Robert’s first exposure to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was coincidental. “While I was training weights at my local gym, the owner, a BJJ blue belt, invited me to train some grappling downstairs in the basement,” recalls Rob, “I’d done martial arts since I was a child: Ninjitsu, Boxing, Kick Boxing, Wrestling, Aikido, Pankration… but BJJ felt fresh. The gym owner was twice my age and half my size, and in those two hours, no matter how I came at him, he got out of it.”
In 2010, Robert received his black belt from Mestre Jorge Pereira, making him the first BJJ black belt of Macedonian heritage in history. Following this, Rob headed to Europe to launch Ultimate Jiu Jitsu Macedonia: the first of the UJJ family on the continent. In 2013, Rob’s seminars in the country extended to elite law enforcement units and military Special Forces. Robert was inducted into the Australasian Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2016 as ‘Budoka of the Year – Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’.
In the last 20 years, he’s tied 22 black belts around the waists of students from Ultimate Jiu Jitsu, with more on the way. “Our mission is to excel every student beyond their expectations, so they can maximise their potential”, explains Rob. Just look at his list of credentials: five NSW titles, three Australian titles, and four Pan Pacific Championships; black belts in Ninjitsu, Aikido and Pankration; coach to the first Australian World Pro Jiu Jitsu Gi and No Gi Champions, the first Australian Kid’s World Champions; and a Sports Psychology degree to boot.
With a long history at Ultimate Defence Academy, Ferri brings an energetic coaching style and extensive experience as kickboxing instructor, cutman and cornerman on the kickboxing scene. “I started karate when I was 16 years old, and when I finished school, I was exposed to kickboxing and never looked back. I’ve been in the local scene since then, coaching and padholding and I’m still passionate about it 30 years later.”
As a coach, Ferri is driven by the results he sees in his students. “It’s so rewarding when students and clients tell me how much better they feel both physically and mentally. They relieve stress through kickboxing, get fit and love their training”, he explains. But even though he’s instructor, he stays motivated by seeking continuous self-improvement, “I am a coach, but for me personally, I will always be a student too. I always want to keep learning, keep training to get myself better and better, and I find this really motivates me.”
“I want to bring great energy to the classes, and make sure students get the best experience from their training”, Ferri explains, “At Ultimate Kickboxing, we break down the main categories of kickboxing, from the correct stance and positions of the hands and feet, to the details of the punch, kick, knee and elbow movements so that you feel completely comfortable performing them.”
Above all, Ferri wants to instill confidence in all his students; men, women and children, “I want everyone to love to come to training.”