Taka is regarded by many to be the foremost BJJ expert in Japan, and opened the first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy there some fifteen years ago. Starting his training at 13, he moved to Japan from his place of birth, Brazil, at 19 years of age and later started the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Japan. In 2008 he would found the new Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Japan with Rickson Gracie.
The only practitioner in Asia to have received a black belt under Rickson, Taka's Axis HQ in Tokyo city has become internationally known for having a high level of technique and excellent standard of training. Axis NZ co-founder Heydan Bucknell has gone from white to black belt under Taka, and has lived off and on in Japan over the years, forging a strong friendship between Axis BJJ New Zealand and its parent dojo in Tokyo, and bringing new techniques and tips from Japan to New Zealand.
AXIS BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU
Axis Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was founded in Tokyo, Japan by Rickson Gracie black belt Takamasa Watanabe.
It has now spread throughout the world, with dozens of schools in Japan, and well established branches in Australia, the U.K, Korea and Canada - with over 1,000 members worldwide.
Axis strives to maintain a high level of technique and camaraderie at all its clubs throughout the world, and is internationally known for its high standards of instruction and technicality.
Son of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu founder Helio Gracie, Rickson is widely considered to be one of the greatest practitioners of the art in the world today. Virtually undefeated across a variety of fighting tournaments and against a myriad of styles, his father Helio once said of his son: "Rickson is the Champion of the Gracie Family. He is the strongest, has the best technique, and the sharpest mind".
Born into Jiu Jitsu, Rickson was competing by age six. By 15 he was teaching classes, and by 18 he had his black belt. Then, in 1996 (with already over 20 years experience instructing) he formed the Rickson Gracie International Jiu Jitsu Association, his goal to provide a complete system in which students would learn both the technical and philosophical aspects of BJJ, with clear and defined standards of progression and ranking.