Up for the challenge – martial artists show determination and courage

Martial artists have been battling each other in the soaring temperatures at a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu interclub tournament writes Rob Griffin.

The submission-only event, which featured 21 thrilling matches, was hosted by the Gracie Barra Hastings BJJ academy in Earl Street.

Craig Namvar

The competitors, which included fighters from sister club GB Hailsham, were matched based on a combination of weight, belt colour and experience.

Each fight, which could only be won by forcing a rival to ‘tap out’, lasted three minutes for children, five for juveniles and an energy sapping ten minutes for adults.

15621681_705067929670337_2242565740205523996_nPaul Bridges, head instructor at GB Hastings, said he was proud of everyone that was willing to test themselves – especially given the sweltering conditions.

“You need a lot of courage to step on the mat in front of everyone,” he said. “Those who did will have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience.”

It was the first taste of competition for many fighters, including Kirsty Atkinson whose superb ten-minute battle with Ellen Hancock set the day off to a fantastic start.

Dan Young in white gi

Another debutant was James Boardman, who was gaining useful experience ahead of the upcoming Brighton Open tournament. He drew his first fight with Hailsham’s Gareth Edwards and then took part in a second bout when someone’s opponent pulled out and recorded a win by arm bar.

Other winners included Zak Horsley, John Rose, Joe Thompson, Craig Namvar, and Chris Young, while Dan Young and Dave Taylor recorded draws.

As well as the BJJ matches, there was also a grapple and strike bout. This match, which was similar to MMA rules but without shots to the head, was won by Dan Young.

Kial Wilkins and Caivan Namvar, who are both popular coaches to younger members of GB Hastings, then put on a ‘flow-roll’ demonstration of various techniques.

Dan Young in white gi

BJJ has established itself as one of the world’s most effective and fastest-growing martial arts – and it’s one that appeals to people of all ages.

Its combination of throws, joint locks and ground-fighting techniques make it ideal for both sport and street self-defence.

Gracie Barra Hastings, which is open Monday to Saturday, caters for all ages – from three-years-old to adults – and recently launched classes specifically designed for the over-50s.

It has a dedicated academy in Earl Street, Hastings, with a variety of morning, evening and weekend classes.

If you are interested in giving it a go, then ring Bridges on: 07967 659867 or visit www.graciebarrahastings.com.

*Photos courtesy of John Rose

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