Black Belt – Coach – Travis Browne
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
Purple Belt – Coach – Andrew Higgins
Andrew began his martial arts journey at age 18 when he joined Chidokan Karate School in Auckland. Martial arts was then on hold for some years until in his 40’s he trained in boxing and Muay Thai kickboxing with Master Tan in Hamilton.
Eight years ago 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 10 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 shifted to Raglan he linked up with Travis and Dr Nate Marshall and began training in his shed at Te Mata. This later evolved to a meeting with Rakai and the move to the Kokiri.
Andrew received his Purple Belt in 2017.