Gracie Barra Roundhay Leeds



Edition: #007

Published: 13/06/24

Author : Wai Yip

Josh Levine

1. Josh, you’ve been with GBRL since our inception and quickly became a key part of our Competition Team. What initially drew you to BJJ, and what has been your favourite memory at GBRL so far?

JL: I started looking into learning BJJ after enjoying watching UFC and being intrigued by the ground game and submissions. Luckily, Gracie Barra Roundhay Leeds was just about to open so I decided to give it a go and signed up. This was during Covid lockdown so my first few months of classes were on Zoom and mainly focused on the key movements and drills but then once we could start in-person training I was hooked. Some of my favourite memories have been during the competitions and particularly the early days when we had a huge comp team so the feeling of support and camaraderie at the events was great!


2. Newly purple belt under Professor Mike – congrats! Making you our fourth in-house purple belt! What did that moment mean to you?

JL: It was a huge honour to be promoted to purple belt by Professor Mike and a great feeling to join the handful of other in-house purple belts whom I have a lot of respect for. I had just competed at the British Open on the Saturday and won Gold in my division so I was already having a great weekend. Then after a Monday night class, I received my purple belt so it was a whirlwind few days for me and came as a big surprise.


3. You’re a landscaper by day and run your own business; how do you balance training, competitions, work and your personal life? Do you have any tips for fellow members?

JL: My day-to-day job is very physical so my colleagues and clients find it crazy that I’ll go and train BJJ in the evenings for a couple of hours afterwards but I find that no matter how tired I am from work there is always a second wind of energy when I get on the mats.

Running a business also takes time sitting on my laptop in the evenings and sometimes on weekends so it’s all about making time for what is important. I always train on Monday and Tuesday nights (including Comp class) and depending on my work/life schedule I will try to train a 3rd evening but more often than not twice a week is all I can manage.

Some tips I’d give are to always be consistent, even if you can only manage 1 or 2 sessions a week make sure that you hit those sessions every week and you’ll still notice an improvement in your BJJ. The second tip I’d give is to go and compete in some local competitions. I only started competing as a new white belt because I wanted to accelerate my learning and test my skills against other people of a similar level. You very quickly spot holes in your game and areas to work on in a competition setting.


4. How would you describe BJJ to an alien?

JL: A martial art that combines self-defence, problem-solving, initiative and movement. Or simply rolling around on the floor trying to strangle people and not be strangled yourself.


5. Not all heroes wear capes, but some wear Gis! Who in the GBRL community has inspired you the most on your BJJ journey?

JL: I do vividly remember my first ever live roll with Coach T when he was a purple belt and I was a fresh 1 stripe white belt. Despite being slightly bigger and heavier than T, I was made to feel like a helpless puppet with no control or balance and I was quickly and effortlessly submitted over and over again. This was a huge inspiration for me and I remember thinking that I wanted to train hard and one day have the BJJ skills and knowledge to be able to do that to others.


6. If you could roll with any historical figure, who would it be and why?

JL: In the world of BJJ, it would be amazing to go back and roll with a legend like Carlos or Helio Gracie to see where it all began.


7. What is your spirit animal on the mats?

JL: Turtle.


8. And lastly, the ultimate grappler question; Gi or No-Gi?

JL: Got to be Gi. I mainly train in the Gi and I enjoy the creativity that the lapels and grips can give your game. That being said No-Gi is a lot of fun and I do try to get the odd session in when I can!

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