Opening Hours : Mon to Thurs - 8am to 8pm

Our Story


Founder of Bendigo Mixed Martial Arts Mr. Barry Johnston (Shihan – 6th Dan Karate) began his first full time karate school in Bendigo in 1981 and has trained tens of thousands of students in the Bendigo and Central Victoria region in that time. Many hundreds of students have gone on to achieve black belt and enjoy success in various aspects of their lives “including” teaching Karate or related martial arts themselves.

Shihan Johnston began training in Kyokushinkaikan Karate in 1972 under the guidance of Director Ivan Zavetchanos (Hanshi – 9thdanKodokan Judo and Australian Director of Kyokushinkaikan.) After returning from Kyokushinkai Karate competition in 1981 (KurjurnasBrawijaya Cup – Jakarta Indonesia), Shihan Johnston decided to make Karate his life career and opened his first full time karate school in Bendigo in Cahill Chambers View Point Bendigo. As the club began to grow Johnston made several locationalmoves to accommodate the increasing numbers and in 2010 Shihan Johnston decided to make the biggest business decision so far and moved to his current location at 2 Abel Street Golden Square in Bendigo, more than quadrupling the size of his club. The new martial arts club now successfully resides “FIT Republic,” also owned and operated by Johnston. Adult and teen Members of the Bendigo Mixed Martial Arts now have access to the facilities. FIT Republic is the region’s largest weights gym and it even has even has 24hour access.

Shihan Johnston is still a senior member of the original Kyokushinkaikan Karate Australia Organisation, that was founded by HanshiZavetchanos and is proud to provide recognised gradings under the KyokushinkaikanOrganisational structure. All students can stand proud that they belong to such an organisation.

Our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy is a member of the Carlson Gracie Jiu JitsuOrganisation and all grades issued are also recognised through the organisation. Our coach is Richie Ivory, National “Minotaur” MMA Champion 2015 and popular coach not only because of his ability but also to the dedication to the development of his students.

In 1999 Shihan Johnston established the “Australian College of Sports Development” and helped create a set of qualifications that were recognised by the Australian Government. These qualifications still serve as a benchmark for all martial arts coaches in Australia and abroad. The “Australian College of Sports Development” trained and qualified over 11,000 martial artists across Australia and International borders including USA, Thailand, China, Japan, Pakistan and India in a variety of Nationally Recognised Qualifications.

Bendigo Mixed Martial Arts Academy / FIT Republic is arguable one of the largest and best equipped martial arts facilities in Australia. The facility boasts four full time martial arts training areas as well as fully equipped gym and over 50 martial arts or related classes per week. The facility also has over 80 car parking spaces making car parking at the front door a dream.


The future of the Bendigo Mixed Martial Arts Academy is bright! We believe that we not only the best facilities but also the finest coaches in the business. All coaches have undergone the important “Coach Check” registration that ensures they have met the required standards in technical knowledge, valid grading certificates and police check to ensure they are truly fit and proper persons to train you or your child.

We look forward to showing you why Bendigo Mixed Martial Arts Academy is the regions premiere martial arts school!