Hi, I am DC, the head instructor at Academy Jiu-Jitsu.
I guess I should tell you a little bit about myself and where Academy Jiu-Jitsu comes from. Let me start with the definition I pulled off the site that inspired the whole philosophy behind the name…
An academy is an institution of secondary education and higher learning, of research or honorary membership. The name traces back to Plato’s school of philosophy, which was founded around 385 BC at Akademia, a sanctuary of Athena (the goddess of wisdom and skill) north of Athens, Greece.
Academy the word has come to mean the cultural accumulation of knowledge. Academy Jiu-Jitsu has been created around this concept of communal knowledge and experience. Most of the people that know me, also know that my jiu-jitsu does not belong to one person. It is an accumulation of knowledge from an entire community of practitioners and support networks. I have learned from both the Gracie and the Machado families. I have also learned things from lineages outside of the mainstream such as those of Drysdale, Dan Inasanto, and Bas Rutten.
Academy Jiu-Jitsu is affiliated with Gracie Cincinnati, the school my brother, Justin Christopher, owns and built with his business partner Jim. Being close with my brother also means our goals and aspirations are aligned very closely. It is the academy that sparked my lifestyle change and life long pursuit of jiu-jitsu. In saying that, there are many others gyms that continue to fuel the fire.
Dave Hart of Dominance MMA and Cam Rowe of Rise MMA are very close to me, and have been a tremendous influence on my journey with jiu-jitsu. I started my Brazilian jiu-jitsu journey at Dominance back when it was on Swan Street with Cam Rowe, Big Dave Kristic, Murray Ballenden, John Simon, John Jenson, Talgot Ilyasov, Byron Silvers, Dave Hart, and many other training partners and instructors that came and went over the years.
The story of my belt grading is a really good example of the jiu-jitsu communities’ affect on me personally. I will try and summarise what was a decade plus experience so you can see what I mean.
After my first year or so of training at Dominance MMA I received my blue belt from John Simon, the first Australian made John B. Will black belt. Shortly after, I had to return to the U.S for personal reasons. Some hard years followed, but again following my brother’s advice on where to train, I found a Relson Gracie school in Columbus, Ohio whereby I experienced Gracie jiu-jitsu under Robin Giesler. I spent a little under a year there before moving out to Utah to train with Jim and Justin. I stayed with them during their move from St. George, Utah to Cincinnati, Ohio. I returned to Australia after 5 years, feeling a little worn out, and a purple belt under Jim (a Pedro Sauer black belt) and Justin (who was a purple belt under Dave Kristic, and now too a Pedro Sauer black belt).
After a short stint at PUMMA on the Gold Coast, QLD, I moved back to Melbourne to train and teach kids at Dominance MMA. A couple years of training with the Dominance crew, e-mailing Justin and Jim for advice, and getting coached day in and day out by Dave and Cam, I flew back to the U.S for a visit and received my brown belt from Jim and Justin (with the blessing of Dave and Cam).
After about two more years of teaching and training around a packed schedule of kids classes, adults classes, and strength and conditioning classes, I was awarded my black belt by Dave Hart and Cam Rowe. My black belt was handed to me by my brother Justin, who had flown in from Cincinnati for just one night. The belt they wrapped around my waist was hand crafted personally by Jim.
So as you can see, the skills I have learned was not given to me by one person. I was guided by many and I earned it through hard work and consistent blood, sweat, and tears wherever I went.
Needless to say, I will always feel a part of that Dominance family and all the other academies I have been welcomed into. Even though they are spread all over the world now, all of my former team mates continue to do incredible things for the people and lives they touch. I am honoured to continue to receive their advice, counsel, and friendship as I will provide my own.
We are a part of many families, and I want to honour that. My knowledge and my black belt experience is truly an Academy of Jiu-Jitsu.
It is now time that I share that Academy with my children, my friends, my family and you.
David “DC” Christopher
(If you would like to read more on the inspiration behind Academy’s name and to read more on Plato’s school of Philosophy, please click the following link www.thebookoflife.org/the-great-philosophers-plato)