He’s an innovator, a fighter and one of Australia’s most exciting exports – yet BJJ champion (and new CoinJar ambassador) Craig Jones is only now getting the recognition he deserves.
Right now, Craig Jones could be one of the most important figures in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). In a sport marked by intense competition, relentless innovation and a winner-takes-all mindset – sound familiar, crypto fans? – Jones has shot up the rankings, a grappler respected as much for his intellectual and tactical approach as he is for his raw athleticism.
Jones’ journey to the top is even more remarkable when you consider that when he first started doing BJJ as a scrawny 15-year-old in suburban Adelaide, his coach was a blue belt – the first step up from white.
“Most people who teach BJJ are black belts,” Jones laughs. “That’s how backward we were. We were basically just watching instructional DVDs, reading books and trying to figure it out on the mats.”
Yet figure it out he did and these days Jones can claim some responsibility for changing the way BJJ is fought. Lacking the resources and lifelong training of many of his rivals on the circuit, Jones realised he’d need to craft himself a different advantage.
“BJJ is a real arms race,” says Jones. “There’s a constant turnover in knowledge and skills at the top. I knew I had to find some new piece of technology to take out the competition.”
What Jones settled on was a controversial, almost forgotten set of moves known as leg locks. Rather than aggressively move against his opponent, Jones settles back into an almost seated guard, waits for his opponent to expose himself and then pretzels the other guy into a position where it feels like their ankle is about to break.
“Leg locks are risky,” explains Jones, “so people really looked down on it when we first started doing them. But all of a sudden you had these non-world class guys taking out the best in the sport – and doing it easily. People had to take notice and now leg locks have become an accepted part of BJJ. So the question becomes: how do you beat it?”
Not that Jones is sitting around waiting for that to happen. “I’m always studying the sport to see what next wave of techniques is coming through. It’s all about being ahead of the curve rather than on the receiving end. That’s what gives me my competitive edge.”
CoinJar is stoked to announce its partnership with Craig Jones, because we reckon we share more than just initials. We’re both first movers in our field, showing Australia can match it with the best in the world. We’ve overcome those who doubted us by surviving, thriving and delivering on our promises. We’ve made names for ourselves in a crowded marketplace by solving problems in unexpected ways. And we’ve blazed a trail for those who’ll follow in our footsteps.
We also like to think we share Jones’ tongue-in-cheek attitude to life, although we admit he can pull off a pair of leopard print shorts better than we can.
And does he own any crypto? Well, he was once awarded a stash of Bitcoin Cash for winning a bout in the UK a couple of years back – “I think it went from like one grand to four-and-a-half at one point” – but Jones is also the face of an all-too-familiar crypto tragedy. “Back in 2015, me and a couple of mates bought some bitcoin for shits and giggles and then forgot about it almost immediately. Then when things went crazy a couple of years later we were all frantically trying to work out who had the password but nobody could remember how to get our account back. I definitely have a few regrets there.”
Craig received his sponsorship in crypto using his CoinJar account.
Words by Luke Ryan
Art by Gabriel Arruda