Kurt Osiander is one of the favorite cult figures in BJJ. His wild caveman look, brash attitude, and passion for Jiu Jitsu has gained him numerous fans.
Here is what you need to know about one of Jiu Jitsu’s wildmen Kurt Osiander. Going over his entire journey through BJJ and how he’s overcome adversity to continue doing what he loves.
Kurt Osiander’s Early Life
Kurt is a native of the Bay Area in California and spent his entire life living there. From an early age, Kurt was no stranger to work.
He came from a blue collar family that would get up early and work. Like his family, Osiander would have various early morning jobs from a paper route to construction jobs as a teen to adult.
This work ethic would come in handy later when he would discovered Jiu Jitsu
Kurt Osiander Discovers Jiu Jitsu
When Kurt Osiander was a teen, he was friends with Cesar Gracie. He wouldn’t see Cesar for years after high school since the young Gracie enlisted in the Marines. Then after his stint in the Marines, Cesar went to Brazil to learn the family craft.
Upon returning to California, he ran into his old friend Kurt. He caught Kurt up on his journey down to Brazil to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Osiander had never heard of BJJ and was intrigued, so he asked Cesar to show him a move. Cesar would lock on an RNC and Kurt instantly wanted to learn Jiu Jitsu.
Kurt Osiander Learns Under Ralph Gracie
After training for a short time with Cesar Gracie, until Cesar’s cousin Ralph arrived in the US. Ralph would open Ralph Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Osiander’s hometown of San Francisco.
Kurt Osiander would be one of Ralph’s first and most loyal students. Being part of Ralph’s first generation of US students, he was extremely hard on Kurt and his teammates.
Ralph was extremely intense in his younger days and always did things with a certain ferocity and old school mindset. This was also the age of gym storming when people wanted to test the effectiveness of Jiu Jitsu.
For that reason, Ralph kept his students ready. It wasn’t uncommon for Kurt or one of his teammates to fight a challenger that came into the gym.
Kurt’s Commitment to BJJ
Every day, Osiander would work a construction job during the day for hours and then train all night. He kept up this routine for years until Ralph awarded him with his black belt.
From then on, Ralph offered Kurt Osiander a coaching position at the gym. He would coach at the school for over two decades and was beloved by all of the students.
Kurt’s Competition Career
During the 2000s, Kurt would be at his most active competing in Jiu Jitsu. His biggest accomplishments are winning the Pan Championship in the masters divisions six times from 2003 to 2013.
Also for a two year stint, Kurt would also venture into competing in MMA. Competing from 2007 to 2008 and earning a record of 4-1. All four of his wins were by stoppages in the first round.
Kurt Osiander Teaching Philosophy
Learning under Ralph Gracie, Kurt Osiander developed an old school mentality towards teaching Jiu Jitsu. Stressing the importance of fundamentals on his students while being tough on them.
He believes in the 10,000 hour rule, which he followed to develop his Jiu Jitsu technique. Not just put in 10,000 hours, but train hard to improve your ability.
When his students are training, he demands 100% and wants them to treat it like they’re in a fight. Even stressing to his students to go for the kill whenever they roll against him in training.
When questioned about his training methods, Kurt stated that “when you train snakes, you sometimes get bit.”
Kurt Osiander’s Move of the Week
What Kurt Osiander is most famous for is his hit Youtube channel. Kurt Osiander’s Move of the Week.
For the last decade, Osiander has consistently uploaded videos of various Jiu Jitsu techniques. Subscribers of his channel enjoy Kurt’s no nonsense presentation of the techniques.
Giving blunt profanity laced commentary on the techniques presented. Often saying things like “you f****ed a long time ago” when asked about being stuck in a bad position.
As of now, Osiander has around 90k subscribers and is uploading more videos after his health scare.
Kurt Osiander on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown
Kurt Osiander was featured on an episode of the late Anthony Bourdain’s show. Episode six of season four that covered Osiander’s home in the bay area.
This episode was filmed right when Bourdain was getting into Jiu Jitsu. He chose to cover the California Bay Area for the sole purpose of training with Kurt at Ralph Gracie’s school.
The two would train together all week as Bourdain covered a few of the many stories within the city.
Kurt Osiander’s Hard Times
Unfortunately for Kurt, he has fallen on some hard times over the last few years. Everything from losing his teaching position to nearly losing his life from a health scare.
Kurt Leaves Ralph Gracie Academy
In 2018, after 25 years at Ralph Gracie’s academy, Osiander would shockingly leave the school. During his departure there were a lot of rumors about why Osiander was fired.
In his version of the story, Kurt claims he was fired by Joao Filipe “Jerry” Oliveira that ran day to day operations. Adding that Jerry fired Kurt’s friend Jake Scovel while he was away on a seminar.
A Reddit user named fickledeedo that claimed to train around them semi corroborated Kurt’s version of the story. Claiming Oliveira fired both Kurt and Jake and implemented his own professors to teach in their place.
This Reddit user also claimed that Ralph Gracie was selling the school to Gracie Barra. A Rumor that was proven false after Ralph assaulted GB co-head Flavio Almeida.
Ralph in an Instagram post claimed that Kurt left on his own accord to start his own academy.
Kurt would start his own academy (Empire Jiu-Jitsu) after the departure and continue doing his move of the week videos occasionally.
Kurt’s Health Issues
While trying to keep his school afloat during the pandemic, Kurt would have some life threatening health scares. Friends had not heard from Kurt for a week and feared that he had gone missing.
What had happened was Kurt had fallen into a diabetic shock. For a week, Osiander would drift in and out of consciousness.
Too weak to stand and could only crawl to his bathroom faucet to drink water. After a while, he was finally able to reach his phone to call for help.
Osiander would be rushed to the ER, where he found out that he had type 2 diabetes and an abscess on his kidney. The abscess was removed and he had fluid drained from his body.
But when Kurt returned home, he had to go back to the hospital due to an infection from the catheter. Then while he was in the hospital for a second time his home was burglarized.
When members of the BJJ community heard Kurt Osiander needed help, they immediately jumped into action. A go fund me was created for Kurt and nearly $70k was raised for Kurt from people all over the world.
The Resurgence of Kurt Osiander
Today, Kurt’s health is better, but he is still trying to get back on his feet from his health issues and bad luck. He’s now teaching Jiu Jitsu at Lamorinda Jiu Jitsu & Kickboxing, while also doing instructional videos once again.
What’s the Future Hold For Kurt Osiander?
Since recovering from his health scare, Kurt is back doing what he loves. Osiander is now teaching at Lamorinda Jiu-Jitsu & Kickboxing Academy in Lafayette, California. He is also still regularly uploading videos to his Youtube channel.