v Barra Brum
with the big guns the Fighting Photographer takes on Barra Birmingham
before my trip to Scandinavia, the gods of grappling finally took pity on me and
my blue belt was awarded to me by the big man himself in Jersey, Mauricao Gomes;
unable to make my farewells face to face to the guys in Birmingham, I had to wait
until my return to the UK before I could grace the guys with my presence and see
if what I had learned abroad had managed to stay wired into my brain.
down on June 27th with my partner in crime Ian Butlin, we attended
the clubs Saturday no gi session, taken by purple belts Barry Foley and
Ande Roberts, as the clubs resident brown belt from Brazil, Braulio Estima
had returned to sun and sand the week before. However, Braulios presence
and influence was still evident in the club, in the guise of the warm up
all exercises were done in sets of fifty and with a mat totalling over twenty
two fighters, there was no escape from the pain of the sit ups and press ups.
Ande and Barry took
the class through a number of entries into a single leg pick up, before taking
the class down to the ground and giving the knee ride a Barra going over; all
too soon it was time for the roll and the Acocks Green Stitch Up was upon Ian
and myself in their infinite wisdom and as a nice welcome home present,
I was given all the purple belts to roll with (Ande, Glen, Rachel and Barry) and
like wise Mr Butlin, a Barra first timer, had his body height increased a few
inches courtesy of Gracie Barra
some team mates!
Birmingham is the UKs most prolific and successful grappling club in the
UK and the longest running; the club started off at the Old Library at the Custard
Factory in Digbeth in 1997, with Mauricao teaching there around November time
and from there the club moved to Fox Hollies Leisure Centre, before moving again
to its current location, the excellent Stevie Bs Gym. The gym owner,
Steve Brindle is a former Mr Britain and his wife Sara is a former European middle
weight bodybuilding champion; between the two, the gym has been in operation for
eleven years and now have the Birmingham grapplers settled in in the back room,
a spacious and airy matted area, complete with boxing ring, punch bags and access
to the gyms weights area and of course the Brindles extensive knowledge
of weight training. In addition Rachel Wheatley is sponsored by Chemical Nutrition
and Future Physique Fighters and all members receive free nutritional advice from
Jim Bolton, a former Mr Universe.
if you want to know why Barra Birmingham are at the top of the tree, get down
to Acocks Green and join in the fun, where a warm welcome awaits and plenty
of exercise for your tapping hand.
the time of writing, BJJ black belt Filipo Sousa travels to Birmingham on a Monday
to teach in the evening and take privates in the day.
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