Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our students, friends and family!

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Join Bucklands Beach BJJ in 2020

Hey Auckland,

After a hectic few months we thought it’s time to round off another great year at Bucklands Beach BJJ.

National Championships – black belt Gi National Champion

In our last blog post, the team was preparing for the Gi National Championships. As always, all the team did themselves and their club proud. Wins or losses, it was great to see everyone perform so well under in a high-pressure environment.
This was the first time I’d competed for a while and it was also my first time competing as Black Belt. After taking gold in various competitions domestically and internationally I was keen to train as hard as I could to see how I performed at a new level.
Granted, it was a small division, but I was happy to walk away with a victory in the final taking gold in the super heavy/ultra heavy black belt adult division! A massive thank you to all of the team for helping me prepare.
Currently undefeated in gi competitions in New Zealand at brown and black belt, the Oceania Championship is just around the corner and I’m looking forward to another challenge at an international level.

Andy Medcalf teaching

Rising competitors

One of our dedicated team members, Cody, has been quietly training hard and he recently received his promotion to blue belt (intermediate division).
His first competition, mentioned above, was the Gi National Championships. This was his first time at blue belt and after six or seven matches Cody narrowly lost out in the final to take silver! Not wanting to stop there, over the past few months Cody has also competed in both Mana and Full Force, submission only competitions. Again, these were his first time in an intermediate no gi competition and Cody went on to take gold in both! Top performances.
Along with Cody, we have a really strong competition team with up and comers such as Josh (recently taking gold after 10 matches at the Mana Championship), Cail, Alicia, Christli and some of the Little Warriors, among others.
It’s great to see a mix of day to day hobbiests and competitors alike, helping each other on the mats in every session. Keep up the good work everyone! With the New Year on the near horizon, everyone is looking forward to getting back to it in 2020!

Gold medal winner

Meet the boss – a lifestyle transformation!

As with previous blogs, this one is also going to feature some news from Claire (my wife and the brains behind Bucklands Beach BJJ).
Claire usually runs the blogs, page and business, whereas I have the easy part of turning up to roll and teach. That’s why it’s awesome to have the opportunity to write this section and tell a short story of the past twelve months on the mats, and why BJJ really is for everyone.

This time last year, Claire was 74kg. Not unfit, but not really focused on staying healthy. After around 13 years of trying to persuade her to try BJJ, she finally caved in and decided to give it a go. It hasn’t been easy and sure, there’s been the occasional broken nail or bruise; but with some good workouts and a several realizations, it’s not actually as bad as she first thought (despite being tough of course)!

Claire has gone on to receive two tags on her white belt this year! This is a great achievement however it’s not the only reason I wanted to write this blog. Since then, her fitness improved, and her diet gradually started to shift. She also started an exercise routine on top of the grappling and has gone down to 63kg! That’s 11kg down and she’s looking in great shape!
Just a quick shout out to anyone male or female that thinks it’s going to be too tough. That thinks they’re too unfit to start… You’re right, it is tough. You probably will struggle when you start… The important thing to remember is that this won’t be the case for long. Just train and your fitness will improve. Also your confidence, mental health, ability to defend yourself and of course, your body shape!

Claire Medcalf 2 stripe white belt

New blue belts

Massive congratulations to Jeremy, Alberto, Josh and Heath who received their blue belts recently! They’ve all been with us since the foundation of the club and their determination and ability has been a great addition to our team! Well done, you deserve this.

Ashley Williams seminar

Big thank you to Ashley Williams, the recent Polaris Champion for holding a brilliant no gi seminar! Some interesting concepts and details the team and I personally have taken on board. Looking forward to having you back again soon.

Gold medal winner

Join our team #2020

Every week we receive emails and phone calls from individuals asking if it’s okay to come along, even if they’ve never done anything like this before.
We all started in the same position and our classes cater for beginners and advanced grapplers alike (we have had people overweight, underweight, confident, not confident). It really doesn’t matter you are who you are, you are welcome to come along and have a go! After the first few sessions, all of the apprehensions will be gone and you will start learning a new skill, developing a new passion and being part of an already amazing team (that would love to have you)!
We’re open as usual in the New Year and we’re looking forward to seeing new and old members back on the mats for 2020!

Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year, we wish you all the best.

Claire (white belt 2 tags!) and Andy

Bucklands BJJ Diaries #2: Malcolm Taylor & James Boyd

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Bucklands Beach Training Stories

Following Derrick Hodgson’s fantastic introduction into this series, which follows the personal training stories of Bucklands Beach BJJ students, we have two more stories to share with you today. Enjoy!

#1 Malcolm Taylor’s entry into BJJ, from beginner to blue belt

I met Andy at his daughter’s BJJ birthday party two years ago. As I watched the kids play games, I was having a great time stuffing my face with cake. Andy was talking to me (he’s a friendly guy) then somehow, I agreed to try a BJJ class. To this day I still have no idea how I got talked into it?!

I went along to that first class with my head full of confidence, sure that I could handle myself having had experience in other fighting sports. Well, I left that night sore and bewildered. I had been choked and submitted so many times I couldn’t even count, but I was completely addicted to BJJ.

I started the sport very overweight and out of shape, so I have had some hard times fighting the urge to give it all away and go back to that easy life of eating and drinking too much of the wrong stuff, doing nothing and dying slowly in the lazy boy. Over the last two years I have transformed so much of my life. I have lost a lot of weight and gained strength, flexibility and got back that confidence I used to have. This change in me has made life so much better for myself and my family. I now have energy to be able to play with my kids how they want me to play, and because I’m not tired and unfit I am a much happier person. In short BJJ has saved me from myself.

My new-found addiction has taken me on a wild adventure so far. The classes are so much fun. Sometimes it’s really hard work but most of the time it’s just fun. I have set goals for myself and made some of them. I have also stumbled on the way, but time and time again I have had Andy there to encourage me and help keep my eye on the prize.

Blue Belt promotion - Auckland Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

I was recently awarded my blue belt only days before my first ever competition. This was a huge surprise and I was unsure if I was even at a blue belt level in the sport. Getting that belt meant I now had to go up a division in the comp and I was worried that it was going to be too much, but Andy was there to encourage and support me once again. I came away from that competition with a bronze medal and the confidence that Andy was teaching me a high level of BJJ.

One of the absolute best things about training at Bucklands Beach BJJ is the people. The sport teaches people to be humble and respectful very quickly but the atmosphere that Andy and his family have created at the club is without doubt warm and welcoming. There are so many different people from so many different backgrounds all mashed into one, all training and helping each other without any issues or big egos. It truly is one big family.

I am sure that my big adventure into BJJ will continue with Andy and his family for many years to come.

#2 James Boyd’s phenomenal growth at the club – the lessons learned from competing

I started BJJ about a year and a half ago and have been addicted since the start. Walking into my first class and meeting Andy was very nerve wracking and I thought I would get smashed from the start.

The first thing I noticed was how much of a family vibe everyone gave off. There were no egos, no hot heads, and no arrogance. The first person I rolled with was Ryan Medcalf, Andy’s son and blue belt at the time (now one of the best purple belts in the country).

Being the new guy, I thought I was doomed against Ryan. I was very surprised that he ran me through several sets of basic moves, sweep, passes, and submissions to help me get a sense of what this was all about. A very pleasant and professional introduction to the club I now call home.

I entered my first comp about 7 months into my BJJ journey. I won my weight class with two submissions and a draw. This was very eye opening as I thought I would be at the bottom of the heap. My second tournament didn’t go so well however. It was at the no-gi regionals, and I had moved up a weight class due to the winter weight getting to me. It was a disaster. All my fault of course. I ended up at the bottom of my bracket with only losses to my name. It was the best thing that could’ve ever happen to me. Winning is great after all but you only learn when you lose.

Blue Belt promotion - Auckland Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

About a year into my time at Buckland Beach BJJ I left. I had shifted my schedule at work and had less time to make it to class most days. I went to another club in the area which won’t be named out of respect. This was the worst decision of my life. Being a three-stripe white belt and going against blue and purple belts from this new club was surprisingly easy. There was an insane difference in the skill levels between training partners at the two clubs.

I gave it about a month before my patience ran out. I couldn’t take smashing blue belts anymore and moved back to Andy’s club. Right away, I realised that there was no other club like Buckland Beach BJJ. The lack of bullcrap, the emphasis on real moves that work, and the family environment all made me realise this is the best club in Auckland.

There were many difficult times during training. Coming in and experiencing a tough training session can always leave you wondering where your holes are and how you got tapped by that one guy over and over. However, this is where you grow. You need the bad times so that you can fill in the gaps in your game and continue to push forward.

No need to elaborate on the good times because that starts when you first step on the jiu jitsu mat, and stops only when you decide to stop. And if you never quit, well then, the good times just keep on rolling!

We really enjoyed what Malcolm and James had to say, we hope you did too. We have more stories to share with you soon! Until then, catch you on the mat.

Blog by Derrick Hodgson: a beginner at Bucklands Beach BJJ & MMA

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Derrick Hodgson training story

Firstly, what got me into BJJ? I have been active all my life reaching high grades in both badminton and squash. I ranked in NZ for both. After injuring my back in 2017, this made these sports painful. My son is a 4 tag white belt in BJJ (in Aussie) and when I said to him I needed something to get fit, he said to give BJJ a go as he thought physically I’d be able to do it without further injuring myself. So at 60 years of age, I went looking for a club close to work and home, and it’s there I found the Bucklands Beach BJJ club… The rest is history.

Week One

Sat 6th April 2019: This was my first class where I went to see if BJJ was for me. I didn’t have a gi so I just went in my exercise gear. I went a little early and met Andy (Medcalf) the instructor. He showed me a few moves to help me get out of guard which I ‘tried’ to use during my rolls. He introduced me to some other team members, everyone was so welcoming and helpful. In my first roll I was submitted in about 20 secs. So I rolled again and again. Every time being submitted by numerous different moves by my opponent(s). Within 30 minutes, I was so tired but I didn’t take a break and did the whole class. After that first class I knew I wanted to continue. This was a new experience and I loved it. I’ve never been so tired in my life but it was exhilarating. I remember sitting on the top step getting my strength back before I spoke with them.

Things I needed to do:

  • Get fit and lose weight

  • Stop trying to overpower my opponent

  • Relax when rolling (my opponents advice)

  • Learn through looking and asking questions

  • Promise to myself to go to classes 3 times per week (wife permitting)

For the following days, I could hardly move! (True story) I work in the Ambulance service and my partner had to help me get into the Ambulance! I kid you not. I was also bruised over my arms, chest and abdomen. That’s part and parcel of rolling I’m afraid. I had a great experience and I was doing it with guys and gals who are happy to help.

Perseverance for me is the key. I’m getting to know more of the members. The atmosphere is great. Andy has instruction nights where he shows us certain moves then we get to practice it with our partner. It looks so easy when Andy does it. Everything he shows us is ( and looks) like common sense, so easy. It’s putting what you see into actions – that is the problem (but fun).

I must get the fundamentals right (try to!). This is going to be a challenge.

Week Two

Even though I had decided to join after the first class (of course) my wife was worried I was going to get injured (blah blah blah) you know the over-protective thing! Anyway, I joined without her knowledge. I have injuries (quite a few actually) but my philosophy in life is to get on top of it and cope whilst having fun. Assessing what you can and cannot do. Knowing your limitations.

That second week was a hard one and I can still remember it. I met James for the first time, a really nice guy, young, enthusiastic, and (in my opinion) a very good grappler. There was no pussy-footing around. Straight in for the lapel, then the arms, then down I went. He was in full guard, legs around me. Really tight (crushing actually!). During our roll he kept advising me to break his guard before doing anything, as whatever I was trying to do was not working. His grips were so tight. Eventually I did break his lock around me (maybe he let go a bit I’m not sure, probably did) so I managed to get side guard… Hmm, now what do I do? I will always remember that, I was battered and bruised, especially in both arms. On thing I remember him telling me was ‘grip, position, submit’. Get a good grip so you can get a good position so you can submit your opponent. I know it sounds ‘easy’, well it isn’t……trust me. What I experienced with James was what grappling was all about, and I learnt it. It’s about not giving your opponent anything, you have to fight for it and look for openings.

Despite my body saying NO, I went twice more during the week and rolled with a whole lot of people with totally different styles, and ways of getting you in awkward positions to submit you. One thing I noticed during the second week: I was not nearly as tired and I actually walked down the stairs without hesitation. During my second week I feel I should have been concentrating on ‘NOT’ being submitted and getting my defensive abilities up. At the moment I need to concentrate on one thing and try and get good at that. So my goal now is to stay rolling for as long as I can without being submitted. If I get submitted after 20 seconds, I will then roll and aim for 45 seconds before I get submitted. Early on I learnt, keep your arms in and not spread out to the sides (to keep your balance) – I got arm barred in seconds. It’s easier to say that as you think you are going to be off balance if you don’t. You won’t be off balance, but teaching your brain that is the problem. During the second week I borrowed a gi as you really do need one. The loaned one was good but you MUST wash it immediately after use as they will stink if you don’t. Not to mention they will rot due to the sweat… And believe me you sweat!

Week Three

I’m still going three days a week, but I attend BJJ depending on my work schedule, so the days I go are never the same. A lot of the guys go to the Tuesday and Thursday (double hitter) no-gi classes, then straight after do a gi class. I found the double on Thursday especially hard on my body. You’ve got to remember I am 60! I don’t know why I love the exhaustion I experience. The exercise, the interaction with my club-mates is great, long story short – my other half stepped in and stopped me from doing the second class. I think maybe she is right. I do know other club members have had a few ‘discussions’ about training and time spent at BJJ. It happens, just go with the flow. This sport is like a drug, it is so addictive. If I was single and younger I’d be there every night if my body would hold up!

I think week three was a turning point for me as it was the first week I went for one full roll without being submitted. He was a 2 tag white belt who is way above my skill level but I ‘survived’. I told him not to hold back as my goal was not to be submitted. You see, it was this week I found YouTube and the videos on BJJ. I spent hours looking at submission holds (still a little above me at the moment) and good defensive techniques. Just looking at them gives you knowledge. Something may stick.

Slowly but surely I was surviving and enjoying every second of it. One submission hold I can do with competency is the Kimura and it was this week I got my first submission. He was another relatively new white belt like me. I think we were both surprised when I got it on. We both had a laugh, him stating ‘how did you do that?’ I replied ‘I saw it was there so I went for it’. I took the opportunity when it was there. Slowly things are starting to gel and my confidence is increasing.

Week Four

Another good week at the club. I get to hand in my loaned gi and I purchased my own one (blue). I watch the others in the club roll and how they move. It is so fluid. I’m still concentrating on not being submitted but I am now trying more stuff during the roll with my opponent. I am now looking for an opportunity to ‘try’ and put on a hold. In essence, I’m giving it a go. Not too successful but it’s about trying. I do get myself in a little bit of trouble giving the opponent an opportunity to put a hold on me but I have to cope and defend.

I roll with some of the older members who have been teaching me as we roll (thanks Josh and Malcolm). They don’t hold back, they just say as we roll, “go the other way” or “come on, pass my guard”, “an arm bar is on”. They realised when they made an error so indicated for me to take advantage. I rolled with Andy and got annihilated. I am 97kgs and he rolls me over like I am nothing. It’s all technique. When I watch, I can see what he does, but when rolling it is a totally different scenario.

One of the hardest things I find is passing your opponents legs. A lot of it is technique and seeing the opportunities to pass.

Week Five

My work this week has stopped me going on Thursday night. I like Thursday as a lot of club members come and it’s good to catch up. So, this week it will be Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. For me, I cannot do two sessions in a row, I’m just asking for trouble physically.

That day in-between seems to be a happy medium. Nothing new, roll wise, this week. I’m just getting some good exercise and still learning. The days I went were as usual, fun with some good rolls. There is a competitive streak in me and it wants me to do more! It will come in time, I’m patient. You cannot run before you can walk. I’ve been thinking of competing even though I know I have not been doing BJJ for very long. There is a tournament coming up. I know I will not stand a chance but I still want to do it. I suppose it is about getting out there and trying it. Never be afraid to give it a go.

Training story

Week Six

I feel comfortable in my own skin doing this. I am happy to roll with anyone at the club, happy also to be submitted by other members, but after being submitted I have a quiet think to myself, ‘why did that happen?’ I am analysing things more. I know my ability to execute moves is still lacking but at least I am trying to work things out in my own mind. I always have Andy (and others) to bounce things around to try and improve. Although my goal is still not to be submitted, I am now trying things. The problem is, I don’t move like some of these younger guys and gals. Man they are quick. I know Andy has always said it’s not about flexibility but there is a degree of flexibility you need to have. I am like a piece of 4×2. I will continue to work around my ‘disabilities’. I can say for sure since starting my fitness has improved dramatically and I have lost kilos in weight. I haven’t had a ‘time-out’ in ages where I felt I was just too tired roll. That’s a good sign.

Week Seven

Not much to add for this week. I have not been tapping out as quickly as I should, maybe a recipe for disaster! I have been trying to get out of trouble once I’m in the ‘crap’ or so to speak. For example: I’m in an arm lock and it is starting to hurt a bit, I ask myself ‘is there any movement I can make to get my thumb down, or just try to use my strength to stop it?’ Andy has said to me ‘tap out’ earlier. I am always thinking ‘what can I do now?’. Obviously I don’t want to get hurt but it’s just weighing things up as I go. I have no doubt every person who takes up this great sport has their own thoughts on how to proceed. As the instructor can only do so much, the rest is up to you.

Week Eight

Well, I will start tapping out a bit earlier as my right elbow got a bit of a hammering when I was rolling with James. In the end, I just couldn’t change things with him and my arm got bent a little too far. Nothing that a Voltaren won’t fix! it aches a bit (well, quite a bit actually). I learned my lesson. Yes Andy you were right, say no more. Although slightly injured, with my elbow, still turn up to class. The bruising has also decreased on my body. The people I am rolling with aren’t able to exert as much force on me, thus reducing the bruising. Good sign. What is also good is that people want to roll with me, and that itself is encouraging.

Week Nine

This was a slack week for me. Got to the Saturday class but that was it. My son is up from Wellington so I spent the rest of the week at the beach. The Saturday class was actually pretty good. Not as many people turned up so there was more room on the mats to roll and not collide with other people. I keep asking questions like ‘what did I do for you to do that to me?’ A bit of debrief also doesn’t hurt one iota. No matter what happens on the mats, enjoy yourself – I do.

Week Ten

A number of our club members (adults and kids) were competing at the Barfoot and Thompson stadium in Kohimarama. This was the tournament I was looking at participating in. Andy said to give it a miss this time and just come and watch. I took his advice. I wasn’t working so I went for the day, just watching and cheering on club members. It was a great day. Supporting your club, I believe, is just as important as turning up to training. I suppose it acknowledges their accomplishments, win or lose.

That is the way I see it, everyone joins for their own reasons. This was a short week for me as I had to work. The two days I did go were full on (to be honest every session is full on!). What I am finding is that I can sustain rolling for longer periods of time. I went a full five minutes without being submitted and I felt I defended well. I was absolutely knackered though. My opponent was, I think, a two or three tag white belt. It was a really good roll and he said he did not hold back. After 10 weeks, am I possibly getting better? The answer to that is yes.

Still not good on the offensive moves but I am learning to get out of trouble (like keeping my arms in rather than at my opponent’s side for balance. If I don’t do it, they arm bar me every time!). Enjoy the company, learn something new. What else do you need?

I rolled with a lovely gal called Jen. I remember rolling with her when she first joined the club. She was so meek and mild… Well now she absolutely goes for it. Full on! What I’m trying to say is that things will change for you as you develop and learn this sport. It was great to see her ‘come out of her shell’. She almost triangle-choked me this week! She also got her first tag. Well done Jen.

Week Fifteen

For the first session in the week, I arrived late to the class due to work and only got 3 rolls in, but I’ve got to say they were some of my better ones. I was rolling with a blue belt and saw an opportunity to put on a wrist lock, AND I GOT IT. To put perspective on the situation I was totally fresh and he was knackered, but the way I see it a tap out is a tap out!

On the second night, I just went for everything I could see and I was trying a host of different stuff. Got out of a few submission holds which was really good, but I wasn’t able to put any on. By the end of the night I was totally spent but feeling good.

A new member turned up (name eludes me at the moment) and we had a roll. It was good tussle. He was (is) a black belt in Judo from 25 years ago. He managed to get side control and I thought I defended well. To be honest I was quite comfortable underneath as he was using a lot of energy trying to submit me which he didn’t.

Then I rolled with Andy. I know he is way, way better than me and he knows what I’m going to do before I do it, so this is what happened. I’m trying desperately to take control of his legs starting from the feet and moving up. Somehow my feet (and body) are off the ground and I’m toppled over. As all this is happening in one fluid motion, I am thinking to myself ‘what the hell, how did he do that?’ Actually more colourful language was going through my mind! I think I survived a lot better than I usually do, he didn’t suffocate me like normal! Feet are a big part of this sport and they are something I need to get better at using. Thanks Andy – as usual, a good lesson.

My third night is tonight where we have a seminar with the world No. 1 Woman’s BJJ fighter, Bia Mesquita (10x World Champion), coming to give us some lessons. Looking forward to it.

News flash… I entered in the BJJ Nationals on the 28th September. I’m going to give it a go and experience the competition first hand. For me, this about getting out there and having fun, whilst also watching others compete. I’m nervous but on the other hand really looking forward to it.

Have fun and enjoy the atmosphere, you will not regret it.

This post is the first entry in our new series ‘Bucklands BJJ Diaries’ where we’ll be documenting some of our student’s personal BJJ training stories. We hope you enjoyed it! Stay posted as there is more to come.

It’s been a great journey everyone… Our two year anniversary is here!

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Our amazing club

Hey Auckland,

I hope everyone is having a fantastic winter so far! The last few weeks with the team have been crazy and we thought it was about time to get you up to date!

Our two year anniversary

Kicking things off – with just a few more days to go, we’re thrilled to announce our two year anniversary! A small recap for those that haven’t been following the page for too long…

A few years ago we had a some old mats and we started training on little Bucklands Beach a few times each week. When winter came, the weather started getting worse so we moved into a garage to continue our training! Week by week went by and we would have a neighbour come along, followed by another, until we ended up with a consistent group of great students. Before we knew it, the current location you’ll find us in today became available so we took a leap and opened what is now our club at the beachside. We’d just like to say to all of our team that we are thrilled you’ve stuck by us and become such an integral part of our BJJ family! (A special mention to the few of you that have been there since the start and are still going strong! You know who you are).

Early garage training days
Early days training in the garage!

So that’s our story, but looking ahead, we’re always looking forward to continuing to provide such a great environment to train in and seeing all of our new and old team alike progress further!

Codie blue belt promotion!

Codie got a promotion

One of our most active competitors, Codie, has also been awarded his blue belt earlier this month! Codie has won numerous Gi and NoGi competitions. There is no doubt Codie will continue to smash the competition circuit at blue/intermediate divisions. We’re excited to see how his Jiu Jitsu progresses! It was an absolute pleasure to award this well earned belt to a very humble and respectful member of this team!

New techniques

Submission only NoGi competition, a breakdown

Talking of the NoGi comp, we had three of our team head down for some Sub-Only fun. Chris, Codie and assistant instructor Ryan represented the team and themselves really impressively. First up was Chris who, despite only being with us a short time, won his first two matches via arm bar after losing to the winner of the division after a fourteen minute war! It was truly awesome to watch.

As aforementioned, Codie ran through his division not going past the five minute mark in any of his matches to take gold. Exciting times ahead for the next step up!

Ryan wins his fight

Lastly, we had Ryan hit the Advanced division. He had to go up a few weight classes but had some great matches. His only loss in the under 80kg advanced was in the final against a really tough opponent – a wicked start taking Silver! Next up was the absolute division… This time a slightly smaller division but again providing some excellent experiences to test himself. After his first match Ryan went on to go against a much larger opponent, after capitalising on technique and cardio which was in his favour, Ryan did a fantastic job to finish via a choke. He then went into his final match where he lost by knee bar to a tough opponent who went on to win the absolute division.

Beatriz Mesquita black belt seminar

World Champion Beatriz Mesquita Seminar

To finish off these crazy few months past, we were fortunate enough to host TEN time world champion, ADCC Champion, 5 x Abu Dhabi World Pro Champion and EBI Bantam Weight Champion Beatriz Mesquita for a last minute seminar.
Beatriz taught an amazing session and we were thrilled to be able to share our mat with her! We learned some top techniques that I’m sure everyone in attendance will add to their game! I want to give a massive thank you to all of the people that came along to support the event from our own and other clubs!

No doubt, the next time Bia is back we’ll try and get her along again.

That’s it! See you on the mats. – Andy

July competition news and changes going forward! Club news

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Hey Auckland,

Another hectic few winter months, we thought we’d kick off with the results for the Regional Gi Championships.
Win or lose, everyone did amazingly and we finished 5th overall. We want to stress how this is such a massive achievement for us, after all we’ve not even been open for two years!

Leading from the front, assistant instructor Ryan took gold in the Purple Belt division at just 17 in his first competition as a purple belt! You can watch his fight by clicking this link.

Over the next few days the team will be hitting the submission only no-gi competition in Hamilton. This format usually provides dynamic fights and a fascinating learning experience for everyone involved. As always, go and do your best but more importantly, remember to have fun!

Four new blue belts and one new purple belt

New developments ahead?

Over the coming months, we’ll be creating a diary, to recount some of the amazing training experiences our students have taken at the club. We hope this will provide an insight into life on the mats, and the intricacies and benefits that have our students have seen during their time here. Keep your eyes peeled for this soon, it’s a first for us!

Assistant instructor Ryan gold at purple belt

Lastly, as of the 8th of July, we’re proud to announce we’re plastic free… We no longer allow single use water bottles in light of recent moves to protect the environment. It’s just a small change and there’s always more that can be done, but we believe the advantages of this will outweigh any negatives. So please, going forward, remember to bring reusable bottles!

Little warriors competitors for our club

Look forward to seeing you all on the mat soon 🤙🏻

You finally did it! (Belt promotions) June 2019 club updates.

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Belt promotions at Bucklands Beach BJJ & MMA

Hey Auckland,

We’ve got some exciting news for you to kick off our June club updates!

Four new blue belts and one new purple belt


We were proud to have been able to award some new belt promotions to our hard-working students. Firstly, there is only going to be a handful of times when we are able to award several belts simultaneously as everyone has their own progression rate and normally, they have started training at varied times.

However due to several members all starting at a very similar time, we had the pleasure of awarding four blue belts and a purple belt!

Even more gratifying was the fact that most of the new blue belts aren’t regular competitors but instead, normal every day people with jobs and families. It’s been great to watch the progression of the team over the past few years, some of these new blue belts were even part of the original dozen training out of a garage!

With that being said, massive congratulations to Steve, Trent, Kevin and Malcolm – keep up the great effort and train hard! This is an important step in your Jiu Jitsu journey, and it’s only going to get better from here.

We are also happy to announce that Ryan, after a decade of training and at just seventeen, was awarded his purple belt. Ryan is an active competitor and have proven himself in several advanced divisions against purple, brown and black belt competition. He has also won the adult Gi and No Gi Regional and National Championships.

We’re looking forward to seeing Ryan’s next step up at the competition level with this new belt grade!

Click here to watch a clip of Ryan competing.

Happy students getting a new grade

For all of you

To all of our other students, new and experienced, keep training hard and before you know it, you’ll also reap the rewards of your amazing efforts. No matter if you’re chasing ability, self defense, weight loss or just simply enjoy being part of the team!

NZ Grappler Regional Gi Competition

Lastly, and while we’re talking of our next steps, it’s only a week away until the NZ Grappler Regional Gi Competition. Good luck to all of the team involved… As always—win or lose—learn and have fun!

See you on the mats! Thank you.

We’ve got a new instructor! May club updates

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Several new students

Hey Auckland,

It’s been a hectic and exciting few months, so we figured you like a small update… Here it is! 🙂

Elliot, our new instructor.

Heading into winter, it’s great to see even more new faces at our club. Speaking of which, we’re especially pleased to welcome our friend Elliot to the team, who’s working hard to train our students as a new Buckland’s Beach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor. Elliot and I met on the competition scene in the UK around 2013, while in the purple belt division. Today, we share the rank of black belt, so it’s a pleasure to be able to swap years of knowledge and have Elliot bring his wealth of expertise and insightful strategies to the team.

Instructor Elliot is new at Bucklands Beach BJJ

Elliot was a fierce competitor and a regular in several major UK competitions. In 2017 he was the number one ranked competitor in the brown belt division by the UKBJJA.

One of his greatest accomplishments was taking gold in the English open, and silver in the British, both incredibly difficult feats.

Winter means the Gi season competitions are on the near horizon, so I’m confident Elliot will be an amazing addition and a benefit to us all during our training schedule.

Training hard this May!

Come down and train with us!

Not every individual wants to compete, and that’s totally acceptable. We believe there’s a million and one alternative reasons to train Jiu Jitsu and currently at this academy, there’s a great mix of guys and girls, young and old, with different goals and aspirations. Feel free to come along and discover the benefits of training BJJ for yourself.

Until next time,

– Andy

We came in strong for the NoGi regionals! Club news, March 2019

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Club members Bucklands Beach BJJ

Hey Auckland,

I think we can all agree it was a long, hot and eventful summer. March is now watching us roll into Autumn with some more NoGi news at your favourite club, Bucklands Beach BJJ & MMA!

NoGi Regionals Competitors

Our team took a trip down to the NoGi regionals at the end of last month and as always, they did amazingly! With only twelve entries (and just 18 months since club’s inception), Bucklands Beach BJJ came 10th out of over 50 participating clubs.

Some really tough battles and lots of learning, regardless of the wins or losses! Our special mentions go to Alicia, Cail and Codie, who all took gold in their respective divisions. This is the second gold in two competitions for all three competitors, so onwards and upwards!

Little Warriors!

A massive shoutout also to our assistant instructor Ryan, who also won silver at the purple belt division (despite still being a blue belt whose just 17 years old). Massive thanks to the Oliver MMA team and all of the supporting clubs and officials, who made this yet another top event which was not to be missed.

We’re looking forward to the Nationals coming up on the 6th of April… Let us know if you’ll be joining us!

As we continue to grow, we decided to add additional MMA & NoGi classes, on both Monday and Wednesday! These classes will also have a mix of Sambo and Wrestling Drills for those that would like to expand their defensive skillset, whilst wanting to push themselves that bit harder on top of the Jiu Jitsu they know and already love.

Happy students at Bucklands Beach BJJ

Growing yoga classes

In other club-related news, the yoga classes have been an effective way to relax and stretch mid week with our amazing instructor Tash. We have a diverse mix of men and woman attending these yoga classes, who get to experience an amazing view overlooking Bucklands Beach where the sunset lies. As the cooler months start to arrive, is there a better location to unwind? Really, we’re asking…

We always enjoy keeping you updated and we are so happy with the progress everyone is making. As always, we will keep you posted with the latest news next month!

In the meantime, see you on the mats!
– Cheers guys, Andy

What a flying start to 2019 for Bucklands Beach BJJ!

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Training this february

Kia-Ora Auckland,

With January all ticked off, we’re back with more updates and progress at our favourite club – Bucklands Beach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

The latest competition to hit the NZ grappling circuit was the Mana Championship. Hosted by ATOS, the competition ran smoothly and was a killer opportunity to warm up before the Regionals which are fast approaching at the end of February. Mana was submission-only and for some, a new rule set to contend with.

We had four competitors, including three in the beginner division who were brave to jump right in.

Mana Championship!

Our first contender was Codie, who won all of his matches quickly taking gold in the under 70kg division! Amazing work Codie. Next up was James, who also took gold in the under 80kg division with a mix of subs and draws… Again, brilliant effort. Our final competitor in the beginner’s division was Jeremy, who took gold in the under 100kg! This means all three of our beginner competitors won their tiers and we are super proud of them.

Junior instructor Ryan went into the under 80kg advanced division (a mix of purple belt to black belt), where he had some strong performances against seasoned competitors.

Ryan has some great matches and did the club proud unfortunately falling short losing via heel hook. Some valuable experiences to take away as always – in Jiu Jitsu you win, or you learn! If you want some footage of one of his fights, here’s a cool video.

Ryan Medcalf competitor

We will keep you updated with the latest results from the next sub-only in Hamilton this week and the regionals when the results come in.

Club promotion

We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Allan on receiving his blue belt! At almost 50 years old and after over two and a half years on the mats, I was proud to award Allan his well-deserved promotion. This is a massive milestone and to all those receiving tags on their belts this month, keep training hard as the only way is upwards.

More mat space to facilitate our growth

In other news, we’re proud to announce we now have an even bigger mat space! We’ve witnessed the Bucklands Beach family grow like crazy since our inception, so more space was certainly needed. Massive shout out to Respect Fightwear for providing the mats, helping us create an even better training atmosphere for our amazing students.

Our new Yoga classes

Last but not least, Yoga classes at Bucklands Beach BJJ have continued to expand! Tash is doing a really amazing job bringing a wealth of experience and new perspectives to the team. By its nature, Yoga perfectly blends with the BJJ classes and has been undertaken by a wide mix of ages and abilities to help their wellbeing and flexibility whilst having fun!
In a calming environment and with the Buckland Beach sunset as a back drop, what better way is there to start the week?

Let’s keep the positive vibes rolling everyone!

As always, feel free to get in touch if you’d like to be part of our team; our doors are open for you.

– Andy

Yoga Classes, Submission Only Competition & Clark Gracie Seminar!

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Growing academy at Bucklands Beach!

Hey Auckland,

Firstly, welcome to 2019!

After a busy close last year, we’re happy to announce we now have yoga classes available from our beachside venue. These classes are a great way to stretch, relax and revitalise in a warm relaxing atmosphere in front of the sea, rain or shine!

We had chance to catch up with our amazing yoga instructor Tash…

Tash Yoga Instructor

Check out our interview with Tash below:

How long have you been teaching and doing yoga?

I have been practicing yoga for six years, and teaching for four years.

How many styles do you teach?

I teach four styles including Vinyasa flow, Yin, Restorative, and Hatha yoga. Hatha and Vinyasa are faster styles that are strength based, Yin and Restorative are slow styles that are flexibility based.

What benefits has yoga bought to you?

Yoga has given me a much clearer, calmer state of mind. I feel like I am more equiped to deal with life’s challenges. Yoga has also provided me with the tools to manage any pain in my body by eliminating tension through the postures.

Can anyone do yoga?

Anyone and everyone should be doing yoga!

Do you have to be flexible or fit to do yoga?

You do not have to be fit or flexible to do yoga. Yoga will improve your fitness and flexibility dramatically.

Why should I start learning yoga?

Yoga has many benefits and provides physical and mental balance. Studies have concluded that practicing yoga reduces stress significantly and improves sleeping. Yoga releases tension from your muscles, increases your strength, and improves joint health. It also helps you become more mindful through the focus on breathing properly.

Most of all, it will help you to move more easily, which always proves to be very important as you age.

What should I wear and bring with me?

Wear comfortable clothes that are stretchy. Shorts or leggings are good options. Bring a jacket during cooler months. You can bring a yoga mat if you want extra support.

What goals and ambitions do you have?

My current yoga goals include working towards my handstand this year and practicing regularly; honestly, that can be challenging when life gets busy. I always want to finish my Psychology degree, I’m currently entering my second year of university!

Tell us a little bit about you?

I enjoy being outdoors, taking a hike or going to the beach. I really love travelling and I am always planning my next trip. In fact, I used to be a flight attendant for Emirates airline! I also love sleeping and reading.

Tash, our new yoga instructor

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Kicking off this year, some of the team are preparing for an upcoming submission only contest which promises to be a great opportunity to challenge themselves.

Other students are simply enjoying learning their new skill and finding their new hobby this January at Bucklands Beach!

Club training and seminars

Clark Gracie Seminar

We were honoured and privileged to have none other than 2018 no-gi world champion Clark Gracie teach a seminar for our first session back after the New Year! Clark held an amazing seminar and provided some great details for those in attendance. We’re definitely looking forward to welcoming him back in the future!

Growing academy at Bucklands Beach!

Prospective Students

It’s always daunting to start something new, especially when it’s a close contact combat sport. Our friendly team will help you make the transition to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu white belt smooth and straightforward, whatever your goals are this year.

You may have seen our recent video on the Bucklands Beach Page, if not, check out by clicking here… The point is, it’s that new year now and you don’t have to ask yourself why, just honestly ask yourself, why not?

Andy Medcalf Blackbelt Instructor


In other news, our striking and fitness classes are well under way with a diverse mix of men and woman of all ages and different abilities. These classes are designed to be fun but they are also great at building fitness. Oh, and of course the music is turned up!

We’ll keep you updated with the latest developments as to how the team get along in the upcoming competition! This should be a great experience and it will be great preparation for the no-gi competitions coming up in February.

I truly wish you all the best this year,

– Andy

Our doors are now open for you, are you ready to train?

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