Overcoming Adversity

Its been a testing time for so many this last few months and we are not over this yet. Many martial arts clubs have closed while many struggle with limited class sizes, now we have re-opened, we are kind of full but half full.

Different clubs have different cultures, many did not adapt to zoom classes at all, many thrived. My friend Wayne Stokes had up to 160 people on each zoom class a night, absolutely amazing to see.

I was unsure when we started Zoom classes, but it turned out fantastic, it was a necessary part of our day, myself, Stu & Dom enjoyed every minute of it and we didn’t miss a class throughout lockdown.

It made it clear to me what type of culture we have here at Function First, and while the zoom classes didn’t suit all our students, it helped many through some tough times and the community spirit was strong and meant a lot to all of us.

Jiu-Jitsu – Without a doubt the most difficult class to teach and train through the lockdown. Twice a week without fail, a small group would meet on zoom and we all did our best to not tap out to this situation and continue in the face of adversity.

As we teach of course we act.

We were shut down on a Thursday, Jiu Jitsu class and all the rest were up on Monday and we missed not one session.



I don’t sleep in my Gi, I don’t really follow BJJ just like I don’t really follow MMA or any Martial Art really, I’ve never followed sports, I’ve never had a team, I just like training it, I love the game itself, I don’t really love watching it. I love the history of the arts and i love the stories, especially from my friend John Bernard Will and I love spending time with him and my friend’s training.

I remember someone asking John on a seminar once “How do you maintain your enthusiasm for training as you get older”? I didn’t really understand the question, like asking, how do you find music nice to listen too at your age?

Look, like I said, I’m no gym rat, I’m not great at this, I don’t have a billion box sets, I don’t know the latest trends when my students and coaches are all talking about the latest UFC fights or Polaris, I have no clue who they are on about most of the time. But I train, I study I learn I enjoy I repeat, and yes life gets in the way sometimes and injuries cause problems. But they pass, they heal and I return, like the tortoise, not the hare, a tortoise that’s not in a race or aware of the hare maybe.


We filmed all the drills and uploaded them into a resource site for students and ourselves to follow and reference. I couldn’t just turn up to class and teach whatever I wanted, not that I ever would. But every week I really had to go through the drills and be super clear with the smallest of details and in doing so, learnt a lot from myself. Noticed thing I didn’t know I did, noticed things I should be doing and had got lazy and so on.

I like a challenge so that motivated me to boss the situation, I am a servant to my students so I served, and if I don’t train I’m afraid I’ll end up in prison and the jiu-jitsu there is less fun, more back defence

Now we are back in the academy we apply those drill on bags and soon we apply them on each other

I didn’t tell people what I was teaching the last 20 weeks, just movement. I’m quite excited to see how they apply the work they have never seen before in the flesh.

I think I’m addicted to learning and addicted to being around people, very close, very very closely.