The first time Anaru Grant stepped onto a jiu jitsu mat, he felt pretty confident.
With a semi-professional rugby league career and upwards of 100kg of weight behind him, he was eyeing up his 70kg opponent with excitement.
He learned a tough lesson that day.
"I went to my first class and didn't really get the vibe that it was going to be as effective as it was. Once we got into sparring I found out pretty quickly that it's a lot tougher than it looks.
"This guy was probably 70kg and I was 100kg-plus at the time but I got my ass kicked. I was fairly confident in what I could do athletically but I had no idea what I was doing, that's the difference.
"I thought to myself, if I knew what he knows, just imagine what I could do. That's where it all began. Jiu jitsu is the ultimate leveller - no matter who you are, you're going to get humbled on the jiu jitsu mats."
Now, Grant has been doing jiu jitsu for 10 years and is sharing his love for the sport with the Rotorua community through the Tu Kaha Rotorua Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy, which he co-owns with Justin Franklin.
"We were operating basically out of a garage for about three years but that was more just in-house with family and friends, more just to supplement our own training. We've just moved back from Newcastle in Australia because my little girl has just turned 2 so it's time for her to come back and start learning her reo, her kōhanga and also be back with her nan and koro.
"We decided when we moved back to get the gym together, my partner Anna handles the administration side of things," Grant said.
The academy only opened in September but has enjoyed instant success, sending eight athletes to compete at the Pan Pacific IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Melbourne last month, all of whom won medals.
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Grant, who himself defended his Under-97kg Brown Belt title, said he was proud to see all the hard work the athletes had put in start to pay off.
"It was awesome, I was ecstatic. Now, it's more about our students and showing them that even though we're from a small gym in Rotorua, we can still compete with the best of them.
"That's off the back of a very successful nationals campaign as well, everyone medalled there too. It's a combination of a lot of things, we have a lot of whānau support, it's a good support network we have in the gym."
"Jiu jitsu is the ultimate leveller - no matter who you are, you're going to get humbled on the jiu jitsu mats."
Grant said to be successful at jiu jitsu, you needed to be as strong mentally as you were physically.
"It's a combination of both, a lot of discipline. It's been put out there as the equivalent to human chess - every move has a counter, every counter has a counter. It's all about being three, five, eight, 12 steps ahead of the opponent.
"That's what I like about it, you have to out think them, I really enjoy the mental challenge of putting all that together. It's perfect [for children] and that's why I'm so passionate about it.
"The kids here are amazing, we've had kids come here because of bullying and the change in their confidence is unreal. There's no quick fixes in jiu jitsu - if you're training fulltime every day it can take eight to 20 years to get a black belt. It's no walk in the park."
Anyone interested in giving jiu jitsu a go can find more information by searching Tukaha Rotorua on Facebook.
Tukaha Rotorua Pan Pacific Medal Winners
Devan Hansen - Under-30kg Grey Belt
Dante Hansen - Under-56kg Grey Belt
Bianca Fafeita - Under-65kg Yellow Belt
Anaru Grant - Under-97kg Brown Belt
Tawhiri Le Comte-Hepburn - Under-59kg Grey Belt
Alex Fausett - Under-75kg Yellow Belt
Justin Franklin - Under-88kg Purple Belt
Tyson Hansen - Under-51kg Grey Belt