Episode #42: Interview with Josh Vogel – BJJ Black Belt, Level 2 MovNat Instructor and Level 1 Kettlebell Athletics coach

In today’s podcast we are lucky enough to talk with Josh Vogel.  Josh is a BJJ under the Migliarese brothers, a Level 2 Certified Movnat coach, and a Level 1 Kettlebell Athletics coach.  Josh is continually exploring new disciplines and thinking of ways to apply those lessons back to Jiu-jitsu. That process is the key to great creativity, and within Jiu-jitsu, there are few black belts that have explored movement practice to the level that he has.  His unique, real world advice on training, recovery, movement and mindset are valuable for any martial artist or enthusiast.


In this podcast we discuss:

  • Consistency for success
  • How movement plays a roll in bjj strength and conditioning
  • Josh’s road to black belt
  • Expectations from training
  • and much more.

Learn more about Josh here:

Sloth Report


Full Transcription of Our Podcast with Josh Vogel

Corey Beasley [00:00:01]: Hey guys, is Corey Beasley with fight camp conditioning. And I’m on the phone with Josh Vogel. Josh, how you doing?

Josh Vogel [00:00:06]:Doing well man. How are you doing?

Corey Beasley [00:00:08]: I’m doing great. Thanks so much for joining us. I’m guys, just for everybody that’s listening, Josh is a black belt in Jiu Jitsu under Phil and Rick and helped me out with their last name Josh?

Josh Vogel [00:00:20]:It’s a Migliarese M. I. G. L. I. A. R. E. S. E.

Corey Beasley [00:00:24]: So Phil and Rick Migliarese out of a balanced studios out there in Philadelphia am I correct? And then Josh is also a level two certified MovNat instructor. Lot of you guys are probably familiar with MovNat from Carlos Condit kind of putting those guys on the map as far as the MMA world goes. So that’s pretty exciting. And he also just has a ton of out experience going through other programs and training and we just wanted to bring him on to share his experiences.

Josh Vogel [00:00:59]:Thanks for having me on. I really appreciate you taking the time.

Corey Beasley [00:01:01]: Yeah, absolutely. So Josh, just to give everybody like your side of the story and who you are and what you’re doing give us a little 2 cents about what you got going on?

Josh Vogel [00:01:12]:Well basically the thing that I mainly do is I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, students and that’s my full time career and work right now. And then I also have students who I teach a little bit of joint mobility stuff to base on the FRC system from Andreo Spina and then I do a little bit of teaching MovNat and just general movement stuff to some of my students as well. And other than that, I really barely live the life of an adult. Like I wake up in the morning and I’ll go do some, I’ll wrestle around in pajamas with my buddies, go climb a tree and crawl around like a dork.

Corey Beasley [00:01:58]: Yeah. Well that’s cool though. I think a lot of people get caught up in the old industrial go to work and come home and fall asleep and repeat it and everybody’s miserable. So it’s good to good to talk with somebody that’s actually having fun. Just everybody knows the FRC system from Andreo Spina, give everybody a little summary. I know we’ve had those guys out to our gym in Costa Mesa Innovative results. But give us an idea of like what it is that they do and why you kind of sought out that system?

Josh Vogel [00:02:36]:I think that was one of the most, one of the best workshops that I’ve been to so far with all this like a movement, joint prep, all this kind of stuff. Because what they do is they basically have a system for developing mobility, which their take on it is sort of they have a way of kind of bulletproofing the joints of your body and helping you develop like flexibility and strength at the same time in your joints, which is super useful for Jiu Jitsu and for really any kind of movement practice. But I think what’s very different about the way that they do it is Dr. Spina is really it’s very organized the system and everything is based on pretty solid scientific research and evidence which is great because a lot of people kind of get into stuff and it’s hard to separate what’s like legit versus what’s not really what kind of questionable. And if you don’t have an academic background, like I don’t have an academic background, it can be very hard to tell the difference between like something that’s good and something that’s kind of questionable. So what’s cool about Dr. Spina is he makes it really easy to find like evidence to support what he teaches. And that’s sort of his big thing is like, okay, this works backed by science. If it doesn’t work and there’s no evidence for it, then we’re not going to use it. So hopefully, hopefully that kind of makes sense. Does that help at all?

Corey Beasley [00:04:19]: Yeah, of course. I mean with the mobility stuff, there’s a lot of talk, especially in the MMA world right now as far as movement, practice and mobility. And I think it can be a bit overwhelming with all the social media noise that’s out there for people to differentiate. Like, okay, cool. What should I do? Should I be doing movements? Should I be going mobility? Should I be doing plyometrics? Should I be lifting weights? And I think the FRC system is just a really good foundational way to get people’s joints moving the way they should right? And they’re functioning and they’re able to move right? I think that’s a great solution for that part because I think a lot of guys just get stiff in their ankles, their hips and their shoulders and they’re so stiff when they get in these awkward positions in MMA and Jiu Jitsu and wrestling and all that type of stuff, something’s going to give and a lot of times stuff guys give and that’s where injuries occur and aches and pains come up and just makes everybody life hard.

Josh Vogel [00:05:35]:What cool about it too. When I teach a little bit of that to my students privately, one-on-one and especially for my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu students, what’s cool about it is he’s got a very good way of helping you develop strength and control in really weird ranges of motion. So like if you’re passing somebody butterfly garden Jiu Jitsu for example, and you have to do a movement where you’re really stepping your leg very high up and angling your hip in a really weird way to get over there butterfly hook. I think that Spina system is a really good way of like giving you an extra couple inches of range of motion and strength and control to be able to do those movements that you wouldn’t normally be able to do.

Corey Beasley [00:06:22]: Now are you guys with your classes? Because I think a lot of people, there’s so many different skills in and kind of movement quality of so to speak that people need. Where are you guys using that? A lot of the mobility work that you guys are implementing. Are you using mature classes? Are you using them during warm-ups? I mean where do you kind of fit it in during your day?

Josh Vogel [00:06:52]:Well a couple of places I’m with, I teach two Jiu Jitsu classes back to back on Monday nights. And I teach one class with the Gian and one class without the Gian, usually the, the No-Gi classes a little bit later at night, so fewer people come. So what I do with that class, because I usually do different movement drills and mobility work to kind of warm everybody up. But also for example, certain crawling patterns or certain things from FRC, like, hip rotations and things like that depending on what we’re going to do that day. So I use it as a warm up, but I also use it kind of as almost like auxiliary training based on the skill set that we’re going to use. So for example, if I’m teaching a half guard pass in the No-Gi class on Monday night and there’s a certain like for example, the wizard crawl that you see like Eton and these guys doing, I find that the wizard crawl is a really great way to train a lot of the movements that are necessary in doing like we’ve passed from half guard. So I might match that to, to the technical part of the class. Does that make sense?

Corey Beasley [00:08:05]: I’m going to say, it seems kind to like a very specific or sports specific to assist with the moving patterns that they’re going experience in a skills class. Right?

Josh Vogel [00:08:27]:Yeah, definitely. Like for example, if I was teaching like traditionally in Jiu Jitsu we teach, if I’m teaching a class on how to escape from the mallet, then we’ll start the class with shrimping drills. Which is pretty normal in Jiu Jitsu. So if I’m teaching a class on guard passing, I find that a lot of crawling patterns lend themselves two different guard passing types. So that’s sort of a top game version of the shrimp to prepare you for a guard passing class.

Corey Beasley [00:08:58]: So it’s kind of like another sport-specific drill that’s priming them and then reinforcing those movement patterns that they’re going use during class?


Josh Vogel [00:09:10]: Yeah. And it gives people something they can practice on their own. For example, if they get to class early and there’s nobody to drill with or if there, I mean, if they’re bored and they feel like crawling around their house or kind of extra stuff to practice that they can do without a partners for solo drills. That’s how to answer your original question, that’s how I fit it in to my group classes in private lessons, I have the luxury of working one on one with the person. So I can be much more specific about how I apply mobility and movement work. So like if I have somebody who I have one student who had a lot of trouble doing X choke from the closed guard because their hands were weak and they had problems with the wrists. So I can use some of Dr. Spinas joint mobility stuff and help them develop strength and mobility in their hands and wrists, which helps their X choke get better. So that’s another application for it

Corey Beasley [00:10:09]: Obviously I know one-on-ones and privates, you’re able to get very focused and help people more specifically. We’re in a class setting, you’re going to do a lot more general type stuff that requires a lot less attention to detail I guess is the easiest way to say it. Now with the FRC staff is mainly about making the joints work nice. Right? And there’s a lot more to it. There’s a lot as you go into the pails and rails and different things that he has to improve function with the MovNat system. And how do you say is Erwin and how do you say his last name?

Josh Vogel [00:11:05]:I think its pronounced LeCorre.

Corey Beasley [00:11:08]: So who developed that move Nat program again, that you guys have seen Carlos conduct working with what’s kind of the foundation of their system. Like you’ve gone to a couple of their courses, you’re a level two instructor?

Josh Vogel [00:11:22]:So the foundation is they, so if you look at what they do, they have a certain philosophical approach, like their thing is very much based on like, how would a human being, what skills would a human being have to have to function in what they call a natural environment. And what skills and movement patterns would a human have to develop or like sort of naturally developed through evolution over time? I guess what I mean is like, if you had somebody that maybe lived in some sort of like natural setting, like a rain forest or a desert or something like that. And they didn’t have a highly modern sedentary life, like sit in an office, drive a car or that kind of stuff. They would have to be doing certain things on a regular basis, like doing a lot of walking, maybe running to hunt something, limbing a tree to get a better view of the land, lifting and carrying heavy stuff. So a lot of the basics of MovNat are about developing those kinds of skills in a very general way. So like developing good body mechanics for basic crawling patterns basic jumping patterns, lifting heavy stuff, carrying heavy stuff, limbing trees, climbing different objects throwing things like that. So that’s sort of skillset. Does that make sense?

Corey Beasley [00:13:10]: Yeah, absolutely. I think I’ve heard people talk about, child development courses when people are crawling, rolling, walking, running, climbing, carrying, picking stuff up, that type of stuff. Natural human movement. We’re on the other side. You get the guys from the weight room that they had their bases are squat, hinge, push, pull, carry, stuff like that. I think it’s all part of a same spectrum, so of speak. But it’s just utilized and just so much gray area and there’s so many different options that are out there. I think that’s the part that becomes overwhelming for people?

Josh Vogel [00:13:57]:Yeah. And I think, I kind of struggle as a coach, because like I’m not really I don’t have like a degree in exercise science. And I think there’s a lot of really intelligent, qualified people in the strength and conditioning world and who have like very strong academic backgrounds in this stuff. So I feel like, I’m very respectful of pretty much any approach that is well-researched and backed by intelligent thinkers. And it’s kind of interesting with MovNat because I try to be pretty careful about like talking, well, I don’t want to talk out of my ass basically. So like I started talking about like the evolutionary background of humans and stuff like that. I kind of feel that that’s out of my area of expertise. Like, I do believe that, but I also recognize that I’m not somebody who has researched evolution academically and I can’t have a very basic opinion about it, you know? So it was kind of interesting to do move that and to teach from that perspective where like evolutionary fitness is a really important part of what they do. But I also recognize that I’m not qualified to talk about evolution in any really way.

Corey Beasley [00:15:22]: Right. From my experience, and I think you talked about it in an article tat you wrote with a lot of the movement stuff and trying to figure out like, okay, cool. Where does the mobility piece fit in? And where does movement come into play? And do I lift weights or do I use kettle bells or sandbags or all these other things that are available to us. And I think personally the mobility stuff is something that probably everyone needs just because of our sedentary lifestyle. And we don’t move as much as we should. And because of that we’re kind of forced to kind of back step a little bit and kind of regress and address certain issues that come up because of our lifestyles? And then as far as like the movement stuff, like the way I always kind of think of it as like when I was young, I was outside, like my mom’s like, Hey, come home when the streetlights are on. And we were out in the park and we were down by the Creek and we were goofing around and playing and doing all kinds of stuff. But these days a lot of people don’t do that and they’re not out moving and playing and exploring and using their body the way it was kind of designed to do they don’t move right?

Josh Vogel [00:16:38]:
Yeah. And when they do move, it’s kind of like being funneled into very specific avenues. Like I think what’s great is that a lot of children are getting into sports and stuff like that. But then I think sometimes too, there’s too much pressure being put on kids in Scholastic sports to like specialize in, you okay, you’re going to get into baseball and your ultimate goal is to grow up and be a professional baseball player or like, I think it kind of gets too serious too soon and a lot of cases too. So I think for like, when you and I were kids, like how old are you?

Corey Beasley [00:17:19]: I’m going to be 40 in May.

Josh Vogel [00:17:21]:Okay, cool. So I’m 36 so we’re, we’re not far off from each other. So, when we were both kids, you’re right. I mean we were running around like I lived pretty close to some woods, so I would go run and build tree houses and start little fires in the woods and get in fights with my friends and throw rocks at stuff and go skateboarding. And they’re pretty varied. Childhood of doing a whole bunch of different activities. But it wasn’t like you, I wasn’t sedentary. I didn’t go inside and play video games all day, but then on the other end I also didn’t have schoolwork and then another 25 hours of very specific just baseball practice, which was my only exercise.

Corey Beasley [00:18:08]: I think there’s what’s the word for it? I’ve heard a bunch of people talking about it, talking about all that general movement and being able to play and do lots of different things versus being super hyper focused in one area. What’s the word for that? The generalist versus specialist kind of thing. And I think, when kids are young and they’re able to play and do lots of different things, then when they do get a little bit older and let’s say that they do want to say, I want to compete in Jiu Jitsu, or I want to fight, or whatever it is, then they can kind of fine tune their training as they get a bit older. But because of their general work maybe when they were younger they’re able to adapt more efficiently to those specific movement patterns or be better or stronger, faster when they do get in there?

Josh Vogel [00:19:09]:Yeah. I mean I a lot of what I hear from pretty smart people about like, developing good athletes later in life these people talk a lot about having like a good general variety of physical activities as kids. And then once they start to get into like, 11, 12, 13, 14 into their teenage years, then starting to specialize a little bit later on, but starting off with a broad base of skills and activities and also keeping it fun and playful instead of turning it into like, okay, you’re six years old you’re going to do this training three times a week, 45 minutes, you’re going to do a strength and conditioning program to prepare you for this little league game that’s happening in November. Like, I think they keep like a more varied and playful approach with kids. And then generally later on, funnel them into more specialized sports.

Corey Beasley [00:20:12]: Yeah, for sure. Now from your experience with as far as just like the strength and conditioning stuff go, we obviously you talked about the FRC and a lot of the mobility work, we talked about move mat and that the climbing and running and crawling and just moving right. They’ve obviously had progressions for all that type of stuff. As you do have an adult that maybe comes in that competes are there other systems or other ways that you’ve used or that you recommend people using? Like as far as within lifting weight you can Kettlebells or sandbags or roadwork or sprints or any of that other stuff to help those athletes become better athletes?

Josh Vogel [00:20:55]:Yeah, I’m not super experienced at preparing good athletes for an event like a tournament or a match or a fight or anything like that. I spend more time just kind of generally teaching people like the skills of move that and then helping with general like joint preparation. And stuff like that. And Jiu Jitsu as well. But when I’ve had coaches preparing me for events like I have one coach, Jason C. Brown who is mostly known for Kettlebell stuff, but he’s also great with like body weight conditioning and different types of strength and conditioning work. And when he was preparing me for Jiu Jitsu tournaments he would use a combination of Kettlebell work, body weight stuff sprint training, interval training, all variety of different tools depending on like what phase of the program I was in and what specifically I was trying to develop. So I think it’s kind of all vertical that’s been what the goals are.

Corey Beasley [00:22:02]: Yeah, I know Jason. He’s a great guy. And I remember he had a pretty fun little session that he headed up perform better event that we attended a couple of years back. And it was all partner drills and pushing and pulling and kind of working with each other through all different movement patterns and stuff like that. And we still use a lot of that stuff today just getting people warmed up and getting people kind of playing around and exploring different ranges of motion and stuff like that. And everybody in the class do that stuff.

Josh Vogel [00:22:37]:Did you guys do the drill where you like almost like push hands and Tai-Chi where you put your hands on the other person and kind of like move each other around on one leg?

Corey Beasley [00:22:46]: Yeah, we did a whole variety of stuff like that and we always, we use it in classes post warm up, just kind of getting people moving and getting the blood flowing and stuff like that. And everybody cracks up crocking up laughing.

Josh Vogel [00:22:57]: Yeah. And that’s what’s cool too is like you develop like it kind of loosens everybody up and especially if you have like students that are like new and they don’t know anybody yet. It’s kind of a cool way to get everybody laughing and relax a little bit and develop rapport.

Corey Beasley [00:23:12]: Now from your experience, you’ve competed in Jiu Jitsu for how long now?

Josh Vogel [00:23:18]: I started competing when I was a blue belt. So probably about 10 years. I started training 12 years ago. So I guess I started competing like maybe 10 or 11 years ago.

Corey Beasley [00:23:32]: Yeah. Now from your experience, I mean, you’re rolling several hours a day, right? But from your experience and going through those long hours of training, and what are some of the things that, like a lot of the Jiu Jitsu guys and grapplers can be aware of with your experience and learning from your experiences and stuff like that. What are some things that they can, small things that they can do or maybe change with their program or their workouts and stuff like that that’ll keep them healthy?

Josh Vogel [00:24:14]:So I think one of the best things that I really wish I had got to into a joint preparation a lot sooner because I think one of the things you come across a lot in grappling are injuries to pretty much every joint that you can think of, whether they’re like small injuries to your thumb or a much larger injuries to like to your knees with like MCLs and ACL and stuff like that. So what I would do is, especially for students who are maybe in their mid-twenties, late twenties, early thirties, who come from a more sedentary background and are getting just getting into Jiu Jitsu, a lot of times their bodies are not well prepared for having some grill on top of you cranking your shoulder or riff blocking you or grabbing your foot and twisting it. So I think joint prep would be the first thing that I would focus mostly on just doing stuff like I don’t want to sound too much like a salesman for FRC stuff. But like, that’s probably the best example I can think of. But really any program that strengthens and develops mobility in your joints would be really useful for any athlete, but especially Jiu Jitsu athletes.

Corey Beasley [00:25:38]: Yeah. I would agree. I mean, there’s just there’s so much stress that goes through, like I said, the shoulders and hips and the ankles, if that stuff’s not moving the way that it showed compensations occur and people either get pain or injuries or whatever real quick.

Josh Vogel [00:25:56]:And you figure, if you’re playing, I don’t know if you’re doing like lockdown or something like that, like in half guard or if you’re using well let’s say somebody gets you in like a twister or even if they get on your back and they’re like driving their hips into your back and then doing like a runic choke. I mean, if your body is not used to doing that kind of stuff, then you jumped in off and you work maybe nine hours behind a desk or something like that and you’re not really doing much other physical activity and your joints are not regularly put through that kind of stress. And then you hop onto a mat and you are sparring and you have somebody cranking you in all those different directions you’re just asking to get hurt.

Corey Beasley [00:26:39]: And do you have any tips of people as far as maybe they will doing that stuff on their own. Maybe they’re doing that during their warm-ups and stuff like that. Are there any other recovery techniques or anything like that that you’ve used to kind of recover between your sessions and you rolling in quite a few hours a day? How else are you recovering and keeping your body moving?

Josh Vogel [00:27:06]:Well I think recovery is the trick. And I think a big part of it is mental. So for example, I have a tendency to like to get cases like, I’m training, I’m getting tired, my body starts to feel beat up and then maybe Saturday comes along or Friday comes along and that’s my day off of training. But in my head I’ll go, Hey you know what? Fuck it. I’ll get on the mat and I’ll do a couple rolls. What I need to do instead is to go, you know what, this is when you get hurt, take the day off go for a long walk or something like that or a light bike ride or some sort of active recovery day instead of getting on the mat and doing that extra day of Jiu Jitsu. So I think learning when to say no to yourself, even when you’re dying to get out there and roll some more and forcing yourself to like take a break maybe sleep in the next day. Definitely make sure you get enough sleep. But I think the best advice is like, just know when to tell yourself to stop and make sure that you don’t get on the mat even though you really want to, when you’re feeling super beat up.

Corey Beasley [00:28:28]: And from your experience, you’ve been doing this for about 12 years now. I think a lot of people, 12 years is a long time and to be consistent for 12 years is very rare. For a lot of guys wanting to start out, I think it’s true with a lot of things, but they’ll get their membership, they join the gym and they want to go full bore, harder as they can crazy. And then they burned themselves out real quick and they fade away. As far as your experience and staying consistent, I think that’s more of a mindset thing. When you’re starting with new guys and you have white belts or blue belts that had been in there, maybe they’ve been training for a month, maybe they’ve been training for a year. It’s a long road and I think a lot of people get over anxious as far as learning skill or getting better. What are some of the things that either you use or you help your students use that to kind of get their mindset right for that long-term commitment of getting better?

Josh Vogel [00:29:34]:Well I guess it depends. Like, so when I have new students that come in, if I try and make sure I know what their personal goals are, because there are some people that it’s not right for them to expect to be in it for the long-term. Like I think for some people, no matter what you do, like whether it’s rock climbing, Jiu Jitsu, Parkour, weekend basketball games, whatever it is, like I think some people get into it and they train and they have fun and then they get what they wanted to get out of it and then they stop. And I think that’s totally fine. So I don’t try to put too much emphasis on the long-term for students as far as like, I don’t imagine every student is going to be doing it in 12 years or 15 or 20 years. But I do try to come at it from an approach of like, if they are going to do it for a long time, I want to make sure they’re doing it in a way that’s healthy for them. So not only physically with the joint preparation and knowing when to recover and things like that. But also mentally I try to make people aware of like different things they’re going to experience in Jiu Jitsu. So like, if I have somebody who’s in it for like a month in the group classes, typically they won’t be sparring in the first three or four months. They’re just going to be doing technique. And when I talk to them personally, I’ll say, this is how it is now you’re learning technique. When you do start sparring, what you can expect is it’s going to be a little bit confusing at first, here’s some advice with how to deal with the confusion. You’re going to roll with people who are pretty aggressive. So try to make sure you don’t get caught up in that and be safe with your joints. Be smart, don’t crank stuff on other people. I try and make sure they understand the basic do’s and don’ts of Jiu Jitsu when they eventually do start sparring. And then once they’re out of that, like three or four month phase in the beginning, whether or not it’s far, once they start sparring, then a lot of it becomes about safety and caring for your training partner and realizing that when you’re on the mat with somebody in your Academy, if it’s your personality to make it about winning, then that’s what it’s going to be. But it always has to be about making sure that you walk out for your training partner and they look out for you. So like basically don’t break your toys like don’t hurt your training partners. Make sure that you take certain steps to make sure that they don’t hurt you. And I don’t know, does that make sense at all?

Corey Beasley [00:32:36]: Yeah. Everybody’s rolling over white belt and they don’t really understand what they’re doing, they just kind of it can be nerve wracking if somebody’s not used to rolling with somebody live or hasn’t done that type of stuff in their life ever. So they’re kind of super defensive. Right?

Josh Vogel [00:32:56]:And really the only time that a lot of people I mean for a lot of people at first it’s like, when people tell white belts to calm down and stop spazzing, that’s a very tricky thing because in their mind they’re physically reacting to it as if they’re in a street fight a lot of the times. That’s the only time they’ve ever really rolled around with another person. It’s almost like you have to train learning how to relax as a separate skill. Like it’s not something, you can’t just tell somebody like who’s the spazz at white belt. Like, Hey relax, because they don’t know how to.

Corey Beasley [00:33:40]: Well, Josh, if people wanting to learn more about what you’re doing and, and reach out and contact you, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Josh Vogel [00:33:51]:Probably the best way is to contact me on Facebook. My name is Josh Vogel on Facebook. I can’t remember what the link is. And then I have a couple of websites. One of them is JoshVogelart.com and I also have a newsletter that I put out, it’s more like an instructional magazine, but it’s got videos of techniques and stuff like that and it’s that’s called www.theflossreport.com. Floss, like the animal that kind of lazily crawls around and that’s pretty much it.

Corey Beasley [00:34:32]: Cool. Well I’ll put those links guys down below the podcast. So if you guys want to click over and learn more about what Josh is doing? Definitely checked that out.