Marc Goddard became the first ever UK Referee to be appointed for the UFC and quickly followed this up by being the first ever UK MMA Referee to be licensed and sanctioned to Referee in the USA in multiple States including the fight capital of the World Las Vegas Nevada. Marc has since travelled and officiated in all Continents having worked in some 40 countries Worldwide and can be seen taking charge of some the biggest fights around the Globe for multiple promotions and organisations including UFC World Championship Contests.
Marc recently caught up with past TJK Sensei Paul Harrison and shared the following words via Facebook –
“Fate is everything! It is very real and something I firmly believe in. As I’ve often told in stories & podcasts just before the turn of the millennium when I moved house my then next door neighbour Paul Harrison knocked on my door to introduce himself as my new neighbour. The next day he asked me “if I liked fighting” and handed me some VHS tapes (kids ask your Dad!) of the first several UFC’s. The rest is history & Paul was also my first real Sensei as he was also an instructor for the Tai Jutsu Kai brand of Japanese Jiu Jitsu owned by Sensei Ross Iannoccaro. Paul’s brand & teaching of Jiu Jitsu was brutal, honest and focused on a lot of ground work (ne-waza) self defence, as well as a ton of randori & throws.
TJK was such a pivotal organisation back in the day as we had open sport jiu jitsu comps and grappling comps before BJJ and MMA had taken off here on these shores and MMA was an acronym that no one knew of. We all called it no holds barred and Vale Tudo and our first comps were held on open tatamis, long before cages even made it here. Myself, Tom Blackledge, Paul Sutherland, Ross Mason, Ronnie Mann, Mark Weir, Pat Carr & so many others had all passed through either TJK and/or Grapple & Strike back in the day. Paul was responsible for setting me off on my real martial arts journey and discovery and some 23 years or so later I still respect & owe him so much. What if he hadn’t knocked the door that day?…
The sport of MMA as it is now was so so so different back then and so many of us have bared witness to the evolution of both the traditional arts and how we all helped shape & mould what we know today. Our other leading MMA pioneers in the UK like Ian Freeman Leigh Remedios Lee Hasdell James Zickic Paul & Alexis at London Shoot and a whole host of others moulded, created and put us on the map. Now look at us today? 2 British UFC champions to date and more to come. The future is bright.
Don’t forget your roots or where you came from, and how. It was awesome to see Paul today and catch up over old times. This sport has became my life, my full time employment and has been with me for near on a quarter of a century, and who knows what else is to come. God bless. #history”
Images and quote – Marc Goddard via Facebook
Great Post. TJK was a pioneer organisation. The first traditional jujutsu organisation to embrace the ground aspects more. Ross had a great relationship with Carly Gracie and that showed in the syllabus.
To date my Black Belt grading with Ross is the single most physically demanding day I have had in my Martial arts career.
Also to grade in TJK you had to be competing regular which was not the case with many traditional arts.
The techniques I learned from TJK has heavily influenced my jiujitsu teachingRichard Shore – Head Instructor at SMMA. BJJ Black Belt.
It’s pretty amazing Marc that our lineage from our Japanese Ju Jitsu all runs back to one man in Kidderminster Ron Bampfield (RIP) who was both Ross’s and my instructor Chad’s Sensei. I remember training with Ross at Kidderminster YMCA back in the mid to late 80s and dam they used to batter each other and laugh about it at the same time. Remember Ross bringing Carley Gracie over before any BJJ in this country and the early grapple and strike and Trevor Cunningham Vs Mark Wier boom. Great memoriesIan Rossiter – Checkmat Somerset BJJ