By Danielle Kutchel
Jiu jitsu students at Narre Warren’s Skamma Gym were thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from one of the best in the sport when champion Peter de Been paid them a visit.
Mr de Been, a fifth degree black belt under Carlos Gracie Jr, has competed in a number of competitions over his career and taken home his fair share of medals.
Among others he was the 1997 Pan Am Master Brown Belt Gold Medallist, and the 2004 International Super Fight Sao Paulo Winner.
He was the first non-Brazilian to gain a black belt out of Brazil, and also founded Australia’s first jiu jitsu academy.
During a hands-on seminar at Skamma Mr de Been passed on some of the insights he has gleamed over his career with students given the chance to try their hand at a triangle choke hold.
Mr de Been said he loves the inclusive nature of jiu jitsu.
“From three years old to 60, anyone can participate. A lot of families do it with the kids and the parents – a lot of sports don’t allow for families to all do the same sport but jiu jitsu does.”
He described jiu jitsu – which in Japanese can translate to ‘gentle art’ – as a very intellectual sport.
“There are a lot of variables; not just the techniques you’re using but everyone you train with has different techniques so it’s a matter of understanding the dynamics of two different people,” he said.
“Looking around here, some people have long legs, some have short, some are heavy and some are small, so you have to change and adapt your techniques to suit whoever you’re with.”
Ivan Rakitic, a trainer at Skamma, said his students had gotten a lot out of Mr de Been’s lessons.
“Pete believes in jiu jitsu being simple … and that builds a great foundation for the more complex things, so tonight what we’ve been doing is building a good foundation for the more complex things that are going to come,” he explained.
Student Hayley Satragno found Mr de Been’s insights valuable.
“We’re trying to learn the triangle choke hold which is an interesting concept, but it’s really good fun and very empowering,” she said.