I was born in Darwin, Northern Territory and moved to Queensland when I was 5 yrs old. I played a lot of sports as a kid, but I had a real talent for rugby league. Through primary school I trained traditional ju-jitsu in the off season of rugby league at my local PCYC where my mum worked, then in high school I switched to Tae Kwon Do and weight lifting in the off season. I played for brothers Ipswich my whole rugby league career and played for a few local representative sides, Ipswich Diggers and the Ipswich Cyril Connell under 16’s. I attended St. Peter Claver College all my high school years where I played firsts football both my senior years. When I finished school, I fell into the party scene and was making some bad choices. That’s when I found Brazilian ju-jitsu, MMA and the coaches and members of Infinity martial arts Ipswich, I instantly fell in love and began grinding, it started out for fitness, but I soon realized that my mind was built for this sport, I competed in my first competition after three months, where I came last, but I didn’t give up, I went back to the gym and put in work. I’ve now had a few successful competitions and I have big plans for the future.
Q&A Session Between Ashton Riddle-Johnston and Elite Sports
Question: What will you suggest to the newcomers?
Answer: Start by just showing up, you can’t learn anything if you don’t come to class Then don’t give up, you can be beat, but you can’t be broken Lastly have fun, that’s what this sport is all about.
Question: What does it mean for you to be a fighter?
Answer: It means everything to me, it’s my identity, it’s what I think about when I eat, when I sleep, it’s why I wake up. I live to train and I train to live, and I fight not for myself but for my team and my family.
Question: What are the essential things for the training?
Answer: A good attitude towards learning new skills and learning more about yourself.
Question: What separates you from every other fighter in your division?
Answer: My mind, my body can do amazing things, but it is my mind that pushes me further beyond my limits, my body can be broken but mind will continue to fight till the end.
Question: What is the meaning of success in your mind?
Answer: success is what I push for, it is what I spend hours in the gym for, I may fail time and time again, but eventually I will push past failure and I will succeed, that is a promise I make to myself.
Question: With whom you would like to fight, and why?
Answer: Max Holloway because he is the champion of the featherweight division in the UFC.
Question: Is there any difference b/w your common days’ diet and during competition training diet?
Answer: Whether I’m preparing for a fight or competition or I’m in between, I’m eating clean, plenty of greens and plenty of water.
Question: How does a beginner will prepare for the competition? Any advice for beginners?
Answer: Relax, breathe and don’t stress, focus on what your strengths and where you might be vulnerable, then create a game plan or strategy and if you fail, learn from it.
Question: How is it helpful to have the information about your competitor?
Answer: It really depends on the information, for example if you’re watching footage that is recent you can start to see your opponent’s habits, their favorite punch or submission, which side they put their head on in takedowns, but if the footage isn’t recent, their game could be completely different, so take everything with a grain of salt.
Question: Is the martial arts necessary for a common person? How?
Answer: I believe martial arts is necessary for a common person, it teaches important morals, values and instills a sense of pride but without the ego. With the added incentive of having a few more options if you ever run into any problems in the streets.
Question: Which moment is memorable for you in your past competitions?
Answer: When I come second in my third competition, it left a sour taste in my mouth, but I learnt from it and came back the following competition to come first.
Question: How do martial arts help to build a leader?
Answer: Martial arts build confidence and teaches a person to think outside of the box, but also instills discipline, these are skills that are important in a good leader.
Question: What would be your dream fight?
Answer: I would love to see Robert Whittaker vs GSP
Question: How is the road plan necessary for any competition?
Answer: When I first started I created a road plan, your journey doesn’t always follow the path you think, but it gives a general idea of the direction a fighter needs to take to achieve their goals.
Question: Do you have any advice for your competitors?
Answer: Train hard and come at your best, because I want you to be at your full potential when I beat you.
Question: How much importance has the sports gear in any competition?
Answer: The quality of sports gear plays a large part in performance at any competition, how can you expect to compete at your best if your Gi is holding you back.
Question: What should we learn from the legends /or from the seniors? Who is your inspiration?
Answer: We can learn so much from legends and seniors, the value of hard work and what happens if you stay committed and never give up, I take inspiration from everyone, from multiple sports, they all have something of value that can be put into my own journey.
Question: To whom you would like to compliment for your success?
Answer: My coaches, they have taught me all I know, and they have a lot of belief in me, which powers my belief in myself, I would be nowhere if didn’t have the support from the people I train with.
Question: Who is your favorite legendary fighter? Why?
Answer: Royce Gracie because he was the first to pioneer the sport that is now known as mixed martial arts.