Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an excellent martial art for children, focusing on technique rather than size, encouraging self-defense without anger. Because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu uses the entire body to perform techniques, children build valuable motor skills and are confident in their ability. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu builds balance, coordination, and good conditioning.
We also put an emphasis on the personal development of our Mat Monkeys—on the mat and off. We encourage the values of honesty, integrity, and good citizenship while focusing on self-confidence, goal setting and achievement, and using good judgment. Mat Monkeys are excellent on and off the mat!
Integrity & the pursuit of excellence
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu arrived on the Australian martial arts scene in early 1989. It was introduced here by John Will upon his return from a training trip to Brazil in the company of Rigan Machado.
There are really only four main levels within the BJJ system; blue belt, purple belt, brown belt and finally black belt. Sometimes years are spent on each belt; so even within the system itself, things progress slowly but surely. Many schools outside of Brazil are run by blue and purple belts; and fewer again by the browns and blacks, ‘quality’ being the traditional hallmark of the BJJ school.
Now, though, through media exposure and the popularity of the UFC and other no-rules type events, BJJ has entered the public domain. As a consequence of this, we sadly see BJJ schools popping up everywhere, particularly in the USA, run by people who have little or no understanding of BJJ. Even here in Australia, there are people wearing black belts telling their unsuspecting students that they are BJJ instructors. It is sad that such is the case; but it should come as no big surprise; we’ve seen this happen with Karate, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, Kickboxing and a dozen other martial systems. The message to all is really a simple one; and that is: buyer beware!
Here in Australia, BJJ is still in its formative stages. Only a handful of people in the country have real BJJ experience under their belts. Australia’s first BJJ instructor, John Will, having begun his training under Champion Rigan Machado in 1988, has since produced a plethora of blue, purple and brown belts of his own; some of whom are instructing throughout Australia. Richard Norton, another well known home-grown martial artist is also a product of the Machado mat based in Los Angeles. Through their combined efforts, BJJ has become a part the martial arts culture here on our own shores.
BJJ Australia, the original Brazilian Jiu Jitsu network here in Australia, was founded by John and is the official arm of Machado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Australasia. BJJ Australia is a non-political forum in which Machado Jiu Jitsu stylists can come together for competition, seminars and socialization. As ‘quality control’ has always been a Machado trademark, new members are admitted only after having sufficiently demonstrated a commitment to training. A strong work ethic, regular practice and a willingness to network with others and uphold standards are all pre-requisites for admission. This is not an organization where a membership fee alone will guarantee entry and privileges. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in more information on Machado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the Australasian region.
BJJ owes it’s inception to Carlos Gracie, the grandson of a Scottish emigrant, who was born in Brazil in 1901. As a young man, Carlos developed a keen interest in Boxing and professional fighting. To further enhance his prowess he began his study of Japanese Jiu Jitsu under champion, Mitsuyo Maeda, known in Brazil as Conde Koma. He was quick to modify the techniques he learned under Maeda to better suit the demands of the no-rules fight game, known in Brazil as Vale Tudo. He refined and further developed his approach through constant challenge matches, open to all-comers, regardless of weight, size or style preference; thereby planting the seed of BJJ in the fertile environment of Rio de Janeiro.
During the decades that followed, Carlos’s brothers, sons, grandsons and cousins became the driving force that further developed and refined the art into the form we see today. Rio de Janeiro, with it’s penchant for reality-based combative sport, became a proving-ground for no-rules fighting strategy and technique. BJJ schools blossomed everywhere, a sporting aspect was developed and the art grew tremendously in popularity. It’s effectiveness was never in question, as the population had become educated as to the difference between reality and fantasy when it came down to fighting for real. It became obvious that almost all fights, when there were limited or no rules, ended up being contested on the ground. In Rio de Janeiro, real fighting meant going to ground; and the BJJ stylists were the undisputed champions of that particular arena in a relatively safe form competition. This in turn, forced the art to further evolve, and during the last thirty years of the 20th century, undergo a phase of technical development that has thrust it to the forefront of the ground-based fight arena.
All of this was taking place away from eyes of the world; until when in the 80’s, some of Brazil’s top BJJ instructors made their way to the United States. For a decade following the arrival of several top BJJ coaches in Los Angeles, the scene in Brazil continued to thrive but the rest of the world, to a large degree, remained ignorant of the style and were unprepared for what was to come.
Gradually, the grass-roots martial arts community began to hear more and more about the reality-based style; with several well renowned and respected martial artists even taking up the art themselves. As word spread about the Brazilian style, the inevitable occurred and mixed-style match-ups paved the way for the beginning of a frenzy of interest in submissionary grappling. By the middle of the 90’s, televised inter-style limited-rules fights were being watched by the fight loving public and the world-wide martial arts community. And within a very short time, it became obvious to even the uninitiated, that ground fighting was the heart and soul of no-rules fighting.
Machado Brothers John Will
Among the first of the top-notch Brazilians to make the move to America, were the renowned Brazilian fighting family, the Machado brothers. Through the help of martial arts legend Chuck Norris, himself a Machado student, the brothers relocated from Rio de Janeiro to the United States during the late 80’s and early 90’s.
Before setting up their Academies in Los Angeles, each of the five brothers held Brazil National Jiu Jitsu titles in each of their respective weight divisions. A unique accomplishment in a highly competitive arena.
The five brothers, Carlos, Rigan, Jean Jacques, John and Roger were all brought up on a diet of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; spending most of their childhood years on the mat, and competing in innumerable local, state and national tournaments. Related to the Gracie family by marriage, the Machado’s have always been regarded as part of the inner circle of the authentic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tradition.
My personal introduction to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu took place in the late 80’s. Prior to that, I had spent fifteen years training in a variety of combative systems throughout Indonesia, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan and the U.S.A. My penchant for training in, teaching and writing about the martial arts eventually led me to give the publication business a try. And so it was, that as owner/editor of the Australian Martial Arts Magazine – ‘Blitz’, I had my first sobering experience on a BJJ mat. Through circumstance and good fortune, I had my first extended training trip to Brazil in 1989. Rigan Machado was to accompany me there; and through his efforts, I was able to train with a healthy cross-section of the more renowned of the BJJ community.
The decade to follow afforded me some of the most exciting and stimulating learning I have ever undergone. The concepts, principles, mechanics and techniques of this rich and fascinating art as taught by the Machado family, were to me, like ingots of gold. Each, hard earned, but all the more valuable for it. Progress through the ranks of blue, purple and brown to the level of BJJ black belt is a slow and painstaking one; but the effort pails to that of the rewards to be gained. Upon being awarded the rank of black belt by Rigan Machado in 1998, I became Australia’s official Machado representative and immediately founded BJJ Australia – the Machado face in the Australasian region.
John Will and Machado’s on the matTheir competition portfolio includes a plethora of Brazilian and American National BJJ titles; Sambo titles, Greco-Roman wrestling and World Submission Grappling titles. They are among the most sought after BJJ coaches on the international circuit; and to date are proud to count an impressive list of martial arts celebrities and fighters as part of their student body.
Through their coaching efforts, the Machado’s have produced National champions in both Brazil and the U.S.A. Following their move to the U.S.A they have produced a number of fully qualified black belt instructors, who in turn, have begun producing champions of their own
John Will began his martial arts training in 1972.
With a basic grounding in amateur wrestling, Goju Kai Karate and Taekwondo. He first left Australian shores in 1975 to study the indigenous martial arts systems of South East Asia; with many of those years spent in Indonesia learning Pentjak Silat.
The next twenty five years have seen him take more than 30 overseas training trips; including stints in Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, India, the U.S.A and Brazil. In ‘82, he entered and won gold in the first World Silat Championships held in Jakarta, the first and at that time, the only non-Indonesian to accomplish that.
His friendship with long-time training partner Richard Norton, opened many doors to him in the Unites States, that perhaps would have been closed to most people. So in the late 80’s, he began training with such notables as Benny Urquidez, Gene LeBell, Shuki Ron, Pete Cunningham, Rorion and Rickson Gracie and the Machado brothers.
In the late 80’s, a friendship with Rigan Machado allowed John to travel to and train in Brazil. There, he was exposed to a wide cross-section of Brazil’s best BJJ coaches, and so began his serious study of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He was finally awarded the rank of black belt by Rigan and Jean Jacques Machado in 1998; making him one of the ‘BJJ Dirty Dozen’, the first twelve non-Brazilian BJJ black belts in the world.
Up until that time, John had taught Shootfighting, a street-oriented blend of Groundfighting and Stand-up work; but upon being graded to black belt under the Machado’s, he felt the time was right to promote and develop the Brazilian art here in Australasia. Hence, BJJ Australia, the Australasian branch of the Machado Organization, was formed. As national director for Machado BJJ, he has to this date, written three books on the art, with plans for more in the pipeline.
His schedule is a demanding one, even by international standards. John now conducts in excess of fifty BJJ seminars throughout Australia and overseas, each calendar year. He also works with law enforcement groups and Special Operations personnel to improve their arrest and control procedures. Between writing books, running seminars, travelling and training with the worlds martial arts elite, our three time winner of the Blitz – Martial Arts Hall of Fame Award, can still be found most often, at his schools in Melbourne and Geelong. His passion for teaching and getting ‘down to business’ remains undiminished.
With more and more of the country’s top instructors wanting to include an element of grappling in their course curriculum, his schedule if anything, is becoming busier. When asked what he enjoys most about his life as a martial artist, he replies “Teaching the art; the continual evolution of the art; and the great friendships we form along the way.”
His plans for the future include, more books, more travel, more training and more time with his family.
Schools throughout the Australasian region that are associated with John are listed in both the directory of Australia’s Martial Arts magazine – Blitz, as well as on this website..
John has recently published his journey of self discovery in a series of book called Rogue Black Belt
Here is an ‘edgy’ philosophy that cuts right to the heart of how human beings fear, fight, learn, love and live.
This is Life Coaching at it’s very best. You will not find any sugar-coated, fortune-cookie style advice in this book; this is a hard-hitting guide to self-discovery and the search for true purpose.
Through the tale of his amazing personal journey, John Will delivers truth and advice that will speak to the very core of your being.