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Staying on the Jiu Jitsu train

With Jiu Jitsu, it is hard to objectively measure your progress, because everyone is progressing alongside you. 

The same people that I struggled with when I first started at John Donehue Jiu Jitsu and MMA are the same people that I struggle with now. I still can’t pass Patty’s guard, Nikki still runs rings around me, and Ash still catches me with sneaky submissions from nowhere.

I know that I am improving, that my technical skills and conceptual understanding is growing, but compared to my training partners, it is hard to notice it. This is because we are all on the Jiu Jitsu train – we are all growing and improving together. Since we regularly roll with each other, any new tricks, positions and submissions are quickly spotted and adapted to.

Regrettably life sometimes gets in the way of training. Injury and illness can take us off the mat for extended periods of time or people’s interests may come and go. It is only when a training partner takes an extended break from Jiu Jitsu do I ever see an objective measure of my learning. When they return from that break, I can compare how I used to perform against them, with how I perform now and judge my learning from that.

I have spoken with many people about their concerns about their perceived lack of improvement. They wonder why, despite training so much, that they are not catching up to the higher ranks. It is because those higher ranks are also training and improving at the same time. Fact is, if everyone keeps training, they may never catch up. This doesn’t mean that they are not improving however.

I hope that in the future, technology will exist that will enable us to roll with our past selves. Tapping past Zac would be highly satisfying and would confirm just how far I have come. Until then, stay on the Jiu Jitsu train! Just keep rolling and you will improve. If you begin to doubt your learning, ask your coach for some words of encouragement, he or she will have seen it happening in real time.

See you on the mats,
Zachary Phillips

In addition to being one of the kids martial arts instructors at John Donehue Jiu Jitsu & MMA, Zachary is also a teacher, writer and mental health advocate, you can see more of his work at www.zachary-phillips.com

The post Staying on the Jiu Jitsu train appeared first on John Donehue Jiu Jitsu & MMA.

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How long have you been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at John Donehue Jiu Jitsu & MMA?


If you ask Coach John Donehue how he ended up teaching, training, and coaching, some of the most distinguished martial artists of this era, he will put it down to being in the right place at the right time. If you ask anyone who knows John personally, you will hear a vastly different tale. As far as luck goes, it may have had something to do with it. However, when you consider just how many people have been lucky enough to be in the presence of Bill Wallace, Benny Urquidez, Randy Couture, Rico Chiapparelli, Dan Henderson, Frank Trigg, Gene LeBell, Rigan Machado, or Dan Inosanto, the number would be relatively high. If you then ponder how many of those people have been invited to teach, train with, or coach all of these exceptionally influential men, that number becomes incredibly low. Read the full article on the Fight News Australia website.

The post The Reclusive Master – A rare interview with Coach John Donehue appeared first on John Donehue Jiu Jitsu & MMA.

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How long have you been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at John Donehue Jiu Jitsu & MMA?


I have been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for just over a year, I started in 2017. 

What do you enjoy most in your classes at John Donehue Jiu Jitsu & MMA?


The positive and encouraging vibe from the coaches and my training partners make classes very enjoyable. Being in an environment where everyone has so many great goals to achieve is one of the many reasons why I look forward to coming to my classes every week. 

What made you want to start training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Many of my friends doing martial arts told me to try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as it is a beneficial and fun activity. After learning about the sport and watching loads of black belts doing flying armbars and triangles for weeks, I decided to give Brazilian Jiu Jitsu a try. 

You competed for the first time at the ADCC competition held at John Donehue Jiu Jitsu & MMA and won your first gold medal! Well done Yohan! How was it?

The thought of competing in the ADCC competition had me excited for weeks.

It was slightly intimidating at first but the overall experience made me more confident and it was like nothing I had ever witnessed before. I enjoyed cheering on training partners and watching different ways people competed. I look forward to competing again in the future. 

What has been your favourite moment at John Donehue Jiu Jitsu & MMA?

My favourite moment at John Donehue Jiu Jitsu & MMA was the feeling I had after my first Friday competition class. It showed how much progress I have made since first entering the gym which was a great moment for me as the Friday competition class included two hours of amazing knowledge passed on from Gene LeBell through our Head Coach John Donehue. 

What is your favourite submission?



My favourite submission is the triangle. Whether I submit someone or not, it is a good position for me to keep control over my opponent whilst still using different attacks and sweeps. 

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Perseverant, competitive and respectful. 

The post Member Of The Month: Yohan D’Lima appeared first on John Donehue Jiu Jitsu & MMA.

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How long have you been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at John Donehue Jiu Jitsu & MMA?

I have been training at this club for approximately two and a half years but my first class with Coach JD was in 2006 at the old Extreme club, which Coach started. That was a scary room to walk into back in the day. It was different than this club now which is much more friendly.

You have trained at a few different gyms in the past, what made you stay with us?

The level of coaching from John Donehue at this club is far higher than any club I’ve trained at. The attention to detail, the friendly yet disciplined environment and the entire team here are amongst the many reasons that I stay. When Coach JD teaches class, I always learn the most that I possibly could within that hour due to his exceptional teaching ability. I’m from the northern suburbs and there are many fight gyms around my area but I choose to drive all the way to Notting Hill to train with Coach JD. In my experience, other clubs can either be too casual or too competitive. This place has the perfect balance and I truly believe that is the best environment for learning. Coach JD’s unique grappling style is not only extremely effective for self defence but also for any grappling or mixed martial arts competition. Apart from the higher level of coaching here, there is also an outstanding culture of humility and selflessness. Everyone always takes extra time to help someone while training and even off the mat. People here are very supportive of each other. And that all comes from the culture that Coach JD has instilled in this place.

You are one of our highest attending members at the academy, what motivates you to train as much as you do?

I had been training in various styles of martial arts on and off for years. Probably more time off than on to be honest. So when I came to this club, I wanted to fully commit to make up for lost time.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start martial arts for the first time?

Come in and do your first class and if you don’t like it, you haven’t lost anything and if you do like it, you could potentially gain a lot from it. So even though it may seem daunting to walk into a martial arts club full of people you don’t know, you should realise that everyone that is in that club, once went through that exact experience themselves. And there is nothing to actually fear about it at all.

Tell us about your experience with competing and how you overcame your first comp nerves? 

To be honest, I wasn’t nervous at all in my first competition. I was actually very complacent and too laid back. That taught me a valuable lesson because I didn’t perform well on the day. It wasn’t due to lack of skill; it was due to improper mindset. Following that competition, I worked a lot on the mental aspects of combat and subsequently I have been able to get into the right frame of mind during competition, and have achieved success as a result. 


What goals have you achieved from training and what’s next? 


Initially, my goal was to get a blue belt in Jiu Jitsu because that was a promise I made to myself a few years back. I had a mate called Brendan who was a very experienced grappler under Coach JD and one of his original students. He was the one that first introduced me to the old upstairs club. He would always try and encourage me to make the drive from the northern suburbs over to train with coach JD which I did for a short period but then stopped training seriously after about 6 months there. Unfortunately, Brendan passed away in 2009 and shortly after that it was like a little promise to myself out of respect to him that I would get my blue belt in Jiu Jitsu and commit to it at some stage in my life. Once I achieved my goal and received my blue belt from Coach JD I realised that the journey had actually barely begun. So I guess the next goal is to obviously get to purple belt and keep improving as a martial artist and learning as much as I can, as quickly as I can to make up for lost time.

The post Member Of The Month: Chris Herouvim appeared first on John Donehue Jiu Jitsu & MMA.

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