Our Whakapapa

History of BJJ at CLINCH

Clinch BJJ & MMA is a BJJ offshoot of the Maai Hyoshi Dojos and was founded by head coach Karl Norton in 2011, originally as a few boys from South rolling on concrete floors to our purpose built facility we have today.

Karl started martial arts in the early 90’s achieving a black belt in Ninjutsu under the late Michael Gent and later a BJJ Black Belt under John Will. 

Michael Gent, a street fighter turned martial artist and 7th dan in Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu, was instrumental in the development of BJJ here in NZ under John Will.  It is only through this alliance, that CLINCH BJJ & MMA was later formed.

Michael Gent was instrumental in bringing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to NZ under John Will in 1998, when rolling was on concrete floors and a punch to the head meant exactly that.  Michael alongside several other trail blazers really pioneered martial arts in the late 90’s forming the first Vale Tudo tournaments and self defence programs.     

Michael continued to train BJJ and host John Will gaining his BJJ brown belt at his untimely death in 2006. 

Karl continued on the this tradition within the Maai Hyoshi Dojos before later forming Clinch. 

Martial Artist pioneer Mike Gent

Clinch BJJ & MMA continues to be under Will-Machado, Australasia as taught by premier head coach John Will.  

Karl has now been coaching BJJ for over 15 years and have experience in competing and working with high performance athletes from various backgrounds. He has also had the priviledge of learning from martial arts legends such as John Will, Rigan Michado, Carlos Machado, Jean Jacque Machado, Carly & Clark Gracie, Michael Gent, John Danaher and Robert Drysdale.

Having this gained this history and experience, everything at Clinch is now built around our past, out members and our community through our values of;

  • Manaakitanga (Strength & Dignity): We strive to enhance each others mana in all our training and with mutual respect
  • Tiakitanga (Trust): Trust holds us all together and is only possible when we keep our promises and honour our commitments to ourselves and the club
  • Kia Manawanui: It is only through learning from our losses, can we truly succeed. Thats why just by “turning up giving it a go” is the best way to learn.
  • Ambition: We rise to the occassion in every training and challenge ourselves by keeping an open coachable mind.
  • Mana Enhancing – When we train, the goal is to be the best possible training partner you can be, to create a mutually beneificial training experience and ensure that when we finish training, our partner leaves with their mana enhanced and in tact. 

If you share the same passion for martial arts, a willingness to learn, and want to grow your community then it will be my privilege to be your coach

Classes are designed from beginner level right through to advanced and members from all backgrounds, ages, and sporting backgrounds come to train with us – whether to get fit and healthier, learn self-defence, compete, or simply to gain confidence and resilence.

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