About AKO Martial Arts
AKO Martial Arts: Integrity, Resilience, Growth
Ako (ahh – core) is a Māori word which means both to teach and to learn in a reciprocal manner, it recognises the knowledge that both teachers and learners bring to all learning interactions, and it acknowledges the way that new knowledge and understanding can grow out of shared learning experiences.
Ako martial arts is a community fuelled by a passion for personal development and a collective sense of purpose and belonging. Our gym delivers multiple programs for both adults and juniors of all ages from as young as 2 years.
Martial arts connect mind and body through overcoming physical, mental and emotional adversity.
Located in Sandgate, our martial arts academy is led by Head Instructor Robbie Paraha (1st Degree Black Belt) who has trained across multiple martial arts disciplines, competed across Australia and is an ambassador for the international performance brand Hyperfly.
The studio offers easy parking, waiting areas, on site amenities, high-grade mats and equipment which are sanitised Multiple times a day to maintain the highest level of hygiene.
Adults and junior classes are spread across six days a week, check our timetable to find the best time for you.
Guppies (2 - 4 years)
Your little one will begin the essential acquisition of fundamental movement skills (FMS).
Guppies work with a parent to:
- master gross movement skills
- develop bodily awareness
- foster confidence and resilience in their body
Jellyfish (4 - 7 years)
This class mirrors the rigor of adult Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and Wrestling, yet is imbued with fun to inspire and ease learning. This playful approach helps children build confidence, grasp grappling and helps them flourish in a supportive & inclusive environment.
Piranhas (7 - 15 years)
Our BJJ class for 7 to 15 year olds offers an adult-like structure, emphasising focus, discipline, and effort. Focused on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling and Judo, it’s a grappling focused martial arts class, accessible to all ages, that rewards dedication and hard work.
Sharks (11 - 15 years)
Students will draw on a wide range of fundamental movement skills (FMS) and begin to compose their own movement sequences.
- coached to develop awareness of their mental and physical health to encourage self-awareness.
- Ethical conduct and integrity is a core expectation in jiu jitsu and applies holistically to all aspects of life. Students are encouraged to see physical activity as a lifelong challenge with physical and mental health benefits.
- Supported to level-up through grading and provided with opportunities to compete.
Adults Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
If you want to try a bit of everything you will love Mixed Martial Arts. This dynamic class offers:
- striking: develop explosive arm strength through boxing techniques
- grappling: understand the physics of body placement and weight manipulation to bring the fight to the ground
- ground fighting: part wrestling, part chess game. Explore choke holds, submissions and movements in a methodical way to learn technical sequences until they are effortless.
Robbie PARAHA – 2nd Degree BJJ Black Belt and Head Instructor
I founded Ako Martial Arts with my better half Linzi to share the knowledge and pass on the valuable lessons I’ve gained after a lifetime of focus within Martial arts.
I started kickboxing in New Zealand when I was 18 where quickly fell in love with the martial art, the required technique and constantly being pushed to my limits. I took this passion to Australia in 2011 where I joined an MMA Gym and began training MMA. MMA quickly led me to Jiu Jitsu after being easily controlled and subdued by someone half my size.
Martial arts helped me improve my overall health and drop my weight from 115kg to 84kg within my first 18 months. After 2 years of training I left my monotonous job to chase my passion.
I have competed all over Australia and New Zealand at all levels amateur and professional across multiple combat sports including MMA, Kick Boxing, Boxing, Combat Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Every time I was faced with adversity and unique challenges on the mats I’d learn, adapt, and overcome. I love the physical, mental, and emotional challenges as well as the lessons Jiu Jitsu provides on a daily basis. Jiu Jitsu has taught me resilience and has improved my confidence to overcome any and all adversity.
After living and breathing Jiu Jitsu I ultimately achieved my black belt in 2016 at 26 years old. I was awarded my black belt from Neil Owen my Head Instructor after 4.5 years training and remain an active competitor and a sponsored Hyperfly athlete and ambassador.
Linzi JACK – BJJ Brown Belt/Instructor
In 2012 when Robbie suggested we spend more time together by wrestling at the gym I wondered why we couldn’t just go to a movie. He convinced me by bringing home a new outfit- a Gi (Jiu Jitsu training uniform) fast forward 10 years and I haven’t looked back.
As a female it was very intimidating to throw myself into an environment where I was essentially wrestling around on the floor in pyjama-like outfit with strangers in my personal bubble.
Since starting Jiu Jitsu, I have competed in tournaments throughout Australia. This training challenged my body and mind as I had to progress from awkward beginnings to feeling capable and proud of my growth. It turns out this was necessary training as I then took time off to welcome our two daughters, Amiria and Jorja, to our family.
Most importantly, Jiu Jitsu has developed my resilience and fostered the strength to raise a family, run a household, establish a business (which has survived both a pandemic and a natural disaster that had destroyed our previous gym), and most importantly create a community of the most amazing humans in Brisbane.
AKO Martial Arts is dedicated to fostering an environment for young children to explore and learn in a supportive environment. My background in Early Childhood Education has informed our children’s classes to ensure they are developing fundamental movement skills and social skills. Our program is sought by local schools to integrate with curriculum requirements and help students acquire focus, resilience, and community connection.
I also lead our women’s class which is the perfect place for anyone looking for somewhere to start and fall in love with the mats like I did all those years ago! All ages, shapes and experience levels come together to learn and laugh as we build confidence, fitness, resilience with other like-minded individuals.
“Highly recommend Ako Martial Arts Sandgate! The atmosphere that Robbie & Linzi have created in just over 2 years is very family orientated, everybody is so welcoming and inclusive.
The moment you walk through the doors, there are smiles everywhere! AKO caters for all age groups and levels. The timetables are flexible and suit people with all different work/school types.
Love coming to training and having a roll with all the amazing and friendly people at AKO Sandgate!”
“Robbie and Linzi have such a welcoming and family focused attitude.
All new comers are welcomed with open arms and there is no attitude or arrogance from anyone in the gym towards people just starting their journey.
Having had no previous martial arts experience, BJJ is now our family sport and we all love it”