A martial arts club has joined the ranks of a legendary competitor’s prestigious academies.
Spinners Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, named after its home in Leigh Spinners Mill, has become part of the Roger Gracie Association (RGA), undergoing a rebrand to RGA Leigh as a result.
Roger Gracie, a ten-time world champion of the sport, operates 16 academies across the UK and several abroad.
He is a member of the legendary Gracie family who pioneered the martial art early in the 20th century.
RGA Leigh currently boasts around 30 regular members, who train three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. There are even children’s classes available during the week.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a full-contact, grappling-based martial art with particular emphasis on ground fighting. It focuses predominantly on self-defence techniques rather than attacking or striking an opponent.
BJJ was founded on the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend themselves against a bigger opponent, by taking a fight to the ground and applying techniques such as chokeholds and joint locks.
David Drury, head coach at RGA Leigh, expressed his pride at being part of the growing number of Roger Gracie clubs.
“In the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the Gracie name carries so much weight and credibility,” said David, who is a purple belt.
“And the name Roger Gracie, who is the best to have ever done it, carries with it so much prestige. I am very proud to be part of the Roger Gracie association and form part of the growth of Roger Gracie Jiu Jitsu, especially in the North West were we now have four Academies, Salford, Bolton, Chester and now Leigh.”
The martial art’s popularity has rocketed over the past few years, and David was quick to explain why.
He said: “I think people would be surprised to know that the majority of benefits are mental rather than physical.
“Firstly, it helps to improve confidence. Physical and mental health go hand in hand, one affects the other so anytime you feel better physically you improve mentally.
“Mindfulness is very popular nowadays and BJJ is a form of this, as you are trying to solve a problem of how to escape a position whilst someone is on top of you.
“This also helps you to become comfortable in these stressful situations, so you learn to relax and breathe and follow the correctly applied technique to escape. This can relate to so many situations that we deal with in life.”
He added: “There is a warm friendly atmosphere where everyone is there to learn, improve and help each other. So, I am very excited to start a new chapter as Roger Gracie Leigh. The name might change but the atmosphere and environment stay the same.”
RGA Leigh offers a free one-week trial for anyone interested in trying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Find out more at facebook.com/rgaleigh