Full Name: Andrew Shaw
Belt Colour: Blue
Professor: Matt Tonkin
Short Term Goals: Win gold in a comp, I’ve only picked up silver and bronze so far.
How long have you been doing jiu-jitsu for?
Almost 4 years.
Where do you train martial arts out of?
Northern Mixed Martial Arts in Melbourne, Australia
Have your instructors helped you in other aspects of life other than jiu-jitsu?
I’ve known Matt for 20 years, so definitely.
What are some lessons you learned from jiu-jitsu that apply to everyday life?
Just because you are in an uncomfortable scenario, doesn’t mean you can’t get out.
How often do you train BJJ?
As often as I can, I’m a shift worker, so it interferes a little.
What made you want to start training?
The competitive aspect. I played high-level basketball growing up, and I missed the competition aspect of it. BJJ helps with that.
Do you plan on training your whole life?
For as long as my body holds up.
What’s it about jiu-jitsu that makes it so addicting?
The many levels and moves that can be achieved. Every week you’ll either tap someone or get tapped by something different. There’s so much to work with, it’s wonderful.
What has jiu-jitsu done for your physical health?
I’m fitter than I was 4 years ago. I’d become stagnant, not exercising at all. I didn’t want my daughters to have a dad who didn’t have the energy to do anything with them. BJJ has really helped with that.
I can’t believe I’m the father of a 9-year-old. This kid had a blast at her rollerskating party, didn’t fall over once! Happy birthday, Froggy!
Has BJJ benefited your mental health?
I work as an ambulance dispatcher, and the job can be highly stressful and frustrating. I like that I can work out these frustrations at jiu-jitsu, and I always feel relaxed and de-stressed after a training session.
If you could restart your jiu-jitsu journey, would you do anything differently?
I’d start a lot earlier when I was younger. Otherwise, the journey has been great.
What’s your advice for someone that’s never tried jiu-jitsu before but is interested in trying it?
Do you have any aspirations in jiu-jitsu?
Get my black belt, no matter how long it takes. Compete as often as I can, for as long as I can.
What’s your favourite BJJ move?
Straight ankle lock. It was the only leglock allowed at white belt rank,
so I tried my best to become great at it.
If you didn’t discover jiu-jitsu, where do you think you’d be now?
I’d have a lot more weight on me, and I would be a lot grumpier.
Would you like to see the sport become more mainstream?
I’d love it to become a lot more mainstream, so people would actually understand how technical and amazing the sport could be, rather than getting annoyed when a UFC fight goes to the ground.
Have any of your training partners pushed you to reach your full potential?
Several of them, especially Brett and Phill. They are always showing me new moves or trying out new things on me. Great guys to get you ready for a comp, too.
When you were first starting, what was the most difficult concept of jiu-jitsu that you had trouble getting?
Not getting frustrated when I couldn’t move, especially in side control. And don’t get upset when you get tapped all the time. It’s a learning process, the journey is worth it.
What makes you want to inspire and motivate others?
The world needs to be a happier place. I work in an industry where I see how horrible people can be to each other. But I never see this on the mats. I love to train, and write comics. If either of those things can make someone’s day a little better, I’m all for it.
What's about writing that you enjoy and when do you write your first story?
I like to tell stories, especially horror. I’m a massive horror fan, from way back. It seemed to be the genre I always lean towards. I used to write a lot as a kid, but my first published work was a story in an anthology called Fireside Tales, here in Melbourne, about 5 years ago. It was great fun writing it, and I stuck with it.
What is CulDeSac and where can people find it?
CulDeSac is a horror anthology graphic novel set in a small community in the 1950s. As you move along the street, visiting house to house, you get to see what horrific things going on behind the closed doors, in a time when you trusted your neighbours. I wrote all the stories, and my good friend Will Pleydon hand-painted all the art. It came out beautifully, we are proud of it. You can find it on our Etsy store,
Submission Shark BJJ Interviewer:
Thanks for sharing your life with the rest of the Submission Shark Community Andrew! I love how you're so passionate about many different things but manage to blend them all together within your lifestyle. I think people like you are unrecognized heroes in our community.
From being a 911 dispatcher to being a loving family man, your actions are underappreciated but very important in a functioning society.
I hope you continue to train to help you keep your peace of mind in a stressful situation at your job.
It truly is inspiring to hear that your kids keep you motivated to stay healthy so you can lead by example and be around longer to see them grow. That action alone already shows how great of a person you are. keep enjoying your hobbies and keep being yourself. I look forward to seeing how your martial arts journey plays out. I'm happy and proud to have you as a part of this community :)
Have you found similar benefits from training BJJ or any other forms of martial arts? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. If you enjoyed this article, I suggest you visit the school of sharks for more insightful Brazilian jiu-jitsu articles as well as seeing some BJJ gear reviews to help you make the best shopping decisions on your martial arts journey.