I was born in the north of England before moving to Australia when I was 8 years old. My family had a long tradition of Jiu Jitsu and judo so I started training judo at age 4. I also participated on and off in other martial arts such as kung Fu, traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, Muay Thai and Wrestling. As well as this, I had a strong interest in rugby and rugby league. In my mid-twenties I was introduced to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA.
Because of the affinity I had with grappling I was immediately intrigued by Jiu Jitsu and have now been training in this discipline for over 11 years. It sounds cliché but Jiu Jitsu has changed my life and is definitely more of a lifestyle than just a sport. I now live in Ipswich, Australia with my wife and 3 daughters. My two youngest daughters both train Jiu Jitsu and I take great pleasure in assisting with their coaching. I also enjoy assisting with coaching the adult classes at my academy.
- Silver Medal - 2008 Submission Grappling Queensland < 88kg GI
- Bronze Medal – 2008 Submission Grappling Queensland < 88kg No GI
- Silver Medal – 2009 Submission Grappling Queensland < 88kg GI
- Gold Medal – 2010 QBJJL Queenland State GI Championship Open Weight GI
- Silver Medal – 2011 AFBJJ Queensland State Titles < 80kg GI
- Gold Medal – 2011 QBJJL Queensland BJJ State Championship < 80kg No GI
- Gold Medal – 2011 AFBJJ Australian Champions Cup < 80kg GI
- Gold Medal – 2011 AFBJJ Australian Champions Cup < 80kg GI
- Bronze Medal – 2012 QBBJC South East Queensland Championship < 80kg GI
- Bronze Medal – 2012 QBBJC South East Queensland Championship Open Weight GI
- Silver Medal – 2012 QBBJC South East Queensland Championship < 80kg No GI
- Bronze Medal – 2015 QBJJC Brisbane Championship < 80kg GI
- Bronze Medal – 2015 QBJJC Brisbane Championship < 80kg No GI
- Bronze Medal – 2016 QBJJC South East Queensland Championship < 80kg No GI
- Bronze Medal – 2016 QBJJC South East Queensland Championship < 80kg GI
- Silver Medal – 2016 QBJJC South Pacific Championship < 80kg No GI Masters
- Silver Medal – 2016 QBJJC South Pacific Championship Open Weight GI Masters
- Bronze Medal – 2016 QBJJC South Pacific Championship < 80kg GI
Q&A Session Between David Vass-Bowen and Elite Sports
Question: What will you suggest to the newcomers?
Answer: Just keep turning up to training and you’ll be surprised how quickly you improve. Consistency is the key. Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Question: What does it mean for you to be a fighter?
Answer: I like to think of myself as more of an enthusiast rather than a fighter. I like to continually improve both physically and mentally and Jiu Jitsu is a great conduit for that. The growth mindset that comes with martial arts is great for motivation, self-esteem and ultimately contentment and happiness in all areas of life.
Question: What are the essential things for the training?
Answer: A good attitude, discipline and respect for yourself and others.
Question: What separates you from every other fighter in your division?
Answer: I don’t believe that I am different from any of the other competitors or special in any way. Thinking this way keeps me humble and grounded but also ensures I don’t underestimate any of my opponents.
Question: What is the meaning of success in your mind?
Answer: Personally, I believe that integrity and happiness are a great measure of success.
Question: Is there any difference b/w your common days’ diet and during competition training diet?
Answer: I try to eat a well-balanced and healthy diet without depriving myself of too much. If I’m trying to lose weight for a competition I cut out the treats and eat smaller volumes of the same foods. I start by reducing a little and see how it effects my weight and then I reassess from there. It’s important not deprive your body of calories and nutrients unnecessarily leading in to a competition.
Question: How does a beginner will prepare for the competition? Any advice for beginners?
Answer: Something I’ve noticed about beginners in Jiu Jitsu is that they have high expectations of themselves and put too much pressure on themselves to win. I try to encourage our beginners to use competition as a learning experience and to try and have fun.
Question: How is it helpful to have the information about your competitor?
Answer: Often opponents have signature submissions or techniques that they were very good at. It is useful to know these type of things so you can devise a game plan to try to mitigate that part of their game.
Question: Is the martial arts necessary for a common person? How?
Answer: Unfortunately, the world is dangerous place so I believe it is necessary to learn how to defend oneself. There are also many physical, mental and social benefits that result from participating in martial arts. I’ve met many great people doing martial arts and I’ve found it a great way to make new friends.
Question: Which moment is memorable for you in your past competitions?
Answer: The most memorable competition moment for me was winning my first tournament as a white belt. I had recently suffered a serious neck injury which had side-lined me for 10 months. Multiple doctors had advised me I could no longer take part in any contact sports.
. I endured extensive rehabilitation and returned to jiu jitsu, however, I wore a neck brace whilst training for many months. I eventually entered a local tournament and I got neck cranked in my first match and had to tap out.
. I was extremely disheartened but I used that disappointment as motivation to regroup as I still had the absolute division later that day. I ended up submitting all my opponents and coming from behind in the final to get a choke with only a few seconds to go. Even though it was a low level competition I’ll never forget the happiness and pride I felt in proving to myself that I could still compete in jiu jitsu despite the injuries I had. That lesson in self-belief has helped me get through many other injuries and obstacles since.
Question: How do martial arts help to build a leader?
Answer: Martial arts develop discipline, resilience and confidence. All good qualities in a leader.
Question: What would be your dream fight?
Answer: I would love see an MMA fight between Jon Jones and a trimmed down Fedor Emelianenko when he was in his prime.
Question: How is the road plan necessary for any competition?
Answer: A good diet and a suitable training reGIme including strength and conditioning/cardio. Fatigue is the biggest enemy when competing.
Question: How much importance has the sports gear in any competition?
Answer: Appropriate gear is very important. You need to be able to move well and it needs to be durable enough to handle the intensity of the relevant sport. It also helps to look professional. Psychologically this can affect both you and your opponent.
Question: What should we learn from the legends /or from the seniors? Who is your inspiration?
Answer: I think Marcelo Garcia is the ultimate representative of the sport. He has achieved the highest accolades whilst exhibiting good sportsmanship and integrity on and off the mats.
Question: To whom you would like to compliment for your success?
Answer: My coach Shannan Landy, my Grandfather and also my good friend the late Junior ToGIa. My coach Shannan is a wealth of knowledge being a black belt in judo, traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as having large amount of experience in MMA, wrestling and boxing. I’m very grateful to have such an experienced and talented teacher who is also my close friend.
My family has a long history of both Jiu Jitsu and judo. I first became interested in martial arts as a 3-year-old when my Grandfather showed me a Jiu Jitsu arm lock.
I started judo at 4 and took part in many other martial arts on and off in my younger years. Then at 26 I was introduced to Bra Zillian Jiu Jitsu by my friend Junior and I felt that it was not only a great physical sport but also very intellectual. I should probably also thank my older brother for years of rough play fighting/wrestling that no doubt made me much more resilient and competitive.
Question: Who is your favorite legendary fighter? Why?
Answer: My favorite fighter would have to be Marcelo Garcia. I have a lot of respect for his ability to beat much larger opponents at the highest level through technique and strategy. In my opinion this is the essence of Jiu Jitsu.