About Us

“Always assume that your opponent is going to be bigger, stronger and faster than you; so that you learn to rely on technique, timing and leverage rather than brute strength.” – Helio Gracie

Meet The Coaches

Travis Browne

Black Belt

Growing up playing rugby and surfing Travis’ parents didn’t want him doing martial arts, despite his love of Bruce Lee, other than a small bit of wrestling at Orewa College.

When he shifted to Waikato University he began training at Incorporated Martial Arts (IMA) in Hamilton. After completion of his studies, he shifted back to Auckland where he was fortunate to come under the instruction of Sensei Michael Gent.

Sensei Gent taught Ninjutsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This instruction set Travis truly on his martial art journey until Sensei Gent’s untimely passing.

It was during this time that Travis first met and trained with John Will. When Travis shifted back to Hamilton he was a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt and was fortunate to link up with Errol Watson and Phil Beale who had set up Ground Control Hamilton under Michael Fooks. Travis trained and competed with this group for many years moving through the ranks to brown belt and medalling in regional and national competitions.

In 2015 Travis shifted to Waitetuna and after a few years of commuting to Hamilton for training decided to explore setting up a BJJ community in Raglan where once again he had the good fortune to link up with Dr. Nate Marshal, Rakai Rewharewha, Dai ‘Jitsu, Andrew Higgins, and several others. This group formed the foundation of Whaingaroa Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

In 2017 Travis was awarded his black belt by John Will

He now actively works with the Raglan BJJ community to try to ensure there is a place for people to gather to work together to explore the art

Andrew Higgins

Black Belt

Andrew began his martial arts journey at age 17 when he joined Chidokan Karate School in Auckland. He trained for 2 years in old school Karate and loved it. Martial arts was then on hold for some years until in his 40’s he commenced boxing and Muay Thai kickboxing with Master Tan in Hamilton.

At the urging of his eldest son Andrew was introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Ground Control Hamilton. This is where Andrew was introduced to Phil Beale, Chris Heke, Errol Watson and Travis Browne. This led to 11 years of training with Ground Control Hamilton and attending every possible John Will Seminar.

Andrew was very impressed with the camaraderie and ethos of his BJJ coaches. BJJ has become part of Andrew’s life. When Andrew he shifted to Raglan he continued training with Travis Browne who had shifted to Waitetuna. Together they and Dr Nate Marshall began training in Andrew’s shed at Te Mata, Raglan. This later evolved to a meeting with Rakai Rewharewha who had established connections with the Whaingaroa Whenua Trust. Rakai had fundraised to secure mats for training and was a founding member of RaglanBJJ. Rakai helped to secure a training space at the Kokiri.

Andrew received his Black Belt 30 April 2023

Philip Beale

Black Belt

“Sensei” Phil Beale was one of the first Martial arts school owners to
incorporate ‘mixed martial arts under a club banner. 

Phil was the chief
instructor and head of the reputable Kobukan Martial Arts, in addition
to co-founding Ground Control Hamilton. Phil has been actively training
martial arts since 1972 (at 18 years of age).

  • Karate 5th Dan Shidoin Blackbelt (Under Patrick McCarthy, Koryu
    Uchinadi, 2008)
  • Former Core MMA Senior Instructor (Head of Kickboxing Grading Panel)
  • Tae Kwon Do 1st Dan Blackbelt (Willy Lim)
  • Will-Machado BJJ Black Belt (Awarded by John Will)
  • Former Chief Instructor at Kobukan School of Martial Arts.

Armin Schmidt

Brown Belt

Training in martial arts since the age of 7 by starting off with Goju-Ryu Karate Do under Sensei Gerd Richter at the Shu-Ha-Ri Training Center. Transitioned into boxing and kickboxing at age 18 at Boxring Wittenberg under Rainer Smokefoot

BJJ BROWN BELT under Will/Machado.

Former state grappling champion

Former national vice champion in MMA – Lightweight German mixed martial arts national amateur team member International Mixed Martial Arts Federation

Certified judge, inspector, time keeper and master scorecard executive.

Currently training under Carlo Meister at Core MMA as a member of the mixed martial arts competition team.

Proud member of the MMA Team at SHUHARI Sportcentrum in Wittenberg under Sensei Gerd Richter

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