About Us

About Us

A Unique Approach

Despite the variety of modern clinical methods, nobody has found the best approach towards the complexities of post military life. While one veteran might experience benefits from programs that seek to improve relaxation through courses that include yoga and meditation, it’s become obvious that a one size fits all approach isn’t going to be helpful in all cases. Veterans regularly find themselves in a cohort of the population that prefer risk taking behaviour, an unconventional treatment might serve to reach an itch that relaxation courses just can’t scratch.

Veterans who become members of communities who practice combat sports have reported significant efficacy towards a positive change in their life. When a veteran stumbles upon a sanctuary in their post war life, they naturally want to tell other veterans of its location. Our founding veterans James Osbourne and Ash Pendergast have collaborated with leading coaches and athletes in the combat sports industry to produce a program designed by Veterans exclusively for Veterans.

Modern ‘participation certificate’ culture regularly sits at odds with the values veterans hold dear. It’s a mistake to confuse a veteran’s decision to leave military life behind with a desire to leave a community that values discipline, courage and integrity.

While some veterans will find their benefits come from the physical and mental health improvements from training, others might simply come along to be a part of the community. Veterans who aren’t aiming to be ‘fixed’, who simply want to come along socially are welcomed and encouraged to get involved. We hope all veterans who join our community gain a feeling of solace knowing their time and support is contributing to the welfare of their fellow veterans.

We’ve considered the variety of impairments commonly experienced within the veteran community. Our industry professionals have experience with adapting these programs to suit any limitation in capacity where required.

Our program is filled with content and competitive activities found in martial arts like Boxing, Thai Boxing/Kick Boxing, Freestyle Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.



Boxing is a sport that involves strategically punching an opponent while defending yourself from their return punches.

Thai Boxing / Kick Boxing

Thai Boxing / Kick Boxing

Muay Thai is a stand-up combat sport, where fighters are not allowed to take the fight to the ground. It is fast-paced and combines both boxing and kicking in one swirling melee of a bout. In Thailand, it is known as the art of eight limbs, referring to the eight points of contact that are used to strike the opponent.

Freestyle Wrestling

Freestyle Wrestling

Wrestling is an Olympic sport, divided into disciplines of Freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling. Wrestling is regarded as the best method of controlling and taking an opponent down in Mixed Martial Arts. Wrestling is also highly rewarding and enjoyable in its own right, developing technique, fitness and mental strength.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Jiu Jitsu is a martial art and combat sport that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting. It promotes the principle that a smaller, weaker person can defend themselves against a bigger and stronger person using leverage and proper technique.

Each 2 hour session incorporates a combination of drills, combat sport techniques and application of the techniques through live sparring. All contact sports carry a risk of injury so professional instruction, a strict set of rules and safety equipment are mandatory to reduce any risk of injury in our program. 

The long term scope of our program will be directed by the goals and feedback of our participants in mind. We expect as our course develops, participation in striking, grappling or MMA style events, camps and social activities is something we would like to facilitate in addition to the course as we grow.

Our Team

Our founding veterans understand challenges specific to post military life. Without a familiar community coupled with PTSD it can feel impossible to leave the house. Life quicly becomes a downward spiral creating a feedback loop of negative outcomes. We knew we needed to created something that would make our Vets jump out of bed and feel the excitement of life again. 

Our Veterans Ash and James hand picked leading industry professionals to create a Mixed Martial arts  program to make veterans feel the excitement of life again. 

James Osborne

Veterans MMA Veteran liaison

I joined the Army in early 2009 fulfilling a lifelong dream of being an Infantry Soldier. I was posted to 6RAR in Brisbane and deployed on Mentoring Task Force 1 to Afghanistan in 2010. Unfortunately, I suffered some orthopedic injuries during my deployment requiring several surgeries and eventually a medical discharge in 2010. I discharged in 2014 and moved back into the civilian world. I had struggled to find meaningful connections in the civilian space especially in working environments, I missed the camaraderie and mate-ship that came with being a member of the Australian Defence Force. In 2021 Ash contacted me about wanting to train MMA somewhere on the Sunshine Coast. I invited Ash to the gym that I had been training at on and off for 5 years. Both Ash and I found a supportive community within the MMA space free of judgement where we could train at our own pace and have a good laugh with like-minded individuals. It is this experience that we wish to share with other Veterans, to get out of the house get moving interact with each other and have a good laugh like the Battalion days but without the drill or non techs.

Ash Pendergast

Veterans MMA Veteran Program Facilitator

As a combat veteran I found myself struggling post service in many ways, I struggled to connect with anyone in the civilian world, I felt alone and with poor mental health I lost confidence in myself and felt like I was a shadow of the man I once was. A Veteran collegue of mine dragged me to a Mixed Martial Arts class. After my first class I felt so great I had to come back. After a few months I had found a sanctuary, I felt comfortable and safe in. The training made me feel like I was capable and confident again, the people there were so great and understanding that if I opened up after class telling stories or jokes with that desensitized personalities us veterans tend to have, no one judged. After 6 months I was a new person. After getting these amazing results. My Veteran collegue and I got together with 2 MMA industry professionals from the gym and came up with the Idea of the Program Veterans MMA. The program provides a community and teaches MMA to Veterans in an alternative way to ease the symptoms of mental illness. Since starting the program, we have had such positive feed back from our veteran members and it has been so rewarding.

Jordan Southern

Veterans MMA Coach

We set out with the idea of creating an environment for veterans where they can feel a sense of community, and achieve mental and physical benefits through the training of Martial Arts. I have great admiration for the veterans I have met attending our program, their minds are disciplined and focused and their depth of life experience is felt in the way they conduct themselves. I feel privileged to not only support these men and women but also learn from them. I have been pleased to hear from the veterans just how positively our program has impacted them, it has given me a great sense of fulfillment in my days to help provide this good for the veterans.

Rob Giuffrida

Veterans MMA Head Coach and coarse Director

I felt honoured when I was invited by some of our veterans to put together the technical content and structure for our veterans MMA programme. I initially enjoyed coming to the sessions for the laughs, our post session stories would regularly turn out to be some of the most hilarious or entertaining anecdotes I’ve ever heard. The more sessions we do, the more I’ve begun to learn about the experience and character of our Veterans, And come to understand that the our cause is raw, genuine and regularly misunderstood.

It’s gives me a deep sense of meaning that I can put the knowledge and experience that I’ve gained from studying Martial Arts for decades towards something that will give back to the real warriors in our culture. Our veterans have reported positive changes in their lives since getting involved in our sessions. I’m feel ambitious about the results of our program and motivated about the impact Veterans MMA could have with the right support.


Wellness Advocate

I am a veteran who served 12 years in the Army, as a Combat Engineer. Transitioning from the military is a difficult process to navigate. Add physical and mental injuries, isolation, and the other social issues there is little wonder that we are seeing increasing numbers of disadvantaged veterans in the community. This must be addressed, and I feel that programs like Veterans MMA go a long way to assist veterans in achieving overall wellness, post service.

The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. This means that overall wellness is about more than just physical health. It’s about understanding your mental, emotional, social, and environmental needs to overcome disease and illness both at present and in the future.

I have experience and qualifications in mental health, rehabilitation and community development and am currently studying a Bachelor of Social Work and the University of Sunshine Coast. I have been invited to join the team as a wellness advisor and I am excited to be able to assist other veteran in achieving their goals within the program and empowering them to achieve a better life outside of Defence.


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Veterans MMA is DGR approved