Meet Craig Cruickshank, a seasoned martial arts coach with a rich and diverse background in combat sports. At just 17, Craig began his journey boxing in Melbourne, competing as an amateur. His prowess in the ring attracted the attention of a scout, landing him training opportunities at Melbourne’s renowned Barry Michaels Boxing Gym.
In the 1980s, Craig relocated to Townsville and continued training at Hawks Boxing Club for several years before taking a hiatus from fighting to start a business and family. His deep interest in combatives then led him to take up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and full-contact karate in 2000. Under the guidance of Paul Cale, a now former Special Forces soldier renowned for the Australian Army Combatives Program, and Colin Crosby, at the time Townsville’s only BJJ coach and respected MMA and BJJ practitioner, Craig continued to train and earned a 3rd degree in Renshinkan Karate, a Kyokushin derivative, and a BJJ purple belt.
Craig then founded ‘Sphere Martial Arts’ and offered his coaching expertise at various gyms across the city, while continuing his Martial arts journey. He trained and gained his brown belt under Vince Perry from PUMMA Martial Arts, a prominent figure in the Australian martial arts scene. In 2017, Craig transitioned to training under Neil Owen from Infinity BJJ with Oceanic Martial Arts in Townsville, achieving his BJJ black belt in 2018 and first Degree in 2021.
Not content with limiting his training to Australia, Craig has also traveled extensively to train at prestigious international gyms. His journey has taken him to multiple gyms in Australia, New Zealand and to the heart of the BJJ world in San Diego, where he trained at ATOS HQ, 10th Planet, and Barret Yoshida’s gym. He brings back with him a wealth of knowledge to share with practitioners at home. With modest accomplishments in the ring, cage, and on the mat, Craig has competed in boxing, jiu-jitsu, judo, and MMA over the years.
His greatest pride, however, lies in his coaching journey, where he became Townsville’s first homegrown BJJ Black Belt and guided numerous athletes to become state and national BJJ champions. Joining our team as our head BJJ Coach, Craig brings a unique approach to teaching, focusing on the real-world application of skills while recognising the value of sport as a testing ground. He emphasises strong fundamentals in his teaching, a philosophy that is reflected in the technical prowess of the athletes he has trained. Despite his numerous experience, Craig prefers to be simply called Coach. He maintains an open-mat policy, freely passing knowledge to anyone who seeks it. Craig’s expertise, passion for teaching, and proven track record of developing high-level athletes make him an invaluable asset to our gym. We’re thrilled to have him on board.