James Woonton

Adults & Kids Coach

Brown Belt 3rd Degree

 

James Woonton developed a fascination for combat sports, particularly MMA and Jiu Jitsu, during his formative years. As a teenager, he dabbled in a few trial classes, but due to financial constraints, he was unable to fully commit. Determined to pursue his passion, James began working at the age of 17 to finance his training.

Finally, in 2015, when he was 18, James found the opportunity to embark on his Jiu Jitsu journey. Guided by Pedro Fernandes at Tukaha Jiu Jitsu in New Zealand, he made a dedicated commitment to his training. This marked a significant turning point as he immersed himself in the world of Jiu Jitsu and began honing his skills under Fernandes’ guidance. His dedication and passion for the sport propelled him to achieve his blue belt in 2017. 

In 2018, James relocated to Australia, where he continued his training at Arte Suave. His commitment and rapid skill development led to his promotion to purple belt in late 2019, under the mentorship of Uroš Čulić.

James’s technical prowess and relentless pursuit of excellence have earned him numerous accolades in the competitive Jiu Jitsu scene. Notably, he has emerged victorious in the Grappling Industries Absolute division three times, where competitors of all belt levels and weight classes vie for the title. 

His competition achievements also include being the Blue Belt Submission Only National Champion in 2017 (NZ), a four-time Queensland State Champion (three times at purple belt and once at blue belt in 2018), and a Pan Pacific silver medallist in both Gi and NoGi divisions. 

James’s dedication to his art and relentlessness in his training and competition has consistently moved him quickly up the ranks and in 2020 he was promoted to Brown Belt under the guidance of Uroš Čulić and Nic Barker.

James has also tasted victory in classic super fights and secured the second place in the Trilogy Invitational in 2021. In addition, he clinched the silver medal in the Pan Pacific No Gi division in 2022 and became the New South Wales State Champion in No Gi in 2023. His outstanding performance also earned him the silver medal in the Victorian State Absolute division in 2023.

James also offers private lessons, which he prefers to conduct in small groups of two to four individuals. These personalized sessions allow him to address specific concerns and challenges that his students may be facing in their Jiu-Jitsu practice. With a specialization in No Gi, James brings focused expertise to help his students overcome obstacles and improve their skills in this particular discipline.

While Jiu Jitsu remains James’s primary focus, he also enjoys exploring other interests. One of his passions is fine dining, where he appreciates the artistry and flavours of exquisite cuisine. In addition, James has recently taken up DJing, showcasing his versatility and ability to immerse himself in diverse creative endeavours.

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Arte Suave is a truly an amazing Brazilian Jiu jitsu gym for everyone from the average person looking to learn BJJ, to the competitor looking to receive high level coaching in a good gym culture.The best aspect about this is first and foremost the culture and ethics of the gym, unlike a lot of other BJJ gyms there isn't any lock in contracts, hidden (or hidden increasing) fees, pressure to buy gym specific gear, or other dodgy behavior. The culture is positive and supportive of everyone's individual goals whether that's competing or not.I have had a few personal instances where the gym owner has acted with integrity and proactively identified and addressed problems affecting my billing or other smaller issues.I would strongly recommend this gym to anyone looking for a BJJ gym whether you're new or coming from an experienced background.
Riley H.
Riley H.
03:29 01 Jun 24
I’ve been training at Arte Suave for a little over a year now and can honestly say it’s amazing. The standard of teaching is incredible, with 3 high level black belts, supported by multiple competition coloured belts and visiting coaches. I learn something new every day and enjoy the mental and physical workout I get from each class. For me though, the culture is the main draw. Emanuela has done a fantastic job of building a welcoming and inclusive community, full of people from all walks of life, coming together to share their love of jiu jitsu. I can’t recommend this place enough.
James B.
James B.
07:59 19 May 24
Love this place! My son adores his coaches - they’re very patient and great with encouraging each individual student to do their best. Emmanuela has built a beautiful community that we feel lucky to be a part of.
Lauren A.
Lauren A.
11:09 14 May 24
Best gym in Brisbane and no one can change my mind. Excellent selection of coaches. Plenty high quality classes to choose from. Nicest look gym as well. Owner is lovely
Dee !
Dee !
08:26 11 May 24
Arte Suave is a fantastic place to train, with the best coaches, awesome community and great facilities.
Terry F
Terry F
07:15 07 May 24
The best BJJ academy I've ever attended. A gym where you can learn technique in good vibes. As a beginner, I've found it a lot easier for me to follow as there are patient coaches who guide me thru, also, good training partners
Winsy L.
Winsy L.
10:53 30 Apr 24
Amazing academy. Make you feel welcome from day one. All the teachers are great at what they do. Highly recommend.
Jack L.
Jack L.
10:24 30 Apr 24
Great people and atmosphere. Love it. 💪
Jonathan Gonzalez G.
Jonathan Gonzalez G.
06:39 26 Apr 24
Highly recommend Arte Suave. Great coaching, training, culture, and community.
Johnny M.
Johnny M.
10:32 09 Apr 24
Joel G.
Joel G.
10:18 09 Apr 24
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