The Academy Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program is led by Dr Geoff Aitken who is a 3rd degree black belt, the highest rank in New Zealand and one of the highest in Australasia. Whether you wish to learn for competition, self-defence or just to keep fit you can expect a high level of instruction in a friendly, academic atmosphere.


Benefits & Advantages of Training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) at the Academy of Combat:

  • Access to knowledge and experience unmatched in the South Island.

  • As a member of the Will/Machado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Organization, you are ensured, as a student that you are learning and ranking in quality BJJ and have Academies that you can train at around the world.

  • The main focus at the Academy is teaching high quality technique so that the student gets a full understanding of the concepts, principles and techniques of BJJ.

  • The Academy teaches a complete Brazilian Jiu Jitsu syllabus including gi and no gi competition training, self defence and MMA.

  • BJJ will provide an incredible boost to your physical and mental well-being.

  • The Chief Instructor is continuously updating our BJJ curriculum by attending regular workshops with the greatest practitioners of the discipline both in New Zealand and overseas.

  • The Academy is regularly visited by 6th degree BJJ black belt John Will who runs seminars that keep us on the cutting edge of BJJ technique.

  • Our timetable provides plenty of classes throughout the week and open mat time for sparring.

Why Train In The Gi?

  • When it comes to self defence it is always beneficial to have as many advantages as possible. Training in a gi teaches you to use an opponents clothes against them for chokes, sweeps and throws. The gi is simply an approximation of everyday clothing with a reinforced collar area.

  • Gi ji jitsu encourages slower, more strategic, chess like matches. This slower pace allows you more of a chance to perform techniques but requires for a more technical application of escapes as you cannot slip out of positions as easily as in no gi BJJ .

  • There are many more techniques and options in Gi BJJ, especially when it comes to throws, sweeps and chokes. Many more guards are also possible.

  • Training in the gi will increase your grip strength, your ability to fall safely(due to the nature of the throws practiced) and allow you to better resist overheating while training.

  • Ideally it's good to train both gi and no gi for a complete appreciation of BJJ. Doing so also gives you more competition opportunities and a bigger pool of people to train with.

The Academy of Combat was New Zealand's first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school. Established in Christchurch in 1996 following the Chief Instructor, Dr Geoff Aitken's, return from the USA where he trained under Andre Pederneiras and John Lewis of the Nova Uniao BJJ academy. In 1999, Geoff met John Will of the Will/Machado BJJ Academy, who was establishing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Australia. This was the beginning of the Australasian Will/Machado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu network, of which the Academy is an associate, now the largest BJJ organization in Australasia. The Machado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Association is one of the main Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Organizations in the world. Led by the Machado brothers; Rigan, Jean-Jacque, Carlos, John and Roger they are known for their very innovative and creative approach to their art. 

No gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is becoming a large component of our curriculum at the Academy and is increasing in popularity in New Zealand and around the world. There are now a lot of great no gi competitions happening with some really interesting rule sets. No gi allows you to do a full Jiu Jitsu system without the gi and while it is recommended to train both gi and no gi, you can focus solely on the latter if you wish.

To begin your BJJ journey and make one of the most beneficial decisions of your life click here.

Pictured above are the BJJ blackbelts who attended The Gathering in 2016. This a tournament and seminar held in Melbourne that Academy members attend every year. In the centre are Rigan Machado, John Will and Dr Geoff Aitken.


We offer private lessons in Brazilian jiu jitsu that are available to all experience levels. These can be booked at reception and are available from 10am through to 9pm. Private lessons are an excellent way to focus on a particular aspect of Brazilian jiu jitsu or to accelerate your overall progress. 


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BJJ class in Christchurch

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