2023 celebrates 20 years of training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The belt wheel photo above lists just a few landmark moments in my journey – there wasn’t room to put all the milestones in there.
My first lesson was at Carlson Gracie London in April 2003. I remember it very well. I turned up, super nervous and was met by Luca who ran the club at the time. The instructor was Wilson Junior, a very physically imposing brown belt, which added to my nervousness. After a quite exhausting warm-up (I seem to recall a lot of neck strengthening exercises) he taught some spider guard sweeps. Then it was sparring – none of this easing me into the beginner program malarkey that you see today, it was straight into the thick of it. Wow! What an eye opener! And from that moment on, I was hooked.
After half a year or so of training at Carlson Gracie just once a week I saw that a new club was opening much closer to me run by Eddie Kone, then a purple belt. I became a member and threw myself into training with more dedication! It was there that I was awarded my blue belt, by Eddie and David Adiv.
In 2009 I moved home and the nearest gym was Mill Hill BJJ run by Nick Brooks. Luckily I knew Nick from my previous time training Japanese Ju Jitsu so it was a very easy decision to join his club. In 2015 I was very proud to be awarded my black belt by Nick and Mauricio Gomes.
Today, I’m a second-degree black belt and I teach BJJ at RGA South Herts. It’s been a wonderful mostly up and a few minor downs journey these past 20 years. As the excellent Chris Haueter says, “It’s not about who is best, it’s who is left.”