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AnnaMaria Stephens | Photo: Robert Benson | September 25, 2013
We shoot the breeze with North County’s daredevil author.
Ryan Danz lost last year’s The Amazing Race—barely—but his victories keep stacking up. During his stint on the popular show, the local attracted more than his fair share of fans who admired his brains and brawn, not to mention his ultracompetitive attitude. Among them? A publisher intrigued by Danz’s devotion to Brazilian jiu jitsu.
“The call was out of the blue,” says Danz, an entrepreneur and licensed lawyer with his own financial company that manages $3 billion. “I spent January through June writing 70,000 words on how jiu jitsu changed my body, mind and soul.”
Danz, a purple belt who trains at Gracie Barra in Encinitas, started practicing the martial art four years ago. Why jiu jitsu? “I didn’t want to get punched in the face,” laughs the 36-year-old, who wrestled and boxed when he was younger. “I can’t meet clients with a black eye.”
He competes at the local, national and international level. “It requires a lot more mental preparation than doing it just to stay in shape.”
Danz is already a master of steely determination. He showed it on The Amazing Race, when he made it to the final four with his then-girlfriend, only to get booted off because of scheming. And he’s no stranger to televised strategizing. He also made it to the top four on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart several years ago.
Even his book is ambitious. Jiu Jitsu Jurisprudence ranked No. 15 in its genre two months before its official debut on Amazon.
Off the mat, Danz hangs out with his black Lab, Elton, at home in Cardiff or at Del Mar’s dog beach. This summer, he took on a plum travel writing assignment, running with the bulls in Spain, hiking Cinque Terre and exploring Budapest.
And though he’s not sure what’s next when it comes to big adventures, Danz has a milepost in mind. “I’m going to be a black belt by the time I’m 40,” he says. “That will be a nice present to myself.”
Zenbu Sushi in Cardiff, tri-tip from Seaside Market (aka Cardiff Crack), the free dog treats for Elton at Dirty Dogs
Mommy ‘n’ me stroller gangs, excessive Coaster train horns after 10pm,prematurely taking down the Kook statue attire