By Danny O’Donnell
The IBJJF World Championships have been dominated by Brazilians since the first edition held in 1996. Since that time, there have only been a handful of Americans to medal at the black belt level, including BJ Penn, Rafael Lovato Jr., JT Torres, and Keenan Cornelius, among others. While Americans have definitely made progress, especially in the past 5 years, the sport has much deeper roots in Brazil. The trend of Brazilian champions extends beyond the black belt level, as the blue through brown belt divisions have also been dominated by the Brazilians statistically. Going into the 2008 Worlds, then brown belt Ryan Beauregard knew of these statistics.
“My biggest competitive achievement would definitely be winning the IBJJF World Championships in 2008. This is a big deal because so few Americans have accomplished it, so it had felt almost impossible to achieve. My instructor never won a World Championship, and neither had anyone from our team. In fact, I had only ever heard of one non-Brazilian ever winning Worlds. This meant I had to trust that my instructor knew what it took to become a World Champion. So that’s what I did. He believed in me so I believed in him! When I won it was not only for me but for him too, making it that much sweeter.”
Ryan’s start in grappling began with high school wrestling. Upon relocating to Arizona for college, he was looking for a new competitive outlet. Jiu Jitsu first appeared in 2005, and after earning his purple belt, Ryan also took up judo. The standup grappling arts have always been a huge part of his game. “In my eyes, being able to take someone down or prevent the takedown shows dominance and allows you to impose your will on your opponent. My combined experience from jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and judo really comes in handy when teaching my students, since I’m able to emphasize grip fighting, base, and takedowns. I teach these standup aspects to help my students feel comfortable and confident as they begin each match.”
After winning the brown belt World Championships in 2008, Ryan was ready to take on a new challenge. “My wife graduated from the University of Arizona in Tucson at about the same time. The timing was right for me to take on a new challenge, so my two brothers and I opened an affiliate academy to carry on our Professor Demetrius Ramos’s legacy. Along with Colin and Ian, I founded Team Beauregard Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu here in Phoenix. We chose Phoenix in order to keep all three of us brothers together.” Ryan strives to help each of his students achieve their personal goals, and uses the AZSBJJF tournaments as a means of getting there. “I’m always trying to give my students opportunities that I may or may not have had coming up. I try and surround them with resources, and my long-term goal is to bring them closer together as a strong team. The tournaments here help me achieve this goal. They give my students strong individual motivation, and provide our team with something important to work toward.”
Despite his personal and professional accomplishments, Ryan has no plans of resting on his laurels. “My personal goal for 2016 is to get back to competing. After my daughter was born, I decided to take a break from competing in Judo and BJJ. In order to be the dad I truly wanted to be, something had to give in my busy schedule. I also took this time to focus on my students and building my academy. But now that I’m settling nicely into the role of father and coach, I’ve got more room to prepare for competition!” For more information on Ryan and Team Beauregard visit arizonabrazilianjiujitsu.com.