With 'Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone' being one of Gracie Barra's main principles - we mean it! Nigel pictured above receiving his first stripe on his White belt began training with GB Charlestown at the age of 59 and can't get enough. He trains twice a week and fits perfectly into our diverse and accepting team.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a gentle martial art where there is no hitting or kicking involved and hence is becoming a popular sport for many different people with many different goals. Jiu-Jitsu really is for everyone and can be used for cardio, strength in the mind, strength in the body, discipline, respect, competitions, simply meeting new friends and more. BJJ has been described as similar to playing a game of Chess where you have to try and think ahead to try and counteract whatever move your opponent tries to use. We all look out for eachother and have a great family feel in the gym with everyone willing to help anyone on a continual learning rollercoaster. Come and see for yourself no matter what age, size or gender - there will be something in it for you :)
With word spreading fast about how rewarding and transforming BJJ can be for children, 2020 has brought in more kids memberships than ever! We offer age-appropriate kids classes every day of the school week and a fun/popular mixed kids class Saturday mornings. Come and join our growing community!!
As seen above in the Saturday morning Mixed Kids Class, Gracie Barra Charlestown has been drawing in more and more kids as we head into the new year. Now offering an Anti Bullying Program where we teach the kids how to defend themselves not just physically but also verbally, our kids are becoming more confident with every class!
We also teach the kids about healthy lifestyles such as nutrition, keeping a clean environment and most importantly discipline and respect as a whole. To help enforce each child's good behaviour from the mats to their homes, we run a belt testing program where we give the parents a form to fill out in regards to the child's behaviour on AND off the mats. This is a great tool to make an impact on changing certain bad behaviours from a young age and encouraging better ones to move up the belt ranks and on in everyday life.
Please come in any day of the week (Monday - Saturday) for a FREE TRIAL or to discuss membership options!
In December of 2019 we had our annual adults grading. This is a time for all Gracie Barra Charlestown students to come together and celebrate their progress in jiu jitsu. Jiu jitsu is a long and arduous journey, and recognition of this journey is important. Some recieved belts and stripes, but everyone progressed together as martial artists. We are very proud of all Gracie Barra Charlestown students, and thank you all for coming and making it a special night of Jiu Jitsu
After a 15 year journey with Jiu Jitsu, our Professor and Head Coach Arnaldo Cardozo finally achieved his black belt. This is a momentous occasion for not just Arnie but the entire Gracie Barra Charlestown family. It is very rare to have such high level coaches teach consistently and also train reguarly with their students. Arnie and Guga share a wealth of jiu jitsu knowledge that they willingly share with all students. Arnie recieving his black belt is symbolic of the high standards he strives to maintain at Gracie Barra Charlestown day in day out.
Fresh off a succesful Women's self defence course, Gracie Barra Charlestown has decided to start a regular Women Only class! Every Saturday 8-9am, it will give women of Gracie Barra Charlestown a space to train jiu jitsu with purely women. We hope this furthers the enjoyment of jiu jitsu for women in the community, and perhaps encourages those women nervous to train to give it a chance.
This short post is about of detail about the values Brazilian Jiu Jitsu represents. Read it to get a better idea about what Gracie Barra Charlestown is trying to accomplish.
When someone asks what Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is and what it represents, there are a thousand different replies, each one correct in their own way. It can represent self-defence, self-empowerment, martial arts, fitness, or simply a fun social hobby. An individual can get whatever they need out of it, and that is part of its beauty. No matter what your reasons are for beginning Jiu-Jitsu, it places you in an environment where you truly learn about yourself. The gentle art nourishes the mind, body and soul. One can learn how to control their emotions better, to understand how their own body works, and gain the tools to attack whatever challenges life presents. It is incredibly intricate as a martial art yet simple in the values it teaches; confidence, discipline, resilience. Gracie Barra Charlestown is part of the historic and revered Gracie Barra lineage, carrying forward the torch of Jiu-Jitsu in an environment that is like a family.
The discipline you learn in Jiu-Jitsu can be applied in all facets of life. Discipline means learning to control one’s mind and maintaining the self-control to achieve a desired result
Well known practitioner and ex-navy seal Jocko Wilink once said “discipline equals freedom” and jiu-jitsu embodies this. The more you train, the faster you learn. The less you train, the more you will be tapped. The lesson is simple, if one wants to progress, they have to regularly go to class. This means at times training instead of watching tv and eating chips. It means maintaining a healthy diet, because you feel the difference when training. If you are disciplined in your approach to Jiu-Jitsu, you will be rewarded directly with tangible improvement. The satisfaction gained when rolling with someone and realising how much you have improved is second to none. Inversely, the frustration of being tapped by someone who has trained for a much shorter time but is far more disciplined is not rewarding at all. This a lesson that can be taken into general life. Whether it be weight loss, saving money, studying, the discipline gained from jiu-jitsu is integral to achieving these goals. This quote from Master Carlos Gracie Sr summarises it perfectly “Discipline and consistency. I owe these two factors all have attained in my life. Things have never happened overnight. Results have appeared as a consequence of decades long toil. It is necessary to persist.”
Resilience is one of the greatest qualities an individual can possess. No matter what walk of life, human beings will encounter hardship throughout life. How they react to these hardships will define the rest of their life. Jiu-Jitsu promotes the toughness needed to push through challenges and come out stronger. There is not one single person who trains Jiu-jitsu that ruled the mats when they started. The mats humble everybody who steps on them, as there is always someone stronger and more technical than yourself. The key to progressing in Jiu Jitsu is the realisation that every single “failure” is in fact a lesson. Every time you are tapped, every time you are dominated, you can either quit, or improve from it. To do this requires a level of mental fortitude that some do not originally possess, but everyone can learn. Again, this lesson learnt can be applied to life outside of martial arts. Whatever setback experienced in life, you can either give up, or accept what has happened, try to learn, and keep going. Resilience is necessary to lead a productive life, and it can be gained easily through Jiu-Jitsu.
Confidence in yourself can completely change who you are, for the better. Insecurity can cripple a person emotionally and prevent them from achieving their full potential. Confidence is another quality that is dealt in spades on the mats. Rolling and testing yourself against others will naturally instil confidence as you overcome challenges and face adversity every single day. To progress through a gruelling training program will result in a true belief that you can accomplish what you put your mind to. This is due to the fact that Jiu-Jitsu is not always fun but is incredibly rewarding. Jiu Jitsu puts you in uncomfortable situations, in overwhelming positions, and teaches you how to be calm and confident despite these factors. Children who are bullied gain the courage to stand up to their bullies and learn to value themselves. Adults gain confidence in a variety of ways. Some learn how to control their anger better. This is because they have nothing to prove anymore, they know personally how strong and capable they are, there is no need to take every insult as a personal challenge. Others gain the confidence to put themselves in stressful situations, whether it be public speaking, conflict resolution, or facing their fears. Sometimes it as simple as being confident walking down the street because you know you can defend yourself. Jiu Jitsu puts you in uncomfortable situations, in overwhelming positions, and teaches you how to be calm and confident despite these factors. This leads to a confidence that bleeds into a person’s psyche, often changing people for the better. Confidence is a trait that genuinely makes life easier, and Jiu-Jitsu will make anyone more confident.
The reality is, when someone asks what Jiu-jItsu means and what it represents, this post could go on for infinity. The gentle art is one of those rare processes in life that continuingly improves who you are. Those within the community quickly become addicted because it is such a rewarding process. The reality is, you get out what you put in. If you immerse yourself in the world of Jiu-Jitsu you will learn lessons for life. Discipline, resilience, and confiedence are all values that Jiu-Jitsu represents and imparts on its students, but there are countless more. The true answer if someone asks you what Jiu-Jitsu represents is- come try it and find out for yourself!
Below are some highlights from the NSW State Championships from this year! Many members big and small of Gracie Barra Charlestown competed, and everyone had a great day!
It is a sad reality that most children will be exposed to bullying in some form. A global study revealed that 10-12% of kids all over the world experience some form of bullying*. Prolonged exposure can lead to issues in later life such as anxiety and aggressive tendencies. It is so important to prevent bullying, ideally before it even starts. This is what the Gracie Barra anti-bullying program is all about, and why Gracie Barra Charlestown provides it to its kids. It teaches children how to defend themselves in two main ways- verbally and physically. Spanning over sixteen weeks, it works through situations kids may encounter step by step. Kids learn how to stand up for themselves, and how to neutralise a physical situation with minimal damage inflicted.
The verbal aspect of self defence is often overlooked when it comes to training children, but it is just as essential as learning how to defend yourself physically. The anti-bullying program focuses on this because you can not stand up to a bully with just physical strength, you need to be able to verbalise your feelings, and for a child this is very hard to do. Especially in modern society, bullying is not always physical. Bullying can be done through words either face to face or online. This can shatter confidence, make a child question their self worth, and alienate them from others. To have the ability to look a bully square in the eyes, and say with conviction "I do not like what you are doing, and I need you to stop" can have more power than people realise. To communicate with authority is a skill that is not just important for dealing with bullies as a child, it is a skill they will have forever. Verbal self defence can also be used to de escalate a situation before violence occurs. It can be as simple as teaching the kids to adopt a fighting stance, and confidently stating that if they hit them or come any closer they will take them down. Verbal and physical self defence are intertwined, and Gracie Barra Charlestown focuses on ensuring children understand both. Coach Arnie is constantly simulating situations with the kids in which they first defend themselves verbally, than if all else fails, physically. This is a key part of the anti bullying program.
The physical self defence that kids learn in the anti-bullying program is second to none, and perfect for the kind of encounters children find themselves in. As mentioned earlier, Gracie Barra Charlestown works through situations that kids encounter step by step. For instance, if a bully aggressively approaches them with the intent of doing harm. The beauty of Jiu-Jitsu is it does not focus on punching or kicking. Instead, the focus is on taking down the opponent, immobilising them, and neutralising the situation. This is ideal for children because it prevents unnecessary violence and pain, but still allows them to be in control of the situation. They can control them on the ground, and call for help, just as the program teaches. It sends a clear message to the bully about the consequences of their action, without additional damage. As coach Arnie put it "The bully is fire, and we are water. You don't add more fire to fire." They learn what to do if grabbed by the wrist, if put in a headlock, and countless other scenarios. Most importantly however, they learn to be confident in their physical abilities, and to defend themselves if the situation demands.
There are a few intangibles that the anti-bullying program teaches aside from self defence itself. A common misconception parents have is "My child is being bullied, I should enrolling them in martial arts,". While this is a good idea, the best strategy is to enrol them before the bullying even takes place. No parent thinks or wants their child to be subjected to bullying, but it is always better to prepare, so if it does happen they are ready to respond correctly. The anti-bullying program at Gracie Barra Charlestown does not just stop bullying that is taking place, it can prevent it before it even happens. The kids at the academy have practiced the situations every single week, and know what to say and do if they are put in a position they are not comfortable with. Confidence is so crucial for a child, it allows the child to be vocal about their feelings, which can be the simplest way to prevent bullying. Adding to this, jiu-jitsu is very high contact. This means that the children are comfortable with physical contact. A lot of children are not, and if a bully touches them, it can cause extra anxiety and fear, because it is an alien experience. So if there is ever a situation that involves contact, they do not freeze up, they are used to it, and react accordingly. Preparation is the best way to prevent bullying, and the Gracie-Barra anti bullying program does exactly that.
It is hard to truly state how impactful the anti bullying program can be on children's lives. I have first hand heard stories about kids who were being bullied and were miserable. These same kids have transformed into outgoing, confident individuals. It will change the course of children's lives for the better. Coach Arnie knows this better than anyone, which is why he uses the program at Gracie Barra Charlestown.This post is a summation of his words, and hopefully his passion is repepresented accurately. As he said himself "What we are talking about with these kids, it is not just words, this is real life and real experiences!"
"It is everyone's problem": Parents' experiences of bullying.
Green, Vanessa A.
New Zealand Journal of Psychology. Nov2015, Vol. 44 Issue 3, p4-17. 14p.
Pictured below, Gracie Barra Charlestown competitor Kayla Cardazo stands triumphant on the podium after winning the super fight at the Central Coast Open. She took part in a mammoth 8 fights over the course of the day, and also participated in a superfight division which included multiple belts and around 8 girls total. Not only was it all belts but everything was permitted, including heel hooks. Kayla fought incredibly hard and came out victorious It was a amazing day and the look on Kayla's face says it all! Oss!
On the 11th of August, Coach Arnie and Kayla travelled down to Melbourne for the weekend to compete in the National Australian Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Representing Gracie Barra Charlestown, they fought incredibly hard and the results spoke for themselves. Arnie won gold in both open weight gi and no gi, as well as silver in gi at 91kgs. Kayla won gold in her weight in the gi, as well as 2 silvers and a bronze in the remaining division. They both worked hard, perserevered and demonstrated resilience throughout their matches- everything Brazilian Jiu Jitsu embodies! Below are some photos of the weekend;
On the first of September, the mats at Gracie Barra Charlestown were absolutely packed with fathers and their children! With the school at max capacity, it was amazing to see such positive energy on a special day. Our Tiny Champions showed their dads who was boss, as they took part together in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu warmups, drills, games, and at the end some rolling! As Coach Arnie said, days like these are invaluable for families. The memories cultivated in a shared experience as enjoyable as Jiu Jitsu is something that will last a life time. We hope that our dads left with a greater understanding of what their children take part in, as well as memories with their child that will forever make them smile. See you all next time! OSS
On the 16th of September, members of Gracie Barra Charlestown made the trek down to Sydney for the annual Gracie Barra Compnet! This is a competition purely for Gracie Barra Schools, and is not only a compeittion but a celebration of the size and strength of the Gracie Barra Organization. It was fufilling to see a sea of red shirts and GB competitors, and realise what a massive family we are all a part of. Spirits were high win or lose, as both our Tiny Champions and adults alike took part and tried their best. For many, it was their first compeition, and everyone did incredibly well! Click the link for photos of the day!
Saturday the 22nd was the grading day for our Tiny Champions. It was a rewarding day, as the kids saw the culmination of all their hard work. We at Gracie Barra Charlestown believe in the principles of hard work, and it was great to see kids perserve and realise there will be a reward for patience and hard work. Our gradings are not given lightly, these kids have put in genuine time and effort into improving their abilities. Their Jiu Jitsu is so good, we can't wait to see them get even better! Oss
With the Newcastle Open coming up, here a few a few words about why Gracie Barra Charlestown loves to compete!
I truly believe competing in Jiu Jitsu is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It improves you as a Jiu Jitsu practitioner, as a competitor, and as an overall individual. For all of these reasons, Gracie Barra Charlestown has worked hard to foster a strong culture of competiting. Despite being such a young school, we have people competiting reguarly, and newcomers every single competition! Hopefully this post will be the reminder you need to sign up for the Newcastle Open!
Competition is the purest way to test where your Jiu-Jitsu is at. It's a simple fact that the intensity and energy of a competition is near impossible to replicate in class. Your body is full of nervous energy as it floods with cortisol, the stress hormone associated with "fight or flight". This burst of adrenaline as you step onto the mats, as your opponent feels the exact same, leads higher level of intensity. You fight harder for grips, and refuse to give up positions that in a normal roll you would be fine with. Likewise, your opponent is putting all of his effort into winning. The result of all of this is your Jiu jitsu being tested at the highest possible level, and as close as possible to a normal fight- aside from MMA. You will really learn where your holes are, and what needs to be improved. Perhaps you thought your guard passing was good, until you fought someone who devoted all their energy into not letting you pass. After a competition, when returning back to the gym, the difference in how you roll is tangible.
Competitiveness resides in all human beings to varying degrees, depending on the type of person you are. Some are fiercely compeititve, and strive to be the best in all facets of life. Conversely, some are not as naturally competitive, and need it brought out of them. Regardless, to be competitive in the right context is healthy for a person's mindest. In a standard adult's life, there are not many options to be compeitive in a fair environment. Taking part in a Jiu Jitsu competition allows people of all types to excersise that competitive drive. The feeling of pouring yourself into a competition, to be emotionally invested, and to win, is massive for one's pysche. It is a reward for hard work and sacrifice. Conversely, losing simply teaches one to deal with not always being the best. This is just as valuable a lesson. Jiu Jitsu teaches one to be a fierce, but rational competitior. There is nothing wrong with losing, quitting however is an issue. Honing your ability to compete can translate to achieving work goals, fitness goals, anything really if the same intensity is applied.
The reality is some love to compete, some don't. Both attitudes are fine if they are for the right reasons. Gracie Barra Charlestown loves competition because it promotes fitness, imrpoves your Jiu Jitsu, and most importantly we honestly think it improves individuals. If you can translate the mindset one gains from competition to all other aspects of life, the oppurtunuties are endless!
From the 26th to the 28th of October, the annual IBJJF Pan Pacific Jiu Jitsu Championship took place. This is a prestigious even that helps Jiu Jitsu practitioners test themselves and see how they perform at a national level. From Gracie Barra Charlestown, Coach Arnaldo and coach Kayla both competed, performed tremendously. In her division, Kayla won silver in no gi and bronze in the gi. Coach Arnie won gold in gi, no gi, in his weight and open weight, meaning a stunning total of four gold medals. Results like these are amazing and show that our coaches preach what they practice- hard work, discipline, and perserverance! Here are some photos of the weekend! Lets go Gracie Barra Charlestown!
On the fourth of November the annual Newcastle Open Jiu Jitsu competition took place. This event is always exciting, and was a big deal for Gracie Barra Charlestown, as it was the first time the school got to take part in the event. A large amount of people were competing, in both adults and kids divisions. For many it was their first compeition. The results were incredible, as every single member of the Charlestown team put themselves on the line and wore their hearts on their sleeves. Some won gold in multiple divisions, others lost their first match. This is not what matters, what is important is the commitment and dedication every student showed in their approach and performance in the competition. Overcoming anxiety, dealing with adversity, and trying their best is what we encourage, and what Jiu Jitsu teaches. We love our team! Go Gracie Barra Charlestown, and Gracie Barra as a whole! OSS!
A common question asked by new students is what is the Fundamentals Program? What’s the point of it? Why does it teach what it does? Gracie Barra Charlestown thought it would make sense to outline the general points to give a clear overview of what it actually accomplishes.
The Fundamentals Program is a 16-week course for Jiu-Jitsu, running constantly year-round. To keep it simple, it is all in the name. It aims to give a solid, basic foundation of various aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, that practitioners will carry forward with them permanently. The Gracie Barra fundamentals program is used by every single GB school, with the weekly teaching synchronized, so you can travel and continue to train exactly what you learnt at Gracie Barra Charlestown at other schools around the world.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a vast and intricate martial art. It can be incredibly overwhelming to any new comer, as the information and techniques to learn seems infinite. The fundamentals program provides direction and guidance, making it far more accessible to beginners. Week by week, they outline techniques that are easy to understand, and will be built on with more advanced techniques later on. If someone tried an advanced technique straight away, they would be lost and potentially get hurt. If they try it after mastering the fundamentals, it will be much easier to comprehend. By the end of the program, practitioners will have experienced all of the key facets of Jiu-Jitsu. Take downs, mount, guard, sweeps, submissions, all of it will be experienced. They will have an established base from which they can work and learning Jiu-Jitsu from then onwards will seem much less foreign.
Another important aspect is the base level of fitness and wellbeing the program provides. There is a reason Gracie Barra Charlestown states “Jiu-Jitsu for everyone,”. This is the vision of the founder Carlos Gracie Jr, and it is not just empty words. The Fundamentals Program embodies this statement. Men and women of any fitness level can begin training, and within this program, they will be safe. Core fundamental moves are low risk, and position specific sparring also lowers the risk of injury. As they train, their fitness, flexibility, and overall health will improve. Without this program, rate of injury would increase, and it would be less likely that newcomers will realise their true potential through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. At Charlestown, we have seen first-hand as people begin the fundamentals program and their health dramatically improves over time. This is because the course is specifically designed to improve health and keep you safe, no matter what your base level of fitness is.
A key part of what makes the Fundamentals Program vital to learn is the self-defence aspects. This may sound strange at first, isn’t all Jiu-Jitsu built around self-defence? While this is true to a degree, the best way to learn self-defence is to practice specific, common scenarios that happen in the real world. What to do when put in a headlock, when attacked with a haymaker, when on the ground with an attacker over you. Once again, the Fundamentals Program is the most efficient way to learn self-defence with Jiu-Jitsu because you are not just lurching randomly from position to position, you are building week by week, based off common real-life positions that people find themselves in. This is what creates confident individuals who can handle themselves, if the worst happens.
To summarise, the key themes to take away when thinking of the Fundamentals Program is the principles of specificity and efficiency. It provides individuals of all walks of life with solid base of health, Jiu-Jitsu and self-defence that they did not previously have. It is just the beginning of the journey, from here it only gets better! Ask anyone at Gracie Barra Charlestown, this is just the beginning of the addictive journey that is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
It is always important to remember that as a part of Gracie Barra Charlestown, you are a part of the Gracie Barra family as a whole. You are teamates not just with those within your school, but with every school. This is a profile about the Professor at Gracie Barra Newcastle- Gustavo Machado Pinto. It is rare to have high level teachers of Jiu-Jitsu- let alone two available in Coach Arnie at Charlestown and Professor Gustavo at Newcastle. This profile is being shared to give a greater insight to Gracie Barra Charlestown students about who you are connected to, and can learn from. Enjoy!
The Art of Jiu-Jitsu - Gustavo Machado Pinto
By Giuliana Gervasi
Gustavo Machado Pinto is not large in stature, yet his presence is dominant in the room. Wrapped in a bright white gi, he adjusts his weathered cotton black belt, its red tip adorned with four white stripes. It is a symbol of physical and mental prowess that represents a lifetime commitment to the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His grey speckled hair is cut cleanly, and with a piercing gaze, he surveys the blue floor matting, as a typical training session is underway at Gracie Barra Newcastle City.
Known as Guga to his students and friends, the professor has been training for twenty-six years, and has taught for seventeen years now. Born in Rio De Janeiro in 1978, from age seven Guga lived in Sao Jose Dos Campos. It is a peaceful town close to Sao Paolo, where he grew up, as a child should; playing outside, riding bikes, climbing trees. It was at the age of twelve he began his lifetime journey in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Guga was hooked after seeing a self-defence demonstration performed by his later Master Sergio Lisboa, a sixth-degree black belt today.
Back in the days, the sport was relatively unknown and there weren't many athletes holding a black belt in Australia. It was Guga’s desire to travel that brought him here in the first place, “I wanted to discover the world, I wanted to travel. I have always been adventurous”. Today, he is one of only two fourth-degree black belts within Gracie Barra nationally. This token of experience is representative of what is possible in practising Jiu-Jitsu with commitment, in what can be accomplished when dedicating your life to it.
On the mats, I see about fifteen students fighting in their blue or white gi, and I wonder who will get a submission in these last minutes of the class? I spot Guga amongst his students, rolling with a much bigger opponent, yet in total control of the situation. He lives up to the stereotypical Bruce Lee quote “Be like water, my friend”. Each move is deliberate, flowing from one position to the next with controlled and precise movements. You never see any explosive physicality, yet the intensity can be felt. The end result is the opponent tapping, marking the finish of a demanding battle.
“Jiu-Jitsu is action and reaction”, a quote I have heard many times when the professor is explaining a new technique. The meaning of this quote really comes to life, every time when watching the mentor in his element. Each movement has a purpose; there is no wasted energy when he moves. Constantly three steps ahead of his opponent, again and again, he baits the other fighter to react exactly how he desires.
The bell rings, breaking up the sound of the regular grunts and slaps. Guga acknowledges me with his glowing, cheeky smile. With a straight back and strong jawline, despite his relatively small physical stature, he emanates confidence. His olive skin contrasts the white gi as he walks to the edge of the mats, bows and shakes hands with me.
Showing each other as well as your environment respect is an important part of the sport’s culture today. This wasn’t always the case though. Thinking back at the early years in Brazil, Guga remembers that students always needed to respect their professor but apart from that, it was rough. A new student coming to school would get smashed on the mats and had to earn his place in the academy. “When I started Jiu-Jitsu my parents thought it wasn’t a good idea to try it and that I wouldn’t have a future in this sport”. The reputation of the art was nothing like today; rivalries between different schools in Rio De Janeiro often were handled out on the streets.
That is very different today, especially in Australia. People want their business to run, so welcoming everyone and being professional emphasizes a respectful behaviour. Also in Brazil, the sport has evolved and the reputation has changed with the growth of the sport. “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has established itself for being a very effective martial art and there is no need to prove a point anymore”.
I sit down in a chair next to a glass cabinet, holding numerous trophies and gold medals. Guga mostly competed in Jiu-Jitsu tournaments when he was still living in Brazil. However, he kept competing when he came to Australia in late 2003, which is also the year he received his black belt and finished his law degree in Brazil. Even though the school is filled with trophies and pictures of victory, Guga rarely talks about his own success.
When I ask about the proudest moment in his individual career, he only thinks about it for a few seconds, “It was my second fight in Australia, no gi and open weight division. I was 65 kilos and my first match was against a guy of 90 kilos and l beat him. He was one of the best in Australia at the time. After this, I faced Elvis Sinosic, a well-known MMA fighter back then. I lost but this fight was so exciting for both of us, it was an extraordinary fight I will never forget”. Remarkably, his proudest moment is not one of achievement and accolades, but rather a fight that truly tested him. However, Guga remained undefeated in gi in his division for seven years.
Competition is an important part of the sport and every good academy should pay attention to this aspect of the gentle art. “I think competition is so important to deal with your own demons. In life, we lose and we win, lose people that we love, face challenges we need to deal with. In competitions, we lose and we win too, at the same time we learn to deal with our emotions and fears”.
It is this mindset that helped Guga to overcome a big challenge in his own life. In 2015 he was diagnosed with a tumour. It was emotionally and mentally expectedly hard to deal with. If he didn’t have the resilience that Jiu-Jitsu gave him, he probably would have broken physically and emotionally. “I had to control myself and deal with the situation and get through it”. Guga had surgery followed by a demanding rehab. “Never give up, that’s the way”. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an extreme sport in itself. Physically it is highly demanding, constantly pushing the body’s boundaries. But without mental strength these capabilities are unreachable. “You have to learn to control the mind”.
The class comes to an end, and the mats empty slowly as people leave the school. Despite this, a small group of students surround Guga, asking him questions and joking around. Guga sits down next to me, “the Austrian devil”, he says with a laugh. Curious, I ask if he feels any pressure with the attention he constantly receives. “As a teacher, you have a lot of responsibility. You are a role model to a lot of people. If you do bad things your students will see that. So it is very important to be transparent and do good things”.
It is evident from the nature and actions of people in the academy that Guga has worked hard to foster a culture of helping each other and create a safe space for everyone. His top priority is friendship, students supporting each other and improving together. This is independent of cultural background and social status. As long as everyone is enjoying their time at the school in a positive manner - the professor is satisfied.
Guga takes his role as a mentor especially serious when it comes to the youngest members of the school. “They look up to you as if you are a superhero. You are not, everyone makes mistakes but you are a role model and it’s important to take responsibility and put the cape on”. Gracie Barra offers a kids program in which children from the age of three years upwards improve their physical abilities, learn how to defend themselves if necessary and how to deal with bullying at school. The benefits of the sport are unlimited.
For the past eight years, Guga has been teaching, mentoring and training nearly every day in his school. This is physically and mentally incredibly taxing, yet when you enter GB Newcastle City, this impression is never given. I ask him how it was possible, that he never burns out? Small wrinkles form around his dark eyes when he replies with a smile that of course, he burns out, from time to time. The energy he devotes to teaching, it is impossible not too. He just does not express this outwardly, again utilising the tool of resilience gained from a lifetime of Jiu-Jitsu.
As time goes on, responsible and reliable black belts are needed to be part of the team, alleviating some of the pressure. For now, Guga sticks to his hobbies surfing, playing music, and travelling and spending time with his wife and two kids. He lives his life with passion, and these activities keep the fire burning.
The response that describes Guga best, is when I ask what Jiu-Jitsu means to him. Without a moment's hesitation, he simply replies, “Jiu-Jitsu is my life”. Many people say this, but few truly believe it, and even fewer actually do it. Everything that Guga represents; hard work, resilience, dedication, acceptance, helping others, is what Jiu-Jitsu represents today, and vice versa. His life and this martial art are so deeply intertwined, that he lives his life by its teachings while embodying its values. Guga is a unique individual who has made a lifelong commitment to a gruelling, fulfilling, unforgiving, rewarding martial art. Nobody’s future can be predicted, but one absolute fact is that wherever life takes Gustavo Machado Pinto, he will approach it with the spirit of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
On the 8th of December, Gracie Barra Charlestown had its grading day for our kids. It is a very important day for our Tiny Champions, as they recieve their new belts in front of all their family and friends. The kids who have attended, maintained disciplined, and tried to improve technique were rewarded for their committment to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. We love to see progression at Gracie Barra Charlestown, and every single kid that trains here have improved massively, and not just in Jiu Jitsu. Here are a few photos of the day! OSS!
From everyone at Gracie Barra Charlestown Happy New Year! The start of any year is a frantic time, as people, spurred on by the excitement of a new year, attempt to make drastic changes to their lives in the name of a resolution. These decisions are often made late on new year's eve, perhaps with a hubris that quickly fades the next day, to be forgotten by Febuary. For the Jiu-Jitsu world, a common resolution is to "get better at Jiu-Jitsu" or to "train more" or something along these lines. Here are a few tips to make achieving your resolution slightly more viable this time around.
Any goal in life should be realisitic. This does not mean to be pessismistic and doubt yourself, rather understand that anything in life takes time. If your goal in Jiu Jitsu is to train every single day, odds are you won't achieve this, and could even result in decreased attendance as you feel like you failed. Aim to train more consistently, not like a mad man.
Measure Your Goals:
The easiest way to track your progress in achieving your new year's resolution is to quantify what it is you want to do. A good example of this is from Coach Arnie at Gracie Barra Charlestown. His goal last year was to perform better than he ever has in competition. This is hard to measure, so instead he made his goal to win gold in all the divisions he entered. This can be done for anything, if your goal is train alot, perhaps change it to always go to Jiu Jitsu at a minimum three times a week. This way, your progress is easily measured.
Fail, don't quit:
A common theme with New Year's Resolutions is to fail at them, than abandon them. Everyone's done it, a burger in their hand and with a smirk they remark "Always next year,". While funny, this is not the right attitude. Basically everyone is destined to slip up with a goal or resolution. This does not mean progress can be made and milestones achieved. This applies to Jiu-Jitsu and to life. Failure is fine, quitting is the true problem!
Hopefully everyone has a great 2019, we can't wait to see you at Gracie Barra Charlestown improving your Jiu-Jitsu and yourselves everyday. OSS!
A big change this year at Gracie Barra Charlestown has been the introduction of belt testing for our Tiny Champions. This is completely free, and designed to encourage growth in our students. First, there is a questionaire aimed at the parents, the instructor, and the child themselves. They are simple questions that are designed to make the child consider about what it means to improve, and what that behaviour looks like. After this is the actual testing. It is a challenging environment, as all their fellow pupils watch on as they demonstrate a self defense technique, a ground technique, and a takedown technique. To perform all of this in front of an audience would be anxiety inducing even for adults, yet so far all of our students have rose to the occasion beautifully. This is a testiment to the value of Jiu Jitsu, that shy children can stand tall and show the school what they are capable of. It is what we love to see. Here are the two latest Gracie Barra Charlestown Grey/White belts; Enzo and Franklin!
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a lifestyle, and we encourage not just training this martial art, but broadening your mind and trying to improve your health in different types of ways. Eating healthy, yoga, and practicing mindfulness are all great ways not just to improve your Jiu Jitsu, but to improve your life! That is why, on the 9th of March, we will be having Joe Fairleigh give a breathing workshop at Gracie Barra Charlestown. From 11am till 1pm, breathing is unique combination of modern science and ancient practice that is really only just starting to be utilised in sports. Spots are $30, call and book to try new things and push your boundaries!
On the 30th of March, competitors from our GB family of Gracie Barra Charlestown and Gracie Barra Newcastle City travelled to Sydney for the IBJJF Sydney International Open 2019. All of our students performed well and tried their best. Most notably, Professor Gustavo Pinto competed in both Gi and No-Gi jiu jitsu. This was exciting, especially for many new students who had never seen their Professor compete. Despite being not competing for some time, Gustavo was able to come away with double gold in both divisions! The greatest thing about our schools is we don't just say our teachers are the best- we can objectively prove it! Well done Professor, and well done Gracie Barra Charlestown! Now back to school for more Jiu-Jitsu!
Professor Brauilo Estima will be doing a Seminar at GB Newcastle City on the 2nd of May! This is a great opportunity to Gracie Barra Charlestown students! Professor Estima is hands down one of the best Jiu Jitsu practioners Gracie Barra has ever produced. His competitive records are extensive; 3x IBJJF World Champion, UAEJJF World Pro Champion, ADCC Champion, 3x IBJJF European Champion, 3x IBJJF Pan Am Champion, 3x IBJJF Worlds Silver Medallist and ADCC Silver Medallist. Not to mention, with his brother he pioneered the famous "Estima Lock". With an incredible story overcoming injuries, this is not a seminar you want to miss!
Tickets must be purchased online, go on the Gracie Barra Newcastle City Facebook page for details!
A host of members of Gracie Barra Charlestown competed in the annual Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament the Autumn Cup! Both adult and child students challenged themselves by placing theirselves in a stressful, competitive environment. Their were mixed results but the most important thing is that all students that entired demonstrated courage, respect, and resilience. As a result, they all learnt valuable lessons, and this is what we are all about at Gracie Barra Charlestown. Competing is a beautiful part of Jiu Jitsu! Here are a few photos
There will be a parent's and kids class oat 5:15 on the 5th of June. Click for more information
Gracie Barra Charlestown has built a very strong family culture, with numerous mums, dads, and their children all practicing Jiu Jitsu together. To further solidify this, we will be holding a class wherein parents of kids who train can jump on the mats with their kids and have some fun! This may become a permanent fixture, so keep an eye out!
One of Gracie Barra Charlestown's most outstanding traits is the culture we have fostered, and a big part of that culture is family. That is why, due to the success of our initial Parent's Class, to make it a monthly installment. The next Parent's Class will be Saturday 6th of July. Click below if you wish to read about our thoughts on parent's Classes and Jiu-Jitsu
The mission of Gracie Barra has always been "Jiu Jitsu for Everyone". Gracie Barra Charlestown is apart of this, and thanks to some fantastic students, we are accomplishing this goal. However, just like in Jiu Jitsu, there is always room for improvement. We believe that jiu jitsu should be experienced by the whole family, together. To allow this, we are instituting a monthly Parent's class. There are so many benefits- physical, mental, and emotional, that we will outline.
If everyone in a family participates in Jiu Jitsu, everyone understands it. It is not some foreign place that a partner dissapears too every week, or simply some activity your child does. It is a shared experience. Giving the chance for parents and children to train together amplifies this shared experience. There are so few avenues where families can actually exercise together, this provides one. They play, train, and laugh together, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Jiu Jitsu is always fun for children, but the Parent's Class is another level of fun. Kids get to play Jiu Jitsu based games with their parents. The discipline involved with Jiu jitsu can be stressful for some kids, getting to do a more relaxed class once a month with their family will help them to enjoy it long term.
Encouraging a family culture will bring endless benefits, that we will really only discover as we do it more. Can't wait to see you all at the next parent's class!
Professor Henrique Eiji will be hosting a seminar at Gracie Barra Charlestown on August 17th. Recommended personally by Coach Arnie, Professor Eiji has phenommenal Brazilian Jiu Jitus. He will be focusing specifically on lapel guard attacks. This is a great oppurtunity for everyone at Gracie Barra Charlestown! Tickets selling fast book quick!
On Saturday August 31st from 1-5pm there will be a seminar at Gracie Barra Newcastle City
Hosted by Professor Aline Neres, this seminar will be focused on half guard sweeps. In a sphere dominated by males, like many other sports, this seminar is exciting as Professor Neres is part of the new generation of women taking the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by storm.
We especially recommend this seminar to our female students. Many of you have felt the frustration of being trapped under a stronger, heavier opponent. Professor Neres has figured out how to use leverage to take advantage of this weight. This is a can't miss! Gracie Barra Charlestown students please note that this is at Gracie Barra Newcastle City. Visit our Facebook to find tickets
Gracie Barra Charlestown will be hosting a free women's self defence course.
It will start October 19th, and run for four consecutive saturdays from 8-9am.
Everybody has the right to feel safe. Gracie Barra Charlestown wants to provide this by teaching Jiu Jitsu centred around women. By the end of the month, all involved will have strengthed their mind, body and spirit.
On September 15th 2019, Gracie Barra Charlestown took part in the annual Gracie Barra Compnet. This is a competition exclusively for Gracie Barra schools to compete with each other in a fun, competitive atmosphere. We were very happy with the results, especially with our Tiny Champions, who collected 3 gold medals and 1 silver with plenty of submissions. Here are some photos of the medals
Gracie Barra Charlestown will be having a parent's class on the 23rd of October, Wednesday 5:15-6pm. Come do Jiu Jitsu as a family!
Gracie Barra Charlestown has fostered a culture of Jiu Jitsu being a family orientated martial art. Our entire school is one big family, why can't your literal family be a part of it to!? Parent's of jiu jitsu students, as well as children of jiu jitsu students who do not train are both encouraged to come hop on the mats for a fun afternoon of martial arts.