Welcome to Open Guard Brionii, We are super excited to have you join us. Would you please introduce yourself to our readers and tell them a little about your Journey so far?
Hi Luke thanks so much for having me it’s an honour to be a part of your home grown athletes blog, well my name is Brionii Cuskelly, I’m 13 years old orange belt from Melbourne Australia and I have been training bjj for 2-1/2 years under my coach Joel Warren at Concept/Will Machado.
Brilliant, BJJ is becoming more and more known and more kids are taking it up. What was it that drew you in and made you want to give it a shot?
It’s funny because I really wanted to do cheerleading but mum and dad suggested I try a martial art first, once I stepped on the mat I was in love with everything about it the technical side and thought process’s made me feel right at home.
Cheerleading v BJJ I can see the similarities. Its funny a lot of people say the exact same thing. You either love it or you don’t. I know when I first stepped on the mats I was hooked also, do any of your other family members train?
Looking back now I’m so glad I tried Jiu Jitsu because it has helped me grow in every aspect of my life. It’s who I am. I have four younger siblings who are too young to train yet but I am looking forward to sharing the art with them as they grow, dad started training last year and mum is going to join us on the mat shortly. As they say “family that train together remain together”
So much truth in that last quote. The bond that is built through BJJ is so strong and when that bond is built with the people you love it is unbreakable. So you have been training for 2 and a half years now and I have seen you have had some great results in competition could you share some of your highlights with us?
For me it all started with my first competition where I lost by submission but it was the beginning of so much more, when I got back to training I trained so much harder. Getting to travel interstate to compete was a pretty big deal for me, and also receiving my first Gold medal as it showed my hard efforts in training were starting to pay off. Competing this last grappling industries comp in the adults division was a massive highlight, not only did I have to work extremely hard but I had to really put in so much more thought and standing on the podium that day felt incredible. I’ve competed against so many great athletes win or lose I think there have been massive highlights in every competition I’ve competed in, but the biggest highlight is just growing in my sport with such an incredibly supportive bjj community pushing me along.
So travelling interstate for competition at such a young age would have been exciting. Have you managed to sneak in any training sessions on your travels? A lot of people who live the BJJ lifestyle train and specifically book holidays based around gyms they want to train at and competitions they dream of competing in. Do you have any big plans in the near future or when you are a little older to travel and train, and if so where do you plan on heading?
So far in my interstate travels I haven’t had the chance to train at any other gyms, but here in Melbourne I have been fortunate enough to have a few training session at Absolute MMA with Liv Gluchowska and the team. I look forward to when I’m old enough to take part in the Australian Girls in Gi Camp, I think that will be a great experience. In August I’m heading to America to compete in the worlds where I will be guesting at Sophia Drysdales pre comp training camp we also plan to train at a few well known gyms whilst we are there. Besides that my ultimate goal is to travel near and far and train with some of the best in the world.
Awesome! Great goal of competing at the worlds is no small feat. How do you manage your training/school/competition schedule? I wouldn’t imagine you would have much time for anything else.
Training, Competing and School are the 3 things I enjoy most in life so if my days are filled up with any or all 3 I’m happy. Keeping on top of my school work is a big key, so I make sure I do my homework before training or on my 2 days I don’t train, it means my training is never affected by my need to keep up with school work commitments. I actually really dislike school holidays as my gym usually has a small break and with no school during the day I feel so out of routine.
That is great to hear. It has been really great to have you join us here at Open Guard. We will definitely be following your journey and look forward to seeing you on the mats on the biggest stage available at the worlds. How can our readers get behind you and show support, social media pages etc?
My web site has now gone live and has all of my social media links, regular updates and more. The website is www.killerbjiujitsu.com but for now I can be found on Facebook: facebook.com/brioniicbjj and Instagram: brionii_bjj. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me about my passion and journey in bjj and for your support in following my journey. I’d also like to say a big thank you to my coaches, team mates at concept and my sponsors (Braus Fight, Sign Nation, Core Tactics & Might Die Productions) without them my journey wouldn’t be as amazing as it has been.
Do you or your parents have any parting advice for parents of daughters who have embarked on their own BJJ path? It’s tricky for the little ones who do not always pick up the technique so quickly and often get frustrated on the mats.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day” Enjoy the journey everyone’s path is different embrace it. As parents we think it’s always important to communicate with our kids about their thoughts and feeling in their sport especially young girls. And praise them let them know that your proud of their efforts I mean let’s face it what they put their bodies and minds through to achieve their goals is deep so to know we see and validate that effort is important. And lastly don’t ever compare their ability to others everyone’s bjj path is different all kids and even adults will learn at a different pace with different ability just let them know you value the effort they put in and where they are at. OSS
Brilliant it has been an absolute pleasure hearing all about your journey. You may not realise at the moment but you are and will become a great role model to all of the kids starting their own journey into the art we all love so much. Thanks again for your time.