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Our Chief Instructor John Cole is a very experienced, talented, and well-rounded Martial Artist with over 35 years of experience. Beginning with Tiger Style Kung Fu at the age of 11, John quickly realized that martial arts training would be a permanent part of his life. During his High School years, John began training with the Sudbury Golden Eagles Freestyle Wrestling team, eventually being voted as team Captain and quickly achieved a great deal of success within the sport.

Highlights of John’s wrestling years include having competed at the Ontario Winter Games, receiving a bronze medal at the Provincial level, sixth place in the National Championships, and a fourth-place finish at the OFFSA, 1994 championships. John’s passion for grappling continued after high school as he attended the local Judo club. John also wanted to compliment his grappling skills with a more striking-focused martial art and as such, in 1991 John began training in the traditional form of Okinawan Karate.

In 1996 John travelled to Okinawa, Japan. Once there, he was blessed with the privilege of training at the main academy with Shigetoshi Senaha Sensei. John also trained in traditional weaponry (Kobudo) while in Japan. In Japan, John learned from and trained with such masters as Meitoku Yagi, Shoshin Nagamine, and Akamine Eisuke. From meeting such masters, John was inspired to begin teaching others in his arts, and upon his return to Canada in September of the same year, opened his school.

John has since returned to Okinawa, Japan to train with Senaha Sensei and other masters in order to increase his skill, as well has been influential in bringing Senaha Sensei to Canada for training. In 2004, John was awarded his 5th Degree Black Belt from Senaha Sensei.

In 2005, John participated in his first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Seminar, and early in December of 2005, was introduced to Renzo Gracie Black Belt, Pat Cooligan. Since that time, he has met and trained with several BJJ legends such as Carlos Gracie Jr., Renzo Gracie, Igor Gracie, Holles Gracie, Gregor Gracie, Roger Gracie, Braulio Estima, John Danaher, and of course, Pat Cooligan. After years of dedication and training, in April of 2018, John was awarded the rank of Black Belt and in 2021, became an IBJJF certified 1st Degree Black Belt in BJJ.

John has also had a number of Mixed Martial Arts contests, and in 2007 while preparing for an MMA fight, he met and befriended Leroi De Leon. Kru Lee, a local Muay Thai instructor with over 15 years of experience, quickly became very close to John, training with him extensively for upcoming MMA matches. Kru Lee was a very influential instructor and has been a key component in the development of the Muay Thai program currently offered at Sudbury MMA. John has also acquired his WAKO Coaching Certification and is an active club member of WAKO Canada.

As a competitor, John has not stopped since his early wrestling contests and is the most accomplished BJJ competitor in Northern Ontario. John has travelled extensively in order to learn and compete at the highest possible levels. John Has travelled all over North America, England, Finland, Romania, Japan, Thailand, Abu Dhabi, and Brazil. John has visited and trained at several gyms including the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York, Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand, Roger Gracie Academy in London, England, and Gordo’s BJJ Academy in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Despite all his personal achievements, John’s passion for martial arts has now extended into teaching his students. John says that teaching and helping his students achieve their goals and watching them develop a passion for martial arts is what is most important.

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