”I was 32 years of age when I started my BJJ-journey. I was overweight and very lazy. I quit smoking two years earlier and unfortunately I started eating and gaining weight to the point of weighing in at 105 kg.
My body told me that I needed to make changes to my lifestyle, and was drawn to a local BJJ Facebook add. I visited the earlier Kilian Academy, were space was shared with the local gymnastics club. I was introduced to BJJ-students moving in ways I never considered trying.
The following class I wanted to experience BJJ myself and found myself taking the second step to an adventure that would change my life forever. My body cringed trying to move in a manner it was not used to. It was tough and challenging, but I survived my first class. Following the official class, I continued to participate in openmat and tapped to my fellow students performing a pressure pass from side control. I lasted 30 seconds, but I was instantly addicted. The following day, my body was bruised, sore and stiff and from that moment I learned that the pain never really subsides.
A couple of classes later and we moved to our brand new facility. A facility with more space and a place to be proud of. Abrie, the head instructor at Kilian Academy, introduced me to a standard that I have not yet seen matched by any other club I have trained at. Everything about the Academy was tailored around a quest for zero defect. A drive to be the best, without sacrificing your humanity. The Academy taught me to be proud, strong and to conquer myself. It was more than just a club, it was home away from home and everyone at the Academy became my family. I lost 25 kgs in my first 3 months. I shed blood, sweat and tears, but I never shed those alone. I was part of 4 official BJJ-gradings at the Academy, of which I was one of them. Our three-month preparation to assist others and be assisted to achieve my rank introduced me the warrior within myself. My grading was the most challenging thing I have done in my life to date.
I was very sad on relocating to New Zealand and leave Kilian Academy. My wish is to once again roll with my friend and great instructor (Abrie Kilian).
Five years later, I’m a 3 stripe blue belt still training, with black being my favourite colour.”
-Justin Gough (2013-2017)