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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: DREW BIRCH

We have many amazing people with interesting stories that walk into all our gyms! The member spotlight turns to Drew Birch, one of our students at Absolute MMA Melbourne CBD.

Name/Nicknames: Drew Birch, also known as birchy, elbircho, drew barrymore and drewbee.

Occupation: Security Guard

Sports: Muay Thai

How did you get into the sport?
I did taekwondo as a child. Two years ago I started to get into boxing, but just felt the need to throw some kicks. I used to be really into UFC and really wanted to start doing MMA. It was from this interest I discovered muay thai and I fell in love with it.

What are your immediate training goals?
To push myself to the next level.

What are your goals for the next five years?
Next year I plan to train a lot and hopefully take some fights. In 2019, I plan to go back to Bangkok for two or three months to train and fight. By 2020, I want to be debt free and try to move to Thailand to live, train and fight.

Why do you love training at Absolute MMA?
The location for me is perfect. Absolute MMA has the best coaches and I have learnt so much here in just one year. I’ve made good friends and gotten nothing but good vibes from training here. I’m glad I can learn from the best.

What is your favourite move?
This is hard to answer! For me, I like to chop the legs, sweeps are the best.

Can you tell us about where you’re from and any interesting stories growing up? If you’re not originally from Melbourne, how’d you end up living in Melbourne, Australia?
I was born and raised in Melbourne, I grew up in Moonee Ponds. I was rejected from the army because I’m allergic to peanuts which lead me to working security at the casino, which lead me to getting back into martial arts, which in turn led me to this gym. As depressed as I was when I was rejected (it was my life dream to join the ADF), I’m the happiest now that I have ever been.

Who are the kind of people that you look up to and why?
People who follow their dreams and passions in life and won’t stop for anything. There’s only one way to rise to the top and that’s by never giving up. I really look up to my coach Toohey, he is a master. Hopefully one day I can be half the man and marital artist that he is. I also look up to Lukas “The Lycan” Catubig a lot, he is a beast and he always pushes himself hard in training.

If you could go back in time to your first martial art class, what would be the advice you give to your past self?
Slow down and don’t get too excited. Good things come to those who wait. Learn good technique first and the rest will follow.

“Although his tattoos and shaved head can make for an intimidating first impression, Drew is honestly one of the easiest blokes to get along with. He has not been training with us for long but has quickly become one of the more skilled Muay Thai members at the CBD location. Looking forward to seeing him have his first fight early next year!” – Darren Gn

“Drew is easy going, is a fun person to be around and easy to get along with. He always gives a hand in class to help people with their technique and is never late! He shows a lot of dedication and always trains at least 3 or 4 times a week. Anyone who gets to know Drew will get along fine with him, he is not stuck up. Girls he is single, six foot tall with lots of hair…haha!” – Coach Laos Toohey

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WEEKEND RESULTS (03/11/2017 – 05/11/2017)

What a match up it was in the super fight of Grappling Industries Melbourne between Coach Craig Jones and Kit Dale ! Congratulations to Craig who emerged victorious after 20 minutes with a decision victory.

Our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team was hugely dominant at this event, taking away first place in both the Adult Gi & No Gi as well as 3rd place in the Juveniles No Gi & Gi. We couldn’t be prouder of every single one of you who participated!

grapplingindus1 grapplingindus2 grapplingindus3 grapplingindus4(Photo Credit: Grappling Industries)

One of our Boxing fight team members, Antonia Kay flew to Sydney to compete at the 2017 Australian Elite Boxing Championships as part of the Victorian Team. The referee called her semifinal fight after she took some damage, and she finished up with a Bronze medal. We would like to acknowledge how incredible it is to have made it to Nationals and how proud we are to have her training with us at Absolute MMA and Conditioning! Antonia has an amazing attitude and will only come back stronger after this learning experience.

Congratulations to the Victorian Team who finished up with 5 golds, 3 silvers and the Best Performed Team award!

(Photo Credit: Marcos Amado)

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MEET THE TEAM: MOSES BENTLEY

If the word “Reliable” was ever to manifest itself in the form of a person, it would be Moses “MoShow” Bentley, commonly known to Melbourne CBD gym-goers as Mo. With over 15 years experience in competitive sport, Mo has helped many of our members to reach their goals as well as our competitors to peak for contests. A generous man who’s rarely without a smile, Mo also knows how to make incredible chocolate chip protein pancakes, which are “guilt-free” in our books because they are protein pancakes (shhh).Now you know that fun fact, I’m sure you want more…read on for more about Mo!

Favourite workout/walkout song?

“2Pac – Ambitionz Az A Ridah”

Mantra/Quote to live by?

“If you don’t find the time, if you don’t do the work, you don’t get the results”

What is your favourite travel destination? Why?

“Hawaii, for the culture, beaches and surf.”

Have you done other sports besides martial art and which teams/athletes are your favourite?

I have done rugby, rugby league and tennis. My favourite team is the All Blacks, athlete wise it would be Rafael Nadal. Teams and athletes that do or die, and fight and play to the end are what I consider good sports.”

“Mo has great patience and will work with anyone at any level to make them feel comfortable and confident in the gym. People trust him with their kids training. What more do you need?” – Paul Bai 

“The best way to explain mo is probably by quoting one of my clients.. “mo is nicer than you”. And I’m a pretty nice bloke, so there you have it. He is a good coach, knows his shit and will always put in the extra time with his clients.” – Daniel Howard

“I’ve known Mo since before he was at Absolute. We actually started MMA together with Leigh Allwood as coach many moons ago. Mo not only has the arguably best training playlists, but is also one of the most genuine guys in the gym.” – David Lescai

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WEEKEND RESULTS (27/10/2017 – 29/10/2017)

Amazing effort from the Absolute MMA Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team this weekend at the 2017 IBJJF Pan Pacific Championship! The team took away the championship in No Gi BJJ and came second in Gi BJJ. Great to see an increase in our team numbers and points in both Gi and No Gi this year.

Congratulations to the team on a great result, you all have shown extreme dedication and we know how many hours of tireless training has been put into preparing for this competition!

We’re so proud of all 62 of you (and all 22 under Maromba!) who competed in the Pan Pacs this year. We hope that you all have come away inspired and motivated to improve, irrespective of whether you won or learned.

SPECIAL MENTIONS:

Coach Lachlan Giles “The Raptor Tractor” not only coached and encouraged our entire team through the weekend, but managed to clean out the adult black belt division second year in a row with a massive 4 gold medals (weight, open weight gi & no gi)!

Coach Livia Gluchowska came to Pan Pacs this year for the first time as a black belt- and did not disappoint, taking away gold! Our female team performed extremely well as a whole, with every single girl from our team taking away a medal this weekend. Amazing work ladies!

To our head BJJ coach Thiago Stefanutti, thank you for being an inspiration to the entire team, for all your endless hours of advice and support and continuing to give 100% at 41 years of age competing at the adult division. Congratulations to Thiago for coming second in his division this year!

Wishing a speedy recovery to our main man at St Kilda, Adam Jones who unfortunately broke and dislocated his ankle this weekend whilst competing in the final match of his division.

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MEET THE TEAM: DAVID LESCAI

In the beginning, when Simon Carson created Absolute Mixed Martial Arts, he laid yellow mats as the foundations of the gym. A foundation upon which lifelong friendships and bonds were formed. Some say if you catch the light in CBD when the sunlight first hits the doors in the morning, the mats appear yellow. An established OG of the yellow mats, David “The Nice Guy” Lescai remains with Absolute MMA to this day (although the mats, thankfully, have since been changed)!

A professional MMA fighter (2-2), Dave keeps Absolute MMA Collingwood running smoothly while ensuring ROGUE (Absolute MMA’s Amateur MMA events series) runs safely and efficiently. When he’s not encouraging the team and making sure everyone is on track, Dave brews his own cold brew, is a part time hip hop yogi and also a polished man, fundraising for YGAP’s Polished Man campaign, which aims to end violence against children (Donate to Dave at https://polishedman.com/davidlescai). Read on to find out more!

Mantra/Quote to live by?

“Live every week of your life like it’s shark week.”

Nicknames & Fight Names?

“The Nice Guy”, Super Dave, Davy-Boy, Davie-Baby, “Handsome sweet gentle playboy”, The Captain, Sweet-cheeks and Stud muffin.

Have you done other sports besides martial art and which teams/athletes are your favourite? Any funny stories?

“I used to play Aussie rules in the Eastern Football League. In three seasons I managed to injure both shoulders, and knees. I moved to full time fight training, citing the AFL was too dangerous – I stand by that decision.”

What is your favourite travel destination? Why?

“New York City. I love the buzz – it has a great energy. I’d like to live in the lower west side, or lower east side, maybe even Brooklyn.”

What movie have you seen over 5 times?

“Clueless. An undeniable masterpiece. Also: Limitless, Fired Up, Pulp Fiction, and Good Will Hunting.”

 

“I’m proud to be the 2nd best looking guy at Absolute MMA next to Dave.” – Jeremy Wharerau

“Dave is a very handsome gentleman. I suggest spending as much time around him as possible. Pro tip – ask him about his kombucha.” – Richard Lattemagi 

“David “the nice guy” Lescai was one of the first members to grace the mats at Absolute MMA. He has competed in MMA at a novice, amateur and professional level as well as cornering the fight team and assisting with their weight-cuts. Beyond his knowledge and passion, Dave is just a bloody good bloke who is always up for a bit of banter.” – Darren Gn 

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Photo Credit: William Luu

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MEET THE TEAM: THIAGO STEFANUTTI

The first coach to be hired as part of the Absolute Mixed Martial Arts family, Thiago is an integral part of the team and the head Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach of AMMA, holding a third degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. His students have won multiple World Championship titles and under his tutelage, our team is the only Australian team to ever win a IBJJF World Championships team trophy, the most prestigious Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition in the world. What lies beyond the mastery? Read on to find out a little bit more about our in-house comedian coach!

Can you tell us about where you’re from and any interesting stories growing up? If you’re not originally from Melbourne, how’d you end up living in Melbourne, Australia?

“I’m from São Paulo-Brasil and I grew up there, the interesting thing about my childhood growing up is that I came from a not very safe city and martial arts was a natural way to learn how to defend myself. I ended up in Melbourne because of Gustavo Falciroli, he recommended me to Extreme MMA and then they brought me to this city. It was at this gym I met Simon Carson, and then AMMA became my new gym.”

Mantra/Quote to live by?

“Never come to Absolute Mixed Martial Arts drinking coffee, without bringing one for me.”

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

“Rice and beans.”

If you were going to be an animal, what would you be and why?

“A monkey, because I could annoy everyone in the jungle.”

What were some funny/interesting/weird hobbies you had when you were a teenager?

“I used to love old V8 cars and I bought my first Dodge Dart when I was 17. I spent all my money investing on improving that car.”

During a Absolute MMA staff retreat a zombie apocalypse breaks out. You get separated with 3 AMMA team members. Who would be part your dream team and why?

“Tao because he has an elevated soul, Simon because he is so annoying also the zombies couldn’t deal with that and Dan Howard because if the zombies attacked me I could put him in front of me and if he dies nobody will miss him anyway 😜”

“Thiago has the largest passion for jiu-jitsu I have seen in Australia. Not only has he helped build one of the best teams in Australia, he puts in crazy hours teaching and providing for his students. When others fill in for his schedule everyone remarks how crazy it is that he has continued to do the amount of scheduled classes and privates he does do and stilll not be a crazy person. Not only has he helped me personally on and off the mats he does his absolute best to help all his students. It is a priviledge to be his student.” – Julian Gonzalez

“Thiago has a huge head.” – Daniel Herbertson, friend and co-worker of Thiago since 2012. 

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Photo credit: Jesse Olsen 

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: PETER FLORENINI

We have many amazing people with interesting stories that walk into all our gyms! The member spotlight turns to Peter Florenini, one of our students at Absolute MMA St Kilda.

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Name: Peter Florenini

Occupation: Architect and Ski Instructor

Sports: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo

How did you get into the sport? Walked into the Absolute MMA South Yarra location at Commercial Road, just loved it from the first moment and never looked back.

What are your immediate training goals? To improve my technique a tiny bit every day I train.

What are your goals for the next five years?
PLAN A – Retain most of my physical and mental capacity. Retire from work and all other activities so I can roll all day every day.
PLAN B (If I find that I am loosing my marbles rapidly) – Look for a retirement home with a full MMA programme.

Why do you love training at Absolute MMA? Great coaches. Great people to roll with. Great venues in which to roll.

What is your favourite move? Osoto Gari (Outher reaping throw), Kesa Gatame (Scarf hold) and straight arm bar. This has only happened once in the period between 2016-2017. But watch out next year. NO MORE MR NICE GUY.

“Peter is by far my favourite training partner at the club. He makes the training fun and competitive, and always has time for a laugh. Even though he has a softer side, during a roll Peter is tougher than an old leather boot and his knowledge and experience as a Judo black belt and KGB is always on display. A great thing about him is his willingness to share his wisdom with other younger members particular relating to the multitude of take downs he has in his arsenal. Naturally, one may have concerns due to the excessive grunting noise emitted during one of his rolls, but rest assured that is how he informs people close by that he is winning. All round, Peter is a great bloke and a pleasure to train with any day of the week, we are all richer to have him on the team.”
– Adrian Mannix

“Pete is my hero. I hope I am half as badass as him when I turn 75. Everyday I watch him tap people less than half his age. It’s hard to make excuses not to train when this 75 year old is in there rolling everyday!” – Craig Jones

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Collingwood Schedule Update

Collingwood MMA classes schedule update –
Please note starting next week, the evening MMA classes with Simon Carson in Collingwood will shift from Tuesdays and Thursdays to Mondays and Wednesdays.

Classes will have the following structure:

Monday 6pm – MMA Techique, 6:45 – MMA Sparring.
Wednesday 6pm MMA Grappling Techique, 6:45 – MMA Grappling Sparring.

Raph’s MMA Fundamentals class will still be on Tuesdays 6:45pm.

See you on the mats!

Absolute MMA Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team – Results (23/09/2017-24/09/2017)

Absolute MMA Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team went to work on the weekend.

The next generation of BJJ athletes (the kids!) had a lot of fun in the Dominance Kids
competition. Some great matches here from some rising stars!

RESULTS
Johnny Le – Gold
Aaron Lieng – Gold
Nacinta Tuuholoaki – Silver

In Los Angeles, USA, coach Livia Gluchowska battled in the UAEJJF LA Grand Slam. With 4 tough
matches, winning against world class black belts she ended up coming 4th in a stacked division.
Amazing job Liv!

In Espoo, Finland at the most prestigious no-gi tournament in the world – ADCC – coaches Lachlan
Giles and Craig Jones plus fellow Aussie Kit Dale put on some epic performances.

Craig Jones in the stacked <88kg division. Coming into the competition as the “dark horse” he quickly opened everyone’s eyes by submitting the favorite to win the division, multiple-time world champion Leandro Lo. Craig followed up by submitting another BJJ legend Murilo Santana (with a flying triangle, no less!). In the semi finals, Craig lost to American BJJ superstar Keenan Cornelius by points in a great match. Craig ended up finishing 4th in the <88 kg. This wasn’t it for Craig though as he had a crack at the open weight, submitting MMA’s perennial badboy Chael Sonnen with a quick heel hook. Craig got stopped in the 2nd round of open weight by DDS Gordon Ryan. Definitely not the last time these 2 tango! Lachlan Giles in the dangerous <77kg division. Lachlan drew JT Torres in the first round. In a very competitive, technical match, that displayed grit and determination from both world class athletes, JT Torres was able to defeat Lachlan in overtime via takedown points. JT went on to win the entire division, defeating Lucas Lepri in the final. Lachie, you are an inspiration both as an athlete and a coach! Kit Dale in the <88kg battled another BJJ superstar, several time world champion Romulo Barral. Kit and Romulo had a wrestling war in the regular time, with Romulo finally finding his opening and submitting Kit in the overtime. In any case, valiant effort from Kit Dale. What can we take away from this weekend results? Whether you’re thinking of starting your child in our Prodigies program to learn BJJ or you are an adult looking to start an effective, proven martial art. Perhaps you’ve done BJJ in the past and want to take the next step in your training. At Absolute MMA, with world class coaches leading the way, you are going to be alright!

Welcome Joe Boobyer

14141710_10155202470647468_101241149165583432_nNew classes, new coach! Welcome to the team Joe Boobyer!

Joe will be taking NEW MORNING MUAY THAI classes in Absolute MMA St Kilda from 6.30AM to 7.30AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays and will also be taking the 9.00AM and 10.00AM Muay Thai classes in Collingwood on Saturday.

Joe has spent the past 12 years training in Muay Thai, K-1, Boxing and MMA, with professional experience in all four disciplines with a record of 37 wins from 54 fights. He has won the World Muaythai Federation Pro Heavyweight World Title, challenged for the World Muaythai Council Cruiserweight World Title once and World Kickboxing Network International Superheavyweight title twice, and has won two 4 man K-1 middleweight tournaments in China.

He spent over 5 years living in gyms and training throughout Thailand where he won multiple time stadium titles. Has been ranked at 20 worldwide by the World Boxing Council at super-cruiserweight.

Welcome Joe!

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