John Danaher, the renowned coach of Gordon Ryan, the best No-Gi grappler in the world and owner of New Wave Jiu Jitsu, has recently taken on a new protégé: 15-year-old Helena Crevar. You may have heard of the Ruotolos, a young family who achieved great success in the grappling world, and you will soon be hearing more about Helena too. In fact, Ryan even mentions her in his book, praising her marketing and branding skills, particularly her signature pigtails.
With a competitive record of 7-0 (September 2023), shes taking the NoGi grappling world by storm.
Helena Crevar, a 16-year-old blue belt in BJJ, has already had an impressive career. She has won 149 out of her 152 fights, 130 of them via submission, and is ranked 6th worldwide in the 145 pounds women’s division. She has also won 17 fights at Fight 2 Win, where she holds the junior championship belt, which she has successfully defended four times. Recently she was victorious in her Who’s Number One match against Healey Dayan. Helena started training jiu-jitsu when she was 8 years old and has competed against adult brown and black belts at superfights and NoGi trials, including Elizabeth Clay and Nathalie Ribeiro.
Prior to moving to Austin to train with John Danaher, one of the best coaches in the world, Helena trained with world champion Hector Vasquez in Las Vegas at Cobrinha BJJ. Danaher, who has graded a female black belt, has not yet had a female champion. Helena might be the person to change that fact.
Move to Austin, TX
Helena announced the news on her Instagram:
“With this post, I’d like to announce that me and my parents just moved to Austin, Texas and that I will be training and competing under @danaherjohn @gordonlovesjiujitsu and the New Wave JiuJitsu team. I’m super grateful for this opportunity and looking forward to represent New Wave!”
Danaher discussed the fact that he doesn’t have a female champion under him yet in a recent interview for Jiujiteira Magazine, :
“On the face of it, one of the great failures of my career, thus far, is that I’ve never produced a female champion. And it’s natural to ask me: “Why?”
“Part of the answer is that I never engage into recruiting; I never actively “pull” people to the gym… I open the door and whoever comes, I teach. So, it tends to be a self-selected group of people that I teach.And the door is open two ways; to walk in and to walk out, and a lot of people walk out. My teaching style isn’t for everybody. Some people like it, some people don’t.”
He says that he never pushed people to compete:
“In the gym itself, there is a pretty high number of females. But I never push people to compete. I was never the coach that would say: “Hey man, you’re good! You gotta go out and compete.” I’ve literally never said that. I never recruit and I never tell people they have to compete, and so what happens is that the people who compete, always do so by their own volition. So, I do have many female students. Some of them do compete, but I don’t actively push them to compete.
Nevertheless, he believes that a New Wave female champion inevitably going to happen:
“I do believe that, inevitably in the future – as the number of female athletes increase – we will start seeing female champions. But I have never actively pushed for any one group of people to succeed in competition. So, it’s been a self-selecting process. The females who train with me are already achieving a good level of competence and one day they’re going to be successful in competition.”