Northland's jiu jitsu fighters secured a new selection of silverware from the inaugural Oceania Open jiu jitsu championships in Auckland over the weekend.
Fifteen golds, seven silvers and four bronze medals were won by athletes from four Northland martial arts clubs - myBJJ Whangārei, Bush Jitsu, Lions Den Whangārei and Gracie Gym Whangaroa.
Best of the bunch was myBJJ Whangārei, a Brazilian jiu jitsu gym based at 273 Port Rd in Whangārei. Nine athletes competed - James Cherrie, Jonny-Rex Smith, Kiwa Rawhiti, Kyle Clements, Siena Southall, Breez Smith, Tayla Southall and Isaac O'Grady - earning six golds, three silvers and two bronze medals.
Cherrie, the gym's founder and chief instructor, saw great success in the men's black belt, over 36 years, under 76kg division, beating a two-time world title holder to win gold in the Whangārei man's first competition since October.
"I had no idea that he'd won the worlds before, I was just excited to get in there," Cherrie said.
"It was quite nice to get in there and compete at black belt again."
Cherrie, 36, said he was proud of his pupils for succeeding against high-quality international opposition and for the spirit in which they competed.
"I think that the quality of competition was quite high, so it was nice for us to be stacking up well against international-quality opponents.
"I was particularly proud of how well the kids were supporting each other, I think the community spirit of the kids and the parents has been really amazing."
With New Zealand-hosted jiu jitsu tournaments on the rise, he said the continued influx of talent coming to New Zealand would boost talent levels across the country.
Cherrie said the next major tournament for the club would be the nationals on May 9.