I have been a Martial Artist since the age of 11, including more than 28 years training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under the legendary Machado Brothers and proudly hold a 5th Degree Black Belt under the Machado brothers.
My training in BJJ began in the late 80’s, with a legend of the Gracie family, Master Rickson Gracie. I remember well my first introduction to Rickson after contacting Rorion Gracie and enquiring about private lessons. How I came about even knowing about the existence of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, was after my dear and close friend, Master Chuck Norris, made a trip to Brazil on vacation and, after asking the locals about Brazil’s Martial Arts, was directed to a BJJ academy where he found himself in front of Master Helio, Rickson, Rorion and Royce Gracie.
Anyway, after an eye-opening training session, Chuck came back from his trip with a video tucked under his arm of Vale-Tudo (no rules) fights that Rickson had in Brazil and, as we trained together every morning at his house, Chuck was eager to share the video with me. So that was the start of my introduction and interest in BJJ.
So here I am, standing in front of Rickson in a garage gym at his brother Rorion’s house in the Redondo beach area of Los Angeles. Remember, this is way before the UFC came into existence. The first thing Rickson says to me is, “Do you want to put the gloves on?” This was prompted by Rickson knowing I had an extensive background in ‘stand up’ arts and figured I was probably wanting to test my skills against the Gracie’s art. I very politely and, in hind-sight, wisely said no, that I was just very interested in finding out more about the Jiu Jitsu as practiced in Brazil.
My first lesson with Rickson starts with me having to mount Royce, (who later became the UFC’s first MMA champion), and try to stay there, followed by Royce mounting me and me having to get him off. Both were impossible tasks due to my total lack of knowledge in the grappling arts except for some rudimentary Judo training when I was an 11 year old. Now of course, in this introductory lesson, there was no striking involved, but I remember so clearly leaving Rorion’s garage and thinking how much I felt like a little baby on the ground with these guys, but also so excited at the thought of how much my martial arts would improve by adding these skills to my martial arts tool box. So my BJJ journey began.
I guess I did around 8 months of private lessons with Rickson in that garage at Rorion’s house, before heading back to Australia for a visit, as at that time, I was living in Los Angeles. It was back in Melbourne that I met and did some training with Carlos Gracie Jnr and the great Renzo Gracie who happened to be doing some seminars in Melbourne. So Renzo asks me who I was training with in Los Angeles. When I told him, he then suggested I also meet his cousins, the Machado Bros, who had recently come to set up shop in the U.S. After the initial introduction, I knew this is where I wanted to be, so I began training with Rigan, Carlos, Roger and John Machado, again in a garage matted area in Redondo Beach. Jean Jacques was yet to travel to the U.S.
As Chuck and I had been training together every morning since 1979, I, of course, told Chuck about these amazing Bros and remember suggesting him I bring them to his Tarzana residence for a private training session with us. So the relationship began in earnest. Chuck, Bob Wall and myself then helped set the brothers up in their first academy in Encino and help with immigration, etc. and away they went. I do want to mention, that to me, the one person that should be credited with helping introduce Gracie Jiu Jitsu to the U.S as we know it is Chuck Norris. I say this because very soon after Chuck’s trip to Brazil, he had the foresight to recognize the incredible talent of the Gracie’s and invited a large contingent of Brazilians to come and teach at his annual UFAF martial arts seminar in Las Vegas. Among those who made the trip from Brazil were Rorion and Rickson Gracie, Pedro Sauer and Carlos Machado. The rest is history.
Eventually, after establishing their Encino academy, the Machado’s opened up in Redondo Beach, leaving Jean Jacques in charge of Encino. As I was already living in the Valley, I continued training every day in earnest with Jean Jacques, whilst still making training trips to the Redondo based academy.
This is a very brief history of the nearly 30 year journey in BJJ that has led to the formation of Richard Norton BJJ and the Team Norton Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu Association.
Professor Clint Harris started his martial arts journey at a very young age with Taekwondo instructed by his father and uncle in their local club in Maryborough VIC. Always looking to further his skills as a martial artist he studied whatever he could get his hands on in the local area. He then took up Freestyle Combat Karate which introduced him to Muay Thai, Kali and Grappling.
It wasn’t until he moved to Melbourne that he got to further his journey. There he met his coach and friend Professor Jeremy Ta’kody that he was introduced to MMA, Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. From this friendship he was introduced to Professor Norton and has been affiliated with Team Norton ever since.
He has been teaching Martial Arts professionally since 2014 after getting back from the United States training at the well know UFC fighter gym Alpha Male in Sacramento.
He was awarded his Black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by Professor Norton and Professor Ta'kody in January 2020.
His approach to teaching is sharing the underlying concepts of the techniques in BJJ so students can develop their own unique style of this eclectic art.
With a diploma in fitness and all working with children checks Clint excels at guiding kids, young adults, women and everyone else that takes the time to get on the mats.
His passion for training is contagious.
Also currently running The BJJ program at Team Norton Central VIC based at Fit Republic Bendigo.
Professor Clint teaches numerous classes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kids, Kickboxing, Boxing, Karate and MMA at Saxon Sports in Melbourne which is one of the biggest and most equipped sports performance gym in Melbourne.
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