Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gets a Te Reo Māori makeover in new online tutorial series

By James Perry

A series of te reo Māori Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) tutorials featuring rising national and international athlete Hakaraia Wilson has been launched online today.

Fourteen short videos featuring Wilson (Ngāti Whakāue, Ngāi Tūhoe) demonstrating different techniques, completely in Te Reo Māori have been released on Te Arataua Media's YouTube channel. They were created for the growing Māori Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community across Aotearoa.

Wilson and Te Reo Māori experts Scotty Morrison, Mataia Keepa, and Chey Milne as well another Māori BJJ champion Anaru Grant came together in February 2020 to wānanga the techniques and positions of BJJ and create Māori words to use in the sport.

Wilson says, "Pai tā mātou wānanga  me te mea hoki ki a au nei kua, ae i tau te mauri i roto i te whare, nā te mea ki ōku nei whakaaro ki te tohe mai tētahi mō ētahi hapa o te Reo Māori, mōhio kē au kei reira ngā mātanga reo kia whakatikatika, ki te wetewete i Te Reo me ōna tikanga," (It was an awesome wananga, and a great atmosphere in the marae. And having those experts just helps if someone questions some of the terms we came up with.)

21-year old Wilson has been competing in BJJ for the past 8 years and trains regularly at Oliver MMA in Auckland. He featured in a web-series earlier this year, Toa Jit-Jitsu as he made his way to the World Brazillian Championships. 

With COVID-19 and the nationwide lockdown, these tutorials provide a great rauemi for the whole whānau. 

"Ki a au nei he mea pai mō ngā tamariki Māori. Nā te mea e mōhio au ki ētahi tamariki kāore rātou e tino mōhio ki te Reo Pākehā. Nā reira ki te kite rātou i tētahi akomanga e korero Māori i ngā wā katoa ko te wawata ka akiaki i ngā tamariki ki te uru atu ki tēnei mahi." (To me it's great for Māori kids, I know of some who don't understand English well, so for them to see, and experience lessons in Te Reo Māori, I hope it will encourage them to get into it.)
 

An added benefit of having created Reo Māori terms throughout BJJ, is Wilson and his fellow Māori fighters, including his father, have a secret weapon when they head to the next tournament. 

"Koirā te pai o ēnei mahi, kua waihanga i ēnei ingoa Māori mō ngā mahi katoa nā reira ka ohorere katoa ngā iwi taketake i te wā ka tau mai te iwi Māori ki ngā whakataetae." (That's what's great about what we've done coming up with these Māori words, and yeah, it will be awesome to see other indigenous peoples reactions next time us Māori turn up to the mats.)