About this sample

Apex Private Training started as a passion project and evolved into a lucrative side hustle. I partnered with a young black belt, mentoring him to become a Socratic teacher. Together, we developed a service that attracted 17-20 paying clients, each contributing $400 per month. Over time, Apex expanded into a three-part business model: a modern teaching methodology for jiu jitsu, a private coaching service, and a comprehensive website serving as a knowledge base for our clients.


Apex Federation, Inc.

Apex Jiu Jitsu Coaching

created by | Randy Santamaria
Details in this work sample have been altered to preserve privacy, including the use of fictitious names and product information.


When I first started practicing jiu jitsu, I noticed a problem with how it was taught. No matter where I went, the teaching methods seemed outdated and ineffective. Typically, it takes about 10 years to earn a black belt in jiu jitsu, largely because classes weren't structured to help students learn efficiently.

To explain, imagine you're a kid playing tag with friends. Instead of starting with the basic rules of the game, like who's "it" and how to avoid being tagged, they immediately teach you a specific move called the "juke." It's confusing because you don't understand why you're learning this move or how it fits into the game.

Similarly, in jiu jitsu classes, beginners are often taught techniques without understanding the fundamental rules and goals of the sport. It's like learning a move in tag before knowing the objective or boundaries of the game.

In contrast, imagine if they began by explaining the basic rules of tag: one person is "it," and you win by avoiding being tagged. With this foundation, learning the "juke" move would make sense within the context of the game. Unfortunately, jiu jitsu is typically taught without this context, making it harder for students to grasp the techniques effectively.

The Action I took

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
- Confucius

I used to tutor and knew about the Socratic method and ecological psychology. My approach was all about getting students to start "doing," rather than memorizing and forgetting.

I wanted to talk to a young jiu jitsu black belt about the issues beginners faced and get some advice. At first, I paid him to chat with me, hoping to build a connection and earn his respect. It worked out well for both of us: he got paid while practicing his teaching, and I got better at jiu jitsu. As I started winning competitions, people at the gym noticed and wanted to know how I improved so quickly. He started to understand the way I preferred to learn was the way humans actually learn.

The Pamphlet

We created our first pamphlet to encapsulate the spirit of our new teaching method and started sharing it with other students. Within months, we attracted 17-20 members seeking private coaching akin to personal training.

The Website

Drawing on my expertise in instructional design and teaching, I assisted him in crafting concept-based lesson plans. These resources were then made accessible on a website for customers to access and review. Clients could log in, view their private sessions, and learn techniques to add to their game.


Unfortunately, the COVID-19 nationwide shutdown stopped all operations of Apex. However, its spirit lives on as I have personally moved on to being a coach myself!

created by | Randy Santamaria
The infamous "pamphlet" that started it all.

created by | Randy Santamaria