John Will’s visits to GroundControl always generate excitement. His latest trip on November 24 proved to be even more significant than usual. Not only did we get the usual degree of best in class instruction in both MMA and BJJ skills, but there was also some significant upgrading of senior ranks.
It started with two new blue belts in Fran and Martin, two friendly and hard-working students who thoroughly deserve this significant grade. And then it only got better with the awarding of two purple belts. The first going to Thomas Kwok, a staple of the GC mat who can be found at training, well pretty much any time the club is open. Thomas, officially known as Zen, is well known for his calm cool demeanor on the mat which belies how dangerous he is as a grappler.
The second purple belt was a significant one as it went to our first female to receive the grade, Inger Craven. Inger is a tenacious grappler and extremely hard-working student while at the same time being notable for her constant good mood. Her ability to hang with the boys in free sparring is the result of countless hours of dogged determination and an ego-less approach to learning.
And then in a significant step for GroundControl John awarded brown belt to head coaches Andrew Craven and Mike Fooks. The brown belt represents a major step up, and recognition of the last three year’s progress. The grade is the result of many hours coaching, training and travelling and expense to learn from our coach John Will and his coach Rigan Machado – amongst others. At the same time there is a degree to which these ranks are owned by the entire club and without our students we wouldn’t be progressing. We feel very fortunate to have a mat at GC full of awesome people operating a culture which both supports and challenges us.