Matt O’Dea – Professor
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt
Matt relocated his family to Red Beach in 2014, bringing with him his passion for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA. Matt has been involved in some form of training from the age of 14 after a back injury left him unable to play traditional kiwi sports. His earlier years were spent learning Tae Kwon Do in order to gain some movement and flexibility, then progressed to weight training and competitive bodybuilding.
Matt then set his sights on boxing and began training under national coach Dr John McKay. He had his first amateur boxing fight in 1997. Matt then teamed up with Monty Bhana (a well known New Zealand kickboxer and boxer) at the Glenfield Recreation Centre, and started pad work and fitness sessions at his home in Beach Haven. This attracted a group of local lads whom also wanted to train and eventuated in the creation of boxing gym, The Zone.
The increasing numbers at the gym outgrew the space in the Beach Haven garage, and Matt and Monty took the leap to leasing a building in Hillside Road, recruiting other martial art instructors Dale Marsters (San Shao and Wing Chun) Ivan Walker (lee gar kickboxing) and Danilo Santana (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt at DS BJJ). The amalgamation of the instructors became one of New Zealand’s first MMA clubs. The Zone is still operating under Head Instructor, Ivan Walker one of New Zealand’s kickboxing legends still teaching in Beach Haven.
Matt’s passion for continuing to learn the art of BJJ eventually moved him away from The Zone, joining Steve Oliver from Oliver MMA in 2007. During this time Matt initiated the growth of the kids club and co-coached boxing and kicking-boxing at Oliver MMA North Shore.
Now Training under one of New Zealands most respected Black Belts and owner of Tu Kaha, Pedro Pacheco Fernandes, We are excited about the future and the direction of the club.
Matt looks forward to sharing his extensive knowledge and experience at his new club Coast Academy BJJ in the Hibiscus Coast and welcomes everyone old, young, beginner or advanced to come and join one of the fastest growing sports - First Week is FREE!
Matt O'Dea and Son, Jaden O'Dea
The sport is growing rapidly in New Zealand and across the world because it has been proven time and time again to be the most effective martial art and is one of the main components of mixed martial arts competition.
There are physical benefits in participating in any sport, things like weight loss, improved fitness levels and better muscle tone. But BJJ goes far beyond just the physical aspect. This sport truly does change people’s lives. The gym and gym members end up becoming part of the wider BJJ family and community, it teaches self-discipline, respect for yourself and other people, humility and breeds self-confidence. Matt Says “I have literally seen shy bullied kids come out of there shell and become new people. All of the older children who have been doing the sport for a while are polite and respectful, focussed and driven to succeed. Not only in the sport, but life itself”.