Michael Gent was Inducted into the ICNZ Hall of Fame on March 14th 2010
Michael Gent sadly passed away 2006 March 14th. Michael Gent was one of the pioneers of Mixed Martial Arts in New
Michael Gent, the founder of Maai Hyoshi Dojos, devoted much of his life to the martial arts. Over the many years he practiced the martial arts he would constantly put the skills he learnt to the test whether in the street or in competition. He continued to look for the truth within the fighting arts. It was inevitable that he would be lead into the realms of mixed martial arts or MMA.
His first insight into the MMA style was in 1995 when long time friend Anthony Netzler (himself a MMA competitor in Japan) introduced him to Egan Inoue (BJJ purple belt and Brazilian Juijutsu champion). Egan was the younger Brother of UFC fighter Ensen Inoue. In 1996 Mr Gent brought Egan Inoue over to New Zealand to conduct a BJJ seminar which provided the foundation for future inter-country training sessions.
Mr Gent was invited to Japan to train with Ensen Inuoe in Anthony Netzler’s private dojo located in Tokyo. He jumped at the chance, spending many hours on the mat training up in ground fighting techniques. At the time Anthony Netzler was one of only a few New Zealand fighters competing in Japan. Michael Gent made numerous trips to Japan to study with Anthony Netzler returning with skills and training methods that had not been seen in New Zealand at this stage. Michael Gent also hosted Anthony in New Zealand who conducted several workshops on MMA fighting methods.
In 1997, Michael Gent brought John Danaher (a Blue belt student at the time – under Henzo Gracie) to New Zealand. He conducted several seminars on the finer points of finishing techniques in the Gracie Jiujutsu system.
In 1998, Micheal Gent agreed to host Machado Brazilian Juijutsu black belt John Will. With his eagerness to learn, Michael Gent was able to pass through the grades of this new system obtaining blue belt then purple belt .Their friendship continued till his untimely passing at which time John Will posthumously awarded him a Brown belt in the Machado system.
In 1998 Michael Gent, in association with Karl Webber, Chris Easley, Dr Geoff Aitkin, Peter Williamson, Terry Evans and Lindolfo Collor formed The New Zealand Vale Tudo Association. Michael Gent and Karl Webber became the first trainers and promoters to bring MMA to Auckland. It was in September 1998 at the PowerStation venue, where fourteen fighters battled each other in No Rules Fighting. The event exceeded all expectations and lead to similar events around the country, with an array of talented fighters from various schools throughout New Zealand competing in these events. Michael Gent also appeared with Karl Webber on the popular TV series The Sports Café with Marc Ellis – together they promoted MMA in New Zealand.
In his time as an instructor and coach he trained three fighters to New Zealand titles in the MMA scene; Daniel Anthony NZ Heavy Weight title 1998,
Steven Cockell NZ Light Heavy weight title1998 and Rueben De Jong Professional NZ Heavy Weight title 2003.
Michael Gent also trained many more fighters who fought and represented his school The Maai Hyoshi Dojo’s. His training methods were unconventional, with basics being drilled to the point of exhaustion, even to the point where students would pass out or vomit. No mats were ever used when you trained at his dojo’s (they were only brought in at John Will’s request). For example, he would have his students run while carrying heavy logs up and down Little Manly Beach and then have them grapple two people straight after. These were unbearable and endurance based training sessions which were over an hour long. His contact training involved being forbidden to defend with your hands or arms, this was designed to teach fight distance and head movement.
In his early days Mr Gent competed in a variety of full contact tournaments where fighters could have up to ten fights in one day. He also fought in many tournaments when he trained in the style Kempo Bushido Ryu. In these tournaments no protective equipment was worn (it was a kind of right of passage). While not the most technical fighter, Michael Gent had an outstanding ability to find and use strategies that added to his student’s ability to win their fights or unsettle their opponents. This came from an intensive study into the Japanese art of Ninjutsu, itself a rather unconventional fighting style. It must be noted that his rather chequered past, which consisted of hundreds of street fights, all of which gave him an experienced base from which he could draw from when he was training his students up. He also possessed the most valuable asset any fighter can have – an unmoveable spirit and simply did what ever he needed to do to win.
Receiving the Honour of being inducted into the ICNZ hall of fame is an honour that he would have appreciated (though he would never admit to it). It is a sign of respect from the people with whom he trained with, fought with and competed against. We compete against each other to gain respect and honour, this is a lesson that Michael Gent taught well. While he certainly wouldn’t have fought fairly, he would survive and that is the goal of all Martial Arts.