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.”
So the story begins. Two and half years of BJJ training later, Rob saw an article in Blitz magazine about Prof. Paulo Guimaraes that caught his eye. “Once I met Paulo I knew I’d found my instructor for Jiu Jitsu,” he says, about the first Brazilian BJJ black belt living and training in Australia, “I really enjoy his teaching style. He showed us that Jiu Jitsu isn’t just a martial art; it’s part of a lifestyle of health and wellbeing.”
In 2010, Robert received his black belt from Prof. Paulo Guimaraes and Mestre Jorge Pereira, making him the first BJJ black belt of Macedonian heritage in history. Following this, Rob headed to Europe to launch Roots Macedonia: the first of the Roots 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 18 years, he’s tied twelve black belts around the waists of students from Roots St George, 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.
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