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Yeoman boys make their MMA debut

Congrats to Matt and BJ Yeoman who both made their MMA debut in B-Class matches in Shurikens Rising Soldiers promotion on the weekend.  Both boys have worked extremely hard leading up to the event and it showed on the night.  Matt took an early knockdown to come back hard and dominate in the clinch and takedown.  He showed great control on the ground to eventually finish with a back choke in the first round.

BJ’s fight looked to follow the same script at first as he recovered from an early knock down as well.  His opponent however was able to defend on the ground and the fight turned into a three round war.  BJ showing great grit to wear some big shots and still stick to his game plan and drive the match to the ground time and again with some big takedowns.  He dominated on the ground to take out the decision victory.

Expect some big fights to come from these boys in the future.  Well done lads.

New Website Section – Articles


We’re pleased to announce a new section to the website – Articles.  This is where you’ll find the thoughts of various coaches and friends of GC on a range of topics.  The posts will tend to be longer and more in-depth  than the updates you’ll find on the news page.  So if you have a few moments spare make yourself a cuppa, have a read and feel free to post your thoughts.  The first article on having a game plan is up now.

GC brings home Gold from the Australasians

Every year, the second weekend of September sees the Will-Machado Australasian BJJ family come together in Melbourne for The Gathering.  It’s a not to be missed event with the Saturday devoted to the Australasian champs, and the Sunday to Rigan Machado’s seminars.

With this years event dedicated to the memory of  black belt Troy Flugge who had passed away barely a week earlier, it had a special feel to it.

This year saw a solid contingent of Kiwis attend the comp with some fantastic results.  Errol Watson and Travis Browne – GC  Hamilton coaches  attending for their first time,both came away with silver, Carleen Pearce and Jeremey Gibbons both put in gutsy performances to come away with bronze and Coach Mike Fooks took out the gold in his division, winning the the gold medal match with an armbar from guard.  Andrew Craven while not medalling this year demonstrated again his competitive jiu jitsu in both the weight class and open divisions.

Mike attributes his win to having a clear game plan and focusing on his guard game over the last few months.  “It’s probably been the most focused I’ve been on executing a specific game plan – in particular getting it to ground quickly, trusting in my guard to be ok if I didn’t end up on top.”

New Zealand as a whole punched above it’s weight with further medals coming from the team at Submission Martial Arts, the Hamilton clubs, GSW and Academy of Combat.

Even better was the chance to spend time on the mat on Sunday with BJJ Legend Rigan Machado.  Rigan once again delivered pure gold in his Sunday seminars.  In fact so good was the seminar material Will-Machado purple belt Leyla Okyay was able to take one of the techniques and win gold at the panpacs the following week!

The seminars are also a great place to catch up with old friends and opponents, and in particular  it was fantastic to catch up with black belt Ken Dunstan who gave GC so much support in our early days.

Medals, new techniques and catching up with old friends, more than enough reason to  reserve the date for next year now!


GC Fighters win at ICNZ 15


September 3rd saw two GroundControl fighters make their A-Class debut in ICNZ’s brand new cage at ICNZ 15.  After successful runs at B-Class, both Nic Saxton and Shane Young were stepping up to the A-Class ruleset, allowing strikes to the head on the ground.

Nic Saxton was first up.  Nic had been working very hard on a game plan and executed it perfectly.  Dominant in the clinch Nic was able to take it to the ground and obtain the “beatdown” position he has been working on.  This position takes away the opponent’s ability to defend strikes on the ground.  So when Nic worked into the position the ref acted quickly to step in and stop the fight.

Next it was Shane’s turn.  Shane was up against a very tough and hard hitting opponent in Hayden Watt, and this match turned into an absolute war.  In a back and forth battle that many have called the fight of the night both men showed their heart.  Bloodied early in the match Shane never took a backward step and at the end of  four rounds the judges could not seperate the two fighters.  After escaping an early backmount attempt early in the overtime round, Shane dominated position to leave no doubt and took out a well earned unanimous decsion.

Both Nic and Shane worked exteremly hard in their preparation for the fights, as did their coaches Neil Swailes and Andrew Craven, and we couldn’t be more pleased for them.

Coach Craven does it again.

Andrew celebrates his fight of the night performance

June 25, ICNZ 14 was a much anticipated event for GC.  Head coach Andrew Craven stepped up to pro class MMA and dropped down to lightweight to fight a dangerous opponent in Fightshop’s Adam Calver.  Andrew put on his most impressive MMA performance to date to take the match in the second round by rear naked choke.  Not only that, he was awarded the NZMMA fighter of the night.   A decision we can’t help but agree with whole heartedly.

Andrew’s preparation for this fight was intense.  Few people realise the total dedication and commitment required to truly prepare for a pro class MMA fight.   The many hours and rounds on the GC mat, the additional work Andrew did on his strength and conditioning (with thanks to World Health and Fitness Drury), the hours of honing his striking game (with thanks to Francis “Danger” Vesetolu) and of course the input of our own Neil Swailes.

As well as the focus on skills and strength and conditioning, Andrew dropped a weight class for this fight.  Cutting weight is an art, get it wrong and you can miss weight or deplete yourself too much before the fight.  Andrew’s focus and discipline saw him manage this process perfectly, comfortably making the much lighter weight (69.5 kgs) and coming in to the fight strong.

The hard work on all counts was more than evident on the night.  Traditionally a fighter that’s been most feared for his ground game, Andrew dropped his opponent with a right hand in the first round.  He then demonstrated just how well rounded he’s become with seemingly effotless takedowns off the fence, strong ground control and striking and solid defense.   To top it off he finished according to his game plan with the rear naked choke.

We congratulate Andrew on not just the result, but the discipline and focus that delivered it.  If anyone is looking for a poster boy for the concept of “train hard, fight easy”, we have just the man.

Good Showing at BJJ nationals

Saturday June 25 was a huge day for GroundControl.  It started with the BJJ nationals run by Douglas Santos and Paulo Sorisso.  Due to some event clashes we had a small bit perfectly formed team this time round from GC auckland, including Jono McFarlane, Travis Singh, Matthew Tusa and Andrew Davis.  Andrew, Matthew and Andrew all acquitted themselves very well against tough opponents.  We saw some great skills from these three, one of whom lost by an advantage to break a nil nil score, and another of whom came very close to winning points at the last minute.  Meanwhile Jono made good use of his attributes to move through the heavyweight division and take gold!  Congratualtions to Jono who is still at the start of his BJJ career – we are excited to see what you’re capable of with even more technique behind that brawn!

It was great as well to see our good friend Karl Norton Sensei from Maai Hyoshi dojos enter his first BJJ tournament.  Karl performed very well against an opponent with much more competition experience and we can’t wait to see him at future comps.  Also fantastic to see Serina Cole from our sister Machado club on the north shore (Submission Martial Arts) take another gold medal to add to her growing pile.

Travis with his opponent after the match.

Thoroughly impressive on the day were the Hamilton grapplers.  Our old friend Carlo moved through some stiff competition to take gold and the white belts racked up a third and second place as well.  And special mention must be made of GC Hamilton BJJ and MMA coach Travis Browne.  Travis looked to be down and out in his purple belt match as the clock wound down to a minute to go with Travis at a significant points disadvantage.   Giving up is a concept that somebody forgot to explain to Travis and as the clock ticked down he pulled off a spectacular last minute reversal to go immediately on attack and finish with a text book far side armbar!  The crowd goes wild!

Next stop, the Will-Machado Gathering in Melbourne in September.  Look forward to seeing folks there.

John Will brings more toys

The weekend of June 18 saw John Will back in auckland.  Many of the senior students describe John’s visits as christmas because of all of the cool new toys he brings.  If by toys you mean solid strategies to become more effective in MMA, BJJ and many other areas of your life.  And as always it was great to see some relatively new students get on the mat with John for the first time.  There’s no better way to start your training career on the right track.

This time round in MMA we covered the takedown system that Rigan Machado employed to win wrestling championships with little specific wrestling training.  As well as building on a previous session in terms of using the superman punch.

Then we hit the BJJ mat for a fantastic session focusing on some game changing escapes from underneath, followed by some very potent choke attacks.  If you weren’t there you will no doubt be noticing some of these techniques show up in your rolling with those that were.  As always John gave even more bang for buck by pointing out concepts that are not limited to the jiu jitsu match (improve by 5% and notice! the gains  you’re making).

For those of us who are BJJ groupies and followed John to other seminars where was additional gold on areas such as defence (or attack) from underneath turtle, head and arm chokes (anaconda, darce, guillotine), and new concepts to consider with guard.   All in all another invaluable weekend.  These sessions are always thought provoking, and spur us into the next period of highly motivated training as we look to change what we’re doing on and off the mat to incorporate our new toys.  We eagerly anticipate Johns return on November 26, talk to a coach if you have any questions about attending.

2 Coach Craven wins the World Trials

Will Machado Sweep the division.

Congratulations to Head Coach Andrew Craven for taking out the puple belt over 74kg division at the world trials in Auckland on November 13.  This was the heaviest purple belt division and Andrew had to overcome opponents who were heavier than hims as well as being skilled purple belts.  Some very close matches saw Andrew take the gold -once again cementing his reputation as one of NZ’s top BJJ competitors. 

Was also great to see Will Machado filling the podium for this division with GSW taking second and our good friend Warren Lambert from Submission Martial Arts taking third.

Andrew will be off to Abu Dhabi for the World Championships next year.  We look forward to helping him prepare.

Richie Cooper does us proud at King of the Door

Congratulations to RICHIE BOOM BOOM COOPER for getting through the first round of King of the Door last night with a dominant first TKO via GnP. Richie went onto the quarter finals to face a much heavier Felise “Fob Father” Leniu who beat Richie via GnP and went on to take out King of the Door 2010. Richie Boom Boom Cooper is the GroundControl Champ, awesome effort Richie you trained hard and we’re damn proud of you!!!!

Travis Moors takes GCMMA to Australia

Travis faces off against Shane Wescombe at the weigh in

On Friday November 5 Travis Moors represented GroundControl in our first international MMA match.  The fixture was the Fury event run by Advance Martial arts in Queensland.  Billed as an Australia vs. New Zealand event several NZ fighters made the trip across the Tasman – many of them like Travis with relatively few fights under their belts.  Travis was always going to be in a tough match, up against a much more experienced grappler.  He fought a great fight – his heavy hands forcing his opponent to go for the takedown time and again.  Travis did a fantastic job of regaining his feet and defending a couple of very dangerous guillotine attempts with some sick guard passing.  The third round saw Travis land some nice combos and damaging looking knees.  At the end of three rounds the judges could not separate the two fighters and announced the match a draw.

This fight was a big step up for Travis against quality opposition and we’re stoked with the result.  He showed the heart and composure we all knew he would and the GroundControl team are very proud of him.  Travis’ draw continues GC’s unbeaten run.

Lets make sure we get a good contingent to cheer on Richie Cooper at King of the Door on November 13!