Last night I had the privilege of awarding Braden Sweeney his Black Belt. He started training with me at the Geraldton PCYC as a 16 year over 11 years ago.
Early in 2020 Braden moved to Perth and continued his training under Leigh Burger as well as regularly seeking out and grappling with many of Perth brown and black belts.
As well as being a solid grappler with a well-rounded gi and no gi game he is an experienced coach with many years of assisting the planning and coaching in Geraldton as well as coaching in Perth.
Oliver Murray - Will-Machado Geraldton
Picture from L to R
Michael Jones, Braden Sweeney, Oliver Murray & Jasmyn Fairclough
We all understand that we are now entering new territory with the advent of COVID-19. I am staying abreast of the rapidly-evolving situation and trying to respond in a way that is best for us all. My number one concern, as always, is with the safety and best outcomes for not only the Will-Machado BJJ family - but the wider community and especially the elderly.
Many of my international friends, including some of the most well respected coaches in BJJ, now find themselves in the unfamiliar situation of needing to temporarily close their academies for a few weeks (friends in the USA and in Europe). I doubt that Australia and New Zealand will be too far behind in the same response. We may be only days away from this happening. By the time you read this, I imagine your doors may be closed.
Of course, we are a special community, as you know – not only are we one of the leading BJJ organisations in the world, we are highly respected on the International landscape. I hope you are proud to share in the Will-Machado brand - as proud as I am of all our wonderful members.
As human beings and martial artists, we want to do the responsible thing. If the cost of doing the right thing is shared, then the chance of us all getting through this is intact, is much more likely. So now is not the time for any student to bail on their academy or gym - quite the opposite. Your coach needs your ongoing support through this crisis.
It may well be that most, if not all academies, will need to suspend classes for a couple of weeks; to let the worst of the crisis pass - a Corona Holiday of sorts. We want you to be safe. And if classes are suspended, I have no doubt that your instructors will find a myriad of ways to make it up to you over the next 12 months.
More than likely, this will only affect you for 4-8 training nights. Of course, this is all up in the air at the moment - but that is what the consensus seems to be.
So again, I ask that we all support one another through this. For many, BJJ is much more than just our weekly activity; we are a community - something that is unique and very, very special.
Be smart and be selfless as we push through this novel situation together.
Will-Machado BJJ Australasia