Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Huge happenings at GSW – Rigan Machado – John Will – Robert Drysdale – New School

Looking at this news page you’d be forgiven thinking that there is nothing happening at GSW…
Well you couldn’t be more wrong.
The fact is there is too much happening!
In the last couple of months we’ve been struggling to get the new location up and running in Taranaki St. We’re so close but still waiting on mats and some final touches before we can take in new members. This is driving me nuts, as we have had so many people interested in training at the new facility when it’s finished! Soon, very soon.

While that has been going on we have had another visit from BJJ royalty. Rigan Machado once again graced our mats for a seminar after being in Australia for the Will / Machado Nationals. We have also recently had another visit from our coach John Will. We managed to shift some mats into the Taranaki site and run a seminar with over 50 people on the mat! As always the session was epic, but what made it more so, was the promotion of GSW’s first BJJ Brown Belt – Hemi Pou. Never has our mat seen a more deserving rank handed out.

DrysdaleThis month while we hope to put the final touches on the new location, we will be hosting one of the biggest names in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the world!
Robert Drysdale is coming the GSW for two nights and running a No-Gi session on Wednesday the 8th and a Gi session on Thursday the 9th. It took a bit of work to get him down to NZ but he was in Australia doing a series of seminars with Will / Machado schools and after several back and forward emails between various people, he agreed to pop over for a couple of days.

I have to thank Gareth Lewis for talking to his contacts and getting the dialogue started and also Sophia Drysdale for all her hard work behind the scenes in getting it all finalised. Thanks you both.

This is a huge coup for GSW and Will / Machado in NZ and we have kept these first sessions with Robert closed to our members only, (I’m hoping that there will be more opportunities to train with Robert in 2011) and the response has been overwhelming. As I write this, the Gi session is fully booked and the No-Gi has only a few spots left. Looks like it’s going to be an enormous couple of days. Hopefully I’ll have time over Christmas to update you on the seminars and progress of the school.

For current members, please be aware, Sunday 5th and Monday 6th classes will be at Taranaki St. Wednesday and Thursday will be the Robert Drysdale seminars (don’t just turn up expecting to get a spot) then we will be changing everything for the following week. Check Back!!

Till then Take Care and I’ll see you on the mat sometime.


GSW’s tenth birthday Party and Richard Norton Seminars

With little under 2 weeks to go all GSW students should be gearing up for our 10th anniversary party 28th August Corner Store Brooklyn.

As you should all be aware it’s a costume party. You can choose anything starting with the letters

Thats right Caglan, any of those letters.. :) I have already booked my ‘Slash’ costume from “The Costume Company” and there are several other company’s in the Wellington region that offer costume hire. Try Google >>

Here’s a list of ideas >>

As an added incentive, although costume is required, I am offering up a cash prize for the best costume. The winner will be selected by Richard Norton, as he’s played ‘dress-up’ more times in his life than any of us…
$100 1st place and $50 each for 2nd and 3rd…

Also on the night we will be having a small auction to raise funds for the new location, items being auctioned will include Books, DVD’s, Gis, Gear Bags, Private training sessions and other assorted goodies. If you have any item or service you would like to add into the pot please contact me as every little bit will help.

Also in conjunction with the Party on Saturday night we will be hosting a couple of Richard Norton Seminars during the day.
The seminars will run at GSW Lower Hutt, 11am for the Whites and 1.30pm for the coloured Belts. Cost is $50. Coloured Belts will finish at 3.30pm which will allow everyone to get home grab a bite to eat at be at the Corner Store for 7pm.
Richard Norton at GSW
I know this will be a big a day and a bit of money will be spent but as I’ve mentioned at class this week, I’m not a big one for parties, I shout the occasional pizza, pool night and Blue Belt dinner but this is the first serious party I’ve ever thrown for the GSW crew and I’m looking forward to celebrating everything we’ve achieved over the past decade!

See you there


The New GSW location

The New Wellington Location is coming soon and I’m going to need your help.nz_dollar

The new place needs bit of a tidy up and ‘many hands make light work’ so I’ll be calling on EVERYONE to help with a couple of working bees in the not too distant future.

But more than that is the need for mats!

Jamie Smith has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to make this all happen. Apart from single-handedly organising the location and landlord he has also been in contact with mat suppliers overseas and secured super cheap mats for us.

Now I say super cheap but that’s relative! The mats will cost somewhere around $15000!! On top of the new lease and cost of getting the new place ready I’m going to be stretched beyond my means. So I’m going to do something I hate, but what several of you have suggested, and ask for help.

The main thing that everyone has said is they would be prepared to buy one mat. So if you are able and willing to donate to the fund or buy a mat then please feel free.

If you want you can donate online you can click the donate button below or talk to me at class. Or you can buy one of our new GSW Rash Vests or the new BJJ Gis. Or just tell me to piss off!!

Or even better, if you run a company or work for a company that wants to sponsor New Zealand’s Biggest BJJ school, then I can offer some incentives. Pages or Banners on my sites, signs up at the schools, Patches on the Gis and many more ways of getting your companies name out there!

Think about it.. every little bit helps!


Shihan Geoff

Target 200 square mtrs
Total @ 4th August 2010

Richard Norton Seminars GSW Wellington

Once again GSW had the immense pleasure of hosting another BJJ Black Belt under the Machado Brothers.


Richard Norton is known by many in the Martial Arts world as a Action Movie Star who has appeared in over 60 movies, alongside greats such as Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yasuaki Kurata, Benny “the Jet” Urquidez, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, and Cynthia Rothrock. But personally Richard is more than just a name and a face on the big screen.


In 1996 Ko and I traveled to Geelong to attend seminars by Jean Jaques Machado run at John Will’s academy. Richard Norton was in attendance as well and he took the time to assist us both as we struggled with the concepts and ideas that JJM was trying to instill in us. It was a profound time in our training. Meeting legends in the Martial Arts and forging stronger ties with our coach John Will.


Recently Richard has returned to Australia from his home in LA to start work on Mad Max 4. Richard also started running seminars for local Martial Arts Schools, so I approached him about coming to NZ for a couple of sessions at GSW.


Richard ran 2 sessions for the GSW crew, one for the white belts and one for the coloured. As we have had so many sessions with John Will we did not know what to expect from Richard. But very quickly it became clear that while Richards teaching style was different from John’s, his skill and ability was beyond awesome.


While I was personally disappointed with the turn-out from both the GSW crew and our associated schools, the students that did attend were rewarded with an inspiring and thought provoking set of skills and drills. Richard was engaging and entertaining in his delivery and, like John, his stories and anecdotes reminded us why we are so privileged to be a Machado school.


Through our association with John Will and BJJ Australasia, we have been granted access to BJJ royalty and those that were there at the beginning of the BJJ revolution as we know it. Not only can we claim a direct link to the source but we have trained with those that help create the BJJ that we know and love.

Richard session covered many topics as he gave us what he called his ‘tea tasting’ in other words a broad range of skills and insights into concepts for our games.

For me personally it was a great look at things from a different perspective and the next day the feedback from everyone has been nothing short of astounding. Everyone knows that John Will is the very best coach and we are well versed in John’s delivery and execution of his seminars, which is why they now cater for 80+ people, but Richard provided a fresh insight into old skills and new twists and tweaks as well as new concepts. invigorating to say the least.

I won’t run through a list of what he covered as the group that made the effort can claim those things as their own, this is not a hiding of skills or a keeping of secret knowledge but an acknowledgment to those the gave up their time and took a punt on the unknown.


Richard also ran a session for the local Zen Do Kai students and instructors, held at GSW. Through sheer diplomacy I will keep my opinions to myself, other than this.

I cannot express how validated I feel in my decision to run GSW as I do, our mat culture is awesome and the people who attend our classes and fit the ideals of the school should hold their heads high and revel in their ability to absorb information and encourage the outpouring that this attitude inspires in our visiting instructors. You Guys and Girls rock.

Photos from the sessions can be found on our flickr page:>>

Richard Norton GSW BJJ seminar >>

Richard Norton GSW Zen Do Kai Seminar >>

John Will – GSW BJJ seminar June 2010

John Will returned to GSW in Lower Hutt for another round of BJJ Seminars. Once again due to numbers the seminars were split into two sessions.
White Belts and Coloured Belts.

The White Belt session was attended by 40 BJJ Students from GSW and Submission Martial Arts in Whitby. John covered a bunch of Immediate Action techniques in a seminar that he called a Vaccination Seminar.

Basically John covered answers to several of the problem areas that he sees beginners getting caught in during their first months of BJJ training. Things that John covered were, Crossover Guard defence, Side Control Escape (Hip in Pocket), Switchbase escape, Elbow Escape from Mount, Side Mount Escape, 1/2 Guard pass, Head to Head (Sit-out) and Front Choke Escape.
At the end of the White Belts session 4 New Blues were Presented 1 from Glen’s Submission Martial Arts and 3 from GSW. Conrats to Melvin, Kym and Kelvin
Kelvin, John, Geoff, Kym and Melvin

The Coloured Belts session covered getting the back and was attended by 30 of GSW’s Blue and Purple Belts. John had given us some great chokes at the last seminar and this time he went into several ways of gaining and controlling the back using several vital principals involving leverage and weight placement.
Coloured Belts Session

As always Johns seminar left everyone with something to take away and think about, as well as many things that instantly fitted into peoples grappling. Johns next session will be November 24th..

Our next seminar at GSW is with Richard Norton one of John Will’s training partners and multiple Black Belt, including his BJJ Black Belt from Jean Jacques Machado. Richard has starred in dozens of movies, with many top Martial Arts Movie Stars. Richard has also travelled the world as personal protection to performance artists. Richard bio can be found at his site

Richard will be running BJJ Seminars at GSW Lower Hutt on the 3rd of July 2010. Each seminar will be $50 and last 2 hours. Jump onto the GSW facebook page to register your interest as places are strictly limited and filling fast.
Wellington Saturday 3rd July 2010
BJJ Seminar White Belts 1pm – 3pm $50
BJJ Seminar coloured Belts 3.30pm-5.30pm $50

Wellington Sunday 4th July 2010
MMA / Street Defence Seminar (for Zen Do Kai Students)
Sunday 4th July
9am – 11am

Will / Machado NZ National Competition 2010

The boys and Girls in Auckland are hosting this years Will / Machado BJJNZ nationals.

Date: Saturday, July 31, 2010
Time: 9:30am – 5:00pm
Location: AUT, North Shore Campus
Street: 90 Akoranga Drive
City/Town: Northcote, New Zealand

Download the NZ Nationals Poster A4 >>

Online registrations can be made here >>

A facebook event page has been set up for all information and news:
Facebook Event Page Nationals 2010

Here is all the info from the facebook page. We look forward to seeing all Will / Machado BJJ Students there!!

Early Bird Entry Fee, before 5th July
$40.00, includes free competition t-shirt

After 6th July $40.00 entry fee plus $20.00 for competition t-shirt

Online entries at

Weigh In 9:30am


* You must be a member of a Will/Machado affiliated academy to compete



WHITE BELT - 5 minutes

BLUE BELT – 6 minutes

PURPLE BELT – 7 minutes

BROWN BELT – 8 minutes


WHITE BELT – 5 minutes

BLUE-PURPLE BELT – 6 minutes

2KG allowance for Gi

NB: Divisions are subject to entries, there may be an adjustment in weight split to make for better competition pools

GSW and The Poneke Dojo seperate

It’s done.. decision made… GSW and the Poneke Dojo are parting ways. Pretty sad, after a stellar relationship for 8 years. But we need to move onwards and upwards.

Classes get bigger and bigger, no matter what I say people still keep coming along. So I’ve made the decision to run all classes out of the Hutt for a few months while we finalise a new Wellington location!

Wellington will be Bigger Better More Classes and More Variety. Stay tuned for more in the coming months.

The last class at Prince of Wales Park will be this Sunday 9th May!

I just want to say a heartfelt thank you to Chris & Jill Gower for everything they have done for me and GSW over the years, you guys are the very best.


Back to Prince of Wales Park

The Poneke Dojo @ Prince of wales park has been repaired and rematted and is ready for us to use. Our first class there will be Thursday the 15th of April. Remember there is limited space so please don’t come. You are encouraged to make the drive to Lower Hutt where several Blue Belts will be on hand to help you with your game and have a roll. Other than that if you can only make it into town then I’ll see you on Thursday.

GSW Wellington Prince of Wales Park, Salisbury Tce, Mt Cook


8.00 – 9.30 pm: BJJ Intermediate (Open – Gi – grappling)


8.00 – 9.30 pm: BJJ Intermediate (Open – Gi – grappling)


7.00 – 7.45 pm: BJJ Fundamentals (new members)
7.45 – 8.30 pm: BJJ Apartheid (Coloured only)
8.30 – 9.00 pm: BJJ Grappling (Gi – grappling)


6.00 – 6.45 pm: BJJ Fundamentals (new members)
6.45 – 7.30 pm: BJJ Apartheid (Coloured only)
7.30 – 8.00 pm: BJJ Grappling (Gi – grappling)

John Will Seminars GSW Martial Arts Lower Hutt

John Will returned to Wellington this month and there were a couple of new things this time around.

Firstly we held the seminars in our own facility in Lower Hutt. With the Wellington Dojo fire earlier this month and the smaller mat area I decided that running the sessions in the Hutt would be a better option. This also gave us the chance to start at a much earlier time slot. But with the mat size I also split the session into White Belts followed by Coloured Belts.


So at 6.30pm with a few stragglers still coming through the door John kicked off his first session of 2010 and his first ever session at GSW Lower Hutt. there were 30 White Belts on the mat including 7 from Submission Porirua. Glens club is going through the same sort of expansive growth as we are at GSW and The Submission guys are starting to fight for mat space. An awesome achievement for Glen and a positive boost for BJJ students in Wellington.

John covered some basic concepts for recovering the guard, then a few ways to pass the guard followed by a few was to escape when you guard has been passed. He then put the whole thing together as a drill for everyone to cement the concepts of guard recovery into their heads.

After a quick break there was a change of tack with John covering a couple of concepts for attacking and maintaining and attacking the back. He then made everyone go through the guard recovery drill at a slower more flowing pace and swapping partners..

The White Belt session ended with 3 Blue Belt promotions. Glen awarded Submission Martial Arts first Porirua Blue Belt to Andrew Douglas and I promoted two GSW students to Blue as well. Congrats to Jeffery Alcaraz and Haydn Parker. After a quick Photo shoot the White Belts cleared the mat and the Coloured Belts took over. There were 30 Blue and Purple Belts in the advanced session and John and I took the opportunity to promote a couple of Blues to Purple.

Congrats to Phil Stenhouse and Brad Kora! BJJ Purple Belt is a significant step up and one that is not easily earned or awarded, so well done. I know the East Coast BJJ crew will be particularly stoked with Brads promotion. We hear nothing but good things about Brad and his boys in Whakatane.


John the got straight into the session covering advanced concepts around the Kata Gatame position, including, maintaining and fine-tuning the position, finishes and entires to the position. A great session and 4 hours of hard work for John. After a few quick photos everyone split and John and I got home a good hour earlier than normal. This morning I’ve seen John off on a flight to Christchurch to meet up with his ol’ buddy Ron for a fishing trip in the Wanaka area. Ron accompanied John and Melissa on Johns very first seminar trip to Wellington in 1999!


So all up there were over 60 people attending this seminar round and I’m sure that when John returns in June we’ll have to take advanced bookings as the GSW classes grow and as Glens school requires more and more spaces on the mat for Johns seminars. Look for big things in 2010 as this is GSW’s 10th year as a BJJ school!



Fire Closes Wellington location

On Tuesday the 8th of Feb the new Poneke Dojo at Prince of Wales park suffered fire damage. What appears to be an electrical fault in the kitchen, sparked a fire on the top floor of the Scottish Harriers building. The fire caused extensive damage to the kitchen and lounge area and the training areas suffered smoke and water damage.

Our thoughts go out to Jill and Chris Gower who have put in countless hours over the Christmas holidays working on getting the new facility ready. The damage is heart breaking and although insurance will cover the costs I’m sure they are hurting right now.
Poneke Dojo Training Area
What does this mean for GSW? Well I’ve made the decision to run all our classes from our Hutt Location until the Wellington Building is repaired or until a new venue is found. So beginning Sunday the 14th of February our Lower Hutt class timetable will look like this.
Sunday 6pm Fundamentals – 7pm Grappling
Monday 7pm Fundamentals – 8pm Grappling
Wednesday 7pm Fundamentals – 8pm Grappling
(Please note there is no normal class on the 17th we are closed for a John Will Seminar!!)
Thursday 7pm Fundamentals – 8pm Grappling

Thomas took several pictures of the fire damage and you can see them on our facebook page. Compare them to the pristine videos posted below.

Please check back here for more information as we get it.