I met Ryan when he was still a purple belt. He came to Brazil to compete in the Brazilian Nationals and he showed up in my academy (where I used to teach the blind kids) to train. He was always very friendly and polite and we became friends keeping contact via Internet. Some time later we had other opportunities to train together, both in the US and Brazil.
When Ryan became a brown belt I heard he decided to leave his current team and, for my surprise, he chose to join Brasa. Out of any other great team he could have joined, he chose the one thought by me.
As probably most of you know,whenRyan officially moved under Brasa, he was already a phenomenal BJJ fighter with a great vision of the techniques. I tried to help him as much as I could, and he helped me to improve my game a lot, showing concepts such as 5050 and others that I wasn't familiar with. In 2010 I gave him his black belt, however I can't take too much credit for all his development. I can only hope that somehow I was a good example for him as a teacher and as a BJJ competitor.
Nowadays, Ryan is no longer under Brasa team and we don't see each other as much as we would like to. Nevertheless, we are still close friends.