Can you please elaborate a bit on your background? and what made you train BJJ?
A: Kia Ora, well I started training BJJ when I was in my last year of university and working nights as a Bouncer. I started off just want to learn a few submissions for self-defiance, not long after finishing university I became a Corrections officer. By this time, I was really getting into BJJ and feel in love with the Art. Last year I change jobs again and now work as a high school teacher.
Q: We are lucky to you have stepping up as the coach for the Juniors Squad (Kids class at Sandringham).
It is not often that a club has a school teacher involved with the kid’s program.
Can you tell us what made you become a school teacher but also about other school you were involved in teaching and also developing BJJ?
A: I feel blessed to have the opportunity to give back to the club and the art which has helped me in my life in so many ways. In my work as a corrections officer I stood at the bottom of the cliff, working with young adults whose life had taken them on a negative path.
I wanted to really get involved and try help people not to head down that road. I knew I couldn’t do this working in the criminal justice sector, so I retrained for another year at uni to become a teacher and now I try to stand at the top of the cliff.
My first go at coaching was back at my old high school De La Salle College, the main motivation for setting that up was because I always say to myself “I wish I had BJJ when I was at high school”.
BJJ has been a powerful life changing tool for me, through BJJ I learnt so many life skills, like never giving up. That is something I want pass on to our youth.
Q: We have watched you teaching the kids classes. On top of following our ten week curriculum, I noticed that you have created lot of "games" and drills" to adjust to the attention span of the students.
Where did you get the idea from and can you elaborate?
A: that I owe to teachers training, at university we learnt to chunk information up and create activities that are connected to what you are trying to teach.
All the games I incorporate in the program are based around movements and skills necessary in BJJ.
Play is one of the best was to learn new skills and stay young, I fully believe that.
Q: We are family oriented and want the whole family to train together.
On top of that our $30 family package were everyone in the family trains together.
Can you give us some example of students that are taking advantage of the special family package?
A: we have around four families that are on family packages. It is so amazing to see parents who bring their kids along to train but they themselves become inspired to get into to BJJ and jump on the mats.
I feel the family package is a great way for families to grow together.
We have a new family from Tahiti that have just joined us, at first we had just the three sisters training but as their dad watched more he really started liking it and now he trains with us in the adult’s class.
Q: We have grading for kids such as stripes and belts. It helps the students to set goals and achieve them.
I heard of other clubs charging for grading for stripes and belts.
When do you have grading and how much do you charge?
A: we don’t charge our kids for grading. I feel charging kids for a stripe on a belt puts unnecessary financial pressure on families.
Most our families have more then one kid training with us, and we feel that seeing how happy the kids are when they are rewarded for their hard work is the best payment ever!
We are planning to have a graduation at each the end of each term.
Q: Why do you think kids should train BJJ?
A: through BJJ kids learn how to persevere and overcome challenges, that is a key life skill that will flow into other areas of their lives, through this Kids learn to become self-disciplined.
Also, I have learnt in my life that there may come a time when we may need to protect ourselves, though we focus on sports BJJ this translates into self-defiance situations.
I fully believe that all kids should have some basic self-defiance skills.
Q: Do I need to buy a uniform straight away? How much do they cost?
A: not at first no, it’s best to try the kids out see if it is something they want to get into.
But at some point you will need a Gi, they range in prices, most are well over $150.
But we are lucky that we have head coaches that try to reduces the costs for kids and get ours made, which we sell for $80
Q: What does your classes usually consist of?
A: At the start of training we do warm-up games, break falls, and take-down drills.
Then we stretch and get into the technique of the week.
once the kids have a basic grasp of the moves we do some situational rolling and finish up with a final game.
Q: Do you have an age range for the Sandringham location?
A: Yes, at this point our age range is from 10-16 years old however, we review this case-by-case.
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