The Team - BJJ & MMA Auckland | GroundControl

The Team

The GC coaching team with supercoach John Will

Coaching Diversity

We believe one of our strengths is the diversity of our coaching team. Invariably students look to their coach to inspire their personal style, and run the risk of becoming a poor imitation.

Our team of coaches all have a deep understanding of the fundamentals of the art as well as their own areas of specialty. Consequently as you progress through your training you’ll be exposed to a variety of different approaches and different teaching styles. You’ll learn approaches from light and fast to dominant and imposing and a whole lot in between. This diversity will help us to guide you to develop your personal style and expression of this beautiful art. A style that reflects your own approach, philosophy and physical attributes.

John Will

John Will, based in Geelong Australia is the head of our organisation and our coach’s coach. Three times a year John comes to spend time on our mat and inject is technical excellence into the club.

One of the most influential Martial Artists of the past two decades, John Will’s accomplishments within the industry are prolific. In the seventies and early eighties he trained extensively throughout Indonesia, Thailand, India and Japan. He was a multi-style Black Belt back when such things just did not happen.

In the 80’s he founded Blitz, Australia’s Leading Martial Arts Magazine, which has since grown to dominate the marketplace here in Australasia. In the late 80’s he switched focus to the USA, where he began training with the likes of World Kickboxing Champion, Benny 

‘the Jet’ Urquidez, Gene LeBell and the Machado brothers.

After several training trips to Brazil and numerous more to LA, he introduced the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to Australian shores. The 1st Australian to be awarded his Black Belt in that art, he founded BJJ Australia, the largest single BJJ organization outside of Brazil.

Mike with Rigan Machado on one of
his regular visits to GC

​Mike Fooks

Mike has been seriously involved in martial arts since early 1993 when he started his study of Aikido. He would eventually go on to attain a third degree black belt in that art, and more importantly it was here that Mike began to develop his art of coaching. After watching the UFC phenomenon catch the martial arts world by surprise in late 1993 Mike tracked this new art of Brazilian JiuJitsu as it proved time and again it could deliver on the promises it made. Eventually BJJ made its way to NZ and Mike started his BJJ education in 2001.

In 2005 Mike formed a training relationship with John Will and GroundControl was born. He was awarded his blue belt from John in 2006, and his purple belt in 2009. The brown came in 2012 and then Mike was awarded his black belt from John Will in 2015. Mike has  

medalled multiple times at the NZ BJJ Open, at various times winning Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, as well as winning Silver at the NZ Will-Machado BJJ Championships and back to back golds in the Australasian champs. Mike has also trained a number of national and Australasian champions. It is here, in coaching and developing his students that Mike’s passion lies.

It’s a passion that can be seen in Mike’s life both on and off the mat. As a martial arts coach, as a performance consultant working with some of New Zealand’s largest corporates , and as a Master Practitioner in Neuro Linguistics, Mike works with people from all walks of life to bring out their best. He believes a good coach creates a training experience that empowers his students both on and off the mat.

Mike is responsible for overseeing all training programs and syllabus and the day to day running of the club.

​Thomas Kwok

Thomas joined GroundControl in 2009 with no previous experience as an athlete or martial artist. Having watched The Ultimate Fighter he became intrigued with MMA and decided to get into some training. He quickly feel in love with BJJ and has been training like a madman ever since. With one of the highest work rates on the mat (he would say he’s just having fun) Thomas quickly stood out as a rapidly advancing practitioner and formidable competitor earning his purple belt in 2013 and then his brown belt in 2015. He has medalled in national and international competition and so far has won gold at every belt level up to purple, and we eagerly await his first competition at brown belt. Thomas has also

Thomas at the famous Mendes brothers Gym

enhanced his BJJ with travel to learn from the best, spending time on John Will’s mat in Geelong and spent a month training with the world champion Mendes brothers in California. Now a senior coach he takes both general and no-gi classes.

​Mark sets up the triangle choke


(Editors note: This is what happens when you ask Mark to write his own profile.)

At the age of 30, and a well-trained academic, two key issues became apparent to Mark: a) kids at school were still stealing his lunch money; and b) his mum was getting too old to walk him home safely.

Having completed Double Dragon on Amiga 500 on one credit (diagonal-down-back and 

A+B gives OP’d elbows and you end up with about 8 lives by the end of the game) it was time for Mark to learn some real-world skills in case the Shadow Boss’ Black Warriors suddenly learned to block.

Inspired by the first series of The Ultimate Fighter on Sky, Mark went to the Howick scout hall (one of the initial GC stomping grounds) by himself, like a boss. Worst case scenario, Mark thought he’d at least be able to go home with a scout badge for a girl to sew on his chest, because Mark doesn’t know how to do girl things like sewing.

Mark received his blue belt in 2010 and his purple belt in 2013 and then brown belt in 2015. Mark currently teaches general BJJ classes where we cover more advanced content. He has made many friends at the club, but they all seem to have grown up and moved away. He reflects on this these days as he eats his lunch. All of it.

​Matt Perkins

After a very brief encounter with Aikido at the age of 13 Matthew then waited 25 years to find his way back to martial arts training. Losing over 40 Kilos in early 2004 he found himself wanting more than just cardio and weight training to keep in shape and first hit the GroundControl mats in Dec 2009 where he immediately fell for the Brazilian Art. He was awarded his blue belt by John Will in 2012.

First competing at the Will\Machado NZ BJJ Nationals in 2010 he has been an active 

​Matt competing as a white belt

competitor over the last 5 years and won Gold and Bronze medals at the 2013 Will\Machado Australasian championships in Melbourne.

He has also represented GC in the cage having his first MMA bout in early 2014, with more to come.

Matty brings a great warmth to the mat which coupled with his technical understanding make his Essentials classes a great introduction for new students.

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