Santos Flaniken was born in Los Angeles, and introduced to "killer wrestling" as a child. His father was a professional body builder who trained at the Hollywood YMCA and was introduced to "submission wrestling", better known as "catch-wrestling" by the former world champion Al Baffert. Baffert was a highly recognized submission wrestler from Japan and training partner of Ed Strangler Lewis. Taylor Flaniken, already a tough and strong street fighter and amateur wrestler was schooled in the art of submission wrestling by Al Baffert.
Taylor's only son Santos was taken to the gym regularly and joined the Judo Club at the Hollywood YMCA under Sensei Bob Oda and the father and son team named the Falcones'. This weekly workout lasted for over fifteen years. Between Santos' interaction with Sensei Bob Oda, Al Baffert and the Pro Wrestling's referee Bobby Coleman, young Santos became not only a formidable Judo player, but a highly skilled submission wrestler. The emphasis was on a series of techniques called "finishing holds". In the 1960's, Santos' family friend Jack Rogers, a notorious Hollywood tough guy and boxing promoter, introduced Santos to the "toughest man alive" Judo Gene LeBell.
Santos' first contact with LeBell left him with two black eyes, not from having been punched, but by having been "skidded off of" from the ever so powerful LeBell. "Awesome" is the only way to describe Judo Gene in his prime. His unfamiliar method of attack and finish was uncomprehendable from an outsiders frame of reference. LeBells combat training was just too much for the average tough guy, wrestler or fighter.
The inspired Santos made it a point to never ever stop training in the art of submission, thanks to the influence of Judo Gene!
Santos is one of only a handful of instructors who posesses a Black Belt Master ranking from Judo Gene LeBell and Gokor Chevichyan. He has also achieved a 7th Degree in Judo from Olympic Judo coach Phil Porter with Judo Gene's blessing as club instructor. He is also, 7th Degree in JuJitsu from Shorinji Ryu in Osaka, Japan and holds instructors ranking from Gokor's Hayastan School of Combat in Los Angeles.
Santos is quoted as having said "Gokor, thanks to Judo Gene LeBell, is the most gifted, technical submission martial artist in the world...he has more moves than any hundred men combined...his transitions are very advanced...he is unbeatable in the ground game... he is a young Gene LeBell!" He goes on to say "without the personal instruction of Gokor and Judo Gene's constant input...I'd be at the bottom of the food chain".....Santos has been featured as the Mixed Martial Arts athlete for Karate/Kung-Fu magazine, Black Belt magazine 2001, Black Belt Magazine 2003 and Grappling Magazine 2005.
Santos' specialty is that of Extreme Finish. He has an assortment of submission skills which range from foot and leg control (the guard) to a wide range of chokes, rides, arm locks, leg locks, takedowns, and general submission techniques. He is a highly skilled combatant at 185 pounds. Beyond his athletic skills, Santos is a skilled martial arts teacher. He travels around the world and throughout the United States conducting seminars and spreading the technique that makes him an unbeatable coach. Presently, he teaches self defense, combat grappling, Judo and Jiu-Jitsu at Malibu Judo Club in Malibu California.
All the classes are taught by Santos himself, where he has a steady following of martial artists from all disciplines. The classes include professional NHB fighters, children and in many instances the parents, whose aim is to get in shape and learn self defense at the same time.