HUMANS OF THE HIGHLANDS // Tony Pycroft
Local Martial Arts Champion To Compete At World Championships
Did you know we have an international martial arts champion in our midst? Meet Tony Pycroft. Tony won a gold medal at the Tokyo International open last month and is heading off to the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships in August – and it’s in Vegas baby!!
We caught up with Tony and chatted about his training regime, what he loves about competing and the passion he has for passing on his martial arts knowledge to students of all ages at Pure Jiu-Jitsu in Bowral.
When did you start competing in Jiu-Jitsu competitions?
I started competing ten years ago – about three weeks after I started Jiu-Jitsu!! I’ve always enjoyed competition of any sort. For me, competing has a sense of fear and anxiety that I like to harness and use for good. I like to fight through the fear, and I get a great sense of achievement from being anxious about the fight but facing my fear anyway.
Tell us a little more about Jiu-Jitsu.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu came from old school judo, developing into a ground-based grappling form of martial art. What does that mean? It doesn’t require kicking or punching. Jiu-Jitsu is about leverage and focusing on positional control. The goal is to control your opponent and submit them.
How long have you been running Pure Jiu-Jitsu in Bowral?
We’ve been running Pure Jiu-Jitsu in Bowral since 2017. I wasn’t planning on opening my own gym so soon – it certainly wasn’t in my five year plan!
I actually started teaching Jiu-Jitsu in Sydney and developed a passion for passing on my knowledge.
My wife Jasmine encouraged me to tap into that passion, so I started looking for a suitable location to set up a school in The Highlands.
We grew out of our first location pretty quickly, growing to about 80 members much faster than we expected. We’ve been at our Boolwey Street studio for about a year and have twice the number of students now. They come from all across The Highlands and we even have kids from Camden and Wollongong.
My two kids also train with us and our youngest, Hunter just competed in the State Championships, coming home with a silver medal. In fact, the team that we sent to the State Championships were really successful – we’ve now got three State Champions here!
So how do children benefit from Jiu-Jitsu?
There’s a sense of confidence that builds in our students. We have students that have been bullied or have low self-esteem, so to see them achieve a sense of accomplishment from learning self-defence and grappling moves is pretty amazing. Knowing they can put their hands on another person and get them to the ground, or recover the position if someone is on top of them builds their self-confidence.
Many parents say they’ve noticed a big change in their kids after just once class!
And of course, there is so much more to Jiu-Jitsu. It’s not just the physical element. Practising Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu encourages respect, personal growth, camaraderie and the ability to deal with adversity. And one of the most important things we do at Pure Jiu-Jitsu is foster the culture of looking after one another.
You had recent success in Tokyo, coming home with a gold medal! Tell us all about it.
I competed at the Tokyo International Open in June and won gold in the open weight division, which is made up of the placegetters from all other weight divisions. I had five fights and won four of them and was very happy to come away with a gold medal.
So now you’re off to the World Championships for the fourth time…
This is the fourth time I’ll be competing at the World Championships, but the first time I’ll be competing as a black belt. It’s in Las Vegas – bonus! – in August and I’m expecting it to be a lot more intense than other championships I’ve competed in.
So your training regime would also be pretty intense, right?
Hey, when you get to my age – (he’s 41, people) – the focus is more on the quality of training. I train smarter not harder. It helps me preserve the body and means I go into a competition injury free, and fresh. A lot of injuries tend to happen in training and the older you get, the longer it takes to recover so my training focuses on minimising the risk of injury.
I also do personal training, strength and conditioning sessions each week and of course, try and follow a good nutrition plan.
After my performance in Tokyo, I really feel that I’m exactly where I need to be to put myself in the best position for success at these World Championships.
Tony Pycroft runs Pure Jiu-Jitsu, a fun and family-oriented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school in Bowral. Tony focuses on building strong and resilient children, and changing the lives of adults.
“We want all our students, regardless of age, to have the confidence to face life’s obstacles and handle pressure with a clear mind and confidence,” Tony says.
And we are lovin’ this offer from Pure jiu Jitsu! Tony is offering a free uniform (worth $149) to anyone who signs up for a 12 month membership. Find out more information click here.
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