Martial arts enthusiasts in Cardiff have reason to be excited with the Chris Rees and Rob Taylor Jiu-Jitsu academy giving Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a permanent location in the city.
Focusing on technique over raw muscle, the sport is built on the principle that a smaller person can fend off someone much larger by using the right leverage.
The academy teaches the sport in daily classes led by veteran instructor Rob Taylor, after securing its site on East Moors Road in September last year.
He said: “The main difference with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the sparring. You are always sparring in the classes because it means you learn more.
“It’s when you can do it while somebody is trying to stop you that you know you are doing it right.”
Taylor, who has a black belt, has been teaching Jiu-Jitsu for around seven years with Swansea’s well-respected Chris Rees academy. But last year Taylor set up his own gym in Cardiff as an affiliate of the Swansea academy.
He said: “I was always self-employed as an instructor but it feels good doing this. It’s like starting your own business and you feel like you’re building something.”
The opening comes at a good time too, benefitting from the steady rise in popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA) in Wales with promoters such as the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship regularly packing venues throughout the region. With the sport’s focus on submission and technique, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has become a pillar in any MMA fighter’s skill, seeing several top fighters take up the sport.
One rising star on the Welsh MMA scene, Lew Long, is a regular at the academy taking one-to-one coaching sessions with Taylor.
Taylor added: “Not everyone does it just for MMA or to compete.
“It’s a big ask and people have to be in it one hundred per cent if they want to compete.
“It’s the same as anything- some people want to compete but others do it for fun or way to keep fit. There’s lots of reasons people do it.”
The sport is inclusive too, attracting a wide range of ages and abilities to the classes.
Taylor said: “There’s a big size difference in people doing it our smallest is probably around 45 kilos, with some of the ladies, but it goes right up to around 140 kilos.”
The academy holds daily classes with a beginner’s class on Thursdays and Saturdays.
For more information visit the Chris Rees Academy website.