Tag Archives: Martial Arts

The Boy

About 5 maybe 6 weeks ago I bought my youngest son Flynn a gi for his 10th birthday, he’s been on at me for ages to learn Jiu Jitsu so now is the time.

Since start Flynn has taken to it like a duck to water. He’s learnt most of the Gracie games which I think is a great way to keep kids interested and most importantly having fun.Flynn is very tenacious especially when doing ‘crazy horse’ or taking the back with hooks and seatbelt control looking for the finish. His side control is also very good. His enthusiasm out of the gym is top notch also, always asking questions… 

“what’s that choke called again?”

“Rear naked choke?”

“No the other name!”

“Mata Leon?”

“Aye that’s it… the lion killer!”

So it was with great pleasure to give him his first stripe tonight. Couldn’t be more proud of him.

Long may his commitment and enthusiasm reign.

Love and respect.



Newcastle -9/11/16

That’s right Newcastle again for our biannual grading day and what a day it was.

For me this one was special… 

As you know I started teaching in the neighbouring city of Perth in July. Most of my students are brand new to Jiu Jitsu so this was not just a test of their skills but a test of my teaching.

The usual rules apply at the grading, we have an interclub competition between Speedy’s Newcastle mob, Dom’s Darlington crew and us Dundee/Perth lot, 6 minute rounds with 10minutes in the final, no points, no advantages just good old fashion submission only.

It was an early start(5am alarm call) but we had a good crowd of us going down with Gary, Kev, Danny, Tony, Ronnie, Adam, Sean, myself, Barry and Euan. A mixture of purple, blue and white belts.

We arrived around 10:15am and we didn’t have long before proceedings got started. White belts, through to blue belts and finally purple. First up was a young dude from Dom’s lot called ‘Twiglet’ with Danny and Kev in round robin. Both Danny and Kev beat Twiglet by submission but in between these matches  Danny and Kev had to fight. These guys spar all the time in class and usually it’s pretty much 50/50 but this time Kev prevailed winning the match by armbar. 

Next group had Gary, Sean, Tony and Ronnie in it. Gary and Sean were the lightest in the category and have only been training for a few months but did great, ok they never won a match but that doesn’t matter as they did their best, going for proper technique in their escapes instead of powering out of them. Tony and Ronnie were awesome both winning their first match most memorably was Tony winning by knee pressure from knee on stomach position. Unfortunately Tony and Ronnie met in the second round but it was a great match up with Ronnie being the victor. In the final Ronnie met one of Dom’s very good white belts. This match went on for 10 minutes with lots of close submission, at one point Ronnie had his lip badly burst and the match had to stop briefly but not winner. Extra time ensued with Ronnie narrowly losing but what was the match of the day.

Adam was up next. Adam was missed from his category for some reason so he was put in the weight class above. I can’t remember much about his matches apart from the classic Adam take down on two of his oppents and that he won his category.

Blue belt time and Euan was up. This was the first time the big guy had competed without being injured… ok he was recovering from a cold but no knee problems and he had been training like a man possessed for this, gi, no gi, wrestling & weights and he was looking great for it and won convincingly against Piotr with an arm triangle.

Now there was a bit of confusion with the purple belts. Baz was supposed to face Alex but Alex couldn’t make it so he was then put in a round robin with Phil and I. A few minutes later it was all change again and Barry was facing Muigel a big blue belt but a purple belt in the 10th planet system. Barry was a tad anxious with all the change but he got stuck in. Muigel attacked from all angles with an armbar that look heinous but Barry turned his thumb and was in no pain whatsoever and then again with a key lock but again survived until he got caught in what looked like a very tight inverted triangle.

My turn.

Phil and I… the auld enemy!

We’ve competed twice before as blue belts with Phil winning one with Ezequiel choke and myself winning the other by kimura so this was all to play for. The match started with me going for the single leg takedown but Phil soon put a stop to that so I flopped on my arse instead(classic Grant as Adam would say) and played my guard game. Tried a few chokes and failed but then nailed a nice scissor sweep to get top control, struggled to get past Phil’s guard, from out of no where he went for that damn Ezekiel again but failed and I eventually passed and got to dorsal fin, wrapped his arm up and went for the choke to no avail. Some how I got to dorsal fin again and wrapped the his arm this time Phil rolled and I rolled with him and we landed in the armbar position, Phil more worried about the choke forgot to protect his arm and I took advantage and got the tap.

Once all the matches had finished it was grading time.

I’m pleased to say that all my Perth guys got their very first stripe. Gary, Sean and Kev did themselves proud. 

Tony and Danny had been graded in Dundee not long before so never received anything on the day.

Adam and Ronnie received they’re blue belts. Long overdue for Adam and very justified for Ronnie.

Euan received his 4th stripe on his blue.then Speedy surprised us by give Euan his purple belt. Couldn’t be happier for the big guy, as I said before he’s been working like a Trojan for this and was thoroughly deserved it.

Barry and I both received our 3rd stripe on our purple belts.

All in all Saturday was a great day, catching up with old friends and making new, the bus travelling there and back, even the shite food couldn’t dampen our spirits. I’m lucky to be part of such a great team with amazing team mates.

I personally can’t wait for the next one in May.
Love and respect


Granite Strength and Fitness

So the other night Baz of Lazygrappler fame and I received a message from some dude(luckily we were pre warned of this from Euan ‘Barata’ Sloane), the message was from Paul Garvie from the neighbouring city of Perth(Scotland not Australia… Bagpipes not didgeridoos!). Paul is a strength and conditioning coach and part owner of Granite gym and he was looking for a Jiu Jitsu coach.

I for one was a bit shocked and honoured at being asked. Shocked because Granite had a Jiu Jitsu coach then all of a sudden didn’t but business is business and sometimes relationships breakdown and its best to part ways. 

This was a hard decision to make with Baz and I discussing pros and cons. I also discussed it with Sharon my wife, Speedy and Marc Walder my Jiu Jitsu coaches. Baz decided that he couldn’t commit to the nights that it currently ran but if it changes in the future who knows and hopefully Baz will jump on board but I on the other hand with the encouragement from my wife & coaches went for it!

Granite Gym is set in an old nightclub called The Ice Factory(I used to frequent this club back in the mid to late 90’s) quite a bizarre set up as part of the gym is still used as a nightclub from time to time. One half of the old club is filled with heavy strongman lifting equipment including atlas stones, the other half is still a functioning nightclub/matted area for striking arts & Jiu Jitsu.

My first lesson was last night. Lots of thoughts went through my head, obviously the old coach going and new one starting… Who’s going to show? Will anyone show? Will those who do show be bitter? But when I got there and met Paul my mind was put at ease. Paul is a very friendly and bubbly character with a positive can do attitude.Well 5 guys turned up, a mixed bag of white belts, 1 newbie Luke, 3 Gracie Barra lads in Grant, Ed & Johnny and 1 of my Origin lads Danny. Everyone of the lads were very welcoming and willing to learn which made the class a joy to teach.

The class was nice and easy starting with the usual shrimping up the mats, 4 corner sit out drills and cross collar sit ups then it was back to basics, none of your flying berimbolos or upside down spinning kimura locks here just straight forward cross collar chokes from mount. We did three variations of the choke that work whether you’re on top or you get swept to your back. 

After drilling I set the timer for 4 minutes and we rolled but we started with one guy in full mount, it’s hard to start being fully mounted but we had just practiced moves from that position so time to put these moves into action!

 Danny couldn’t roll as he has a MCL injury so I stood out first round and watched. Next round Johnny had to leave early as he was on the nightshift so I stepped up, I made sure I rolled with everyone on the mats I took it nice and easy as I wanted to see where everyone was at in their game, putting myself in positions that normally you’d dread to be in but it’s all about getting comfortably uncomfortable!

Everyone had a decent game, it was a joy to share the mats and my knowledge with  this group and can’t wait to do so again.

If you’re in the Perth area you should certainly check out Granite gym. https://www.facebook.com/Granite-Strength-and-Fitness-445909262280079/

I have to say thanks to Paul Garvie for the opportunity, Paul Patrick and Euan Sloane for recommending myself and Baz. Lastly to my wife for helping me along and being part of my Jiu Jitsu journey.


Love and Respect.

Comfortably Uncomfortable 

 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. 

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.

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