Which sport(s) do you compete in?
What is your belt rank?
When and how did you start BJJ/MMA?
I started in 2008, however I long held the desire to train Brazilian JiuJitsu. Like many people, I was inspired by Royce Gracie dominating in the UFC without the use of strikes; utilizing submissions to dispatch his opponents in spectacular fashion. I always loved grappling - I had (until Brazilian JiuJitsu) a "headlock of doom", which turned out to have rather limited effectiveness and essentially only upon those who have never trained. I grew up in the country with no gyms available, so it wasn't until I eventually moved to Melbourne to study that I could actually begin training.
How would you describe your style?
I love submissions and to fight aggressively.
Who are your BJJ/MMA heroes and why?
Marcelo Garcia, Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu and Ryan Hall.
Possibly the happiest guy in BJJ, Marcelo Garcia embodies humility and joy, all the while being an incredibly tenacious competitor that is truly revered by most as the 'greatest of all time'. Indubitably, he raised the standard of Brazilian JiuJitsu significantly and his impact on the sport through his innovation is amazing.
Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu - a ferocious competitor that truly loves the sport also, competes with a smile and brings the battle every match. He is an inspiring competitor that represents this sport extremely well with his exciting style and passion for creating a spectacle.
Ryan Hall - Innovative, cerebral and very much so the "Einstein" of Brazilian JiuJitsu and perhaps the very best communicator/facilitator in the sport. I own all of his DVDs and his ability to articulate concepts and details through his teaching approach is second to none; he has been invaluable in shaping my personal growth as a Brazilian JiuJitsu athlete.
What is your most memorable BJJ/MMA moment?
Winning every match at the Australian Nationals by armbar - it was my first major tournament title and was a defining moment in instilling 'belief' in me. I would have never imagined myself celebrating like this, but I actually ran and jumped on to my team-mates after winning one of the matches by flying armbar.
What are your goals and motivation to compete?
Naturally I love to win things, but truthfully it is only an outcome; I want to be satisfied by my performances in every competition, that I gave 100% and that I enjoyed every second of the process. It is, indeed, an invaluable teaching tool that unveils much of one's self. I can be a very anxious person and competing has traditionally been a nerve-wracking exercise.
Subsequently, I want to travel and compete in as many places around the world as possible and grow to become the best possible competitor *I* can be and to be able to draw from my experience and impart my learnings unto others to help them on their journey.
What does your weekly training schedule look like (including S&C)?
BJJ: Mon-Fri nights, Tues/Thurs/Fri mornings. Where possible, a lunchtime class or two.
Strength and Conditioning: Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs mornings.
Depending on the climate of my working situation, I may be able to get a drilling session or three in - drilling makes you better, period.
In your opinion, what do you think most BJJ/MMA practitioners lack in their training?
I can only speak for Brazilian JiuJitsu, but goal-setting and a conscious, focused plan for self-development. People train Brazilian JiuJitsu for a myriad of reasons and that is completely fine!
However, having an objective from training sessions and an effective strategy for developing and refining techniques, game-plans and strategies is something perhaps a lot of practitioners lack. Your training partners are your best teachers; I don't consciously go to training with the mere objective to simply "be there" and submit everyone as much as possible - I do like to pay particular attention to components of my game needing attention and willingly work on them in class, even if it means being swept, submitted, passed or whatever; I want to get better.
What are your highest values in your BJJ/MMA and training life?
Respecting people's time and energy - NOBODY does it alone and it is absolutely crucial to understand that your team-mates and coaches are pivotal to your success.
Be curious - be unrelenting in your pursuit for knowledge and ask questions!
What do you do for fun or to relax outside of your training/competition schedule?
I love to find new places for coffee (or visit my favourite ones), read books (welllll, mostly audiobooks these days!), play video games (Super Smash Bros, DOTA, Civilization, FIFA) and umm... watch JiuJitsu.
How has Strength & Conditioning impacted your BJJ/MMA?
Dispelled my fear of fatiguing in a match - knowing that I have put hours upon hours into lifting heavy things to be stronger and structurally more efficient, as well as surviving brutal early AM conditioning sessions, is confidence inspiring. Technique is simply the application of power and force in the most efficient manner possible... strength matters.