Our guest for the tenth installment of White Belt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Private Sessions is none other than Pedro Sauer black belt, Keith Owen! If you are anything like me, you occasionally turn to YouTube to watch BJJ videos. If you continue to watch BJJ videos long enough, you will inevitably stumble upon Keith Owen. His videos are plentiful in number, and are some of our favorite that exist. Not only are his techniques explained in inordinate detail, but his philosophical videos are tremendously inspiring as well!
Here is Keith’s brief Bio from his website:
Keith Owen lives in Boise Idaho and is a first degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Legendary 8th degree Gracie Black Belt Professor Pedro Sauer (www.pedrosauer.com). Keith also holds black belts in two other martial arts styles, a 4th degree in TAI kung-fu and a black sash in Wu Wei Gung Fu under Bruce Lee Student Joseph Cowles.
Mr. Owen has worked in Law Enforcement as a Sheriffs Deputy and as a handgun and shotgun instructor for Front Sight Firearms www.frontsight.com Institute in Las Vegas Nevada. He now co-owns a fire arms training company in Boise called Triple Threat Firearms www.t3firearmstraining.com.
Keith also instructs Arrest Techniques, Firearms, Ground control, Reactive Impact Weapons and Weapons Retention to police officers at the Idaho Police Academy. Mr. Owen is credited with creating the Ground Control program for Police Officers in the State of Idaho.
Mr. Owen spends the majority of time running his school called, “Ultimate Karate and Jiu-Jitsu” at www.idahoujj.com in Meridian Idaho. Keith also travels extensively giving BJJ seminars all over the world.
Without any further to do, we now present to you, Keith Owen!
WBBJJ: What brought you to BJJ?
Keith Owen: I watched Royce Gracie in UFC 1 and said. “This is what I need to be doing.” I found Professor Pedro Sauer and haven’t looked back.
WBBJJ: In your experience what should lower belts do more of/less of?
Keith Owen: White Belts: Basics.
Blue Belts: Basics with more details.
Purple Belts: Basics with transitions to other moves. Putting it all together.
Brown Belts: Basics with cool transitions, positions, passes and submissions, building on an outstanding foundation.
Black Belts: Basics, while putting themselves in extremely bad positions to escape.
All of this, but not necessarily in the above order.
WBBJJ: If you could go back in time and give the White Belt “you” guidance, what advice would you give?
Keith Owen: Be on the bottom and get good from there, especially if you’re a big guy. Once you do that, you will have extremely good hip movement for being on the top. Be prepared to tap 10,000 times but always learn the lesson from getting submitted. Don’t make excuses for your failure. Every time you get tapped or tap someone remember that it’s 50% your doing and 50% your opponents doing. Give your opponent credit but don’t take all the blame. Take the attitude that what you’re doing is not the “best way.” That way you will always have an open mind and will seek the “best way” all your life. When your instructor shows something that is different from the way he used to teach it understand that he is learning and is looking for better ways to do things too. He was not perfect in Jiu-Jitsu from the day you started. Remember to be Technical, Tough and Technical. And lastly, “Never drown the man who teaches you how to swim.”
WBBJJ: For you, what’s been the hardest part of the journey?
Keith Owen: The hardest part of my journey was dealing with people who left me for others, tried to defame my character by saying things about me that were blatantly untrue and dealing with jealousy from other instructors who unfortunately saw me as a threat. My biggest problems have come with hair on their heads. If you are ever a blue, purple or brown belt who owns their own school you will see what I mean.
WBBJJ: In tough times what had helped you get through and allowed you to persevere?
Keith Owen: Warrior Spirit. Today’s life is not usually about life or death like in Samurai times but more about life struggle. A Warrior Spirit allows you to combat life’s obstacles. There will be many. Have the intestinal fortitude to handle them. Be physically, mentally and emotionally strong and don’t make excuses. Warrior Spirit never goes out of fashion even if it does. Having said that, balance it out with Empathy (not sympathy) for others. You don’t have to agree with others thinking but you should try to understand others thinking. It just might be that they are right and you, not so much.
WBBJJ: If you weren’t doing this what would you do?
Keith Owen: I would have made an awesome bodyguard (Personal Protection). I did it a couple times for some pretty famous people and I loved it.
WBBJJ: What do you tell someone who says they want to do BJJ and then gives the standard excuses, time, money, etc?
Keith Owen: Typically nothing. They really don’t want to do BJJ, or they would.
WBBJJ: Favorite activity besides BJJ?
Keith Owen: Teaching Firearms, Camping in rugged out of the way locations in Idaho and I am big into Prepping. I have a YouTube channel called Survival Skills 101 that I teach personal, urban and wilderness survival. Some people think I’m weird for it. I guess I am a weird guy or maybe they’re weird, and I’m normal, but either way during a Zombie Apocalypse you are going to want me on your team.
WBBJJ: What’s on your iPod?
Keith Owen: I would prefer not to answer this question because I feel we are now in an age where people are so shallow that if they don’t like the music or really anything that you or I might like then people instantly don’t like YOU as a person and write you off. If you don’t believe me then go on Facebook or Twitter and write a political or religious belief or a post about a certain politician or say you like a certain musical artist and see how fast they criticize you or unfriend you just because they don’t prefer it. It’s amazing. Anyway this interview is about Jiu-Jitsu and not the fact that I think Justin Bieber is God. Ah. Forget I said that (laughs).
WBBJJ: We can appreciate that. This is one of those questions that we like to ask everyone who does the Private Session interview. It is meant to be a light-hearted question that gives the reader a sense of what the interviewee does in their regular, day-to-day lives. That being said, what was the last movie you watched?
Keith Owen: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I’ve been to Iceland twice.
WBBJJ: If you could train with someone living or dead who would that be?
Keith Owen: Professor Pedro Sauer. Learning from the Professor has never gotten old after 21 years.
WBBJJ: Any final thoughts?
Keith Owen: Yes. Jiu-Jitsu is like an extremely beautiful and intellectual women. You would do well to always admire her, respect her and appreciate her for her sophistication, beauty and depth. The minute you take her for granted, ignore her or think you have her mastered she ends up hitting you with a frying pan (laughs). This is a joke. But not really.
Interview by Todd Shaffer WBBJJ.com