Training with Steve Maxwell will change your life


By James Eke

Steve Maxwell blew my mind.

I have been following the teachings and exploits of this amazing ‘digital nomad’ who is not only one of the leading fitness exponents on the planet but one of the top Jiu-Jitsu guys around and so knowledgeable in so many directions that listening and learning from him is like drinking from a firehose.

At his recent visit to my school, The Eke Academy of Martial Arts, in Victoria, BC, Maxwell showed exactly why he is one of the most sought after teachers on the planet for martial arts and general fitness and wellness. To say that he completely changed the way I see and feel about a whole lot of things would be to say the obvious.

Maxwell is a rare individual. He travels the world with just a pack and a few possessions. He trains with a diverse range of people and his own exploits and teachings have changed the way many do things.

If you have ever done a Turkish Get-Up, yup, that comes from him. Ever dabbled with minimalist shoes? Probably didn’t realize he was one of the first proponents of wearing less on our feet. Learning self-defence in your Jiu-Jitsu class? He has been preaching the need for this for years.

A few hours with Maxwell and you will not only learn a ton of history but you will be told about the things you should be doing right now so that you will not only be getting the most from your training and your life but you will be doing things that will help out a future (and older) you.

At our camp with him, we started with the simple ‘combat base’ as we call it in Jiu-Jitsu where we are sitting on our side with a hand up to protect ourselves. What he managed was not only to make the ‘combat base’ better but far more functional in how we do it and how we get from there to standing and then back, but also added in the ability to turn what many don’t even think about into an isometric workout that cycled through five times or so and you are in for quite the workout. From there we were taught how to apply those same movements into something more, making it into a practical self-defence-centric movement chain that sums up everything that the core concepts of Jiu-Jitsu are all about. Things that make it so that the smaller person can easily handle a larger person. This is key concepts that anyone should know and be able to develop. Maxwell makes it all make sense and, in a way, makes it easy.

Basic things but advanced concepts that all participants will be thinking about for a long time to come.

I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to train with Steve Maxwell. I am certain of one thing: it won’t be the last time.


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Jean Jacques Machado Jiu Jitsu Victoria will change your life: Jiu-Jitsu like no other in Victoria, BC!

Nothing makes a martial arts instructor happier than to see the changes and results in their students. 

It only takes one review of your school with a student gushing over how they have fallen in love with the school and what it is you teach to make you feel like you are actually doing what you had hoped.

I’m in my 38th year in the martial arts now. Given that it is my own life and what I’ve always done I don’t usually think much about it. It is when other people find out how long I’ve been at this that I realize just how uncommon and kind of cool that approaching the 40 year mark in studying martial arts really is. I also know just how important the martial arts has been in my life. I’d be completely lost and adrift without it.

I’ve trained in a lot of martial arts over the years, the list looks something like:

  • Judo
  • Japanese Goju Karate
  • Okinawan Goju Karate
  • Kobudo
  • Aikido
  • Tai Chi
  • Iaido
  • Shorinji Kempo
  • Western Kickboxing
  • Boxing
  • Wrestling
  • Muay Thai
  • Wing Chun
  • A variety of SE Asian martial arts
  • Balintawak Eskrima
  • Kali
  • Jeet Kune Do
  • Silat

The list probably goes on a bit more than that with some arts that I studied a bit more tangentially. Jiu-Jitsu came into my life as a result of my pretty close to life-long study of the teachings and life of the man I call Guro, Dan Inosanto. Being a student of likely the greatest martial artist of all time, has side-benefits, like the opportunity to train with other legendary martial artists as happened with Jiu-Jitsu in my life.

Jiu-Jitsu changed my life from the first time I got to try it out, when I was 42, in a class with coral belt Master Jean Jacques Machado. Ever since that first class I haven’t been able to stop raving about how great Jiu-Jitsu is and the power and potential it has to change people and their lives for the better.

Most martial arts will improve your life but not all will have the same kind of profound impacts on your life that Jiu-Jitsu has, if you are being taught properly and in a school which does it right.

I think there are a few reasons for this:

  • Jiu-Jitsu is hard
  • Jiu-Jitsu is gratifying
  • Jiu-Jitsu is intimate
  • Jiu-Jitsu is tactile 
  • Jiu-Jitsu is therapeutic 
  • Jiu-Jitsu never lies
  • Jiu-Jitsu is extremely human

I could write pages about any one of these points and that probably is the power of Jiu-Jitsu. Any one of these things is the reason why people who come to class can’t get enough of it. 

In this day and age where we believe that texting is communicating and that sitting at a desk is ‘work,’ Jiu-Jitsu puts you face-to-face with what it feels like to be a human, dealing with our human baggage, with other human beings. It becomes a relationship with not only other people that will make you feel better every single time you do it, but with Jiu-Jitsu itself. You will feel like Jiu-Jitsu itself has become your BFF. Literally.

I love the martial arts. That is probably why I have a school (Captain obvious). I love everything about all of it – for me at this point in my life and my training I just love to learn and train and keep at it. I think it keeps me happy and sane. I think it keeps me in shape. I think it keeps me young. I think it keeps me healthy. When you put all of that together you can see just how important training can be for someone.

As much as I love all martial arts and will continue to train in as many things as I can for the rest of my life, I am also a realist, I know that not everyone is like me. This is where I think that Jiu-Jitsu fits in perfectly.

Let’s face it, people are busy. Time that they can devote to training is limited for the most part.  Jiu-Jitsu is a gateway in a big way for all the benefits that a person can gain from martial arts training and in a package that has huge benefits.

The problem is that not all Jiu-Jitsu taught today and not all people or schools teaching it are providing the same product. Make sure that the Jiu-Jitsu you are paying for is the one that has the magic to it.

Find a great school, not just a good one. Not one that looks at you as a dollar sign.

Find a school that will change your life.

Jean Jacques Machado Jiu Jitsu Victoria can be that for you. 

Give us a chance and you will see for yourself. 

Start today!

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Here’s the secret to getting good at Jiu-Jitsu: stop making excuses and train!


by James Eke

I had a great martial arts teacher in my youth who said that the greatest hinderance to people becoming amazing in the martial arts was infection by the bubonic laziness.

It has been close to 30 years since he told me this and the depth of his understanding of both human nature and the path to excellence has amazed me as I’ve grown more mature and have seen how all of us act. I have to say that I must have listened to his advice because I haven’t stopped training since childhood, even when everything else seemed conspiring against me I somehow kept going and going and going.

The bubonic laziness is like a plague, it catches and infects you when you least expect it and once it takes hold it is hard to shake. Most people don’t even realize they are infected.

Maybe reading this you’ll suddenly say, “oh no, I have it myself, what the heck am I going to do?” Well, good news, there is hope for you.

The bubonic laziness infection takes many forms. Sometimes it is simple unadulterated lethargy. You simply sit there. Or more likely lounge there. In bed. The couch. The kitchen table. Probably staring at your smart phone, tablet or computer…maybe even reading this. You think to yourself that tomorrow you’ll go and train. Or maybe next week. Next month. But just like the dishes in the sink or the laundry that is piling up, you put it off.

Other times the bubonic laziness is something you tell yourself. Maybe you say you will train when you feel better. Maybe you say you will train when you aren’t so tired. Maybe you say you will train when you aren’t so busy.

The thing with bubonic laziness is that it is pervasive. It latches onto your thoughts and your actions and can even spread to those around you and everything else in your life.

Here is the thing. When it comes to Jiu-Jitsu, or anything worthwhile you need to stop making excuses.

You don’t think you are so great; train.

You don’t think you are in good enough shape; train.

You think you don’t have time; train.

You think you are too sore; train.

Most of the excuses we give ourselves are ridiculous. If you enjoy doing something you will make the time to do it if you get rid of the ability to listen to our own bubonic laziness driven excuse train.

Need more time in the day? Learn time management. Get up earlier. Make time.

Feel like everyone else is getting better than you? Hit the mats more. Focus your efforts. Examine what your game is and adjust.

Feeling like the couch is calling you? Tell it to shut up and go train.

If you think about it, Jiu-Jitsu takes about an hour out of your day on training nights. Don’t you think that you deserve that? One hour for yourself to get awesome? One hour to be you? One hour to learn life-changing things? One hour to become better? One hour to become amazing?

Nobody expects anyone to be on the mats every single day. Life has other things that come up and we can’t be everywhere at the same time but Jiu-Jitsu is one of those things that is worth it to devote as much time as we can to mastery of it. The reason is simple when you do the math, everything that Jiu-Jitsu is, destroys the virus that carries the bubonic laziness. When we take Jiu-Jitsu into our daily lives we become immune to the bubonic laziness. We become Jiu-Jitsu.

Anything in this life worth doing — and Jiu-Jitsu is definitely worth doing — is worth doing properly. We need to stop making excuses and get on the mats. You have an injury? Well that is your Jiu-Jitsu, wrap it up and train being aware of it. You are busy with work? Well realize that your job is not your life and Jiu-Jitsu will improve your life so make the time and get in and train. You don’t have a clean Gi? Well stop procrastinating and do your laundry or better yet, pick up another Gi and make sure you always have one to wear. You are so very tired? Well train being tired, that’s your Jiu-Jitsu today.

Life is about choices not about excuses — make good ones.

Getting the picture? If you want to live an amazing life you have to stop with the excuses. Nobody who ever did anything amazing with their lives ever got on the bubonic laziness train and rode it. At least not for long.

There is only one excuse for not getting in and hitting the mats and that is being infectious with an actual illness. You have a cold, flu, cold sore, zombie plague or whatever, well then stay away until you aren’t going to get everyone else sick. Otherwise, get on the mats.

At Jean Jacques Machado Jiu Jitsu Victoria you have the opportunity to learn an amazing BJJ in a lineage that is mind-blowing, from here in Victoria, BC. You have the chance to become not just incredible at Jiu-Jitsu but incredible in life from everything that you will gain — stop making excuses.




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First Annual Duel For The Yule Charity Tournament


Our First Annual Dule For The Yule charity tournament was a massive success with a great haul of toys to make sure all kids have a great Christmas.
We ran a Kids Fun Tournament/Games, Adults Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing and Soft-stick Kali competition.
It was a great time. An awesome experience and such a success we will definitely be doing it again next year!
The toys will be donated to children in need in the community. Leading up to the Duel For The Yule we also ran our annual food drive bringing in some much needed food for the local food banks.


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Eke Academy is Voted Best Gym/Fitness Facility in YYJ’s TC Awards


And the award for Best Gym/Fitness Facility voted by the 2017 Victoria Times Colonist Readers Choice goes to…Eke Academy of Martial Arts!  

Thank you to everyone who voted and has supported and believed in us!

It is amazing to be chosen as the favourite and we feel very humbled and happy to be given this community-voted honour.  There are a lot of gyms and martial arts schools in Victoria —  we are proud to be voted ‘Best’ in the city.

At Eke Academy of Martial Arts, Victoria’s home for Jeet Kune Do, Kali, Silat, Kickboxing — and the only Western Canadian Affiliate of Jiu-Jitsu legend, Jean Jacques Machado — we’re passionate for bringing the best martial arts to our beautiful city. We have a commitment to building community and developing leaders as well as first-rate martial artists.

Join us with your friends or family at our Academy here in Victoria and see why we are the ‘Best in the City’!

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Lineage Matters!

Get the most from your training

by James Eke

In the martial arts these days people seem to forget just how important lineage is in their training.

When we are looking for a martial arts school to train at we really need to do our due diligence in finding out everything that we can about the school, the systems and the instructors. Invest for success — both with our dollars and with our time.

Most of us wouldn’t take our cars to be repaired from someone who taught themselves from the internet. We wouldn’t go to a doctor who didn’t attend a decent school and knew what they were talking about. We don’t go to the barber to get a tooth pulled.

The same too should go for the martial arts — or anything.

We need to ask ourselves where the person we are devoting so much time and effort to learn a martial art from got or is getting their education, direction and mentoring from. Are they still actively training? Are they devoting themselves to get the highest level of martial art education that they can get? Are they investing in themselves so that they are investing in their school and their students?

Let’s be honest, martial arts is hard work, it is effort, it is sacrifice, loyalty and dedication — for a long time. It doesn’t end. Doesn’t it make sense to put all of this hard work behind efforts and people that make sense?

Any decent educator understand that they need to continue to seek out and be dedicated to learning first and this learning needs to come from the best that they can find.

Yes, this devotion to research and development takes time and investment. It means life-long learning. It also means an acceptance that you, the teacher, are simply and forever a student.

The easiest thing is to give in to your own ego and believe that you have all the answers. That you don’t need to spend any more time learning. That you deserve…something. This is egotistical, backwards and wrong. Worst of all it sets your students up for failure.

Picture yourself training for years in Bob’s Big McDojo of Martial Arts Awesomeness and you decide you want to teach. The problem is that Sensei Bob didn’t care too much about lineage or who he trained under or devoting himself to getting the best from his own training and as a result has no lineage to pass on. He trained with Sensei Bill and they don’t really get together anymore or maybe he paid some money and got a certificate and it means about as much as the frame he picked up for it from the dollar store.

Even though this student who spent years at the art, loves training and really wants to teach has all the best intentions, he unfortunately learned how to pull teeth from the barber instead of going to a good university, doing the work required, getting himself into a decent dentistry school and truly understands his craft from a line of similarly well educated people.

The martial arts are incredible. They are powerful and change our lives for the best.

In today’s world there are so many opportunities for training that didn’t exist even a few decades ago. Your martial arts school should reflect that — it should have instructors and leaders who are invested not just in building a business but in building a community and of fostering the very best in everyone who trains there. This starts at the top. Every martial arts instructor owes it to their students to devote themselves to learning from the very best, to putting effort in their own martial arts education, to doing the work that is required.

Unfortunately in this day and age there is always someone out there that will sell you anything. We need to understand the true meaning of caveat emptor — buyer beware — that the buyer assumes the risk that a product may fail to meet expectations or have defects. Don’t let these defects be what you are investing your time, your efforts and your love in.

So what does this all mean? Simply that we need to have eyes wide open to what we do and who it is that we are doing it with.

If we teach, we have to learn. We have to grow. We have to lead by example. We have to inspire our students to rise above and take risks and grow alongside other amazing people.

If we are students (and we all are), we have to seek out the very best that we can find. It means hard work. It means investing time, money and effort and an understanding that lineage — the people we train with and the places we train at actually matter. A lot.

You can train at Bob’s Big McDojo of Martial Arts Awesomeness if you want. You can get your teeth pulled by Joe, the neighbourhood barber. You can get open-heart surgery from someone who bought their degree online. It is your life. Do as you wish. For myself however, I want to learn, grow, be amazed, be inspired, feel blessed, humbled, honoured and at times overwhelmed. Training under and with amazing people, the best that you can find does that. And when the best that you can find smile at you, nod their head and acknowledge the work you have done (and have yet to do) it means the world. That certificate, that rank, that belt, that honour means the world because you know who it came from and what that really means.

Be the best that you can be. Train with the best. Realize that lineage matters. Realize that hard work matters.

Work hard.

Have fun.

Be humble.

Keep going!

James Eke is the chief instructor of the Eke Academy of Martial Arts. He has been training in the martial arts for over 36 years, has black belts and/or teaching certifications in eight martial arts and has trained in many others. He counts himself very lucky to be a student under legendary martial artists, Guro Dan Inosanto (studying and certified to teach: Jeet Kune Do, Kali, Maphilindo Silat and Madjapahit Martial Arts) and Professors Jean Jacques Machado and Jay Zeballos (of the Jean Jacques Machado Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association); all of whom he trains with throughout the year.
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BJJ is awesome at EAMA

Ask us how to start today!

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Start Jiu-Jitsu now at EAMA — your first class is on us



Eke Academy of Martial Arts is the only Western Canadian affiliate school of Jiu-Jitsu legend, Professor Jean Jacques Machado and our program offers five days a week of Jiu-Jitsu that is second to none.

There are no hidden fees. No gimmicks. Just real Jiu-Jitsu under the direct mentorship and direction of the Jean Jacques Machado Jiu-Jitsu Association.

Email us at or call us at 250-216-2801.

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Purple, blue and everything Jiu-Jitsu

No, we aren’t talking about bruises


The Eke Academy of Martial Arts held its annual Fall BJJ Camp the weekend of 22 & 23 September, 2017 with Prof Jay Zeballos.

The weekend was special already in that it was the first official camp with the Eke Academy being the only Western Canadian Affiliate of the Jean Jacques Machado Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association and the association’s director on the mats showing us what true Jiu-Jitsu is all about.

We were also blessed by having Oregon’s Prof Boaz Brizman up again helping Prof Jay enlighten everyone and our Guro James Eke’s training partner — and incredible purple belt — from California, Guro Brenda King on the mats as well.

At the end of the camp Prof Jay surprised our school’s chief instructor, James Eke, earning his purple belt.

Next up for the Academy is the Jean Jacques Machado Affiliate Camp in October.

There are amazing things happening at our school. If you have an interest in learning Jiu-Jitsu the way it is supposed to be, from a lineage that is second to none, come by and try us out — all new students get their first month for only $20.

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Victoria Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Martial Arts like no other


Eke Academy of Martial Arts is THE place to train in Jiu-Jitsu in Victoria, BC as the only affiliate in Western Canada of legendary BJJ pioneer and world champion, Jean Jacques Machado.

Our chief instructor and founder, James Eke has been dedicated to seeking out the best in martial arts for well over 30 years and has trained for years with Prof Machado as well as JJM black belts, Prof Jay Zeballos, Prof Boaz Brizman, Prof Gary Padilla and others.

James Eke is also a certified instructor under legendary martial artist, Dan Inosanto and brings not just high-level Jiu-Jitsu to Victoria, BC but also Jeet Kune Do, Kali, Silat, Madjapahit Martial Arts and Kickboxing.

Check out our JJM Affiliate page at: .


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