About Rob Dixon
Rob Dixon is a black belt under Ryron and Rener Gracie, receiving his blackbelt in July 2023.
Here, you can read about Rob Dixon’s decision to teach GRACIE JIU JITSU, after a lifetime of teaching and training Bujinkai Karate
WHY THE NEED FOR GRACIE JIU JITSU ?
“Around 2006 I began to develop a strong interest in ground fighting and grappling ,which had gained more popularity due to the explosion of Mixed Martial Arts. Although 25 years of Bujinkai Karate had taught me a wide variety of grappling and throwing techniques from a standing position, I suspected that if I ended up on the floor underneath an opponent who was bigger and heavier, I would struggle for survival,- a fact that was demonstrated during a Karate Jiyu Kumite (free fighting) session one evening, with one of my own students. Using as many instructional DVDs as possible, and attending a number of grappling courses, I put together a very rudimentary ground game, also throwing in some Judo NeWaza which I had learnt, but later (following several sessions with Sensei Mike Heapy, himself a very competent grappler), I realised that this was not enough.
As Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was widely accepted as the best ground grappling system in the world, I wanted to learn from as close to the source (the Gracie Family) as possible. In January 2009, I began formal instruction in BJJ under Steve Campbell, a BJJ Black Belt who had learned his craft whilst living in Rio De Janeiro for 8 years, obtaining his black belt under the legendary Carlos Gracie Jr. Between January 2009 and April 2011, I trained almost weekly with Steve, taking privates every Sunday morning !
At the same time as learning the basics from Steve Campbell, I was also learning the curriculum of the Gracie Academy, (Torrance, California), which represented the Helio Gracie lineage of the Grace Family. Using their own instructional material, and a variety of dedicated training partners, I spent two years and over 250 hours of mat time perfecting the 36 techniques which make up the Gracie Combatives, a fundamentals programme which focuses on self defence, rather than sport jiu jitsu.
After relentlessly practicing the techniques and the reflex development drills as prescribed by the Gracie Academy, I tried the techniques and strategies of the Gracie Combatives programme against fully resisting bigger, heavier, stronger, but unskilled opponents during fully resistant sparring, and managed to make almost every technique work successfully. Within two years my knowledge of ground fighting had gone from limited to reasonably competent, albeit against an unskilled opponent.
During 2011 I continued to immerse myself in Gracie / Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, attending seminars, training with Steve Campbell, and working on the Gracie Academy’s “Master Cycle”.
After attending seminars with Ryron Gracie in Ireland and England, In 2011, and being blown away by his teaching methods, I made the decision to complete the Gracie Academy Instructor Certification programme, and travelled to the Gracie Academy in Torrance, California, to complete Combatives Instructor training under Rorion, Ryron, Rener, and Ralek Gracie, (grandsons of Helio Gracie). Not only to enhance my knowledge of the basic techniques, but more importantly to learn their teaching methodology. This visit had a profound and lasting impact, and the philosophy of the Gracie Academy (everyone can benefit from practicing jiu jitsu, regardless of strength and natural athleticism) fits in perfectly with my own beliefs that Martial Arts training should empower those that need it most.
I continue to visit the Gracie University HQ (formerly Gracie Academy) in Torrance California at least twice a year to increase my knowledge and train with a multitude of world class blackbelts.
I continue to be open to instruction from both sides of the Gracie Family lineage, and continue my journey in Gracie / BJJ learning from anyone with greater knowledge. Our academy is regularly visited by high level black & brown belts and we have hosted many, many regular seminars with top black belts Ryron Gracie, Ralek Gracie, Steve Maxwell, Guido Jenniges, Jitesh Patel, Eduardo Rocha, Steve Campbell, Roy Marsh, Liam Wandi, Tom Watson, and Clay Mayfield. I have also attended many other seminars with Rener Gracie, Royce Gracie, Royler Gracie, Rickson Gracie and Rorion Gracie, and also Keith Owen.
We are an official representative of the GracieUniversity and share the techniques, philosophy, and lessons of the Gracie University with our own students, due to the logical and linear nature of the curriculum which gives a complete beginner a solid foundation on which to build, coupled with the fact that all techniques in the Combatives course are 100% self defence focused. Again, this philosophy fits in with my own personal view, that Martial Arts should be practiced for self defence first, and sport second.
(With thanks to Mike Heapy for the original inspiration, Steve Campbell for his open mindedness and support, my regular training partners over the years, Steve Roylance, James Humphries, Pete Mycock, and Mike Wall, and Matt Fantom for helping me get this far, all of the high level instructors who visit us to share their knowledge, and all of my own students who have rolled with me, and help me to develop as a martial artist).