How to get a brown belt in Jiujitsu: Surround yourself with greatness

"I became better at jiujitsu all on my own, with no help from anyone else", said no one ever.

Yesterday I had the honour to test and pass for my brown belt in Gracie Jiujitsu under my friend and teacher, Royler Gracie black belt and head of EKBJJ association, Mr Eddie Kone. Holy Jesus on roller-skates!

Since getting my purple belt back in January 2010, I've had the privilege to learn from a number of amazing coaches, mentors and legends. I'd like to say thank you to them:

  • Mr David Onuma
  • Mr John Will
  • Mr Christian Graugart
  • Mr Ryron Gracie
  • Mr Rener Gracie
  • Mr Rickson Gracie
  • Mr Steve Campbell
  • Mr Italo Feriera
  • Mr Nick Brooks
  • Mr Eddie Kone

My gratitude to all these amazing people and jiujitsu champions is without limit. Not to mention my sponsors (Brutal TShirt & Black Eagle), my wife, brother and the great people I train with day in and day out.

But without a doubt, the number one spot will always go to my second family, the team behind Fighting Fit - Manchester. Without Martyn, Jay and Ian I would have quit jiujitsu years ago and that's the truth.

Onwards and upwards. See you on the mats.



Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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


The Virgin Mechanic said...

you forgot to mention the hard work you need to put in yourself!


Can Sönmez said...

Congrats! So, have you moved nearer to London then? Although I don't personally have an issue with being ranked under someone in a different city (which would be hypocritical, as that's true of me too). :)

Liam H Wandi said...

Thanks. No I'm still in Manchester. Why would anyone have an issue with that?

Can Sönmez said...

Because training with someone in a different city means you are not going to be training with them week in, week out (unless you're super-rich and have lots of free time, like the way the Sheikh flies Renzo out to Abu Dhabi, IIRC). Also, some might take it as a slight on the instructors in your home city. See Ari Bolden for the best known example.

But like I said, I don't have an issue with it, as I'm in the same situation: I live in Bristol, but my instructor is in Aylesbury. In my case, that's because I've been under him since 2009 and wanted to continue being under him after I moved city a few years later.

Liam H Wandi said...

The majority of people who started BJJ in most countries outside Brazil and the US did it by travelling as often as they could to the source to learn and bring back knowledge.

Who's Ari Bolden?

Can Sönmez said...

That would only apply if you had a time machine: both you and I have plenty of access to BJJ nearby, so I think it would a dubious argument to say we were forced to travel outside due to a lack of available knowledge. It's a choice, based on personal preference. ;)

I'm sure you have come across Ari Bolden by now, given you're on the internet just as much as me, but in case not, take a look at this, this and this.

Liam H Wandi said...

Ha. Time machine :)

YEah it's preference, but to be fair, the ones who traveled back then also had a plethora of choices to travel to and it was all based on preference too.

It's not so much a case of lack of knowledge, as there's plenty of that everywhere. It's what that knowledge is and, as you hinted to, a matter of flavour and preference.

I'm not really clued up to the scene, but I will check those links to see who this Bolden fella is. Cheers.