NS/BJJ EDINBURGH FOUNDER
BLACK BELT SINCE 2017 UNDER HELIO SONECA
COACHED & COMPETED WORLDWIDE
JUDO BROWN BELT
YEARS OF BOXING knowledge
Like most people, my story of initially training jiu jitsu begins with an already existing passion for combat sports and watching the UFC. I had been a huge boxing fan growing up and had already been regularly training boxing at a variety of professional and amateur gyms throughout my early twenties, but as soon as the MMA sunk its cage-fighting claws into me, I simply had to learn what on earth some of these fighters were capable of doing on the ground!
In late 2009, I attended my first Brazilian jiu jitsu class, at a place called BJJ School in Battersea, London. At the time it was run by a highly reputable black belt named Felipe de Souza, who would become my main instructor for the next five years. Initially I tried to balance training boxing with BJJ, but soon enough all I wanted to do was roll around on the floor trying to strangle my new mates.
Felipe rewarded me my blue belt after a year or so of regular training and competing, and then he – alongside his own instructor from Brazil, Leao 'Ze' Teixeira – awarded me my purple belt in 2012.
A year or so later, I moved from London to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where I lived and worked and for two and a half years while I competed and trained across Asia. In KL I joined the highest level gym I could find: Leverage Combat Academy, where I quickly became part of the family and soon received my brown belt from 4th degree Nova União black belt, Marcos Escobar.
In 2015 I returned to the UK to teach alongside my original teammates at what had then been renamed, New School BJJ. In the summer of 2017 I was honoured to receive my black belt from Helio Soneca, Felipe de Souza’s own first instructor from back in Brazil and simply a living legend in the sport.
Since receiving my black belt, teaching jiu jitsu has become an increasingly large focus of my life, leading me to open my own branch of N/S BJJ upon moving to Edinburgh in 2019.
While running and growing our club, I continue to regularly train judo at Edinburgh Judo Club, aiming for that ultimate goal: double black belt!
For me, the ultimate reason for practising any martial art or combat sport is to express oneself through movement and command of your body. In doing so, if this also means taking command of someone else's body in the process, then even better.
I pride myself as a well-rounded and creative martial artist, versed in both striking and grappling, but it's the art of human origami or, in other words, folding clothes while people are still wearing them, that allows me to express myself the most.
For grappling, jiu jitsu and judo are like two branches of the same tree, so I've always trained them both. Knowing how to control, subdue and submit an opponent or attacker can be a life-saving skill, but you have know how to get them to the ground first.
Over the years, martial arts have taught me more about myself and my personal ethics and values than any job or formal education I've had, particularly training BJJ.
The jiu jitsu journey is a long, tough, frustrating and often very painful endeavour that never ends, but it's immensely rewarding. It gives you great physical benefits, from strength, coordination, mobility and agility, to undeniable badass fighting skills. But more importantly for me, once you unlock these capabilities, I firmly believe that BJJ can equip and empower you mentally with resilience, self-confidence and determination like you've never experienced before.
Finally, it is this balance of mental and physical challenges and benefits of BJJ that has become the wind that drives my grappling sails, pushing me continue exploring the arts and introduce jiu jitsu to as many future black belts as I can.
Head over to our blog for more of my martial arts musings, training tips, beginners guides and more.
NEW SCHOOL BJJ EDINBURGH
email us at