#58 David Christopher aka “DC”: The Ultimate Kids Coach, Super Dad and Leader of Academy Jiu-jitsu.
Do you have kids and you want them to do BJJ? This episode is for you! Not only is DC an incredible Blackbelt and coach he is an amazing father and leader. He talks candidly about his origins in BJJ and Strength & Conditioning and having the courage to take the jump to start his own Gym. There are so many real gems of wisdom and insight on what it takes to make it in the business of BJJ and raise kids at the same time. He explains how being a dad has made him a better coach and helped him to know how to balance discipline and fun.
Speaker 1: 0:04
Better listen. Very careful.
Speaker 2: 0:08
A good martial artist does not become tense, but ready,
Speaker 3: 0:13
Essentially at this point, the fight is over.
Speaker 1: 0:17
So you pretty much flow with the goal
Speaker 4: 0:22
Who is worthy to be trusted with the secret to limit this power.
Speaker 5: 0:28
Speaker 6: 0:29
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another Bulletproof for BJJ podcast. I am JT. And today with me, I have a very special guest. I have my man David, Christopher, other as known as DC head coach pioneer father extraordinaire , kids , coach superhero right here, ladies and gentlemen make him feel welcome, DC. <laugh>
Speaker 7: 0:55
Thanks JT . It’s an honor to be on the show, man. I love what you guys do
Speaker 6: 0:59
Now. Part of the reason why I, I wanna have this conversation with you here today is just how much I have kind of from afar admired what you do. And then also, uh , recently seeing this incredible, um , gym that you’ve built, which we are sitting in right now. Um, but what I thought we do just to start off because as , uh , a lot of people listening to this, they , they tune in, they , they want to find out different things about, um , health and fitness, as well as, uh , BJJ related things. I wanted to start with you because you, you also have your own strength conditioning and , and , and in your own , your own background and in , in training a as well as obviously, you know, a lifetime of jujitsu, maybe you can just like, it , it , it kind of eliminate people like what came first? Was it jujitsu or was it like health and fitness? Like how did it all start for you? How did you start with jujitsu ? And then how do you find like your own strength, conditioning, all that feeds into you , you and your training.
Speaker 7: 2:06
Yeah, that , uh, it’s I guess I started quite young. Um, so I was doing, my brother was really into martial arts long before I was, uh, I was really into like skateboarding and music and stuff like that. So, you know, trying to play in bands and , and do a lot of skateboarding, the cool stuff, the cool. I was trying to be cool. Yeah ,
Speaker 8: 2:24
That’s trying to be cool. You were cool. You were cool. <laugh>
Speaker 7: 2:26
Um, and so he got me into it probably when I was about 16. I started some GDO lessons, um , with him, which is kind of like the original mixed martial arts, Bruce Lee stuff. Yeah . Which is pretty cool. Uh , but then it kind of faded out and I ended up moving to Australia. This was when I was in the states. Uh , so I didn’t, I did it for maybe six months a year and I did TaeKwonDo and karate as a kid and stuff, but that never stuck. And then when I, I moved to Australia, my brother came out probably, mm . Maybe three or four years after I’d moved to Australia. And again, he was really super in to at the time. So he kind of like abandoned a lot of the JKD system and went straight, pure jujitsu. So the first thing he did when he got out here was he was looking for a jujitsu school. Meantime, the music and skateboarding lifestyle is not the most wholesome <laugh> . So No, I was not very healthy at the time, just partying, smoking, drinking, just doing all the dumb stuff. And I was tired of it. And he was a really good influence. So he got me working out to start. Cool. So strength conditioning stuff kind of started. Then he’s got me, you know , doing some runs around the block, going to the gym, lifting some weights, more kind of standard body building stuff, you know , machines.
Speaker 6: 3:33
How old were you at this kind of
Speaker 7: 3:35
Point? Probably about 20. Yep . 20. So it was my introduction into actually take , trying to take care of myself. Um, and so we did that. She like basically took me through the ropes cuz he’s been doing that for a long time. And then he introduced me to the guys at dominance when they were on Swan street. Yeah . Cuz he was training there. So between like music, school and skateboarding and, and trying to do my own fitness stuff, we , I would go and hang out at the school I was and really training at the time. Um, and Dave Hart and cam were, were the guys running at the time plus Dave cick . Um , and there was Meley ballon was there as well. And a few other like guys that are all now, you know, amazing black belts, but they were really welcoming. So they convinced me over time to get on the mat and try it out. And I kind of got a Dick did to it from that point on and it kind of overlapped everything else. Like I didn’t want to go to the gym anymore. I just wanted to do jujitsu. It was way more fun. So can
Speaker 6: 4:26
You speak to the kind of first jujitsu class experience was like a good thing, a bad thing? Was it memorable or
Speaker 7: 4:33
Like, yeah, I think that’s why it became it stuck was cuz like I got on the mat and I didn’t know anything, but they just, it was like during a mat type of thing. So like, all right . Let’s just grapple. So I I’d scraps a lot as a kid. Yeah . Right . Obviously there no punches and kicks, but you gotta try and not get submitted. Yeah . So I just, it was just a scramble Fest. Right. Me spazzing out, trying to get the guy off of me and then just getting owned by someone like Murray and just getting crushed. Yeah . And I just, this feeling of hopelessness afterwards, like I thought I some stuff, but clearly I don’t. So either I can just live with that, that I don’t know what’s gonna happen. Someone’s just gonna annihilate me or maybe I should figure this stuff out. And that’s where the bug kind of set. And then as you know, the more you do it, the more it opens up and the more you want more, you know? Yeah. You
Speaker 6: 5:17
Speaker 7: 5:18
Yeah. It becomes addictive.
Speaker 6: 5:20
Oh wow . And so if we look at that and that timeline, you’re doing training, you’re doing Jisu for yourself. Is that always like a kind of concurrent thing? Or like you say , did you just kind of park gym and training for a while? And then it was just all jujitsu . Like
Speaker 7: 5:36
I, I still wanted the gym to do stuff. Um, I didn’t have any like real professional trainings. So I was going to the gym and doing again, like body building stuff, I’d run the treadmill, I’d work out on the machines. Um, just cuz that’s what I thought working out was at the time. It wasn’t until my brother opened a gym later down the line, long story, but he opened a gym in Cincinnati with his coach, Jim Kelly and they started getting into, uh , what was the, the original stages of the Jim Jones phase. Oh yeah , yeah, yeah. So they were really into that, which kind of bled into some CrossFit stuff later mm-hmm <affirmative> um , so we started doing that kind of training, which was way more functional for jujitsu and conditioning. Mm . Um, and I found, I felt the benefits of it versus going to and running on the treadmill and doing the, the , I didn’t, it didn’t seem to have any crossover effect .
Speaker 6: 6:21
Speaker 7: 6:21
Translate, it didn’t translate very well, but the conditioning stuff and the style of workouts that we were doing with the Jim Jones style and the CrossFit man conditioning on the mat, you could feel the difference. So, uh , we started moving in that direction, which started getting me into doing more ketlebell stuff. Cause I often used the kettlebell stuff. Um , and we had a coach at the time that would take us through similar workouts. Um, it was a gym called adrenaline in Cincinnati and we’d go there every Saturday and Sunday. And we just annihilate ourselves through a process of kettlebell training, SL work. We had a sled on the concrete that we was , was brutal, tough. Um , but all that stuff obviously paid vivid on the mat as well. Uh , and so I got really fascinated over time with kettlebells. Uh , I started using them a lot more. I started researching them a lot more discovered pav and stuff like that. Yeah . And then coming back to Australia, so I was doing jujitsu the whole time. I found that stuff effective. Um, I got a job teaching kids at dominance, uh , in Melbourne and during the , I was doing ketlebells on the side all the time. And Andrew Reid was the coach there . Strength, conditioning coach at the time. Yeah . Yeah . And he saw me working the kettlebells and he is like, you seem like you , you kind of know some stuff. How about you come up and do a , a class with me cuz I kind of know a few things about kettlebells. He does . I had no idea. He was a like RKC level to hardcore instructor of it. I didn’t know anything about that stuff at the time. And so I started doing, uh , classes with him. Um, and man that , that stuff paid a lot of dividends too. That was super like doing learning, get ups , like proper get ups . Yeah . Um , learning the, the ladder format was really powerful, uh , training sequence. Um , until he got me all the way up to the point where I could get my own RKC certification. Awesome. Which was a brutal course. Yeah . But man, I learned a lot. It was really good. Yeah. So that’s like a three day course and you’re lifting for eight hours a day. You’re on the bells eight hours a day and then they test you at the end. Yeah .
Speaker 6: 8:13
Speaker 7: 8:13
Man. It was good though. And so that, that was always my, so then I just moved straight into, that was my favorite format of strength and conditioning, um , was with the kettle bells and then all of my cardio stuff would basically be through jujitsu, you know? Yeah . And then, yeah. And then, so I just kept training, um , at dominance for a long time until I got my, uh, I got my brown , I went back to the states and got my brown belt through Jim , the same guy I was training with Justin. They owned the gym together and then I got my black belt through, through Dave.
Speaker 6: 8:39
Yeah. Right. And he looking back at that, like , what’s that timeline? Like if you think you started, when you were 20 ish,
Speaker 7: 8:46
It was about 20. And then I got my, I got my black belt right before Nolan was born. Um , and I think I was at 31. Right. So about 11 years. Yeah.
Speaker 6: 8:56
Speaker 7: 8:56
Of experience like feeling out a bunch of different things, different countries, different gyms. So in between all those it’d be like I was living in Queensland for a little while, training in a few different gyms out there, uh , Puma and I tried access . Um, and then in the states also I trained at , uh , like a Helton Gracie school in Columbus. Um, I’ve, I’ve trained at like AOJ in California. I trained, um, in Utah for a while at a Pedro sour academy that Jim was running at the time. So I I’d been through a lot of different gyms and tried a lot of different things and was able to kind of funnel what was most effective, at least for me. And, and watching during those phases, cuz one of the phases in Cincinnati was like, they were just opening the gym. So a lot of new people are coming through. So I’m able to kind of observe what’s working for people and what’s not working for people as far as the strength and conditioning side of things and the jujitsu and the instruction and how people are approaching their training. So 11 years of kind of not only being active in it, but also playing small roles as coach. Yep . Like keep teaching the kids. Yeah . Running strength and conditioning classes myself during that time. And then, you know, having trained at different places to see different people’s coaching styles, teaching styles. Yeah . And how they approach jujitsu, how they approach strength conditioning. So I was able to kind of , uh , accumulate a lot of knowledge and, and techniques yeah . When it comes to coaching styles. Yeah . And kind of be able to have those tools. So that helps you cuz everybody like you , I’m sure you’ve experienced everybody learns different.
Speaker 6: 10:22
Yeah. A hundred percent.
Speaker 7: 10:23
Yeah . And you can’t just be like, this is the way you have to do it or it doesn’t work that’s right. It
Speaker 6: 10:27
Doesn’t work. It’s gotta be adaptable.
Speaker 7: 10:29
It has to be adaptable.
Speaker 6: 10:30
And so at what point, because obviously, um , everybody goes through the judicial journey. Did different ways , like was there any injuries along the way, did you ever have like a real like hell injury or
Speaker 7: 10:43
Nothing terrible? I think the strength and conditioning stuff really helped. I had knee injuries to meniscus in both knees, lots of strains, LCL strains, ACL strains, um, you know, the shoulder problems, neck problems, but nothing that, nothing that sent me under the table onto the knife. Sure. So I was able to use the strength conditioning based knowledge I had to , when I did get injured, be able to kind of rehab myself back into training. Um , one of the things about living in the states was you never really wanted to go to , to hospital or doctor . It was so expensive. Yeah . And if you got, if you got injured and you had to go to the hospital, you were gonna get fit with like an eight, $9,000 bill and it just, and the way that you get paid there, like with the work that I was doing, you’re getting paid $10 an hour, $11 an hour. And that’s at like a fine dining restaurant as a chef, like, dang , you’re not getting paid much. So that would be everything. Yeah . That would be every thing, it be all your training, everything you’d just be, you’d be broke, you know , for one injury. So you just have to figure out how to take care of yourself and hope nothing gets too bad.
Speaker 6: 11:47
Yeah. I guess we, you know, that’s the, uh , the benefit of having Medicare and yeah . The pharmaceutical benefit scheme and all these things we probably take for granted just for all of you out there listening, if you do jujitsu and you don’t have some private health insurance, you need to get up on that. <laugh> to Australia. <laugh>, it’s interesting to me that like obviously we go through different stages in the journey. At what point did you say? I wanna open my own gym. Yeah . And like where was that in the journey? And then talk me through that
Speaker 7: 12:19
Good question. So, um, I was happy at dominance. Dave was a great coach and he was an excellent boss. Uh , he paid me really well better than I ever thought I would get paid to teach Jitsu. Um , I was working a couple jobs at that time as well, so, but I was still on an hourly wage. Mm . So at the end there was no end to that. You know, you only, your body can only take so much through , through the time that you can work. And then my, my partner was pregnant with Nolan. Yes. Um, and I’m like, okay, well I’m about to be a dad. Yeah . Uh, can I sustain this and do I want to sustain this? And is this the environment like my lifestyle that I want to have for him? And you know, you start, as soon as your partner’s pregnant, you’re going real introverted. You’re thinking about all kinds of, yeah . Who am I? What’s my what’s some purposes of dad. You go , you go pretty deep. At least I did. Yeah. Um , and so I was like, I can’t, I don’t want this. I want, I wanna be able to do my own thing. I think that I can provide, or what I want for him is a place to at is like a family, a family environment where kids, parents everybody’s welcome, um , to train, to do jujitsu , uh , and , and cultivate that environment for him. So he has these type of friends and these type of people in his life that he can rely on. Now, he would’ve had that at, at dominance, but it was a very like very competi environment. Like they very much focused on competition. And I didn’t want an environment that kind of pressured the kids in any way to do that sort of thing. Um, gonna kind of take the , the , the edge off it a little bit so that they can grow into jujitsu , um , safely and without thinking about having to go and like be super intense about it. Sure. So I, I started think , thinking about some ideas. I started talking to some of my friends about it. I talked to Dave about it. I was like, Hey, I’m thinking about open my own gym. What do you think? And he gave me some of my good ideas about where to start, uh , it’s like subleasing and , and gyms and things like that. Um , we found that place and, and it was like, well, I , I want again also having my own business apart from the culture that I wanted to, to do was slightly different, but it was something that I could build to the degree that I wanted to, or keep it to the size that I wanted to . It didn’t have to get too big. Yeah . But you know, it was my own to grow as much as I wanted. And it wasn’t based on just the time that I , I put in there was more I could create and jobs for other people and, you know, uh , give Nolan that environment to grow up in. And it’s been really, really successful through that time . So that’s when I, the , the imagery of what I wanted made me and the good friends that I had, Dylan and Anthony were so supportive of the idea that like, you can do it. Cause I had my doubts. I’m like , not , I don’t know if I can do, I don’t have any money I’m broke. I’m basically working week to week with the jobs that I was doing. They’re like, nah , man, we’ll , we’ll back. You we’ll support you a hundred percent. So having that support, which I’d never really had in my life before. Um, and, and with Dave too, cuz he was very supportive as well, man. It just, I was like, this is the first time I feel like I can put myself out there and take the risk. And so I was like, I’m gonna do it because I don’t know if this will ever happen again. No,
Speaker 6: 15:17
That’s uh , so much courage man. That’s
Speaker 7: 15:20
It is, it’s scary. Starting a business. Huge, no idea. You know, you build , you put it together, you know like no one was there from day one as a little tike , just, you know, laying the mats, we’re putting up all this stuff and you know, you open the doors. You don’t know if it’s just gonna be tumbleweeds for , for the next six months and no one’s gonna show up. Yeah. Well we were lucky we didn’t have an empty class from day one. We had people in from the first day we opened . Wow. So that was, that was yeah. Incredible.
Speaker 6: 15:45
Yeah . Incredible. When was that? When did academy jus start?
Speaker 7: 15:49
Uh, 2015, July, July, 2015. We, we opened the doors for the first time. Yeah . And then we had, you know, five years of awesome growth and then lockdowns in 2020, which kind of helps us . We’ve been open for seven years now, but basically only five. Cause we’ve had two years where we’ve been in and out. Not really been able to kind of kick back into yeah. Momentum because of COVID. Yeah .
Speaker 6: 16:12
And so it’s, I guess it’s interesting to hear how you, uh , speaking about and thinking about jujitsu because it’s coming from that place of being a father, correct? Yeah . Being a dad and thinking about what you want for your son. Right. And you also, your daughter, she’s a powerhouse. She
Speaker 7: 16:27
Is . <laugh> ,
Speaker 6: 16:29
She’s so funny. I , I , I will , I will admit, you know, I , I watch your Instagram a lot just cuz I I’m , I , I like to pretend that I would have kids that are like yours and then <laugh> , they’re cool. And they train jujitsu. And so , so I vicariously live through your Instagram <laugh> uh , which we all do to a certain extent for various people in our lives and our Instagram.
Speaker 7: 16:49
Speaker 6: 16:49
True . True. Yeah . Yeah . But no, I think it’s really cool because the other thing that I guess I’ve come to know. Totally. So Patty , cuz I , I believe the first time I met you was at Domin and I think you were a brown belt and I was a purple belt and I was actually coming in to do pro sessions. Yeah . And that, that time Dan Kelly and some of the judo guys were coming in. Yeah . And Lockey was there. MI was there, king was, there
Speaker 7: 17:13
Speaker 6: 17:14
Like, it was a hell session. Yeah . <laugh> like to say it was just like real brutal. Yeah . But it was like what I was keen for. And I , I remember always meeting, like meeting him and thinking, man, he’s such a nice guy. And then whatever, it’s all like, we all go on our journeys, but this is just super random. So a client of mine, the who lives not far from here, she’s got this really smart son, like too precocious, too smart. Huh . He’s three years old. He’s like telling you stuff about stars and poor patrol and too nice vehicles. And like he , you know, he’s super chatty and she’s like, oh, do you think I should get him into jujitsu ? I’m like, yeah, like, sure. But I’m like, can he sit still? Cuz he, he came one time to the gym and he’s just going crazy. Yeah . While she’s doing her session, I’m like, I’m really worried. He’s gonna get hurt. Like we’re in a gym, you know, we’re at the Richmond gym. And I was like, it’s just Barb bells and kettlebells. I’m like, he’s gonna run into something. And she’s like, oh , like he’s got a lot of energy. He’s kind of hyper. And I’m like, yeah, I actually dunno if that’s good for a jujitsu class. Like he might just drive an instructor crazy <laugh> but then like not long after that, she’s like, oh I, um , I went to sign him up for jujitsu, but this academy is like, it’s just booked out. They have a waiting list. And I was like, holy goodness. Where’s that? She’s like, oh it’s academy jujitsu and Campbell . And I was like, oh that’s DC’s Jim <laugh> . And I was like, yeah, their , their kids program is amazing. Like it’s worth the wait . You should get up on that. So it’s interesting that kind of came back around, um , talking that way and also, um , good friends with Kiran , ER yeah . Yeah. Kiran started training with you guys, which is awesome. Yeah . And I , I think the thing for me, which I , cuz I consider it to be a real challenge cuz I used to teach kids when I did TaeKwonDo and I was a kid myself, you know, I was like 14 right. Trying to teach other kids. And I can just remember being a kid being like, I just wanna kick these kids in their head <laugh> you know, and I mean it’s hard enough to teach adults. Yeah . Who are like fully formed, can pay attention sometimes and you know, that’s a challenge. Can you just talk me through a little bit about like how, and then this might be two separate questions. Yeah . How you being a dad and having your experiences like with your kids and you know, I think we’ve talked about this before, like previous conversations over coffee, like setting boundaries with kids and stuff like that. And then also how, you know , having taught kids class at dominance and now having your own thing,
Speaker 7: 19:51
Speaker 6: 19:51
H how you have approached teaching jujitsu to children.
Speaker 7: 19:55
Yeah. Great questions. Um, I think teaching being a father and teaching ju I think sometimes teaching jujitsu to kids also helped me understand how to structure things as a father at home as well. So I think they both played into each other one because as a father with kids, it’s just you with two kids. When you’re teaching jujitsu, you’ve got an army
Speaker 6: 20:20
Speaker 7: 20:21
Tons of personality. Beautiful, wonderful, amazing personalities on the mat, but they’re all you have a super energetic kid. You’ve got a super lethargic kid. We have kids that are on the spectrum, so they need different needs as well. So you’ve got a all kinds of different needs on the mat at the same time. And you have to try and figure out how can I give them the greatest quality of information? Keep it fun, but also keep it disciplined without letting it just run a muck . That’s a challenge.
Speaker 6: 20:43
That’s tough, man.
Speaker 7: 20:44
That’s that’s more sometimes going in there . That’s crazy .
Speaker 6: 20:46
Yeah . Discipline and fun. Oof . They’re not,
Speaker 7: 20:49
It’s a fine line to play. Yeah . It’s a fine line to play when they figure out that being disciplined leads to more fun, it becomes a little bit more easy. So at the early days of running the gym, um, I learned like take a step back. Like I learned how to kind of play jujitsu with kids when I was teaching it at, um , dominance before I had my own children. So I kind of understood some systems in place. I did some research. I I’d seen how the Gracie guys approached their kids program and I kind of utilized some of their games. Uh, and then through the , through that as like a foundation, like with any , anything, I was able to kind of branch off and create other games and other structures. But I noticed right away that if I created a repetitive environment, which they knew exactly what was expected of them, then they could, when , when we did things that were a little bit different, they were able to process and digest that information. But if we did something different every day , it was too chaotic in their brains. Right . And it was just back to play again, like all we’re , it’s a mess. So I’m the, environment’s a mess. They become a mess and it all falls apart. But if like, okay, we line up, this is for , you know, this is a drill. If you’re not doing this, then we, we have disciplinary or, or things get, take games, get taken away at the end of the class. Like, Hey man, you guys lined up that wasn’t very great. So no ball game today. Okay. But otherwise we’ll have fun anyways. Sure . Right . And we’ll take little things like that. Oh . Out of the game. So they learn to line up. Right. They learn that there’s we do the same kind of thing for probably about five days straight. So whatever the technique is, whatever the exercise is, we just create the repetition and it’s a mess at first, it’s a disaster most of the time. And you have to kind of be at one with the fact that and be playful about it and have a laugh about it. Cause they , I get too seriously. It’s no fun for anybody. Right? Yep . But as long as you keep the repetition, all of a sudden day, two day, three day four, they start to fall in line. They start to understand it’s sometimes the, the , the energy in the room is dramatically different. Yes. Sometimes they’ll come in and it’s like, they’re just no way you can keep their attention at all. And other days they come in and , and they’re just do every single thing that you’re saying to T and being a father and being an instructor, the father’s side helped me realize what was going on there. Right. Because kids will, when you create boundaries, they will always test the boundary. Right . It’s not like some people would feel like they’re being vindictive or they’re trying their kids trying to F figure out the world that they’re in. Mm . So they’re gonna test the boundaries because they want to know if there’s consistency. Yeah . It starts at a very early age when they’re looking for OB object permanent , or they’re trying to create, you know, like a kid will drop keys off the baby seat or drop keys off. They’ll look to see if it’s still there. Mom will pick it up, put it back up and they’ll do it again. I’m like, and he is like, why I just put it back up , stop doing that. And they just keep doing it’s because they want , if the same thing is gonna happen over and over again, to learn that, to learn it, to learn it , make sure that that’s a consistent thing. They’re doing the same thing in the gym map . They’re gonna test you. They’re gonna test to see that you are consistent and the environment is consistent. And once they get that trust developed, then the learning becomes much easier to give them. But if you keep changing it all the time and not relying and not, you know, putting a little bit of responsibility on them to follow what the structure is, then it all falls apart again. So I learned that pretty quick one through being a father that if I’m like, Hey, you can’t do that. And then one day I let him push past the boundary and I’ll let it go today. And then all of a sudden now he’s do doing it every day . Yeah . It’s like, oh , I’ve lost that. I lost that fight. Right. But I have to like draw the boundary and be like, no, you can’t do that. They’re they’ll make it upset. They might have a little cry . And I’m like, I’m sorry, man. Like, I’m not , I’m not mad. I’m just, this is, we can’t do this. It’s dangerous. You’re not allowed to do that. But these are the rules in the house. You just can’t do that by the second or third time. There’s no more tantrums. They just accept that. That’s the way it is. Yeah. The same thing applies in the room with kids. And once I figured out that, and it wasn’t like I was being mean, you know, I’m like, no, I’m actually helping them by making sure that they , they just follow the rules. It helped calm me. Cuz I would get, ’em really frustrated sometimes. Like, why aren’t you doing, you know, this is what you’re supposed to be doing. And it gets you really frustrated. And then sometimes you’re like, you know what? Screw just, you know, like we’ll just , we’ll just make the class play. Here’s a ball game , whatever. And let it go. Yeah. And then, and then it devolves. Yes. But when you’re like, Nope , this is what we’re doing. Okay . You guys, can you guys all line up on the wall? Okay. No ball game . If you guys keep it up or we’re gonna do pushups. And then the lesson becomes how to do pushups properly. I’m like, but this is what we’re gonna do until you guys figure it out. Then they figure it out. And they’re like , I don’t wanna do pushups all class. Yeah. You know , I even had a mom come to me in the early stages when we were developing the culture, which you have to do every time you get out a new bunch of students in and they’re like, my kids are complaining. They’re just doing lots of pushups in the class. <laugh> like, yeah , yeah , yeah . That’s what has to be done for now until they figure out that they can’t just be running a mock and they need to understand, to learn, to listen to the instructor’s orders. Otherwise it becomes dangerous a
Speaker 6: 25:29
Speaker 7: 25:29
Percent. Yeah. And just reminding them of that constantly. So why are we , why is it important to listen to the instructors? Why is it important that you do what we ask you to do? And just reminding them it’s a safety issue. Yeah . Because if you get one of those kids that comes in and their energy’s all over the place yeah . And then you start getting him to wrestle. Oh . And he’s not gonna listen when you say stop. Yeah . You have a problem. Can
Speaker 6: 25:46
Hurt a kid.
Speaker 7: 25:46
Yeah . And they need to know that themselves. Yeah. And so that’s when you can begin to help teach them how to temper the energy. Yes. Like, you know, calm down a little bit. You’re gonna hurt yourself or hurt your partner. Yeah. Um , and then they train that and they get to know themselves a little bit, which is so important.
Speaker 6: 26:00
Oh , so powerful. Yeah. Adults need to learn that too. You sometimes get a , a grown man. Yeah. Supposedly on the outside who hasn’t learned those boundaries and is too rough and doesn’t know why everybody doesn’t like rolling with them and you’re like, dude, you’re breaking everybody, dude. Like you gotta learn to play nice. Like you’re bigger, you’re stronger. Don’t be so rough. You know, I actually, you know , I had to have this conversation with somebody then I’m , they’re not my student. It’s a gym that I train at. And I just had that talk with this guy, like, dude, you’re not being rougher and rougher, doesn’t fix this cuz I’m bigger and stronger than you. I’m also a black belt. You’re a white belt . And like, dude, you gotta learn that like, or you have to recognize that like going harder is not, it’s not getting the outcome like that. Doesn’t help things . So I guess, sorry , I , I digress for you when you, when parents come to you and they’re like, oh, academy DC kids program. So great. How do you know like what is the right age-ish like, cuz obviously there’s some caveats around that. Yeah. For a kid to start jujitsu or is it more like a maturity thing that kids need to be able to sit still for five minutes before they can walk in the door? Like how, if someone is asking you should my kids start jujitsu there , say four or five years old. Yeah. How do you answer that?
Speaker 7: 27:29
So four, four or five. It is, it is child in childhood development. There is a, uh , developmental phase within the brain that happens around four or five, six, um , where they can take in information and listen and, and process, which is why primary school starts around that time. Yeah . Because before then that , that you , they can’t pick up that kind of information. They’re better off at a younger age, all the way up to about four, in my opinion. Um, just playing at home with dad. Yeah . Or mom. Yeah . And just roughhousing with mom or dad. Yeah . I’m going to the park and playing and , and social and things like that. That’s, that’s far more beneficial for their overall progress than taking them to say like a jujitsu class. Yeah . Um , that’s basically babysitting because you know, they , they’re not gonna pick up as much as they can when they’re five or six, so four and a half again, like you , you have to judge it sometimes if I know somebody that has kids in the family and we’ve already had them, their older brother or sister in the classroom and they’ve been in and they’ve watched it and they kind of know what the deal is. Right. Then four years old, I’ll take a man a little bit. I’ll try ’em out. If they seem to be with the process, part of the culture, they’ve seen it, they understand what they should be doing. So they’re easy to pull up like, Hey, just don’t do that right now. Can you just line up on the wall? And they do it. I’m like, okay, cool. He’s fine. Yeah . But if are like all over the place and just flopping around just like at , at four I’m like just not yet. Yep . That , so we are cut off age for people that we don’t know that we haven’t met is five, right. Nothing before then. Yes. Just because they’re coming into a completely new culture and there’s so much stimulus. I gotta wear this strange uniform. I don’t know any of these kids. It’s very intimidating. And so they’re terror five and we don’t want to have to, uh , expose them to that when they’re not really kind of mentally developmentally at that stage yet when we know for sure. And they might be, but we know for sure when they hit five, they most likely 98% of the time will be developmentally ready to take on what we’re gonna be giving them. Yep . So that’s why I think five. So we have the you young group, which is basically five to seven or eight, depending on development. Yep . How fast they go, how quickly. And they pick up the information Cubs, that’s the Cubs class. And those are basically teaching the language. Right? What is the , what is the Gar , what is mal ? And just teaching them positions and giving them games. So they get pro preception. Yeah . How do I push with my feet? How do I use my hands and my feet? How do I get up? How do I deal with somebody trying to push and pull me like all that stuff? Which, you know, they don’t even let kids really kind of have contact in school anymore. Yeah. Right. So it’s so important that they, they get that. Yeah . And then once they’ve gotten to past that age of, you know, seven, eight , again, they click over into another developmental phase where they can now process mentally more complex moves and goals. So you can now start teaching them like, well, when you get a guard pass , you get points and there’s competition stuff. If we’re talking about competition or if we need to defend yourself against a fight, you can start having more deeper conversations about what jujitsu it is and what it’s for. Doesn’t have to just be games anymore. Yeah . But that doesn’t happen until they reach that seven or eight stage before then you could be saying all this stuff to them, but I promise you, they’re not getting it. They’re kidding .
Speaker 6: 30:31
Speaker 7: 30:32
Like , why is competition important? What , what , what fighting like all that stuff is not really like a full understanding to them. Right . But once they reach eight, nine, they really start to pick up the importance of it and , and what you’re trying to provide for them. Right . So it’s not a waste of time. Yeah. So I say five is good, five to seven or eight, mostly just games. Let them learn how to use their body and , and how to play jujitsu. And then pass that point. Then he can start teaching, you know, what, what the , the world of jujitsu’s all about. Yeah . And how it relates to self defend insane and combat and, and sport.
Speaker 6: 31:04
Speaker 7: 31:05
Nice. Cause they can pick that up better.
Speaker 6: 31:06
Amazing. And I guess it’s the thing like, so how old is, uh , Nolan now your son he’s eight,
Speaker 7: 31:13
Right . Just turned eight on at this January, January 29 .
Speaker 6: 31:16
But he’s , he’s been living on the mats since , since the beginning, right? Yeah.
Speaker 7: 31:19
I was literally, you know, feeding a milk on the mats, a done in between pro classes. Wow . He just laid on the side.
Speaker 6: 31:25
Yeah . Without going into too much. I mean obviously like he’s the son of the boss of the academy, but he’s like a super smart kid. Like I just see, you know, I see him on your Instagram stories and just, you know, he’s funny as hell. Uh , you know, can you see that he’s more S in his understanding of jujitsu because he’s been around it so much or is he very much like other kids or like, you know, like how does that translate? I mean, it’s hard to be objective cuz he’s your son, correct ? Yeah. Yeah. But when you’re looking at him next to other kids of a similar age, is he
Speaker 7: 32:01
Speaker 6: 32:02
Speaker 7: 32:02
Bit better? I think, think that he has a one, I definitely think, and I’ve tried to make it so that he is basically just like kids his age when you approach it. I treat him the same as you’re
Speaker 6: 32:13
Not trying to turn him into the type . I’m not trying to
Speaker 7: 32:15
I’m soon . I’m not trying to force him to be better than anybody
Speaker 6: 32:18
Else . He’s not fine in Del
Speaker 7: 32:19
I treat him exactly the same as everybody else. Yeah. Like, and I think what he has that is you unique for the level that he’s at, uh , is a , is a casual absorption of jujitsu and it , and it’s so comfortable for him. Like some kids, you know, when he’s picking up and trying to learn something new in jujitsu, I see him doing it. And if I’m like, like there are times where I see him doing something weird. I’m like, what are you , why are you doing that? You know? And I’ll be like, you’re supposed to be doing this. And then I , I watch it after a couple weeks, he’ll still keep doing it. And I kind of just let him experiment with it. And all of a sudden I see his game grow. Like he’s figuring that out. Yeah. Right. I’m just gonna play in this realm for a little while. And then it, all of a sudden becomes something is using just fluidly in his game. Right. Without having to think about it. And he’s got so many components of his game that he accesses and an awareness of, of things that surprise me at times, cuz we would show like the shoulder throat . Right. Yeah . And try to show like, uh , eon, say and AIE right. Yeah . And I’d be like, yo , do the shoulder throw . And he’ll he gets mad at me cuz I’m and I always play that of coaching dad. He’s like, I don’t want the should to throw dad cuz he’ll get my back. And I’m like, yeah, I can understand that threat . You know? Yeah . I know that, that he understands that there’s these there’s there’s moves and there’s consequences behind the moves . So there’s these layers of under not just the technique anymore, where someone, his age at gray belt , they’re just doing the moves cuz I’m
Speaker 6: 33:38
I , I , I think I’ve got adult in adults class who don’t understand that . Yeah. Yeah. So the rest
Speaker 7: 33:43
That they’re taking,
Speaker 6: 33:43
I’m trying to do this if on AGI and I’m getting choked, I don’t know why it’s like, <laugh> , you’re giving him your back kind of , and you’re not doing it. Right. But
Speaker 7: 33:51
Yeah. And he , so he’ll, he’ll he’ll he teaches me it sometimes like about things that he’s doing. Like, I’ll be like, why are you doing that? But he understands why he’s doing it. Which is the thing that you don’t get mostly from kids that age. He actually can tell me and explain to me why he’s trying that thing. And he can articulate
Speaker 6: 34:06
Speaker 7: 34:07
He was irrationally. It’s not like, ah , I just,
Speaker 6: 34:11
Speaker 7: 34:11
Just do it . Yeah . I just felt like a good thing to do. But now he’ll explain technically his strategy for why he’s doing that thing. I’m that’s
Speaker 6: 34:17
Crazy. That’s crazy. Yeah. That’s wow. That’s really , really that’s wild . And your daughter, how old is she?
Speaker 7: 34:24
She just turned six.
Speaker 6: 34:26
She’s a like gutsy girl. She’s like really?
Speaker 7: 34:29
She’s good now. Yeah. She, she loves, she’s always been brave. She’s very brave. She’s brave too . Yeah . And now she’s, she’s got such a personality about her too, which I’m sure you you’ve seen. Yes . And getting her two was a little bit more challenging than it was no one , like she would do the same thing that no one did. I mean, she’s been on the mats the same, like since she was born basically. And she would do the warmups with the kids and play some of the games and she’d always play jujitsu with me, but getting her into the group class was intimidating cuz she’s always been really small mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and so it took a little bit of a fight sometimes between us, uh , uh , a little bit of carrot in the stick. Like, Hey, if you do it, I know it’s scary, hon . I’m sorry. But like if you do it and I promise you’ll be okay. Um , you know, I’ll, I’ll take you down. We’ll get some ice cream after. Sure. Those little things kind of. Yeah . And then after doing that for, you know, maybe a month, two months, she now is no fight. Yeah. She like wants
Speaker 6: 35:20
Yeah . She’s into
Speaker 7: 35:21
It. She may gimme a little aside like , like what are we doing today? We got to get you Shem . Like, Ugh <laugh> . But when she comes in, she’s all laughed. She loves it. She gets dressed all by herself. That’s another cool thing that they can just put their uniforms on all by themselves and get on the mat and then they fold ’em up and put ’em away. Hey,
Speaker 6: 35:34
I know at the other class they can’t do that either. I know
Speaker 7: 35:37
It’s crazy, but yeah, it’s cool to see, see her coming more physically confident so she can stand her own ground. She wrestles with different kids with no qualms, no fear, you know , it’s all , it’s all scared and, and teary at first for a lot of kids, like they’re just so scared. They don’t know what’s gonna happen. They’re afraid they’re gonna get hurt. And then , and I love watching the physical confidence develop in them. Yeah . They’re like, oh , okay. It’s cool. Let’s go next kid. Amazing . And they just don’t know that’s the best. That’s what I really that’s what that’s a huge reward. Yeah . Is watching them be scared of any interaction to being confident that they can handle or at least survive any interaction. That’s the
Speaker 6: 36:13
Best amazing. Yeah . All of that is just, you know , you gold and I think the other thing which I’d like to like tap into and just ask you about is like you had , you opened your own gym. That was big, big step. And it’s, it’s worked out exceptionally well, positioning everything, the , the community response. Amazing. And that is really a Testament to your own , own dedication to this creating culture. Yeah . Which is like what we do at Bulletproof, you know, we’re trying to create, you know , a healthier approach to jujitsu . Yeah . So that people can stay in the game. Because I guess as you know yourself, you know, it’s a long play you get in this thing, you love it. But when you go from that white belt and then you’re like, I’m a blue and I want to be a black belt . That’s a hell Jenny . Like it’s for most people it’s 10 years plus. Yeah . It’s only the very few who would do it in less. Yeah . Who are pushing really hard. Yeah . But then also you gotta ask the question, like, do they stay in it for life? Right? Or do they burn out? Correct .
Speaker 7: 37:15
Speaker 6: 37:16
You know, like kit got the thought very quickly. He don’t really do ju to that much anymore. Right. For various reasons, you know, like maybe he’s not the best example, but I guess what I wanted to talk about is the investment and you have invested so significantly, you had your first gym and COVID , I wanted to try and lead into, so we’re in this beautiful space right here, guys. You can’t see it be putting some videos up on the Instagram, this amazing converted space here. So you were around the corner. Yeah. What was that mat space like when you, like, what was the meterage?
Speaker 7: 37:51
Uh , it was , it was probably like usable mat space . Maybe like 200 square meters, right ? Yeah. It was not very big,
Speaker 6: 37:57
But it had pylons and I
Speaker 7: 37:59
Had a pillar in the middle and it had weird corners cuz the bathroom was kind of cutting off part of the mat and the reception had to cut off a corner of the mat. So it was laid out weird. You had like two basic straight strips with the pillar in the middle and the , and then mats kind of joined it together. But it was, it was not the easiest mat to, to , to utilize. Yeah . Especially when the classes got crowded with the kids and , and some of the adult classes too, you know, I was like takedowns and stuff were difficult to manage. We had to come up with different ways to work it.
Speaker 6: 38:25
But you , you did work it . We did work it really well.
Speaker 7: 38:28
Yeah. We managed to work it out
Speaker 6: 38:29
And when COVID hit, because a lot of people out there may have experienced this, whether you were here in Australia and I’m , I’m , I’m , I’m here with DC in Victoria. And so Victoria got hit the worst outer everywhere in Australia, really? In terms of lockdowns, can you speak to a little bit about how you went from that space to this now glorious, amazing space.
Speaker 7: 38:52
Yeah. So again, we, we have have an incredible community that were so supportive during the time they knew because we were the , as , as a gym, we’re the first to get cut and the last to get open . So the certainty of, of whether we could survive that storm was completely null, especially at the first lockdowns, we had no idea how much of a drain that was gonna be. The , we were able to negotiate with. Luckily with the landlord, Anthony is, is amazing at making sure the back end of the business is really well taken care of. Um , and he’s a gun when it comes to being able to communicate well with that sort of stuff. So he got us a good deal with the lease. So we were able to get some of that, uh , 50% off. So we were able to save some money with the lease that was gonna keep draining through the period. Um , a lot of the community offered to keep, keep paying, even though we were like you guys. Yeah. I don’t need to, um , to support us amazing. And in that time and we we’d open back up and obviously we gave them credit for their membership so that they paid during that time they got that membership back. But because of the lockdown, so we were in and out at savings set aside, luckily always save guys, please, if you have a business, put money aside, do not burn that money. Make sure you put aside again, another tip from Anthony that probably saved the whole business during that time putting plenty of money aside don’t touch it. Yep . So we had that backup just in case something like this ever happened, who knew it was gonna be a pandemic. Right. Right. So then we get to the, you know, I don’t even remember there’s how many lockdowns? Six, seven lockdowns crazy. And we open up back up after probably two or three and we think, oh, it’s gotta be done now. We’re good things. Start picking back up. We start picking some momentum. Students are coming back. We feel pretty good. So because the place was getting credit, we started looking for another site again, we were looking before we’re like, I think we can do it. So we started looking around and then we got locked down again, but we kept looking and we found this place here. This is a heritage building, um , in Camberwell and the tenants here just left because the lockdowns destroyed them. It was like a TAFE school and they couldn’t afford it anymore. So they just bailed on the lease all together. So Anthony, who’s a guy , again, a gun at , at dealing with this sort of stuff came in and talked to the guys and negotiated an incredible deal for us because there were people were desperate at the time. So we took the most out of a really bad situation and we tried to capitalize on it in the best way we could for the business. So we were able to negotiate a really good lease. The so of construction stuff was, was challenging, but we knew people within the industry. So that helped us with the cost of getting everything built as well . Yeah.
Speaker 6: 41:24
I’ll just interject here . Like you guys can’t see it, but just so you know, um, this , this building is amazing. It’s got these really kind of high arching roofs and really wide. There’s this really nice. I mean, did you guys put this wall in the middle wall?
Speaker 7: 41:39
Uh, the, there was a center wall there that we tore down. Right. And this wall was already there, but we cut out the doorways.
Speaker 6: 41:45
Yeah. The doorways that can be shut off. So there’s two, there’s like a main mat in the entrance. When you walk in and then to the side, there’s large wooden sliding doors and you can off to the side with formatting and then there there’s an upstairs area it’s like beautifully finished. But what is super nice about this aspect of being a heritage building? Yeah. It’s almost like cathedral
Speaker 7: 42:07
Que . Yeah.
Speaker 6: 42:08
And you guys might be getting that resonance down the, uh , microphone, the echo , but it it’s so beautiful and it , you guys have put so much , cause I’ve followed this as is the wave of social media. I was followed. You got like the renovations, you guys put the work in man .
Speaker 7: 42:23
Yeah. We had to, because also they, they closed the , the whole construction industry. We were protesting at the time, so they shut ’em down. Um, so we had to come in here and basically hands down, do the work a lot of the work ourselves, a student of mine, Scotty did a tremendous amount of the work and then
Speaker 6: 42:37
Speaker 7: 42:38
Scotty. Yeah . Thanks Scotty. He’s a man. He’s so , so grateful. We have him on the team. Great coach too. Um , and then Dylan and his brother did all the design stuff. Oh . So his brother does some interior design. Um , and he, him and his brother kind of worked out how we were gonna lay the place out, came up with the idea, the sprung floor that we’re sitting on now. Um, and man, it , it just came together magnificently. I can’t believe all the little pieces that, that fell in way . There was a lot of headaches. Don’t get me wrong. Trying to get materials was a nightmare. Cuz everything was held up, took forever for anything to be delivered. We’ve spent probably this is with the small mat that we’re sitting on now. And we probably had to spend, you know, six, seven weeks on this mat alone. Yeah . With our student base, which is quite big with the kids and adults. So we barely, we , we made it work same way. We did. Luckily we’d had a small space, so we kind of knew how to work small spaces. And then when that second mat came in the huge mat , it was just like a gift for every , everybody was so stoked when they had
Speaker 6: 43:35
Yeah . All
Speaker 7: 43:35
This room to finally train in . They’ve been training in that little condensed, tiny little space for so long. It just felt good because we’re coming outta lockdown and captivity. And then we’re coming into a space that was now like open and, and huge ceilings and lots of breathing room. It just felt like a lot of freedom. You know? It was, it was good. Everyone was buzzing. It was such a , such a nice little reward for all the hard work we put in during that time.
Speaker 6: 43:57
Yeah man. I’m so happy for you guys. And obviously when I , I blow up and go big time and I <laugh> , you know, I , and I, you know , I have my, my army of ninjas. I’ll be sending them here to <laugh> train at DC to learn the right way . So
Speaker 7: 44:11
Speaker 6: 44:12
Yeah. <laugh> but uh , no man, look, I I’m so happy for you. And also just so pleased that I think about the different people I know in jujitsu and I think about certain people. I mean obviously everyone who stays in jujitsu for 10 years plus is a dedicated, hardworking human. There’s always suffering. There’s always sacrifice background. Yeah. To be able to, to do that. Yeah. You give up a lot to be able to keep it up. Yeah. But even more so that you make it your livelihood. Mm it’s not as easy as oh yeah. When I walk out the academy it’s done, there’s the cleaning of the mats. There’s the boo running of the books and there’s the, the , the , everything, the thought, the love, the passion. So what I want to do right now is I want to acknowledge you Dave Christmas, man. <laugh> because I feel like I know a lot of people in jujitsu, maybe there’s people out there who don’t know about you and you are a legend and I see what you do, man. And it is spreading jujitsu culture the right way. So thank you, my man. Appreciate you and everything you’re doing here. If you’re in Melbourne and you’re going for a bit of road trips, so you’ve got some kids and you want to come do some jujitsu, <laugh> come here to Campbell, come check out, uh , academy jujitsu. It’s an extraordinary place even just to see this place. It’s beautiful. I was just saying, when I walked in here to see it in person, it’s like, it’s probably one of the nicest academies I’ve ever been in. I’ve been in academies all over the world. So <laugh> , it’s a , it’s a great thing. And, um, it’s a great thing to be here talking with you, man. Thank you very much. And also, man, I was gonna say, is there anything that if you were gonna give some advice, just, you know, to , to kind of wrap up, but you’re a lifetime martial artist and obviously head coach doona . Is there any advice that you would give to, to parents or even just to people who are early in ju to journey about what will help them with their , with either keeping their kids in the game or keeping themselves in the game,
Speaker 7: 46:11
Stop watching Instagram, him
Speaker 9: 46:13
Speaker 7: 46:17
Nah , you just, I think, I think one of the biggest things, I think people need to understand that for kids, it needs to stay a recreational activity. Uh , don’t push them too hard. It’s a lot of competition makes money. So money gets pushed and people see a lot more competition than they do of what Gigi actually is. Hm . Um, which is a form of, of teaching kids. How to be strong, resilient, teach. ’em how to be a martial artist, right? Uh , defend themselves, build confidence. There’s a lot of layers underneath that. People don’t cuz you , they don’t sell that on Instagram. Yep . It doesn’t make money, but it’s really important that when you bring your kids to, to the martial arts gym, understand that the coaches there are invested in creating that for the, the kid. If they wanna be a competitor later, that’s on them. It’s not on us. Right. And I think when you’re first as an adult coming jujitsu, don’t try and leave your expectations out, come and listen to the coach and do your very best just to learn what the environment’s like, educate yourself on the space. Don’t think that you need to become a world champion first, just get good at jujitsu. And then you can think about those things later. But a lot of people come in thinking that that’s what they’re gonna do from day one. And they got a long, long arduous road ahead of them before that point comes, which is why like Instagram can kind of feed that when you’re just scrolling doom scrolling through. And all you’re seeing is competition footage. These are guys that have been doing jujitsu hardcore for an extraordinary amount of time and the techniques they’re showing and the things that they’re showing are all very unique to what their needs are. So it’s , it’s hard to contextualize that. Yeah. So yeah. Try to try to just come in, remove your expectations, do what the coach is doing and do your very best to listen to the coach. And if you have questions, ask the coach and, and I think that’s the best thing that you can do for your kids, uh , and for yourself on your journey. Awesome.
Speaker 6: 47:59
Thank you DC. Appreciate you, man. Hey,
Speaker 7: 48:01
I appreciate you and everything you guys do, man , bull proof and everything you guys and all your stuff that you do is amazing and so positive for the community. So thank you.
Speaker 6: 48:09
Thank you. And uh , if any of you out there, if you’re trying to get your kids into jujitsu , take away these words of wisdom from, from DC and then do some research in your area. You know, jujitsu is everywhere now and kids classes are available and you know, uh , definitely it’s, it’s worthwhile. I wish I had jujitsu when I was a little kid, you know? So, um , thank you for the , this thing . Thank you, DC . See you .