Coming from the new Mecca of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Professor Robyn Goudy did not know what to expect when moving to Singapore to join the FaMA team. He had only visited this tiny red dot once, when he was invited to be a FAMA Guest Instructor in 2016, and had a very tight schedule when he was in Singapore.
For this California native, it was the first time moving to a new country and he was eager to share the knowledge that he had accumulated over the years.
One year and over 110 medals later, Professor Robyn has firmly established himself as one of the most successful BJJ coaches in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
Robyn’s martial arts journey ironically did not start with BJJ. “Martial arts academies were cheap babysitting,” quipped Robyn. “My mother would drop me off (at a martial arts academy) as she worked three jobs and it was cheaper to leave me there than getting a nanny or babysitter.”
Robyn first started learning Japanese Jiujitsu but moved on to Karate and became a formidable competitor. He received his black belt in Goju Kyokai Karate at a very young age and it was through Karate that he learnt the art of competing under the big lights as big tournaments were televised.
Robyn started dabbling in BJJ when he was helping out a friend who was preparing for a mixed martial arts bout. “I was getting the better of him standing up but once the fight hit the ground, I was not able to do anything. That’s when I realised that I had to learn how to defend myself on the ground,” said Robyn.
California at that time was also going through a change. There were many high-level BJJ practitioners making their way there from Brazil as Jiu-Jitsu started growing in popularity, mainly due to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). One of them was Professor Ramon Diaz. Robyn started training under Professor Ramon and eventually became a Black Belt under Master Joe Moreira.
As one of the very few American BJJ Black Belts in Southeast Asia, Robyn brings a slightly different approach to training. He mixes old-school Brazilian training methods with American style instructions and details. It did not take long for students to buy into the program and many started competing after Robyn’s arrival to FaMA.
“We always insist that we are not a competition gym. We are not an Atos or an Alliance. We are a family gym that offers a competition program if any of our students want to compete. There is a structure to our competition classes and those who want to compete are encouraged to join the competition classes but we do not pressure anyone to compete,” explained Robyn.
The results speak for themselves. Despite not being a competition gym, FaMA students have won medals at some of the biggest competitions around the world including the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Pan Pacs, Masters International and Abu Dhabi World Pro.
Competition classes are every Wednesday night and Saturday morning. Unlike regular or sparring classes, competition classes start with 30 minutes of solo BJJ specific drills, followed by 30 minutes of partner drills and 30 minutes of hard rolling. Professors will roll with students and push them to dig deeper.
As FaMA continues to grow, Robyn hopes to see more students compete at least once for the experience. “It builds camaraderie when you travel to compete and everyone has a good time regardless of the end result. We want our students to have fun."
FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts Established in 2016, FaMA is a world-class martial arts training facility located in the heart of the Central Business District in Singapore. Walking distance from the Clarke Quay MRT station, FaMA’s main goal is to help people improve their lives through martial arts regardless of age or athletic capability. Each program is led by experts in their respective fields. Whether it is weight loss, a fun workout, camaraderie, competition training, or just to break a sweat, FaMA has something for everyone.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ as it is commonly known around the world, is a self-defence martial art that enables a smaller, weaker person to protect themselves against a much larger attacker using leverage and pressure. Formed from Kodokan Judo in Japan, Jiu Jitsu found its way to Brazil in the 1910s through Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese judoka and no-holds-barred prize fighter. During his time in Brazil, Maeda accepted a young Carlos Gracie as his student. Carlos would later pass on his knowledge to his brothers, most notably Helio Gracie - the father of modern Brazilian Jiujitsu. The Gracie family would go on to spread BJJ through The Gracie Challenge and eventually the creation of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Today, BJJ has grown to be more than just an effective unarmed fighting system. It helps young children deal with bullies and adults live a healthy lifestyle. BJJ classes are offered daily at FaMA under the tutelage of Black Belts Zoro Moreira, Robyn Goudy and Thiago Gaspary.