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John Will

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John Will is one of Australia’s most prestigious Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts, who many believe is part of the famous “Dirty Dozen” group – the first 12 non-Brazilians to receive a black belt in BJJ, having in fact coined the term in an interview. John Will was a pioneer in the Australasia region, having paved the way for many of the newer generations of grapplers in the area. Will has also awarded some of the most recognizable black belts in the Australian continent, competitors such as George Sotiropoulos, Elvis Sinosic, and Anthony Perosh.

John Will Jiu-Jitsu

Full Name: John Will

Nickname: n/a

Lineage: Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Carlos Gracie Junior > Jean Jacques Machado / Rigan Machado > John Will

Competitive Record: Not available

Association/Team: Will-Machado BJJ

John Will Biography

John Will was born on the 16th of April, 1957 in Geelong, Victoria – Australia. Though John’s father was a law enforcer, Will was bullied at school, and it was this that propelled his wish to start doing contact sports. He started wrestling at his local church club before he was introduced to the world of traditional martial arts by Tae Kwon Do, the Korean kicking-based art when he was 15. He grew more and more interested in fighting sports and 3 years later he left Australia to study Pentjak Silat – more commonly known as plain “Silat”, an Indonesian Martial art. He would later (1982) become the first non-Indonesian to win the World Silat Championship in Jakarta.

In the late 1980s, John Will became the founder and editor of “Blitz” a magazine fully dedicated to martial arts. This allowed John to travel the world doing research on different styles of fighting. It was around this time that he began seriously training in Grappling and Jiu-Jitsu. Having the chance (through the magazine) to meet legends like Gene LeBell, Rickson Gracie and the Machado Brothers made his entrance to grappling begin through the big door. John also traveled to Brazil in search for the best instructors there, all this hard work paid off in 1998 when Wills finally reached black belt honors from the hands of Rigan and Jean Jacques Machado.

Roberto Jimenez BJJ Attacking The Back


  • SirToyou says:

    John was taught by Rigan not Jean Jacques

    • DAVE says:

      While most fo his training was done with Rigan, John trained with and received his blackbelt from all 5 Machado Brothers.

  • Patrick Deprez says:

    Greetings ! I was interested in reading about John Will and finding out about his progress. I trained with John in Pencak Silat in 1982 in Torquay Victoria about the time he won the world championship in Indonesia. I remember him as a super fit and excellent trainer ! I enjoyed training with him and we had a great group of students too. I trained mainly to improve my fitness for surfing on the west coast of Victoria. I would like to pass on my greetings to John ! but I dont know how. Many thanks for your article. Cheers. ps. Are there any trianing schools near Tweed Heads/Gold Coast in Pencak Silat ?

    • Btaman says:

      John runs Redcat academy in Geelong, call them up after 6pm local time. Melissa(his wife) might answer and get you in contact.

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