Light-hearted Drop Bear name with serious community purpose
WITH an unusual name like Drop Bear Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the first impression could be this club is focused on fun.
But while developing friendships is a major priority, the Rosewood martial arts club established three months ago also has a more serious objective.
Former Ipswich rugby league footballer and head instructor Dave Vass-Bowen wants the club to provide a community service, especially for those needing a special place to refocus or recharge.
"There's a lot of research that suggests that any sort of martial arts, or any sport really, is quite good for people with mental health conditions,'' he said.
"It's camaraderie and the friendships that you make and the social contact you make, as well as being good exercise as well.''
Vass-Bowen welcomes military personnel, first responders and Queensland Corrective Services staff wanting a comfortable and spacious place to train.
He said the martial arts he teaches can help them deal with their traumatic experiences.
"That was a big thing for us - to try and get something going and make it really accessible and really affordable for people,'' he said.
"We try to make it a really friendly, relaxed place to come and train and be part of the team and the culture that we got going.
"The community response has been fantastic and we have also attracted some experienced competitors.''
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling martial art that includes throws, hold downs and submissions.
Practitioners are taught to overcome larger and stronger opponents through leverage, skill and perseverance.
Vass-Bowen has been learning the martial art since retiring from rugby league in 2007.
He has won medals at state and national tournaments over a number of years.
He is now enjoying the teaching aspect of the sport at the Rosewood Memorial Hall.
The former Ipswich Diggers and Norths A-Grade wing/centre describes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a "a really good retirement sport'' with less rough and tumble but suitable for people with a competitive nature.
"I had the opportunity to do something that was good for the community,'' he said.
He teaches students from age seven to masters (over 30) level.
Five students competed at last weekend's Grappling Industries Brisbane tournament and each martial arts exponent won a medal across multiple divisions.
"We were able to achieve the highest points ratio out of the 56 clubs that competed,'' Vass-Bowen said.
The Drop Bear Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu medal winners.
Troy Mills: Masters 185lb - No Gi Advanced gold, Gi purple belt silver.
Mark Harvey: Masters white belt 230lbs Gi and No Gi gold.
Eric Glouftsis: Adult brown belt Gi 210lbs bronze, Open weight Gi silver.
Nicholas Currell: Masters Open weight No Gi Intermediate gold, Masters Gi 230lbs blue belt gold, Masters No Gi 230lbs Intermediate gold.
Michael Cox: Adult white belt 185lbs Gi gold, White belt Open weight Gi silver.