Comfortably UncomfortableĀ 

 This weekend my wife and I had the pleasure of going to London to see the sights and spend some quality time with my senior Jiu Jitsu instructor Marc Walder, his lovely wife Jacqueline and not to forget little Emily. 

As you could expect being in London for the first time we did all the toursty things, on Friday we visited the natural history museum 

The Tower of London and tower bridge. 

On Saturday we did the stadium and museum tour of Arsenal FC, totally geeking out feeling like a little kid and taking over 100 pictures. 


On Sunday it was a more relaxed day chilling out in the garden in the afternoon but in the morning it was Jiu Jitsu time!

At Christmas I bought my wife a gi and when you’re staying at a 3rd degree black belts house it would be stupid not to take advantage so we headed off to the gym and Sharon received for first ever Jiu Jitsu lesson. There were no De La Riva, no 50/50 and certainly no berimbolos, it was good old fashioned self defence!

It started off with Marc talking to Sharon about special awareness especially personal space and being assertive in the way she talks and don’t put yourself in situations where things can happen… Your friend keeps getting in fights when at the pub, then don’t go out with that friend.  You got mugged in the dark alley, don’t go into dark alleys! Simple right?After the talk Sharon learnt about base, how to stand in base, how to get up from a seated position into base and how to react  and change your stance to base when someone grabs you and tries to dominate you. This was my excuse to push the wife about or at least try but she pick up on this quickly and has a really strong base.

We also went over defences against a single handed wrist grab, a double handed wrist grab and escaping being mounted.

I’m not gonna go into the details of the escapes otherwise this would go on forever but I’ll post a couple of pictures at the end.

The last thing we went over was a double handed throat grab from the front. Sharon hated this, made her feel really uneasy, doesn’t like any thing around her neck! This is when Marc started to talk about getting Comfortably Uncomfortable, being in a horrible place but being ok with the situation. How do you do this? Easy practise, keep doing it over and over. This isn’t gonna be easy and I’m not just talking about my wife but for anyone in the same situation that hates doing something. For Sharon it’ll be a case of practising with me until she feels comfortable enough to try it with a close friend, then someone not so close and someone you don’t know but from the class until eventually when a complete stranger does it you have no fear! This is the only way to feel Comfortably Uncomfortable.

 Here the pictures I promised earlier.  
Marc and Jacqueline were the perfect hosts this weekend and we can’t thank them enough for putting us up in their lovely home for three days. 

If you stay in London or just visiting and you love Brazilian Jiu Jitsu then you have to find Marc and take a class with him. His holistic approach and philosophy will keep you thinking for days afterwards!

As always…

Love and respect. 


Return of the Pollock

Last nights class was a doozie!(yeah that’s right I’m down with the kids). A very busy class with lots of fresh white belts and one or two of the old guard.

Billy did more on taking the back and sinking in the RNC but he also added in body triangles, these suck, it’s bad enough someone taking your back and trying to choke you unconscious without adding this hainous manoeuvre but he also taught escaping body triangles which was a godsend. Once we were done struggle with this we sparred!

Now as the title suggests there was a guest appearance from Neil Pollock… 

Some say that Neil died, others say he caught his foot in a bear trap and had to gnaw off his leg just below the knee but the truth is he’s just recovering from knee surgery of the ligament kind and has a new job in Edinburgh.

I’ll tell you his name might be Pollock but I was the one floundering like a fish out of water!(yes I did a fish joke and I’m not ashamed!) 

Neil has a very strong controlling top game with an arm lock sequence that is top notch, needless to say I defended for the full spar not able to attack, not even once, four minutes felt like 30, at one point Neil had a choke sunk in but due to his lack of gi training his grip strength has all but gone and that was the only thing that saved me! 

I was crushed and broken, not just from Neil but from two sparring sessions with Frankie who’s like a mini Hulk but less green and stronger. Once he grabs you, you stay grabbed!! 

Thanks for the tough sparring sessions guys.

It great to see Neil back on the Dundee MMA mats and hopefully see him again before he moves to the Capital. 

As always…

Love and respect

Getting In The Groove

As you lot know I started back training last week and again I was at Jiu Jitsu last night. The class was top notch, working sweeps from half guard, Z guard and also the knee cutter pass from top position. We drilled this for a while with resistance from our training partner before swapping with another person to feel their pressure and movement. After this we rolled and It felt like I got flattened and destroyed but hey we all have off days.

Today is a new day and even though I had a case of the DOMS I went and seen my friend Joseph McNamara for a much needed catch up, a work out and most of all the banter. Joe as always put me through my paces, today we worked on our back with lots f deadlifts, bent over rows and lat pull downs. I found it really tough, especially the TRX workout at the end. I felt weak, probably because of the couple of months off or maybe recovering from being ill but I gave it my best and came away feeling confident of regaining the strength I had before.

Tomorrow it’s more Jiu Jitsu. Till then…

Love and Respect.

Sweep or Submit

  Tonight’s class was much the same as Monday, we rolled to warm our bones. We did this for roughly 30 minutes before one of the new guys was struggle to pass closed guard then we broke down a simple guard pass for another 30 minutes before finishing with one of my favourite drills… Sweep or Submit!

For those that don’t know this drill it’s pretty simple. 4 guys on their backs with someone in their closed guard, the rest of the class lines up. The guy in guard has to pass, the guy on his back has to sweep or submit. It doesn’t matter who wins as the guy on top swaps place and goes on his back and the guy on his back joins the line and waits for another turn.

Tonight was awesome! I got swept a couple of times but  that’s all part of the game so who cares!

I did get to try out my other new gi, Tatami Estilo 5.0 white and camo.

This gi is fantastic, probably the best Tatami gi I’ve had and this is my 6th! If you’re after a new gi then I’d highly recommend this one!!
Love and respect


I’m Back

So tonight was my first night back training in 9 weeks! There were various reasons why I wasn’t training… I got tattoo’d at the start of December. 

 The club closed for 2 weeks over the festive period and I hope all of you had happy holidays. I then fell victim to a nasty throat infection that floored me for a good couple of weeks but tonight I was back and I decided to test run one of my new gi’s that I got for Christmas and I must say it was fantastic. Not too heavy, rash guard lining across the shoulders so no nasty gi burn and a perfect fit. 


Tonight’s class coached by Billy was mostly rolling. I had a goal in sight for every roll that I had and managed to do so  on most of my sparring partners which was awesome. I didn’t tap many people but I’m not concerned about that but more that I worked what I wanted to and it paid off.

Can’t wait till next class to test my other new gi.

Until next time…
Love and Respect

Be Like Water

Nearly everyone of a certain age when asked why they got into martial arts they say it’s because of one man. That man being Bruce Lee. 

 I was no different. As a youngster I grew up on old martial arts movies starring the likes of Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Jet Li and of course Bruce Lee.

Starting my martial arts journey at the age of 12(I’ve most likely went over this before) with Tenshinkan Karate then progressing to kickboxing at the age of 14, fast forward to 2010, almost 20 years after trying various other martial arts along the way and I found myself in a car travelling up to Inverness to a MMA seminar by some guy I’d never heard of before called Dave ‘Speedy’ Elliott, all I knew was he was Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and a veteran at MMA.

Speedy vs Bobby McVitie

When the seminar started Speedy’s now wife Ritu took the warm up with a thing she calls Monster Walks! To this day I haven’t forgiven her for this most hainous of crimes against my quads but I can see later when she picked this warm up as Speedy taught some knee bars, toe hold and a rolling toe hold. Thankfully my legs and ankles were warmed up properly.

This seminar blew my mind! 

So it was decided there and then I wanted to learn Jiu Jitsu and went and bought a gi. All set and ready to learn myself and Billy Beckers(who was a blue belt at the time) started training every Sunday for a few hours. After a couple of months Barry Lewis bought a gi and joined in and it went from strength to strength and now 5 years later I’m a purple belt under Speedy and the Origin Jiu Jitsu Team. 

So what’s this gotta do with the famous Bruce Lee quote?

I was staying over at the Elliott household after the bimonthly Interclub and the morning after Speedy invited me into his gym for a roll and like I’d miss an opportunity to roll with a 2nd degree black belt I jumped at the chance.

For the next hour Speedy put me in all kinds of positions, crushing, stretching, choking, smothering but pointing out tips along the way. He has a crushing pressure game but also flows like water(see it all makes sense now), flowing or crashing when he wants to be in the blink of an eye. 

Since that sparring session 2 days ago I’ve had this quote running around in my head which describes Dave ‘Speedy’ Elliott perfectly!


As I have been pondering over this my goal is to also Be Like Water my friends.
Here is a little interview from Speedy himself and also him doing and exhibition match Speedy vs Marc Walder

As always… Love and Respect

Team Origin Interclub

 On Saturday 7th of November the northern brethren of The Origin Jiu Jitsu team held there biannual interclub. There were representatives from far and wide including Darlington, Fife, Dundee and the 2 Newcastle clubs.

9 of us travelled the three and a half hours from Dundee to Newcastle to test our skills , they were Aaron, Ronnie, Paul C, Andrew(now Andrew is the absolute spit of JFK hence this being his new nickname), Scott E, Lewis, Euan, Baz and I.

For us the day started at 8am arriving around 11:30am, the usual stuff happened for the next 20 minutes of shaking hands, hugging and spewing love for our friends that we haven’t seen in an age.

Down to business!

I was asked to timekeep so I had a close up view of those matches and there was a few crackers!

Ronnie was a monster dominating in all his matches, he stopped his first opponent with 10 seconds left on the clock, he crushed and smothered his 2nd opponent so much I was starting to feel sorry for the poor guy and he did pretty much the same in his 3rd match to win his weight category.

Lewis is an arsehole… No I’m joking, Lewis is young talented and very flexible with a guard that is a nightmare to pass where as I’m not!  His first match was against a clone of himself another very talented youngster that had won a NAGA(North American grappling association) event earlier in the year. These guys went at it! Fast flowing Jiu Jitsu that was a joy to watch. Unfortunately Lewis got caught in a triangle but what a great match to watch. His second fight went a lot smoother with Lewis taking a high guard, going for a triangle with both arms in and got the arm bar. 

After Lewis had his match it was time for me get ready for my match against Jimmy. Jimmy is a braw lad, really friendly but a warrior on the mat. Both of us were very evenly matched with both of us getting swipes and submission attempts on each other. 

 At the end of the match Speedy(our instructor and referee) went over to to a few of the other brown/black belts to discuss the winner. I thought Jimmy had just edged it but when Speedy came back over he raised both our arms in the air for a draw. 

After Jimmy and my match the heavier purples went at it with Dr. Fahad(yes he can break you and then fix you), Hubert the Polish wrecking machine and my partner in crime 

  Baz the lazy grappler. I didn’t see much of these fights as I was recovering from my battle but Hubert dominated and finished all his opponents in quick time. 

This time around we had a little treat as we had a brown/black belt division. Tyrone, Dom, Scuba and of course Speedy. 3 Browns and a black respectively.

Tyrone vs Dom was good to watch with plenty of action both ways that went the distance and ended in a draw. 

Scuba vs Speedy… What can I say… See for yourselves 

  The master does it again!!

Once all the matches were finish it was onto the gradings. The Scottish guys did really well with Aaron Hall receiving his first 2 stripes. 

Ronnie got 2 stripes to take him to 3. 

Paul received his 3rd stripe. 

JFK received his 4th and later his blue belt. 

Scott received his 1st stripe on his blue belt. 

Euan received his 3rd stripe on his blue. 

Baz got his 2nd stripe on his purple. 

And I received my 1st stripe. 

There were a loads more stripes and belts handed out for the Darlington and Newcastle members too but the biggest was to Dom. Dom is head of the Darlington crew and has helped create some monsters along the years and Speedy deemed him worthy of giving him his black belt! This is only the second black belt that Speedy has given in his 6&1/2 years of being a black belt himself. This was a great honour to witness as Dom is one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet even if he does wear Crocs and does a shit Scottish impersonation  but he is a very worthy black belt.

There wear a couple of other awards handed out. The first was for the most improved which went to Paul Cowan aka The Big Show aka Dr. Hot Love, then it was for most consistent which went to Nathan and lastly fight of the day and that honour went to Jimmy and I! Pretty shocked at that tbh but I was well chuffed. 

The Origin Jiu Jitsu team gathering as always was a great success and I can’t wait to see those crazy fuckers again! 


As always…

Love and Respect

My thoughts, my Jiu Jitsu, my journey.