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Members

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Join our Roger Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community and not only practice BJJ, but build meaningful friendships with 800+ members across our Bristol clubs. Every month we get to know one of our members and share it with our community. Here are a few that make up our community below.

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TBC

JUNE 2024

COMING SOON…

TBC

MAY 2024

COMING SOON…

CHRIS LAST

APRIL 2024

I’ve always had a passion for combat sports and have competed throughout my career in the Royal Marines in several disciplines. I first put a Gi on in 2014 when Braulio Estima visited the Commando Training Centre and it opened my eyes to the beautiful art of jiu jitsu.

Fitting in regular training around military life was difficult, but since 2017 I’ve been committed to the sport and am totally hooked! I’ve been lucky enough to train all over the USA and more recently in Brazil.

The team at RGA are fantastic! High quality coaches and real sense of community, on and off the mats. There’s no better place to train!

CALLUM BURKINSHAW

MARCH 2024

I started my martial arts journey when I was 4 years old as my Dad runs a Kung-Fu and kickboxing academy back in Coventry.

I pretty much grew up on all things Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan! Iv competed over the years in kickboxing, points, and MMA. I transitioned to solely jiu-jitsu in April last year. Jiu-Jitsu has reignited my passion for martial arts and the team at RGA, as well as being extremely talented, have welcomed me with open arms since moving from Coventry last year.

A post-COVID goal was to learn guitar which I am still definitely a white belt in. I love going to concerts and travelling with my favourite destination being Italy, probably for the food and sun. I am a passionate foodie and I think that’s one of the reasons I train so much!

JACOB DIMERY

FEBRUARY 2024

Wasup jits fans, nutritious Jay here aka the king of the avocados and owner of bjj nutrition. Always been a big fan of combat sports, grew up in the Donald Cowboy Cerone era and just when good old Connor broke onto the scene

Never had much confidence but eventually plucked up the courage to go and try a jiu-jitsu session at a client’s mma gym and never looked back. Competed 8 weeks later, got DQed in my first match for slamming whilst in a triangle and I would say I was hooked since then.

Eventually was recommended RGA to train and even with all bias aside is one of the best clubs I have ever been at, the standard is insanely high and to be part of it is a real privilege.

Favourite techniques?

Well, I have definitely been influenced by certain athletes in the club and outside but would have to say anything heel or ankle-related with the occasional goth lock for good measure.

For more content on Jiujitsu nutrition please feel free to give the page bjj nutrition a follow on any platform.

P.S Don’t try headbutt a heel it doesn’t work well

GRACIE MCINTOSH

JANUARY 2024

I joined RGA just over 2 years ago having done martial arts since I was very small. I came from a very different sport and was pleasantly surprised by the difference between the two, right down to the culture on and off the mats.

I’m a final year law student here at UoB and while it’s very competitive BJJ has given me the chance to leave academic intensity off the mats for a couple hours. Having had a look around at lots of different BJJ clubs, my brother introduced me to Luke’s club and I immediately felt at home. I’ve met lots of lovely people who have taught me a lot, on and off the mats. RGA just might be the thing to bring me back to Bristol after graduation! 🖤

IAN WERRETT

DECEMBER 2023

I started jiu-jitsu back in 2021 after watching my son Dexter train for a few months. I had played rugby for 20-plus years and wasn’t enjoying it like I once did. Once me and my brother Kris got on the mats with Carson and Yalcin at Avonmouth I was hooked and never looked back. I really enjoy training at RGA Bristol, they are a great bunch!

TRAFFORD SQUIRE

NOVEMBER 2023

Sport has always been a central part of my life, from a young age I competed in athletics, 100m,200m and high jump. My mum first sparked my interest in martial arts practicing Judo when she was younger. I took part in Judo for a few years but doing that, athletics and rugby, I was running my dad all over the place and finally settled into rugby. Playing for 13 years and becoming a loyal member of Accident & Emergency I took some time away and didn’t compete in sports for a while.

Last November I trialled at the club and have been hooked since. I wanted a sport that still had that contact sport element in a more controlled environment. Besides the physical side, the continuous learning that comes from BJJ pushes you to better yourself session after session and that’s addictive!

Aside from sports, I’m big into my gaming, when I’m not locked into the screen I like to get out into the music scene in Bristol. On the weekends when the sun shows I like to get out on my motorbike, a bit of fun that came out of covid. Boring stuff, I’m a systems engineering consultant working for AtkinsRéalis.

ADRIAN WISLA

OCTOBER 2023

I had first contact with BJJ in 2008. in total I’ve trained for around 13 years. My motivation to start was self-defence and fascination with grappling martial arts as I didn’t have access to anything like that until I moved to a bigger city. Later I had to move back, hence the long breaks in my training. The reason I chose BJJ was the positive opinions I read on the internet about the versatility of the art. Also, it was possible to get started at a BJJ club even as an adult (not true for many other grappling combat sports in Poland back then). When I couldn’t train Jiu-jitsu,

I would train boxing, go to the gym and skateboarding used to be my main pastime as a teenager. These days, when I don’t train and have some spare time, I like to enjoy some video games and a good session of go-karting-very recently got into motorsports. I’m a big fan of retro gaming, mainly Nintendo, and all sorts of electronics-especially everything Remotely Controlled. I am also very passionate about music, I used to play the bass guitar for quite a few years, although I don’t play that much these days. I still love to work on guitars and when I’m in the mood for it.

JOE BALL

SEPTEMBER 2023

Hi, I’m Joe, I’m 24, I have been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for 1 year now and it’s fair to say I am completely addicted. I’ve been powerlifting since I was 16 and also trained some Muay Thai in that time, but I definitely enjoy BJJ the most. I’m originally from Norfolk but I moved to Bristol 2 years ago to experience some hills amongst other things. When I’m not training BJJ I enjoy watching UFC, programming, bouldering, gaming, gigs, and drumming. I recently got my blue belt and I’m looking forward to many more years of training with the great community at Roger Gracie Bristol.

TOMASZ NIKODEMSKI

AUGUST 2023

I started training jiu-jitsu on the 6th of June 2021. I was always a fan of martial arts movies with Jackie Chan etc however I grew up in a poor family so I could only afford breakdancing.

I was doing breakdancing for 11 years and after two knee injuries, I switched to bodybuilding/weightlifting. I was doing that for the next 7 years and then I tried jiu-jitsu just as an extra cardio session for my bodybuilding.

Soon after that jiu-jitsu became my biggest passion.

ASH GIBSON

JULY 2023

I started training as I enjoyed the healthy side of competition that BJJ gave me and initially looking to compete in MMA I soon turned fully towards BJJ. It gave me a healthy focus being 19 which was better than the alternative choices that were available!

ZOE MACPHERSON

JUNE 2023

I started BJJ alongside rugby when I was 20 and soon got the bug. Back then there were no girls to train with. I loved the challenge though and I made lifelong friends on those mats, rolling until 11 pm on Friday nights and all weekend when I could! I moved to Bristol and got my blue belt under Pedro Bessa. Unfortunately, after two competitions I had a run of bad injuries and chronic illness and reluctantly stopped training.

People say BJJ is a sport you can always return to. When a friend recommended Roger Gracie for my 5-year-old, I jumped at the chance to join him on the mats! I want him to learn we can overcome difficult situations and do what we love at any age. 6 months on the bug has returned and I can share it with my son. Even my husband has been convinced to try a class! I’ve trained in several competitive sports and there’s nothing quite like BJJ for both a mental challenge and physical fun! We’ve found Roger Gracie to be such a welcoming family-friendly community and a place to make new friends both young and old

AKSAR MIAH

MAY 2023

I have always kept an active lifestyle since my teens, dabbled in Karate, and boxing. I loved playing football, running, and cycling and really got into powerlifting & Olympic lifting and got to a point where I needed a new challenge and most of all to be part of something, a Martial Art of some sort. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu got my attention, I did some research for clubs around Bristol and my friend suggested this place, so I gave it a trial run! I’m 37, 8 months into my training whilst balancing family, work and 3 kids but this has become my new passion, hungry as ever to train and eager to compete. You get out what you put in. It’s great for my body and medicine for my brain, can’t get enough! I enjoy it so much I’ve got my kids involved and now we’re a family of jiu-jitsu practitioners, just need to be able to convince my wife. Oss!

JAY NEWTON

APRIL 2023

I started my martial arts journey back in 1996, training in Japanese Jiu-jitsu under Kevin O’Hagan. (We call it Combat Ju-jutsu now as specific traditional martial arts have a bit of a bad name). I still train and now teach Japanese Jujitsu, although pursuing knowledge has led me to diversify my training over the years. I really enjoyed studying wrestling with Saeed Esmaeli and fell in love with Brazilian Jiu-jitsu when I started training with Pedro Bessa. Since finding RGA on our doorstep, I’ve clearly got the bug again. It’s not just that BJJ gets highly addictive, it’s the members that really make a club. Coming from someone who has trained on many different mats for over two decades now, RGA Bristol is a great place to train!

LEO VELOSO

MARCH 2023

My name is Leo Veloso also known as Leo de Janeiro. I’m from Brazil and have always liked martial arts. I started with taekwondo when was 10 years old. I did it for 5 years before moving on to capoeira which I trained for another 4 years until I found Brazilian jiu-jitsu when I was 19. Practising for 3 years in Brazil.

After that, I didn’t step on the mats for almost 17 years. Until I joined Roger Gracie Bristol where I feel more at home than back in Brazil!! Today I’m a purple belt and look forward to many more years with this amazing community!! OSS

KERI BINGHAM

FEBRUARY 2023

Hello, I’m Keri, I’m 34 and stand pretty tall at 5ft1…

I like porridge, maybe too much, especially with Nutella, bananas, and pecans…sorry sidetracked.

I like being active – I recently completed a personal running challenge to run a half marathon every month in 2022. it was a lot of training and running but also a lot of fun, very fulfilling, and the inner peace while running was incredible.

I have two ninjas for children. They started BJJ here in July and I frequently get tagged teamed by them when we roll at home. I’d say their signature move is for one to control the hips and the other to sit on my head.

After watching the kids train in their lessons (with such lovely coaches) and practising with them at home I thought: I’ve found my next challenge. So here I am about 2.5/3 months later and am totally loving it. I’ve met some great people and had some great rolls. My current archnemesis is being trapped in closed guard. Wait, I shouldn’t have told you that…or should I?

JACK BRACE

JANUARY 2023

Hello, I’m Jack, I’m 21 and a 3-stripe white belt. I have always enjoyed martial arts and have previously trained in Japanese and Korean Karate, namely Shotokan Karate and Tang Soo Do, gaining a Brown Belt in the latter. Having spent quite a few years doing striking-based martial arts, I wanted to try something different and that’s when I joined Roger Gracie Bristol. Being from Southmead I knew of the club since it was on Doncaster Road, and it’s quite surreal that athletes are being moulded into world champions on my doorstep. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my training so far, and feel the community at the club is very special, I have made many good friends at the club and everyone at the club was so welcoming when I joined, I was put at ease almost instantly. Thanks for reading and see you on the mats!

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