Gym 2 – The Martial Arts Academy, Tauranga, New Zealand

Gym number 2 in the second week here! The Martial Arts Academy in Tauranga.

I haven’t set myself a definite number that I want to hit in each country or for the overall year itself, but I think I’ll be happy if I get to a new gym roughly once per week (also, Rach may not be too happy if this entire trip becomes completely BJJ focused! :-))

I’m in a friend of a friend’s, cousin’s, daughter’s car driving into the town centre of Tauranga……I still don’t think my planning skills are completely back after the flight as I have 10 minutes to get to the gym and it’s rush hour traffic.

I turn left on 1st Avenue…10 minutes to spare and I’m here, yes!…….but I can’t see the gym, no!

The only thing which seems to be here is an office block. I wind down the window and shout to one of the guys who was leaving the building, “Hey! Do you know if there is a gym around here please?”. The guy looked at me and shrugged. “Is this first Avenue?”, I tried again. “It’s part of it”, he replied, “It’s split into two, you have to drive around to access the other side”.

I’m pretty sure I thanked the guy before speeding off….I hope I did…..

I arrived screeching into the car park of what definitely looked like a gym after looping the block. I ran up the stairs and I’m greeted by Scott (who’d had kindly responded to my email pretty much imeadiately) and Christine (who is the Taekwon-Do instructor). Both were really friendly and showed me around.

It was a really great sized facility fully equipt with a cage, boxing ring, full sized mat area, and some separate warm up/training rooms.

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They introduced me to Kelvin (“Crazy Horse”) Joseph who was going to be taking the class for the day. Kelvin is an active and sucessful MMA competitor who currently holds the 2014 Shuriken welterweight MMA title.


We (or I) did have a minor panic around the Gi though. There is a spare one at the gym, which Scott had mentioned I could use for class, but it had seemed to be misplaced before I’d arrived.

I had my rash guard and Kelvin had already told me that I could train no-gi without a problem. But I was wearing some jean shorts which isn’t appropriate as the buckles and metal stubbs can cause injury. “I’m training one way or another”, I’m thinking……even if it’s in a rash guard and boxer shorts!

Fortunately (for everyone involved) it didn’t come to that…some spare pants were found and we were good to go!

The class technique involved a number of escapes from the bottom turtle position. It was an extension on a set of techniques from the previous weeks. I’d been expecting this to be a slight issue with training in various gyms over the course of the year….A lot of schools have either a syllabus wich is followed systematically, and also , a lot of techniques may take a number of weeks to complete and fully discuss the areas involved. By just hopping into different schools for a single class would sometimes mean dropping into the middle of a particular technique without doing my homework on the previous week’s work.

Fortunately, I was paired up with a great guy named ‘Bo’ who gave me a quick crash course on what had been covered the previous lesson to bring me up to speed.

We finished up the lesson and then had around 20 minutes of rolling. I had my go-pro charged this time around and asked Kelvin if it would be ok to set it up in the corner to film. “We don’t usually allow film during class, but for the blog we can make an exception”, Kelvin said with a smile. He took the go-pro off me and passed it over to a very kind lady (who was waiting for the next class to start) who was willing to help by filming. Only 2 weeks in and I’ve got my own film crew! :-)

After class, and again staying true to the general friendly vibe we’d been getting since arriving, everyone was super nice and informative about other gyms I could visit during the trip. All stuck around for a final photo at the end. DSC02782

Here are a few of the roll videos! As with all of these, if anyone can spot mistakes, give much needed advice etc. I would greatly appreciate it! You can reach me a number of ways via my contact page. 

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