when done appropriately, I think there's a really really good outcome, as a result.

- Yeah, it's such a, you're right, it is such a powerful tool. Like, you know, my dad gets mad at me, whatever. I mean, I'll get over it. But when he's disappointed, how long's that gonna last?

- [Vellore] That stings.

- Right, like, how long's that gonna last? Like that is such a, that's such a tough thing. Because I mean... And just in general. We're kind of in the skip out of order here, maybe, but it just popped in my head. Jiu jitsu's really hard to teach to kids.

- It is.

- [Eliot] Karate's way easier.

- Hold on, though.

- [Eliot] Hold on, karate's way easier.

- I don't have that experience. But I can say this, I think that jiu jitsu's easier to teach to kids than adults.

- [Eliot] Oh well yeah.

- Yeah yeah yeah.

- But karate, uh... Easier to teach to kids than adults.

- The reason why I say that is because kids believe. You know, like I could tell, I could get one of my kids that I don't even know very well, and be like, hey. We're gonna run up this wall right here. And then we're gonna do a backflip. You know what I mean?

- [Eliot] Yes.

- And they're gonna be like, word.

- True, okay.

- You know what I'm saying?

- Yes.

- Or I could be like, hey. You see that wall over there? Like we're gonna run really hard and we're just gonna run in through it. And they'd be like, they'd look at me a little bit, and then they'd be like, alright.

- If you were like, I promise, you could get them to do it. You could get them to do it.

- You know how it is with adults, you're like, yeah, we're gonna do, they're like, what? Like, I'm not doing a backflip.

- My body doesn't do that. My knee doesn't do this, yeah, I see what you're saying.

- So for me I think that's the big thing that makes it easier to teach kids, is because they just believe, like, you know if I showed them the flying omoplata, or whatever, right, which is ridiculous, but, they would--

- [Eliot] They'll jump and land on their head.

- Yeah, and they'd be down to give it a shot. Versus like, you know, with the adults.

- Even with a crash pad, the adult's not doing it.

- Yeah. They're like, nope. That's not my move. So yeah, I think in that respect, it does make it easier.

- Karate's way easier.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- 'Cause you have patterns.

- [Vellore] Right.

- And you're not relying on another person.

- [Vellore] I see what you're saying.

- I only have to get Vellore to do this correctly.

- [Vellore] Instead of...

- Like for you to do an arm bar correctly in jiu jitsu, Jamond on top of you, can't fall over when you put your foot in his hip.

- Good point. Yeah. And that is one of the challenges, I think.

- That's the challenge. I think that's one of the hardest challenges with kids.

- But it's also one of the greatest benefits, I think. Because I think our kids, and especially today, are so ready to check out. And I think that's one of the other benefits of jiu jitsu, is like, you can't do that, even when it's not your turn. When you're the uke, you still gotta be on point, and so yeah, I think it's super valuable. You know, and it's another missed thing that a lot of people don't realize that the kids are gonna get.

- Keeps kids engaged. Or keeps...

- Back to attention. That's what I was yelling at the class about the other day, I was like, look, you guys don't understand. You're not even paying attention. This is the most important thing we have. If you're not paying attention in here, you're not gonna pay attention anywhere else, you know? And like, how's that gonna work out? If you're not paying attention at school, if you're not paying attention in your relationship, if you're not paying, you know what I mean? So, and that's one of the things that I, you know. That I think is important about what we do at Easton. Is kind of try to drive those things home.

- Yeah, and you're not easy on the kids.

- Oh hell no.

- [Eliot] Yeah, no.

- No. I'm no, Tory says, matter of fact, I've been kicked off the mat 'cause I'm so hard on the kids.

- Who kicked you off the mat?

- [Vellore] Jamond. Yeah, you know. And man and honestly, like, you know, I think he has a lot more empathy and understanding than I do, and the program has man, like, doubled under him. I think that his ability to empathize with the kids and the families is just so important. You know whereas me, I'm more of a drill sergeant.

- So maybe he's uncle and you're dad now.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's it. That's it. You know, and man, I'm, you know for me, I'm just, I have the goals that I want about that, and like, that's what's gonna happen. You know I tell the kids all the time, like I'm not your friend. I can be in moments, right? The analogy I like to use is like the drill sergeant, in the army. When I was in the army, you know, when you went to basic training, the drill sergeant when they had the hat on, they were just assholes. You know, but if they took the hat off, then you knew that that was a moment of like, softness, like maybe they were gonna say something nice, or like, be helpful to you. But man, when that hat was on. And so that's how I think about it is like, when I'm on the mat teaching, like, my hat is on. And it's on. You know, but off the mat, after the class, you know, in a text message, on a Facebook or whatever, it's a different person, you know, and I'm there to help them, and be nice to them, and this kind of stuff, but like, on the mat, like I'm there to do one thing and it's--

- But you're still never their friend.

- Yeah, not fully.

- [Eliot] No.

- No, not fully. You know, I can say that over the years, I've blurred that line a little bit with some of the families 'cause we end up so close or tight or whatever, you know.

- Traveling all the time together, things like that.

- Traveling all the time together, and then I've had, you know, I was blessed, and another thing I wanted to do for sure was to give credit to some of the parents, you know, who've, because I get a lot of credit for what happened down there in Centennial, but, I was really lucky to have a lot of really really important parents along the way that kind of helped to guide me to do this, you know, one of whom comes to mind is Jason Miller. Dane, you know, I don't know if you remember Dane, but his dad was super important in all of this stuff that we did back then because he kind of was the one that would be in my ear, you know? Like hey man, we should go to this tournament right here. And I'm like, okay, cool. And these are things that I wouldn't have done myself. You know, I wouldn't have just, by myself, been like, yeah, we should fly to California and like, whatever, you know? But through that guidance and those guys in my ear, you know, I was really really able to luckily make some good decisions that really positively impacted what we were doing.

- It's all luck, man.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- It's all luck.

- It really is too, you know, like Mike even said that in his, I think you know. There's definitely an element of luck to it, and I got really really lucky where I got placed, in Centennial.

- [Eliot] It's the first element.

- Yeah, yeah, without it, I mean, you're not even gonna have a shot.

- You get lucky enough to work really hard. I think Amal said it too. Amal said it at the 20 year picnic.

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- If you're born female in Afghanistan under the Taliban.

- It's not gonna be, not a good look.

- Did you have anything to do with where you were born?

- [Vellore] No.

- Last time I checked, I didn't either.

- No. So I'm blessed, man. Definitely lucky to end up in that situation, for sure.

- [Eliot] Yeah, me too. Alright man, thanks for coming.

- Yeah, of course, thanks for having me, brother.

- I like, turned, and I was like, hey 10 o'clock, hey no, five, sorry.

- Yeah, no, no, no, it's awesome, man, I appreciate it and thanks for having me, and honestly, thanks for everything you do. Thanks for Easton. You and Amal, I appreciate it.

- There's nothing, nah, we don't do anything, we just kind of like, I don't know. We don't even steer the ship any more. You know, it's too big of a ship to steer. It's not a boat, where you can just take one paddle and go bloop, and it goes over here. We have this big, like, liner, right? You know, it's to turn that thing around, it's gonna...

- Take several jet engines, and like...

- Take some engines and some time. Right, and some time. And that's something that's definitely interesting for me and Amal to get used to, I have to say, is, we used to be able to turn the ship. Like hey, , and now, like that's gone. Like that is gone. If we try to turn the ship, it just gets ugly. It just gets ugly, I'm sure you're kinda feeling like that in Centennial now.

- [Vellore] Oh yeah.

- Like you can't come in there and just be like hey, we're gonna do this!

- [Vellore] No way.

- We're gonna do this, and then the ship just doesn't turn. You probably...

- Incremental.

- You fucked it up. You know? If you come in and say, we're gonna do this, phew. So, yeah, man, it's been, it's been my pleasure to call you a friend.

- [Vellore] Yeah, same here.

- And not just like, somebody I work with.

- Yeah, I agree. That's, you know. That's definitely been the most positive part about it for me, is getting to know everybody, for sure.

- Getting to know everyone.

- Yeah.

- You know, coming to each other's houses, spending time with each other.

- [Vellore] Absolutely.

- Hey, you wanna come to, can you come to Vegas early?

- [Vellore] Yeah.

- You wanna come to Vegas on Thursday.

- [Vellore] Yeah?

- Yeah.

- [Vellore] Okay, I'll be out there.

- I'm just telling you, come Thursday, don't come Friday.

- [Vellore] Got you, I'll be there.

- Before dinner.

- [Vellore] Got it.

- We're gonna have really good dinner.

- I'm down. Let's do it.

- Alright.

- Right on.

- Alright, man.

- [Vellore] Yeah, thank you man, appreciate it.

- I'll see you in Vegas, yeah.

- [Vellore] Yes.

- Thanks.

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