Extra curricular

Karate? Judo? Taekwondo? Try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu!

helio Gracie222

The great Helio Gracie.

Hi guys! Sorry I haven’t written anything in a while but I’m sure you can all understand the absolute toll of life and energy of those dreaded exams. Lately I’ve been trying to find something that will calm my stress and overflowing frustration and I’ve found a new martial art that is brilliant fun as well as extremely useful and dangerous (readers with annoying brothers will be very interested in this post!). I’m talking about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (or BJJ as I prefer to call it), a grappling-based martial art developed by Carlos and Helio Gracie that was originally born from Kodokan Judo.

I just started last week and can already say that BJJ is a lot more enjoyable than my last two martial arts (Wado Ryu Karate and Kickboxing) and I already have my gi! While I still do my kickboxing, I wanted something new to do as well as something unusual to put on my university application as standing out is the key to catching the eye of admissions tutors. I can probably safely say that there will be few applicants who can say that they study BJJ under a teacher who was trained by the Gracies themselves!

It's very tiring!

It’s a lot more tiring than it looks! The one in white is me by the way.


Rickson Gracie and the Incredible Hulk!

I am a white belt now but even Helio and Carlos Gracie were once white belts too so everyone starts somewhere! Of course that is not to say that I am going to one day be the next Helio Gracie, oh hell no! Any UFC enthusiasts will know that the first UFC champion ever was Royce Gracie, the son of Helio Gracie and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master. Any comic book nerds like me will also probably recognise Rickson Gracie, another BJJ master, from the Incredible Hulk movie as the martial arts teacher who famously slaps Bruce Banner repeatedly in the face as part of his teaching him how to control his anger by using breathing techniques. I could certainly do with some breathing exercises, especially during revision! It has created UFC champions, movie stars and legends, who wouldn’t want to do this martial art?! I will follow Rickson Gracie’s words during my UKCAT (and possibly the BMAT, haven’t decided yet) of all places as he teaches:

“Here, emotion. Fear no good. So emotion… control.”

Now of course there will be naysayers among you who will be thinking ‘Why on earth would a medical student need to know Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?’ and the simple answer from me is ‘Why the hell not?!’. It’s fun, it helps me protect myself, it keeps me fit and it’s a great way to relieve stress! I’d honestly recommend BJJ or in fact any martial art to pre-medical students as there are endless benefits. Just please take it from me though, do not get caught in a rear naked choke hold and go easy on the arm bars!

Hard to believe you can go from here into an arm bar!

Hard to believe you can go from here into an arm bar. Endless possibilities on the ground!