Rob Staples

Rob Staples

At Gracie Barra we have classes everyday so my day mainly consists of teaching, making sure the academy is prepared for students that are coming to improve their skills and leading the team of instructors who do everything from teach juniors to providing private lessons. However, my main focus for teaching at the moment is the Fundamentals programme – which sees all new students work through an eight week course teaching them all the basics giving them a solid base to progress from.

How did you get your job?
I started training martial arts 40 years ago. In 2001 I opened my own club to pursue jiu-jitsu. Jiu-jitsu was not such a well-established martial art back then but now we are part of an international club (Gracie Barra) with more than 700 affiliated schools throughout the world. At Gracie Barra we believe Jiu-jitsu is for everyone so it is our goal to provide an academy that is welcoming for people from all walks of life.

What motivates you in this role?
Seeing students’ progress, be it just to master one new technique, gain some self-confidence or wanting to compete on the international stage. It’s amazing to see them smash their goals!

Are there any future skills you will need to learn for your role?
You never stop learning with a martial art, especially as your students progress! I need to stay ahead of new developments of techniques, best practice ways of teaching and training, not to mention keeping things like my First aid qualifications up-to-date.

What are the three most important skills required for your role?
Great communication – Allowing me to explain the techniques, including their implementation and the scenarios that they represent.
Patience – This is needed as everyone learns at different speeds and through different means.
Leadership – I lead a team of instructors, as well as leading by example for fitness and health and the students through their Jiu-jitsu journey.

What advice would you give someone interested in a career in your profession?
There’s a lot more admin that you expect! Also, get yourself affiliated with a good organisation that provides training and anything is possible!

Keanu Reeves uses a lot of BJJ techniques in his John Wick series, he trains with the Machado brothers who are cousins to the Gracie Family (who formed and lead Gracie Barra).

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