Craig first began his martial arts journey as a 12 year old in New Zealand, studying judo for 2 years. Other interests such as surfing, motorcycles, and travel replaced martial arts for a few years, until arriving in Australia at the age of 21, when he was introduced to Zen Do Kai, a freestyle system based on Goju Kai. The practical self-defence attitude of Zen Do Kai appealed greatly to him, and he applied himself passionately to the study of it, rising to the rank of 4th degree within 6 years. During this time he opened and ran (with help from his black belts) 8 dojos around the mid-north coast region. He also began working in security to better gain real-world experience of the techniques he was learning, firstly in hotels and nightclubs and then at rock concerts, where he provided event and personal security.
In 1988 he was asked by Zen Do Kai’s founder, Bob Jones, to travel to Melbourne and become a live-in student at Shogun, Bob’s home, and to teach at the Melbourne Honbu in Flinders Street. Initially, his tenure was only to be for 6 months, which turned into 8 years.
Early on during his time at Shogun, Craig organised and ran the first 2 annual training trips to Thailand where he trained at Sityodtong in Pattaya, learning the fundamentals of Muay Thai, which then became the basis for BJC Muay Thai, the freestyle system of Muay Thai which was to become a sister system to Zen Do Kai. Whilst in Thailand on the 2nd trip Craig filmed a video in which he demonstrates the fundamentals of BJC Muay Thai. This “Preliminaries” video is still being used today within the BJC organisation to teach and consolidate the BJC system of Muay Thai. Craig currently holds the rank of 7th degree in BJC Muay Thai.
A direct result of the boom in popularity of Muay Thai was an abundance of up and coming fighters, so Craig and a friend formed FiteNite Productions and from 1990 – 96 promoted over 40 full contact fight nights, featuring Muay Thai, TSK (Traditional Sport Karate) and Shoot Wrestling (an early fore-runner to the MMA seen today). They also promoted the Australian Toughman Contest, which received nationwide publicity and pulled capacity crowds everywhere they went.
Craig was still involved in security as well, running security for most major rock events held in Melbourne, while providing personal protection for most of the acts himself. He also did a world tour as personal bodyguard for Michael Hutchence of INXS during 1993-94.
1996 saw Craig depart Melbourne and move back to Grafton, NSW, however, he continued to tour extensively throughout Australasia until 2003, firstly as security coordinator and then as a tour manager for major international acts.
By 2012 Craig was ranked 7th degree in Zen Do Kai, and it was during a visit to gradings being held in Qld that he was introduced to some of the bunkai concepts of Taira sensei, by Steve Nedelkos. This was to prove a pivotal moment in Craig’s martial arts journey, so much so that he commenced training in Goju Ryu shortly after, under Sensei Damien Martin, whom he had known for many years through Zen Do Kai. Craig graded officially to 4th dan in Goju Ryu Kenkyukai in front of Taira sensei and a grading panel of black belts in 2015 during a seminar on the Gold Coast. He was also made Shibu (Branch Head) at this time.
He currently runs a small dojo at his home in Grafton, NSW, where he continues to teach both Goju Ryu and Muay Thai.
Classes are held at:
Warlord Martial Arts
Rear 75 Villiers St, Grafton, New South Wales.
Ph: 0412 374 063
Tuesday and Thursday
Muay Thai 5:00 – 6:00 pm
Goju Ryu 6:15 – 7:30 pm