At the time of writing, (and for a few years to come) I am a BJJ Purple Belt under Chris Rees of Gracie Barra Swansea.
Chris Rees as an absolute diamond of a guy, a great coach and a Black Belt under multiple world champion, Braulio Estima. I also train a lot under Ashley Williams, an exceptionally talented brown belt and one of Chris Rees’s assistant instructors.
Earlier this year, shortly before being promoted to purple belt, I was fortunate enough to win the title of British Champion at blue belt. Whilst I was/am chuffed about this, it’s not quite as grand as it sounds since the combination of my weight, age and belt made for a small category.
Nevertheless, it’s a legitimate title and I am not afraid to use it.
Starting Out in BJJ
I started training in December of 2008. Initially I contacted both Pedro Bessa and Chris Rees by email to enquire about their clubs. I turned up the next Monday at Chris’ club at Cardiff Central Youth Club and with some Judo and traditional Jiu Jitsu skills behind me, felt confident I was going to kick butt. (Almost everyone there was a white belt, Chris was a purple belt at the time). It was not to be.
Before I knew it, I was being bent, twisted and choked all over the manner. From that moment, I knew I had to learn this stuff.
The first time I rolled with a blue belt, I got owned so bad it was truly inspiring. I went home and told the wife all about it. I imagined one day I might also be a blue belt. Wow, at the time it seemed such a long way off.
My Blue Belt
After approximately 2 years of training, I went down to Camberley to work. I went in search of a BJJ club to train at and was warmly welcomed into Carlson Gracie Camberley based out of the famous Camberley Judo Club.
6 months later, I was awarded my Blue Belt by Carlson Gracie Head Instructor Wilson ‘Junior’ Cretaro. This was June 3rd 2011. I really enjoyed my time at Carlson Gracie training both at Camberley and Hammersmith. I made some great friends.
Getting my Purple Belt
Around 18 months later, after winning my category at the British Open 2013 I was awarded my purple belt by Chris Rees.
I am a sensible guy, safety is always my primary concern. However, injuries are inevitable from time to time. Throughout the journey, I have suffered various injuries to ribs, hamstrings, aductors, teeth, toes, fingers and so on. I am always careful to tap early, safety first.
I also pride myself on not causing injuries to my training partners. Their safety is more important than me getting a submission so every submission attempt is executed with care and my partners safety in mind.
A Life Changing Pursuit
Jiu Jitsu has changed my life. As a result of Jiu Jitsu, I lost more than 10Kg without trying, becoming more healthier, fitter, stronger. Thanks to jiu jiu jitsu, I am more careful about what I eat, I drink less alchohol than I otherwise would, and have made some great friends.
Finding Chris’s club in 2008 has had a significant positive affect on the way I live my life and the enjoyment I get from it.
If you have ever considered taking up BJJ, I would highly recommend giving it a try. If you are local to Cardiff, give me a shout. If you live further afield and find your nearest club, check out my BJJ Club Directory.
Thank you for reading, if you enjoyed it, I’d be very grateful if you would click like or share below. (and or leave a comment).