Gracie Barra Roundhay Leeds



Edition: #001

Published: 20/08/21

Author : Jonny Grayshon

The following is a blog written by one of our members with complete creative freedom and in no way edited by us.


After wanting to try a non striking martial art for some time, Gracie Barra Roundhay opened up just around the corner which gave me a perfect chance to go down and try out some BJJ.

Unsure what to expect, I booked a free trial and went down.
I was a bit apprehensive but after playing pro rugby league for 12 years, surely rolling around in a ‘dressing gown’ with a load of dads from North Leeds wouldn’t be that challenging!??

I was about to find out!

After getting set up with my Gi, my first hurdle was to tie it!
I knew I should have stuck to Beavers at middle school – those knot tying badges would have really come in handy right about now!

I had a quick introduction to the lads who all seemed nice guys.
Someone greeted me with “OSS”.
“Hi, Oss, I’m Jonny.”
He just starred back at me with a puzzled look..
Then we stepped on the mats.

Professor Mike (the owner and head black belt instructor) was the class instructor that day.
The quick 7 min warm up gassed me.
Middle of summer plus industrial sized dressing gown, plus break falls isn’t a good combo when I’m used to training in minimal clothing to stop me easily overheating.
Must be my ginger blood. We’re not built for heat!

I looked over at the other dads as we stretched, who were all pretty chilled, and I’m there blowing out of my arse whilst doing a quick scan of the room to check out my easiest escape route…just in case…
Fire exit. Bottom left corner. Got it.

We then quickly moved on to some partner work where I had to pick stuff up on the run.

It all seemed easy enough to follow from watching the excellent, detailed demonstrations from Professor Mike. But I made it look more like something crossed between a Mr Tickle Mr Men sketch on speed and a really aggressive breakdance, when I put it in to action.

2 minutes in and I’m F#%ked!
Apparently this is typical white belt behaviour.

Not knowing any techniques my only method of survival was brute strength.

My partner had probably copped a stray knee in the balls, I’m sure I got fish hooked… I may have even been tea-bagged at some point… it was all a haze and before I knew it we grabbed a quick drink and we were in to the next section of the session.

Time flew by and we finished the hours class with some specific 5 minute training.
The stuff we had just learnt, was now going to be put in to practice, in a more realistic setting.
As if I wasn’t knackered and confused enough!

Great. 5 minutes of more tea-bagging!

The timer went and as I lay there struggling, gasping for air all I can think of is what wizardry is this middle aged, seemingly normal dad using with his big toe blocking my every attempt of an attack.
He’s controlling my entire lower body with one foot!
MIKE!!!?? HELP!!!
Professor Mike looked over and shouted a few instructions: “break his guard”….”use your left hand”……”put your right knee on the other side”…

Blowing out of my arse I’m thinking this is more like a really intense game of twister.. only I could
potentially suffocate with a mouth full of GI!

The timer went again and signalled the end of the session.
That was awesome!!

A totally humbling, eye opening experience in to the world of BJJ.
It was instantly obvious that the level of coaching and set up at GBRL was first class and I was hooked, already wanting to learn more.

Fast forward a few months and all the family are members.
My 2 children are learning key transferable life skill, as well as getting fitter, stronger and growing in confidence. Whilst my partner is loving the journey towards her first stripe and I am working towards my third stripe.

Not only does BJJ give us a new hobby as a family, but it gives us a goal and challenges us both mentally and physically to ultimately grow as individuals.

May the journey continue…

Want to hear more from Jonny?

You can follow him here: @youfituk

You can also take advantage of his awesome 12 Week transformation programme here

Also head over to our Podcast where you can here Jonny on North Leeds Jitz #028

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