BJJ Team are flying…

Members of the BJJ team at The MMA Academy have been active lately.  Very active!

We’ve had solid representation at some of the biggest tournaments out there.

On the local stage, we had a strong showing at Empire’s Greater Manchester Open – which is one of the more acclaimed competitions in the North-West.

Jordan Mitchell, Johnny Lewis, Joey O’Brien, John McFarlane and Sean Rigby all took gold in their respective categories.

Michael Bowman and Ramtin Mohseni also brought home silver against veterans that were 2 belts higher!

If you don’t know these lads then I’ll quickly summarise with a few words on each:

Sean – massive respect as he puts himself out there in as many comps as he can; as does Jordan, and it’s all the more impressive as he’s predominantly a Muay Thai fighter/coach!

John (Moff), Johnny and Joey – recent black and blue belts respectively.  The biggest compliment I could give Moff and Joey is that they’re both made for jiu jitsu.  They have different BJJ styles but are both reaping the rewards, albeit at polar ends of the competition levels (for now!).  That’s the beauty of jiu jitsu I think: the contrasting styles here are evident but if you put in the time on the mat the results speak for themselves.

Johnny – This lad is a monster, his S&C numbers with Elev8 are a sight to behold!

Ram – the most chilled guy you can meet, until he gets on the mat.  I reckon a brown belt is imminent this year.

Bowman – what can I say, if you know him he’s gotta be one of your favourite people.  Good to see the TUF veteran competing in his first jitz comp at the ripe old age of 49.

Sorry if I’ve missed anyone, that’s just the medallists off the top of my head.

This is a really impressive haul, though.  If you know your Jiu Jitsu, you’ll know that’s nothing to be sniffed at.

And if that wasn’t impressive enough, let’s take it up a notch from North-West UK to European and World level and the medals didn’t stop.

In Rome, at the No-Gi Euros, Patryk Zaborski took bronze and Jason Tan took gold, both in middle-heavy division.

Finishing on the podium in such a prestigious tournament is unbelievable.

Pat only received his brown belt about half a year ago, but hasn’t rested on his laurels, so to medal on this stage is testament all the hard work he still puts in.

And as for the Tan Man, what can I say…it’s refreshing to see a head coach leading from the front.  The man must surely be a millionaire by now, so there’s no need to compete, let alone stay in shape.  And stay in shape he did!  Props to the gaffer, as he made 77kg, which is the weight he fought at in his UFC days back when the sport was illegal in 49 states.

Head coach taking home pole position on the podium

Jason’s BJJ is that good, legend has it when he was born the umbilical cord was wrapped ‘round his throat but he didn’t tap, he ended up sweeping the uterus and was delivered in full mount attempting an arm triangle!

He’s modest so he would hate me bigging him up like this.  NOTTTTT (Borat voice) – word on the street is the weekend he flew home from Rome he was spotted in the 051 with his gold medal draped ‘round his neck, absolutely mashed off his chops, shooting double legs.

Onto the AJP Worlds in Abu Dhabi, where Elliot Duke and Logan McDonald brought home gold, Grace Illingworth Silver and Mark Kinsella Bronze.

I’ll be honest I don’t know much about the kids as I tend to train in the daytime whereas they train early evening, but GraceLogan and Elliot are the latest in a conveyor belt of whizkids coming out of our gym. When I was their age I was about 3 stone overweight, addicted to sweets and WWF wrestling, and in my bedroom 90% of the time on the Super Nintendo. So to be medalling at these sort of competitions when they’re so young is frightening – the world’s their ocean.

Earlier I joked Jason was nearly a millionaire by now well Kinny must surely be a confirmed millionaire.

Fair play to the lad though, he genuinely trains and works so hard, his bronze medal at the worlds probably tops the “Champ Champ” 2 x amateur MMA belts he didn’t stop going on about back in the day. Thank god he didn’t win a gold as he’d be a Cejudo Triple ©.

Nah, well done Kin.  Who’d have known that 7 holidays to Florida each year would be the secret to life’s success eh?!

Questions raised whether Mark Kinsella bought his bronze medal with backhander money

One thing I’ll say is the strength & conditioning deffo played a part in these results.

The onus used to be on yourself to take care of this element, but these days having Elev8 on site have raised everyone up a level.  The guys who partake in the extra work with Nic Santa and his team are flying, and the guys that don’t are having to implement some extra form of fitness work just to keep up with the pack in training sessions alone, never mind competition.

Nic himself who was one of the team that competed in Abu Dhabi, and asides from the medallists I’ve mentioned, we had other entrants at every tournament listed above and you know what, hat’s off to each and every one of them.

We are a family friendly ‘keep fit’ sort of gym first and foremost.

Yes…we keep churning out stars in 3 different disciplines (MMA fighters, BJJ wizards and Muay Thai killers), but 99% of the gym is made up of people looking to get fit, learn new skills and build confidence.

The odd few that crossover into competitions have got my lifelong respect.  It takes so much guts to jump out of your comfort zone and test yourself in whatever sport you choose.