BRAZILIAN Jiu Jitsu royalty visited Bendigo yesterday.
Jean Jacques Machado took time out from his whirlwind Australian tour to run a seminar at the Bendigo Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Centre last night.
Machado, a seventh degree red and black belt, dominated the international Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition and is now one of the most well-respected coaches in the world.
He has academys in California where he trains some of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu exponents in the world. Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher is one of his clients.
“I first came to Australia in 1993 and since then I’ve fell in love with Australia,’’ Machado said yesterday.
“I was able to help start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Australia and it’s great to see now that almost every state has Brazilian Jiu Jitsu schools.
“This is my first visit to Bendigo and it’s great to see Brazilian Jiu Jitsu developing here.”
Bendigo Brazilian Jiu Jitsu chief instructor Stewart Moulden is coached by Richard Norton, who is Machado’s most senior student.
“Jean Jacques is one of the greatest Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters of all time,’’ Moulden said.
“To have him here in Bendigo to make our club an official affiliate (of the Machado school) is a great honour.
“Through Jean Jacques and Richard’s involvement we want to bring the Bendigo club up to international level.
“We’re already starting to make waves. We started with three or four guys in training, now we’re up to more than 40.
“We already have people who are competing at state and national level. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has come a long way in Bendigo.”
Norton, 63, is one of Australia’s premier martial artists.
He worked as a bodyguard for the Rolling Stones and ABBA and has also appeared in more than 70 feature films alongside the likes of Chuck Norris and Jackie Chan.
Machado was born with a congenital disorder called Amniotic Band Syndrome which affected his left hand, leaving him without any fingers.
He didn’t let the handicap hinder his passion for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
“I have two arms, two legs and one-and-a-half hands,’’ Machado said with a laugh.
“Jean Jacques jokes to us that if he gets stale with BJJ that he’ll cut off his other hand just to make it interesting,’’ Norton added.
“He’s a great example of celebrating what you have instead of what you don’t have.
“He didn’t moan and groan about what he doesn’t have. He went about his business and became the best middleweight in the world.
“That is inspirational. Jean Jacques inspires people.”
Machado, who made the trip to Bendigo with the assistance of the All Seasons Hotel, is also holding BJJ seminars in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney before returning to the United States on Tuesday.