How did you first get interested in BJJ, and what led you to start training at GSW?

At the time I was a Police Defensive Tactics Instructor and a work colleague was an early GSW student. Through this association he was able to get John Will to be involved in specialist training for the team and as a result a number of BJJ techniques/concepts were put into the recruit syllabus.

Initially, the common adage “never take a fight to the ground” made me question this ground fighting idea and it didn’t appeal to me until I realised in the real world fights go to the ground and also that is where an offender was best controlled in order to handcuff.The icing on the cake was a sparring/rolling session with two of my colleagues who were white belts. I realised effective BJJ was and how useless I was against it.

Can you share a memorable experience or achievement from your time training at the school?

Receiving my blue belt was huge. It gave me validation that I had genuine skill. It was the gateway to many more years of exploration and many more to come. Receiving my Black Belt after 14 years from Geoff Grant and John Will was one of my greatest life achievements so far.

How has BJJ impacted your life outside of the gym?

The mere essence of BJJ has taught me about humbleness and humility and I think it has and continues to make me a better person. It has introduced to me to so many amazing people who have also learned these lessons, and from this mutual respect is born.

From a practical perspective as a Police Officer it has given me confidence in my ability to defend myself and to safely restrain an offender. I am not a black belt with “flashy “techniques and hordes of competition medals, but I have had many years of frontline Policing experience which has taught what is truly effective when faced with a violent offender in the real world and I am passionate about passing on this knowledge.

What advice would you give to someone new to BJJ or to our school?

Have fun. Have an open mind and embrace being a beginner. This way it will be an enjoyable experience and will continue to be. BJJ is difficult. That’s why a lot of people don’t stick with it, but it is incredibly rewarding.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to improve their BJJ?

Firstly, go to class regularly. You won’t get the same experience from watching you tube! Then learn the basics and build your foundation from there. Once you’ve been around for awhile then focus your attention on a game plan. Practice/drill it, modify it and seek advice.

How do you balance your training and your daily life?

I’m a strong believer in not putting all of your energies into one thing. I have done that with many sports/activities before, but with more years of experience under my belt I think I now have better balance than ever. I love cardio so commute to work by running or bicycle followed by a strength workout every workday.

For BJJ I have a mix and match of rolling, coaching during the week and Saturday morning is my game day where I get to test my endurance and skills rolling for 3 hard hours. Love it! I remain flexible with training so I can balance home, work and training.

GSW BJJ Black Belt Tony

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