The power of training and importance of family proved their clout at the recent National Jiu Jitsu competition, where three Monbulk entrants took out gold and silver medals in their categories.
Monbulk Lionheart Academy students Amelie Boyden, Mckinley Norris and Ray Timms emerged as national Brazilian jiu jitsu champions after competing in Melbourne on 11 August.
Amelie, 13, stormed to victory without losing a fight while Mckinley, 8, went on to win in his weight grading despite an early loss in his first fight.
Ray Timms, 25, also received a silver in gi and gold in no gi.
Brazilian jiu jitsu, or BJJ, involves grappling, ground fighting and trying to control an opponent through moves which force them to submit.
Amelie claimed gold in her weight division despite moving from karate to jiu jistu just last year.
“I’ve been training for a year,” she told the Mail.
“Before I did jiu jitsu I did karate and I did it with my dad, and when we came here we couldn’t find a karate gym, so we went up here to train jiu jitsu.
“There’s just a few changes, from standing up to being on the ground.”
More than 1258 competitors attended this year’s Australian National Championship of Brazilian jiu jitsu.
Mckinley is one of the youngest champions at Lionheart Academy and the nationals was his first taste at competitive jiu jitsu.
Despite losing his first fight on points, Mckinley won his second and his third – which was a rematch with his first adversary.
“I was very nervous before the competition because it is such a big event and it was my first time,” he said.
“The first one – he tried to submission me but I got out, but I lost on points and I arm-barred the second one.”
Both students train several times a week at Lionheart Academy in Monbulk under the guidance of three-time world jiu jitsu champion Joao Moura Neto.
“I’m very proud of the students,” he said.
“I love my job but it’s not just about the medals – it’s about changing their life.
“For me I try and create a family here because when you start and you help them, they help you like a family.
“Some come and they’re very shy and I can watch the kids start to share more and grow.”
Ray, Amelie and Mckinley will all compete at October’s Pan Pacific Jiu Jitsu Championships.