A new martial arts/health and fitness studio has opened its doors in Katikati and is a dream come true for Lance and Kylie Campbell.

After a blessing on site, members of the Global Jiu Jitsu Academy were welcomed into their new home at 7 Earl Drive and later for their first training night.

"The kids and parents absolutely love it and congratulated us on the amazing training facility they now have at their disposal," says Lance.

Children's training night at the new Global Jiu Jitsu Academy.
Children's training night at the new Global Jiu Jitsu Academy.

The Campbells have been running the Global Jiu Jitsu Academy in Katikati since moving here from Auckland two years ago with their three children.

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Lance, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor, has been training students and adults at the Katikati Wrestling Club, thanks to the support of Ross Tanner and Andy Roche, who allowed them the use of the facility two days a week, and also Jenna McCready at KatiFit Gym and Mike Podbury before, who let them use space at the gym.

The couple, originally from Tauranga, were keen to open their own facility for the community. Both are passionate about being able to provide an environment for people of all ages in the community to reach their potential and to develop a positive, supportive, and encouraging culture.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the world's fastest-growing martial arts. Students of all ages and from all walks of life practise the art for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, fitness, competition, camaraderie, stress relief, and fun.

During lockdown the Campbells discovered the ideal facility at Earl Drive to develop the martial arts academy, which has many members from Waihi to Tauranga.

"Our landlords Ian and Diane Stevens have been fantastic," says Lance.

The couple spent the last month cleaning and painting inside laying carpet and mats, along with help from members and many in the community.

Lance and Kylie Campbell with their daughter Marlee, in the strength and conditioning area.
Lance and Kylie Campbell with their daughter Marlee, in the strength and conditioning area.

The reason behind the couple creating the new gym is to give back to the community.

"We see people who have potential but haven't had an outlet," says Kylie.

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"It's not just fathers and sons who come, it's mothers, daughters, and sons. We have some amazing women coming on board."

In the last five years there has been huge growth in the sport for women in the area, Kylie says.

"In our gym we have a lot of women training. It's something they can do with their kids."

The academy features eight photos on the wall, which point to its lineage going back to the 1800s from Jigaro Kano and Mtsuyo Maeda to New Zealand champions, Steve Oliver and Lance Campbell.

The centre is open six days a week teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, mixed martial arts, fitness and mobility circuits, wrestling in conjunction with Katikati wrestling and self defence.

It has two studios, a strength and conditioning area, shower, changing rooms and an upstairs entertainment area for children to wait safely while their parents train.

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Lance says Jiu Jitsu is a male-dominated sport, but its meaning is the soft art (Jiu means gentleness), that's why we also provide a self-defence progamme and bully proof programme for children, educating them on how to avoid a fight, defend themselves and work their way out of a situation.