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Updated: Dec 4, 2019

Dave Johnson and Oliver Gifford first time training together

Back in Aug of 2016 a lady named Marie would contact the Strike MMA gym looking to get her son Oliver Gifford into one on one personal training sessions. I recommend the classes also but Marie said that Oliver was too nervous to do anything like that just yet. Marie went on to tell us that Oliver had just lost his father and was really struggling. He had a 13% attendance record at school. She was hoping that we might be able to help him training at Strike MMA. Oliver trained once a week with Dave Johnson consistently in the years to come. It coensided with Dave's study and curiosity for learning and teaching psychology.


During these PT session Oliver listened intently, all the while his MMA skill level was increasing and confidence was growing. Very soon Oliver started having more dialogue and would be forever talking about UFC, knowing all the latest fights, stats and stories. He engaged in deep and meaningful conversation and in time started to read some psychology and spiritual books and he found more and more of a voice and vocabulary. He enrolled and did an electrical pre-apprenticeship at Tafe, but really wasn't sure this was for him and he struggled to get placement and a job post-graduation. Oliver has since worked in helping his mum at the Red Cross doing charity work. It took a while before Oliver was training with a class and being really comfortable with others, he grew in social confidence.

In 2019 Oliver competed in amateur MMA events in both boxing and MMA.

He then enroled in a course that shocked me! Oliver had enroled to do a psychology bridging course at University. He passed!! Oliver Gifford.... after loosing his father and a 13% attendance record at school had just been accepted to do a double degree in psychology and sports science!!

Oliver Gifford was in a GROWTH MINDSET

His mother Marie played a huge roll in support and encouraging him to achieve and grow. She said, "I cried my eyes out when he came running in showing me he's acceptance letter"!! "Dave, the look on his face was priceless, seeing the belief in himself, that makes me so happy"!!

Words from Oliver's mother Marie,

"Hi Dave, hope you guys are all well.😊

"I just wanted to thank you for being an incredible mentor for my Oliver".

"He came to you right on the back of losing his father. It was a very tough time for him. He didn't even have the confidence to join one of your groups/classes. He would only go if it was one on one. Well 6 PT sessions turned into 3 years and still going strong".

"I couldn't be more proud of him.Look at him go, a kid that had a 13% attendance in year 10 to now doing a double degree in sport science and psychology at University".

"Yourself and Strike played a major role in all of this and I just wanted to let you know how much I sincerely appreciate that".

Thank you 🙏🙏🙏

Oliver is now moving into the next phase of his life. He is leading towards purpose and meaning and having a positive impact on others in the community.

He is currently an assistant mentor on the Warnbro High School Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Program.

Oliver Gifford is on a path to finding Fulfillment

-Dave Johnson



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