Roger Gracie credits John Danaher’s autism with his success

The uniquely obsessive and analytical coaching style of John Danaher has drawn high praise from jiu-jitsu icon Roger Gracie. He believes Danaher’s apparent autism spectrum tendencies enable his success.

In a recent appearance on a Brazilian MMA podcast, multiple-time BJJ world champion Gracie discussed Danaher’s integral role in shaping current ADCC king Gordon Ryan into a grappling phenom. However, Gracie focused less on technique and more on Danaher’s personality.

“He’s very eccentric. Super smart. Super smart. You can almost say he’s autistic in that sense,” Gracie stated on Cortes do Connect Cast about the New Zealand coach. Stories of Danaher’s obsessive film study habits and social abnormality seem to back up this armchair diagnosis.

Gracie shared an anecdote about Danaher’s teaching attire of just a gi top and shorts to avoid pant grips potentially sparking knee troubles. He also only ate hash browns for every meal at one stage. According to Gracie, “He doesn’t have a life. His life is Jiu-Jitsu.”

This maniacal devotion to the gentle art manifests itself most importantly in the mat success of his students like Gordon Ryan. Gracie made it clear he believes Danaher’s apparent autism enables this top-level coaching more than hinders it.