Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) – aka ‘the gentle art – is a martial art based on submission grappling; most of the time is spent on the ground. BJJ teaches that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and proper technique. The goal is to control your opponent to the ground, on the ground, and apply submissions – such as chokes, holds and locks – forcing them to ‘tap out’ (give up).
There are five main levels within the BJJ system: white belot, blue belt, purple belt, brown belt and, finally, black belt. Many schools outside of Brazil are run by blue and purple belts, and fewer again by browns and blacks.
Australia’s first BJJ instructor, John Will, bagan his training in 1988 under 8th degree red and black belt, Rigan Machado. Rigan began his own training at the age of 5 with his cousins, the Gracies, when his mother’s sister married Carlos Gracie. Regan began competing at the world championship level at the age of 14, and went on to achieve a legendary status at the world championship level by amassing a record the likes of which has never been seen again. From the age of 14 through 21, Regan won the World Championships every year in every belt division. He amassed a record of 365 wins and just two losses, and created a record by having 19 matches in one day and finishing all of them by submission. Today, Regan and his brother Carlos are regarded as part of the inner circle of the authentic BJJ tradition.
John Will received his black belt under Rigan in 1997 – making him one of the first twelve foreign nationals, aka ‘The Dirty Dozen’, to have earned a black belt in BJJ – and became Australia’s first official Machado representative. BJJ Australia, the original Brazilian Jiu Jitsu network in this country, was founded by John and is the official arm of Machado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Australasia. As BJJ is constantly evolving, John Will travels the globe to train with the best of the best in BJJ and no-gi grappling. Hangar4’s head coach, Peter Backman, trains with John every week so he can bring the latest BJJ techniques from around the world to Hangar4’s mats.
For more information on Will/Machado and BJJ in Australia, go here – Will/Machado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Australia