New Zealand Grappler No Gi competition saw a total of 23 teams from all over New Zealand enter, with AMJJ being the smallest and the only foreign team competing.
Martin Stetka, Alina George, Rua Tiaiti and Mii Taokia fought experienced grapplers in the intermediate section of their respective weight divisions.
The four of them walked away with three silvers and a gold.
Standout performances were recorded by Tiaiti and George, both of whom struggled with adversity before their matches.
At only 16 years of age, Astarlii Taokia was the youngest in the team and after months of training, achieved a silver medal in her division against a very tough competitor, Lara Dempsey from Southern Tribes BJJ.
“The next day it was listed on the New Zealand grappler website that we were in the top five schools in the competition,” AMJJ’s Mii Taokia said.
“A fantastic achievement for our small nation considering that the martial arts community in the Cook Islands more often than not has little or no funding and there were 23 other schools that day.
“AMJJ would like to thank the Cook Island community who supported us on our journey from the beginning, especially those who attended our garage sales, sausage sizzles and our auction dinner.
“A special thank you to our coaches and members of the club who supported us in New Zealand and those that couldn’t be there with us.
“We were proud to represent the Cook Islands and bring back some bling and we look forward to doing it again.”- Release