Visitor report: Luke Beston

My name is Luke Beston.  I am a black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu under Royce Gracie. My wife, Angela Gracie, is the granddaughter of Carlos Gracie who, along with his brother Helio, were the creators of the martial art of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

Angela and I recently travelled to Bali for a holiday, and to visit the academy of my good friend Paul ‘Mat Rat’ Haffenden, who teaches Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Bali. Paul introduced us to Geoff and Erma Collins who run Akademi Kristus (AK), a charity organisation focused on helping underprivileged children and families in Bali.

Geoff invited Angela and I to visit AK and teach the children some jiu-jitsu, which we considered a great honour. Jiu-jitsu has changed my life for the better in too many ways to mention, so it is always my pleasure to share jiu-jitsu whenever I can.

Geoff picked us up from our hotel and took us to the suburb of Sanur. From there, we went in his van to pick up the kids who needed transport to get to his academy. This trip to pick up the kids was a good opportunity for me to see the need for projects like AK, and also the valuable results it is already contributing to the community.

Many of the kids that are part of AK do not have regular access to clean water, shelter, healthcare and a lot of other things that people like myself often take for granted. On the other hand, it was wonderful to see some of the things AK had achieved, including classes for several disabled children and their families.

Back to the academy to train, and the rest of the kids close enough to walk were waiting for us. The academy was divided into two sections – half for jiu-jitsu and the other half for arts and crafts. While the kids learn, they are provided meals by the academy staff.

The training facilities of the academy are sourced from the generous donations of the jiu-jitsu community in Australia, most notably Jamie Murray of Renegade MMA and Grapplers for Christ, and also the Bali jiu-jitsu community such as Paul Mat Rat. The academy provides the kids with training uniforms and everything they need to participate.

It was great to share some jiu-jitsu techniques with the kids, and see the other kids having a great time doing arts and crafts with Geoff’s wife Erma and the other volunteer teachers.

Just like Australia, it was also wonderful to see jiu-jitsu promoting the same self discipline I see in my students at home. When enjoying jiu-jitsu, kids are far less likely to indulge in things like cigarettes and other vices, and Geoff had many great examples of jiu-jitsu being a positive influence of the kids on his mat.

Angela and I would like to thank Geoff for giving us an opportunity to meet these wonderful people and see the amazing work he and his team are doing. We look forward to working with AK in the future and seeing how we can contribute to their endeavours.

This article was authored by Luke Beston after his visit to Akademi Kristus.