BJJ Grading: Black Belts - EKBJJ 3rd International Gathering and Black Belt promotion.

This weekend I attended the 3rd EKBJJ annual gathering and Black Belt grading seminar at my friend and instructor Eddie Kone's HQ academy in London.

The Gracie jiujitsu extravaganza stretched over both the Saturday and the Sunday, both days starting at 11.30 and finishing no earlier than 5pm. It included many modules: Self defence training, sport jiujitsu positions and transitions and, something I found unique, talks by several guests. We had talks by the teams behind Armour Wash and LiveWire (both of which sponsor Eddie) and by visiting black belt my dear friend Mr David Onuma, head of the Combined Fighting Systems of which The Labs in Manchester is a member. David spoke about the importance of having a balanced perspective when training and always being aware of the possibility of the assailant carrying an edged weapon, drawing on his experience in Jeet Kune Do and the Filipino Martial Arts.

The Sunday concluded with the black belt graduation. 3 brown belts whom had trained for over 12 years undertook the over 2 hr long test, demonstrating the full curriculum of Gracie jiujitsu self defence techniques (unarmed and armed), followed by gi, nogi and MMA sparring rounds with a fresh opponent every 2 minutes.

Safe to say, they came out as warriors. Many heart felt congratulations to Brian Paul, Mark Bottom and James Gregory.
Brian, Eddie, James and Mark
To add to the joy of the weekend, Mark asked his girlfriend to marry him and we're happy to report that she said yes!

I was happy to meet a few old friends at the EKBJJ academy but also very excited about making some new friends too. In fact, I was very happy to simply meet the friends I had come to know thru Facebook in real life such as MMA fighter Lisa McCallum and renowned theatre sensation Mr Shaun Escoffery, both of whom I struck a great chord with.

Jiujitsu wise, Eddie was very clear. We learnt no new techniques. Instead, we walked out with a ton of new details to old positions and techniques, both from the Self defence curriculum and sport jiujitsu (from guard passing to attacks from side control to finishing armbars). Further, the psychology of the Grandmaster's finishing mind set were discussed and then put into practice during sparring. I will be talking about this in much detail over future posts.

What I do want to conclude with the story of Brian Paul's black belt graduation speech.

You have to remember. Brian is 52 years young and he started around the 40 year old mark. When he received the belt from Eddie, he took off his gi top and showed us a tattoo on his left arm. He told us how when he started in jiujitsu, he really tried to best Eddie during sparring, but never quite managed to do it, even though Eddie is much smaller and lighter than him. One day, they all went to get tattoos and he said to Eddie he wanted to leave part of it blank. Eddie asked him why and Brian explained that he was not black belt so he'd leave that part blank as a symbol.

Brian welled up as he told us that Eddie told him to do it that part of the tattoo in black because one day you will be. He told him that he was simply a black belt in the making.

He believed in him, unreservedly. That's the quality of teachers and leaders I aspire to and surround myself with.

Brian's emotional words echoed what one of the most inspirational educators have ever told me. Let's call him Principle M:

The children might like the teacher who cares about them, but they will really listen to the teacher who cares for their future too.

Congratulations to Brian, Mark and James and to the whole Eddie Kone Gracie Jiujitsu family.

How awesome is that cake!



Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

Proudly sponsored by Predator Fightwear: Built for the kill and Brutal TShirt: Made By Grapplers For Fighters

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