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Gracie Barra Nottingham’s Sean Coates takes purple belt Europeans package

Gracie Barra Nottingham’s Sean Coates takes purple belt Europeans package

Victor Estima student and long revered purple belt talent, Sean Coates, left Blackpool on Sunday

knowing he was heading to the IBJJF Europeans in January, courtesy of BJJ247.

He secured that knowledge after clutching gold in the purple belt absolute, winning a prize package

from which will see him flown to Lisbon, Portugal in January – with accommodation

and entry fee included.

Speaking on the day, fresh off a successful day in the office, Sean said:

“I feel good, really, really good.” Sean beamed. “It’s great that in Jiu-Jitsu we’re getting more and

more professional deals and professional competitions. This event attracted all the best purple belts,

there were loads of guys and I managed to get the win.”

The purple belt absolute included Kojak’s Sukata purple belt standout and long-time opponent Lee

Simpson, BJJ247 referee Phil Clegg, Sebastian Szyszka – Abu Dhabi silver medallist, technical

supremo Lukasz Baranowski and Grant Short, a seasoned competitor from Team Lagarto Teeside –

amongst others.

“I was keeping an eye out for which guys entered and there were loads of guys that I knew and had

fought loads before. There were recognised names and obviously when there’s a big prize on offer

that you want to go and get, you have to be prepared for everybody.”

With upcoming white belt and female absolute Europeans packages to compete for, Sean shared

some of his knowledge ahead of the Brighton International Open next weekend.

“When it comes to the absolute I would say you should definitely not go with the flow. I’ve fought in

a lot of absolutes and had a fair bit of success but your tactics for an ultra-heavyweight shouldn’t be

the same as the tactics for a super featherweight. You have to consider the physical characteristics

of a person like the shape, mass and proportion of a person as well as their movement, speed and

strength. Obviously you don’t want to be on bottom if you’re against a big guy!

You also have to consider the way you play guard, playing De La Riva against an ultra heavyweight is

probably not the best idea. Spider guard is probably better so you can keep him away, but with a

small guy you don’t want to give him an inch of space. It’s about learning to take each fight as it

comes, changing your tactics and method of winning. That’s how you’ll get absolute success in the

long term, rather than being stubborn and sticking to what you’re comfortable with.”

Sean returned straight to back to training at Gracie Barra Nottingham, with the European’s in mind,

believing the prize represents peace of mind, as well as a chance to become European champion.

“It’s a massive opportunity. I went for the Europeans this year and I got silver, just falling short. I felt

it was a good performance for my first year, I beat some really tough guys, including one guy who is

considered one of, if not the best purple belt in the World, but I fell just short when I got to the final.

So to have another crack at the whip – I’m absolute chuffed! To have that set in stone, rather than

worrying about saving up or finding a place to stay is a really big deal. It’s a huge aim of mine to

become the European champion.

Silver is never a nice medal to get, so I have another chance to perfect it this year. To get purple gold

is going to be sweet, I really, really want it.

The great thing about these packages, like the blue belt package that was won in Birmingham as well

as all the upcoming packages, is that when you win you don’t just get the guarantee of going, but

you get the confidence and momentum by winning. You enter knowing you deserve to go, instead of

paying to go, which gives a huge psychological boost. All these other guys wanted this great prize,

but I won it so psychologically it’s great.

You get a financial boost and a confidence rush that you deserve”

Introducing George Tolley

George Tolley is a orange belt under Neil Simkin and has been competing regularly for many year.His achievements to date are as follows:

  • 2014 pan ams bronze
  • 6 x British gi gold
  • 2x nogi British silver English
  • uma gold
  • 2x naga gold
  • 2x Nottingham open gold
  • Bjj 24/7 Manchester gold
  • Bjj 24/7 Blackpool double gold

We look forward to seeing more of George at our competitions and wish him all the success in the future.

Introducing Micah Naisbet

Micah Naisbet is 10yrs old and a yellow belt under Arron Nesbit training out of checkmat. His achievements to date have been very impressive and we look forward to seeing him in action in the near future.

  • N.A.G.A United Kingdom yellow belt Expert Champion
  • 2014 British Bjj Champion yellow belt
  • 2014 Blackpool grab and pull champion yellow belt
  • 2014 Nottingham open Bronze Medal yellow belt
  • 2014 Checkmat inter-club Champion yellow belt
  • 2014 Tryst Open Freestyle wrestling Champion
  • 2013 Derbyshire open bronze
  • 2014 British Freestyle wrestling Champion
  • 2014 British Novie Freestyle wrestling Silver medal
  • Tryst open freestyle freestyle wrestling silver medal 2014
  • Nottingham bjj Championship Bronze 2014
  •  Junior National Freestyle wrestling Champion 2015
  • Manchester invitational Open Bjj Championships Gold
  • 2015 Junior National Brazilian Jiu jitsu championships Silver
  • 2015 NAGA UK Silver Gi Silver NoGi.
  • 2015 British Championship Silver
  • 2015 Birmingham international bjj open Gold
  • 2015 Blackpool international bjj open Gold

Introducing Danyal “Ninja” Azad

We are delighted to support Danyal as we have helped Danyal out ever since he was a young boy its great to see how he has developed into such a great competitor and young man and we look forward to seeing himin action in the future.Incase you don’t know Danyal have a look at some of his achievements:

  • 6 x British champion gi no gi
  • Naga Germany 2014 double gold
  • Naga UK 2014 double gold
  • Pan kids 2015 silver
  • Pan kids 2012 bronze
  • Bjj 24/7 Birmingham open Gold
  •  Birmingham open Gold
  • Southern open Gold
  • 2 x Northern Gold
  • 2 x Blackpool open Gold
  • Brighton open  Gold

Introducing Charli Simkin

Charli Simkin  is a Blue Belt under her father Neil Simkin and has been taking the Blue Belt scene by storm this year. Charli’s achievements so far has shown that she has a bright future in grappling and we are delighted to support her.Some of her Achievements to date are;

2012 Kids Pan Am Bronze Medalist

2014 Kids Pan Ams Champion

4x NAGA Europe Champ

Europeans juvenile Silver Medalist

11x British Champion (gi & no gi)

Bjj 247 Manchester gold

Bjj 247 Birmingham double gold

Bjj 247 Blackpool gold

Introducing Isa “Monstro” Rahman

Isa ‘Monstro’ Rahman Age 7 Weight 28kg Yellow belt Team Brasa/NineNine under Professor Austin Gardner  and is Also in the Kids UK Elite Squad. Isa has been training BJJ for only 2 years. He also does Muay Thai,Boxing,judo and capoeira his achievements this year are as follows

  • Gfteam interclub champion
  • Pan ams kids silver medalist
  • Nogi English open champion
  • Junior national champion
  • British bronze medalist
  • Tuff Grappling champion
  • Naga UK expert champion Gi nand NoGi
  • Naga UK silver medalist 34 kg Naga UK Silver medalist 9-10 34kg
  • Naga German expert champion Gi and NoGi
  • Birmingham bjj24/7 open champion
  • Birmingham bjj24/7 silver medalist 9-10 34kg
  • Bournemouth open champion
  • Southern league gold medalist

Everyone at BJJ247 is looking forward to seeing Isa compete on the circuit this year and wishing him good luck for future events.

Battle at the Ballroom – Purple belts aim to shine

Battle at the Ballroom – Purple belts aim to shine

BJJ247 returns to the historic and grand setting of the Blackpool Tower Ballroom on Sunday to hosting the 4th Blackpool International Open, with an added incentive for purple belts, who will have the chance to win an all-expenses paid package to compete in the IBJJF Europeans 2016.

Spectators , staff and competitors alike will be gearing up to watch the purple belt absolute from the elegant stalls and balconies of the ballroom, which dates back as far as 1891, as some of the best purple belts in the country have registered their names to compete for the package. The Tower was previously the home of the Blackpool Open and welcomes BJJ247 back with open arms following a venue hiatus in 2014.

Listening to competitor feedback, BJJ247 will run the adult purple gi divisions in the morning and provide competitors with an hour break before the absolute starts. This will ensure all competitors who register for the absolute are in the best condition to win the package. Alongside the Europeans prize, provided and the Bad Boy Gi bundle worth over £180 by the BJJ Shop, the absolute winner will be featured on the BJJ247 website, giving a large amount of exposure for the athlete who emerges top of the pile.

Spectators and competitors alike will know the purple belt absolute will be a spectacle with the Birmingham International Open setting the bench mark. Carlson Gracie London’s Mateusz Flaga took gold in the blue belt absolute and secured entry, accommodation and travel to Lisbon in January and Gi bundle courtesy of the BJJ Shop, during an action packed day at the Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre in Birmingham.

There has been a large amount of purple belts register ahead of the event, with some big names on the domestic circuit, including: Sean Coates, a Progress Jiu-Jitsu sponsored athlete and highly decorated purple belt under Victor Estima. Sebastian Szyszka, a powerful and explosive competitor, fresh off Abu Dhabi silver medal success under Lucio Sergio dos Santos. Both Lee Simpson and Steven Playfair who went to war at the TUFF Invitational this weekend in Essex – Lee is one of the most active competitors in UKBJJ and trains under Scott ‘Kojak’ Pickering and Charlie McDonald, two Mario Sukata black belts, and Steven is an experienced and dangerous competitor having competed and trained under Rick Young, one of the first black belts from the UK. Team Lagarto Teeside’s Grant Short has also registered, as has Oliver Falkingham of Gracie Barra Preston, who made waves at blue belt, looking for his first taste of success following his recent promotion.

Phil Clegg, an extremely experienced Ultra Heavyweight and BJJ247 referee will also compete, as will Nadip Khera, one of the most active competitors in the UK – from one of the country’s most respected gyms in Gracie Barra Birmingham, the home of Braulio Estima.

Ahead of the event, BJJ247 Director Lawrence Dutton said:

“July 12th 2015 will now always be an important weekend in my BJJ247 journey. BJJ247 are bringing BJJ back to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom – the battle in the ballroom!” Dutton explained.

“This iconic venue always gives goose bumps as a standard and we are really happy to have signed a 2 year exclusive deal with the Tower, meaning competitors can look forward to 2016 already.

The last event in Birmingham brought world class Blue Belts threw the doors resulting in some amazing matches and Im really pumped about watching the Purple Belt divisions never mind the Absolutes. I see guys like Steven Playfair, Sean Coates, Lee Simpson, Dez Parker and Grant Short competing at our events regularly, so to be able to offer them such an amazing prize to compete for is a dream come true.

I hope you all enjoy the Blackpool International BJJ Open and see you all in Brighton!”

Travelling Teams :Kevin Cunningham Checkmat South Shields

Proudly representing the North East, as well as his team, during his travels, blue belt Kevin

Cunningham has so far had a short, but extraordinary Jiu-Jitsu journey.

The thirty-six year old has been training for around eighteen months and within four weeks of taking

his first official class, he unknowingly entered one of the biggest competitions in the world and

found himself at the top of the podium at the end of his bracket.

Prior to Jiu-Jitsu, Kevin was told by doctors that an active lifestyle would be a struggle and something

they wouldn’t predict to happen, but his perseverance and attitude towards success defied what

medical professionals believed. Furthermore, he has overcome two serious road traffic collisions to

continue to training and competing as much as he can.

Kevin spoke with BJJ247 at the Birmingham Open and told us a little about himself and his story:

“My name is Kevin Cunningham from Checkmat South Shields, I train under Scott Ramsey, my black

belt coach. I’ve been training for about eighteen months and I’m currently a blue belt.” Kevin


“I’ve been competing as long as I’ve been training, my first ever competition was the PanAms. I

dived in at the deep end and I won it.

You read that correctly, Kevin found himself competing at the PanAms in California a month into his

training, winning every single fight and securing himself not only his first gold medal, but one of the

most prestigious gold medals in Jiu-Jitsu.

“As a white belt I’d only been training about a month, a month and a half. I think going over there

and doing that, not knowing exactly what it meant was quite naïve, but now I know more and more

about what I achieved it’s helped my strategy, my game, having the confidence to go in. It’s

becoming a bit more normal. Obviously, I started a little bit later on in life. I’m now 36.”

Few white belts had competed more than Kevin and he has since become a regular face at blue belt

too, commonly seen at BJJ247 events, the only events he will compete at outside of the IBJJF; but


“I’ve only been doing IBJJF competitions for the last eighteen months and the lads at the mentioned

it. The only one I ever used to do outside of the IBJJF was the British Open and the Scottish Open.

This year, when I saw how the BJJ247 Scottish Open was ran, it was excellent, well organised,

everything’s to a tee. You have the timers, the mats, the judges seem to get it right all the time …

and that’s difficult to do. It’s very well ran.

It’s easy to commit to competing a little bit more when you have consistency. Don’t get me wrong,

I’ve had bad decisions before and those types of decisions can knock you back big time, especially

when you’re fighting for a gold medal. The way the referee does his job makes a difference, but here

they bring that professionalism. Each time I’ve competed with BJJ247, they’ve got it spot on. The

judges have been well too.”

Kevin is a business man, both on and off the mats and that helps him compete around the world but

it was starting in the first place that has been his most valuable piece of business.

“In my personal life I run my own business or two and I enjoy travelling a lot around the world,

competing too and enjoying nice holidays with my partner.

A few of my friends were doing a bit of nogi training and trying to get fit. I’ve been through a lot of

surgeries in the last seven to ten years after retiring from the prison service and I took ill health, until

I found Jiu-Jitsu.

It has given me a new lease of life and a lot of motivation. When you have the hospital telling you

that you’ll be in a wheelchair by the age of forty and I’ve come along and I’ve achieved something I

never thought I’d achieve in my life time.”