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Kojak’s Sukata black belt Charlie McDonald: “The aim is to compete as much as possible”

Taking three medals in the advanced and black belt level in a competition is something most grapplers dream of, however Scott Pickering black belt, Charlie McDonald, was not happy with his performance despite leaving Birmingham with three medal haul..

McDonald, who has gone from white belt to black belt under his coach, fought Jack Magee in both nogi and gi competition, with the latter bringing the more success with a submission victory to secure gold.Known to be a familiar face on the circuit and one who has been found competing at every level throughout the years, The Tatami Fightwear sponsored athlete spoke at the BirminghamInternational Open.

McDonald explained his attitude towards training and competing:“The medal haul isn’t really what I wanted. I wanted triple gold to be honest. I really thought I could win the no-gi but it was a tough fight, Jack Magee is always a tough opponent. He competes a lot and when I saw him down on points I thought I could win it.“It did turn out to be a different story when we met in the gi. I prefer the gi, I like to fight in it and I knew I had more of a chance winning in that match.

Jack Magee is renowned for his tenacity on the mats and humour off it. He is a black belt under Lucio ‘Lagarto’ Rodrigues and a regular competitor at BJJ247 events, competing in Birmingham and Manchester, with further competitions planned in the calendar.

McDonald spends most evenings working on the wings of aeroplanes, but he believes his hard workin life helps him to fly when it comes to his Jiu-Jitsu.“I work through the nights” McDonald explained. “But Monday morning we train nogi, Tuesdays I’ll teach and train, Thursday is the same, Friday I can be found in Warrington at Scott’s for fight night.Saturday morning again is nogi, so between Shotton, Warrington with Scott and working, it’s pretty much a slog, with a six year old too!

“The aim is always to compete as much as possible, from white belt to black, it’s to compete as much as I can. I don’t see the point in training all week not to. Some people, that’s their thing, they don’t want to compete, for whatever reason, I don’t know. Sometimes it’s nerves and they don’t like the way it feels, which is fair enough, but if I’m slogging my guts out on the training mats, why not come and compete?

McDonald has been training around eight years and was handed his black belt last month, becoming the first of Scott ‘Kojak’ Pickering’s black belts. He dived straight in at the highest competitive level, competing in the British Open just weeks after being promoted.

“I’ve been a black belt for a couple of months now at Kojaks in Warrington and I now train at Sukata

in Shotton which I’ve been running since brown belt, around eighteen months, two years now. I’ll always be Sukata, always and I went from white belt to black belt under Scott Pickering and the Sukata banner.McDonald went on to proudly explain what he felt the day his professor tied the belt around his “I was nearly crying! I did not expect it. What happened is Scott was handing tape to me during promotions and I was putting it on the belts to make the promotions quicker. I had two stripes already on my brown belt and he gave me two more, but then he gave me a fifth stripe on my belt.I was like ‘Kojak! I’ve already got four!’ and then he pulled out a black belt and I was like ‘Jesus!’Everyone was screaming and shouting ‘Speech! Speech!’ and when I started talking I felt like I was atmy wedding. My voice was going!”

Who is Peter Parker

I have been training for about 2 years at Ground Control Hamilton in the central north island of New Zealand, I was promoted to blue belt just before we left to the UK for our 2 year working holiday. My coaches were Errol Watson and Travis Browne and the school is affiliated with John Will Machado.

We had just a week ago arrived in England when I saw the Birmingham tournament event pop up on facebook. Because we were about to start touring England checking out the Bjj academies and prospecting for cities to live in, I saw this tournament as a great opportunity to get some insight into the local Bjj scene.
I was very impressed with the professionalism of the tournament, the skill of the competitors (I’d never seen anything like the UK youth team before,  let alone the black belt decisions). The food at the tournament was great, and I got to chat with a bunch of the competitors from all over who were real friendly and gave me advice on where to visit.

Next we are checking out Liverpool, Manchester, and then back through London to checkout the checkmat hq in Bristol.

Carlson Gracie London’s Mateusz Flaga secures blue belt Europeans package

The BJJ247 Birmingham International open attracted high level blue belts from across the Jiu-Jitsu landscape on Saturday, with a special prize package awaiting the winner of the blue belt absolute

An all-expenses paid package accompanied the gold medal, supplied by sponsors and who ever emerged top of the pile would find themselves on an plane to Lisbon in January.

Twenty year old lightweight, Mateusz Flaga was handed the package to complete a triple gold swoop in Birmingham, taking gold in the gi, nogi and absolute divisions.

Speaking minutes after claiming his medal, Mateusz Spoke to with a beaming smile on

“I like to compete a lot.” Flaga said. “This year I have compete nine times already, I have won a couple of gold medals but there was never any kind of big prize. This is the first time I’ve won something significant.”

Flaga has already mixed with the best lightweights in Europe, competing in Lisbon last year, but declared himself as “very happy” with the fruits of his labour, securing a page in the BJJ247 history books to be the first to win the new belt colour Europeans packages that will take place in upcoming events throughout the country – including Blackpool, Brighton, Liverpool and the Northwest Open.

“I have been to the Europeans last year, but it was not a good competition for me. I cut a lot of weight and made a lot of mistakes during my fights and I lost my second match. But this year, I am coming back stronger and for a gold medal so I am very happy that I won this trip. I am even happier to be the first guy to win this.”

Flaga was happy to have experience ‘a good day’ in Birmingham and credits his coaches and team mates in Hammersmith.

“It depends on the day and today was a good day. I train with a lot of tough, young guys and we do a lot of sparring, a lot of positional sparring and I have a lot of good training partners with a lot of different styles so whoever I meet in a competition I am prepared.

“I train at Carlson Gracie London under Dickie Martin, Simon Hayes and Wilson Junior but I will be moving back to Poland soon where I will train at Copacabana in Warsaw

“We have no easy classes, there is no easy training and a lot of tough guys. Everyone is welcome to come and test yourself.

Mateusz also wanted to thank his friend and coach, Maciej Kozak, whom his history in grappling

starts with.

“When I started BJJ in Poland, in my town, we were just a group of people who liked Jiu-Jitsu and there was no regular coach. He started to come one, two times a month to our gym and pass his knowledge. Since the first time he asked who wants to compete I have only raised my hand.

He’s a very accomplished grappler in Poland, he has medals at WPJJC brown belt level and lots of grappling competitions. I still work with him, I send him my fights and we speak about competition. He is still my coach and I hope will be forever.”

BJJ247 are delighted to see Mateusz travel to Birmingham and are looking forward to seeing him compete in Portugal next year.

The purple, brown, white and mixed blue and white women’s packages are yet unclaimed and will be up for grabs in the next few months.

My weekend @ the BJJ British Open

Saturday 16th May I woke to the sound of my alarm going off at 5am. This only means one thing BJJ competition weekend.
My first port of call was to pick up BJJ Style writer Tom Bell before heading over to pick up Robert aka Thor . Once the team was assembled we set of down to the Sky Dome in Coventry arriving at the venue around 9am.
When entering the venue I could tell this was going to be a very special weekend and I wasn’t wrong. The first day I refereed Mat 3 with my professor and British Open Champion Matthew Callaghan aka Stalone . We started with the white belt categories and my personal highlight was watching UK Elite Squad member 14 years old George Tolley taking Gold in the adult division .
In the afternoon was the purple belt Divisions and that finished with me reffing an epic battle between two massive men in an exciting absolute final . Day one was done , it was 14 hours after I left sunny Preston , my feet throbbing my brain frazzled there was only one cure a ‘cheeky’ Nandos with the team . My fine dining experience was made even better with Jack Magee black belt absolute silver medallist joining us . The Chicken and laughs flowed and we finished the evening watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Premier Inn’s Ultimate Wi-Fi in room 606 .
2am – Bed .
Day Two
I wake about 7.30 am and check Facebook and see all the BJJ statuses about traveling down to the British Open and the excitement starts again .
After attempting to eat the hotel breakfast ( best avoiding ) it was time to make the short walk over to the venue . Day Two started with the blue belt divisions and tbh the toughest fight I had to referee all weekend , two amazingly technical guys with very similar games , I’m not going to lie it was one of the most mentally draining things I’ve done . The blue belt fights didn’t fail to provide the excitement I expected with lots of familiar faces on my mat during the morning.
The afternoon brought in the big guns , all the top brown and black belts entering the fighting area . Unfortunately I didn’t get to see much of the Elite divisions as the Blue Belt Absolute ran at the same time but I’m not disappointed because I got to witness an amazing Final , the whole situation was special. There was lots of familiar faces over the weekend competing on my Mat and it was an Absolute pleasure to witness every single warrior that did BUT the moment that summed up my entire weekend was the second I raised Robert’s hand in the Semi final and realised he would be fighting Reece Doran in the final . That won’t meen a lot to most of you but Robert is a gym mate and Reece is someone I’ve seen grow and grow over the last 24 months , two great guys and friends . As a ref I have no problems staying neutral so the thought of refereeing the final between these two brought up different emotions , ones of pride and joy for both men . The final didn’t disappoint with Reece controlling the heavier Robert in the early stages of the fight before Robert stormed back in the last minute with Reece taking the Gold . Both athletes performed great .
Day Two finished with me watching the Absolute Black Belt Final between two great guys and friends Juniao and Jack with Juniao taking the Gold in an exciting final .
11pm I arrive back home a tired but happy man , feeling privileged to be part of such an amazing weekend with my friends .
I love BJJ

Jack Magee issues open challenge to compete for BJJ 247 free Euros package

Lucio ‘Lagarto’ Rodrigues black belt, Jack Magee, has issued an open call for black belt opponents

who have been given the opportunity to compete for a free trip to the Europeans in 2016.

Introduced by BJJ247 earlier prior to the Scottish Open, any black belt competitor is given free entry

to compete at all BJJ247 tournaments, with upcoming opportunities in the Southern, Birmingham,

Brighton, Northwest and Liverpool open, amongst others.

BJJ247 will present the opportunity for black belts to win a place in a league system, with each

medal accumulating points which will be tallied up at the end of the year. The winner will receive

flights, entry and accommodation for the IBJJF Europeans in Lisbon, Portugal held next year,

completely free.

Magee, a well-known figure in UK BJJ, has made an early start by securing double gold at the

weekend. He expects more black belts to take advantage to hone their skills and gain valuable

experience completely free throughout the year. Speaking at the Manchester Open, he said:

“I definitely want to come back. I’m going to do as many as I can and it’s such a good idea! I had four

fights today, you can’t complain at that.

It’s a no brainer. If someone is offering you something for free for doing something you love, why

wouldn’t you do it?

“Obviously with my modelling career now I’m not desperate for money and there are other Jiu-Jitsu

guys who aren’t as fortunate with their looks as me [laughs] but I’m surprised there aren’t more

black belts clutching at this yet, with the prize on offer as well.

In a rallying call that he will fight whomever it takes, he issued a statement to other black belts and

called for them to step up and meet him on the mat, with nothing to lose. Affirming that he will be

waiting for any opponent, at any event.

“You can expect to see me compete if I’m injured, you can expect to see me compete if I’m tired. I’ll

always be ready to compete no matter what. If I’m not tied up that weekend then you can expect to

see me there to compete against. You’ve always got a match if you want one.

I know for a fact there were other black belts at the Manchester Open today. They may have their

reasons for not competing but come on, jump on the mat!

Don’t be worried about your reputation with your students or what people are going to think of you

if you win or lose. I’ve competed nearly every weekend this year so far… and I haven’t won them all.

But I’ve still got the same students, I’ve still got the same friends and training partners about me.

It’s great, it cleanses your Jiu-Jitsu. You’re always going to improve and you’re putting it on the line if

On the day he ended up fighting out of his usual weight category but welcomed the challenge with

open arms, rising to the occasion and submitting every opponent in the elite no-gi and no-gi

absolute divisions.

“There was nobody to fight today in the gi division, which I would have loved to have done. So I

signed up to do the no-gi elite division with nobody in my weight, so I moved up to 100kg division

and won gold in that, followed by the absolute where I won gold in that with all fights by