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Over my years of training Jiu-Jitsu, training has always developed new challenges and helped me break through new boundaries and seeing how I can apply the lessons learned on the mat to the rest of my life kept me excited. When I started, the idea of being able to "roll" and learn new techniques was a big drawcard. As I kept training, the learning got deeper, not just the technique, but also within myself. Seeing positive lifestyle and character changes not just within myself but among others is keeping me so motivated to improve, not just as a student but as a coach.
If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world. Sydney Banks (Three Principles Discoverer)
Other than Jiu Jitsu, spending time with my family and reading.
Jiu Jitsu for Everyone
Roan grew up in Johannesburg, South African and started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2007 with Rodney King at the original Team Monkey Jits Gym and became the local representative and instructor in New Zealand and then Melbourne. Roan has years of martial arts training (and national and international competitions in ITF Taekwon Do) is backed by years of experience where he had to apply his skills while working as a close protection officer on high-risk contracts and venue security officer at some of South Africa’s most notorious nightclubs in the late 90’s to early 2000’s. In 1997, Roan’s first reality-based self-defence school opened in South Africa, and evolved into the Personal Protection Academy (PPA) doing extensive consulting and training work for the South African Police Services and the close protection and ‘safer door’ community in South Africa. Arriving in New Zealand, Roan opened his own gym and coached Mixed Martial Arts, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing for 7 years, and recently decided to join the Gracie Barra family.
- Certified Gracie Barra Instructor (ICP5 & ICP6)
- Working with children checked (1015170A-01)
- First Aid certified
- Internationally qualified close protection officer and security consultant
- ITF Taekwondo 1st degree (National colors and national team representing at World Championship - 1997 and 1999)
Having played different sports and trained in different martial arts, I didn’t think much could challenge me mentally or physically until I found Jiu-Jitsu. To me, it’s more than just a Martial Art; it’s a way of life. I missed the physicality of the Rugby League, but I enjoyed the workout that Taekwondo gave me; however, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu offers me the best of both worlds. It challenges me physically, mentally and pushes me to be better, which translates throughout all aspects of my life. My family and friends have seen me change physically and grow as a person to a point where my family trains with me and are all members of Gracie Barra.
Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay its price – Sun Tzu (a warrior’s sacrifice)
Originally from Sydney, James grew up playing many team sports with a background in Rugby League. Getting injured when he was 16 years old, James then qualified as a Rugby League coach with the Australian Rugby League. However, over the years, sports took a back seat to life and work, which resulted in a heavyweight gain, with James topping the scales at 150kg. Moving to Melbourne in 2003 and raising a family, James realised that his health was suffering and eaning on his strong background in sports and with an understanding of nutrition and training, James decided to change his life and get fit. First training Taekwondo, finding Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Gracie Barra Hoppers Crossing, James found a ‘home’. With the guidance of Coach Roan Theron, James has lost 60kg and gained his Blue Belt and is now enjoying passing on his knowledge and passion for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
I had joined BJJ when I was at a shallow point in life. It gave me a reason to get up from bed and exercise my mind and body. Being the only female in class and having everyone bigger and stronger than me, there were days when I left class absolutely broken and defeated. Still, as the techniques started to get stored in muscle memory, there were days when I felt like I could take on the world.
It has taught me that achieving something great is not easy, for if it were easy, it wouldn't mean anything. In the past, when I practised another martial art, I was overlooked as a training partner because no one wanted to pair up with a girl. My confidence deteriorated, and the ability to defend myself became questionable. BJJ gave me the actual physical grappling strength, leveraging techniques, and mental fortitude that I never had or even dreamed of achieving. Now when I spar someone, I take them on with such confidence that it even surprises me. I'm just a small-town girl looking to be strong :)
“There is a battle of two wolves inside all of us. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, lies, inferiority and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth. Which wolf wins the battle? The one you feed.” – Cherokee Proverb
Researching, Thinking & Learning
Design, Art, Architecture
After watching an episode of DragonballZ when she was 11, Sana decided she wanted to learn a fighting skill to become just like her favourite DragonballZ character.
At the time, she had no idea what martial arts were; she couldn't find any fighting school in the little town of Nagpur, India; and every adult discouraged her from pursuing it as she was 'just a girl and it wasn't very lady-like.
The dream was left unfulfilled till she emigrated to Melbourne, Australia. There she started Karate, and although she loved it, she craved for the real-life martial aspect that wasn't being provided. After researching and debating for months on which martial art would be best for her, Jiu-Jitsu came up every single time, and she finally joined the Gracie Barra family.