Category Archives: Join BJJ Lifestyle Team in Kingston upon Thames

Two new purple belts, a blue and big class numbers at BJJ Lifestyle Team in Kingston

Lots of complete beginners turning up at our BJJ for beginners lessons (7-8 pm, Mondays and Thursdays) – class numbers soaring and two absolutely fantastic purple belt promotions – Don Eckley and Jack Loy – promoted by Leo Negao after both sparred with him. Cascas-Grossas!!

Congratulations also to Sang-Gu on his hard-earned promotion to blue belt – two years of solid training.

Training sessions running five days per week – come and join our big team in Kingston. Dedicated weekly beginners BJJ lessons.



BJJ Lessons for Beginners – Monday Night Lesson Added

They have travelled the white belt path and now been promoted to blue – congratulations to Josh Cox and Josh Thorley. Once complete beginners and now, a firm understanding of the fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Our team is growing and there are lots of beginners – we’ve added a second BJJ for beginners/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fundamentals class – so you now have two complete BJJ beginners training opportunities per week or can train on the night that suits you – Monday or Thursday. Just get started – it’s a life changer.

Our warm-up is designed to be easy, but sufficient to warm the body – it’s not a hard conditioning session. Lots that start BJJ haven’t done any physical exercise for a long time and have been in better shape. Our warm-ups are short but effective so people aren’t put off training sessions. If you want to just come and watch a training session to see if you like what we do, be our guest – and pull up a seat – it would be fantastic to meet you – we just want you to experience our mat space with us whether you train or not.

We have nine core lessons and all nine are repeated 4 times each – so you’ll be doing the same thing as you did in the previous session a lot of the time, giving you the chance to practice what you’ve learned.  One of the keys to getting good at something physical is repetition, so lots of that is built-in – we want you to remember what you’ve learned and feel that you are starting to master the techniques we show you.

Training sessions start at 7 pm and finish at 8 – we’re just two minutes walk from Kingston bridge. Come and join a warm and very friendly environment – with an emphasis on friendship, learning and team spirit.

Escaping Side Control, Reversing the Opponent and Attacking

Great training session on Thursday night – working hard on our number one side control escape – reversing the opponent once we’ve escaped and carrying on with a first submission attempt, on the inside arm. There’s so much to learn which makes our training enjoyable and fascinating. Lots on the team have seen this attack on the arm but it’s hearing the details from Leo Negao that make our techniques more efficient.

We are chaining techniques together to form drills that can be practiced over and over again and our BJJ standard is lifting rapidly.

Honing our side control escape to dramatically improve our chances of succeeding with our escape under pressure, learning and sharpening our reversal and without pausing our movement, dropping into a dominant side control position to go on the offensive.

There’s never been a better time to join Kingston BJJ – contact us to book your free week of training and become part of our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team – beginners very welcome.

Practicing and Refining our Pressure Passing at Kingston BJJ

Pressure passing – Saturday’s training session was focused on the pressure passing that Leo Negao is so well-known for. Again, details, details, details that make it extremely hard for someone to deal with your guard pass – extremely difficult for someone to recover guard.

Our Saturday training sessions at the Sea Cadets Centre near Kingston bridge provide a fantastic insight into high level BJJ at it’s best. Leo Negao, Head Coach at Kingston BJJ – BJJ Lifestyle Team – Team Leo Negao – passes on skills taught to him by some of the very best in the world. Highly accomplished, Leo teaches total beginners in Kingston – and we are inviting people to come and be part of the team.

Last Saturday’s training session included heavy guard passing and escaping side control – sessions take place every Saturday as part of our membership.

NOW, could not be a better time to join us. Just a couple of weeks into Leo’s twice weekly training sessions – if you want to learn BJJ as a martial art – if you want to compete or just get fit and healthy while learning some self-defence – come along. We’re 5 minutes walk from the train station, just down the line from New Malden and Wimbledon. Discount for students.

Training sessions on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in Kingston – Wednesdays in Vauxhall (5 minutes from Vauxhall station).


Self Defence BJJ a Big Hit in Kingston

A new era is upon us. Leo Negao, a self-defence expert with twenty-five plus years BJJ experience – now teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu twice a week in Kingston.

Leo’s very first Saturday session in Kingston saw lift off of one incredible sequence – a series of highly effective, super efficient techniques that as a team we will be putting countless repetitions into. As Leo said, you might know it, you might have seen it but can you do it – under pressure? We’re going to make sure we can.

We’re seeking a high degree of performance – the ability to execute our moves with a confidence that sees our bodies travel through to submission in a virtually automatic state.

Saturday’s session focused on a simple to achieve takedown with all questions answered. We discussed the entry, how to protect the head, not just from counters but also impact with the ground.

On hitting the ground we discussed and practiced many times, initial control. How to shut the opponent down, stop movement and the opponent’s escape, how to use the legs to kill an opponent’s movement.

We discussed the need to be tight and heavy and how to achieve this technically – not just with strength and power.

Next – the transition to mount. How to stay in control, move to mount without releasing pressure. Fascinating.

So much to discuss when in the mount – retention, base, setting the opponent’s arm up for a submission – control and finish – giving zero space for escape. All extremely interesting.

Our BJJ training session was based on skill acquisition, but also discussion in terms of where we are taking our training and the objective. We spent a portion of the session honing the technique, time was given to building in speed without loss of form and the need to motor through without hesitation – seamless and slick delivery of our techniques – everything very thought inspiring and highly motivating.

Saturday the 30th was the first of many training sessions where we will be examining and putting into practice Leo’s pressure based style of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Everything delivered with strikes from an opponent kept in mind.

If you would like to be part of our training sessions – join BJJ Lifestyle Team – Team Leo Negao. Leo teaches in Kingston on Thursdays and Saturdays – and you can train with him at his gym in Vauxhall as part of your membership. Leo’s Vauxhall gym is 5 minutes walk from Vauxhall station – a quick run up from Kingston.

Our monthly membership fee includes training on the following days:

Mondays – 7-9 pm, Wednesdays – 6-7.30 pm, Thursdays – 7.30-9.30 pm, Fridays – 7-8.30 pm and Saturdays – 10.30-12 noon.




Leo Negao Teaching No-Gi Every Thursday and Saturday in Kingston

Exciting times lay ahead as Leo Negao begins his twice weekly No-Gi training program in Kingston.

There has never been a better time to join the team. BJJ Lifestyle Team – Team Leo Negao now offering five big training sessions a week as part of the team’s monthly membership fee.

Come and be personally trained by Leo Negao – ever wanted to be a high level No-Gi grappler?

Come and learn No-Gi BJJ from one of the very best who brings his considerable knowledge to Kingston.

Having trained extensively in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil – Leo’s BJJ has evolved through training with Leo and Rico Vieira, Antonio Nogueira, Anderson Silva and Fabio Gurgel.

Join BJJ Lifestyle Team – Team Leo Negao and train with us on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays as part of your monthly membership fee.

Total Beginners Bolstering Team at BJJ Lifestyle Team


Lots of beginners turning up at Lifestyle Team to learn BJJ. Getting everyone to a stage where they have a very strong grasp and deep understanding of the fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is our mission.  Housing champs is great, but getting people started with a view to them training for the long-term is of paramount importance to us.
Lifestyle Team – exactly that, promoting good health, the mental and physical gains that can be made by all, are what brings true satisfaction to the coaches.

Two of Lifestyle Team’s coaches started training at 36 years of age and have used BJJ to stay fit and healthy well into their 40’s – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has become more to us than just competing, more than a fighting art – it’s genuinely a way of living. If now is the right time for you to start living the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle – contact us and arrange your first training session, it’s a free one.

Gi and No-Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Lifestyle Team

Now training for 6 hours across our Monday, Thursday and Friday training sessions – the quality of BJJ coaching is stepping up with Leo Negao having a heavy influence on our teaching syllabus. Always wanting to give the team exactly what they’re looking for – we recently ran a poll across our 60+ team members asking the question: why did you start BJJ? The resounding answer was to learn a martial art.

Our path was defined in January 2009 when coach Diccon Lynes was witness to a life threatening situation. He realised that the purely sport focused BJJ he had been learning was not going to give him the confidence or skills to deal with a dangerous situation. After much research, Diccon made the decision to travel to East London several times a week to train with Leo Negao – someone practicing BJJ, with self-defence in mind. Our focus is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that accounts for the possibility of punches being thrown.

Exciting times are ahead of us at Lifestyle Team and joining us may well change your life. We believe in practicing self-defence BJJ and living a healthy lifestyle. Contact us to take the first step on your path to living a healthier lifestyle – join Lifestyle Team.


Learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Lifestyle Team – Call 07974 303 147

We’re spending a huge amount of time developing our closed guard – working hard at killing our opponent’s posture. For us, ultimate BJJ self-defence starts and ends with the closed guard – educating our bodies to deflect power, finding angles, removing defences, shifting our opponents around with clever use of body mechanics. Re-directing, neutralising our opponent’s strength. Destroying our opponent’s posture gives us our submissions – but we go beyond that, making our attacks tough to defend.

The team’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training is presently focused on both the closed guard and sweeps. The sweeps that really work under pressure. Learn how to keep someone in closed guard – learn the triangle, arm bar and Kimura. We’ll teach you how to defend yourself – come and meet the team in Kingston – get fit, healthy and learn a new skill.

EBI Fan? Come and Learn Leg Attacks at BJJ Lifestyle Team

Well we teach it all – but if you want leg attack details – Gi and No-Gi training every week, long training sessions and plenty of sparring, we’re the team for you.

Beginners are very welcome, very. Fundamentals class Mondays – Gi training afterwards, No-Gi on Thursdays – two solid hours, sparring only session available on Friday nights. 50 strong team.

Always wanted to start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? Join our fundamentals class and benefit from being around higher belts that are very keen to help you onto the team and progress your BJJ.

Rock Solid Leg Locks and the Defensive ‘Dig Out’

Fascinating. One word that describes BJJ Lifestyle Team’s leg locks sessions in Kingston. The ‘catch’, the defence, how to apply pressure and the finish. Add to this the defensive considerations – wow, mind-blowing. Way beyond basics – the straight footlock, these sessions are bringing so much technical enjoyment to what we do. Just superb to watch the guys sparring with leg lock finishes and clever, well-timed defence.

Join the team and benefit from a wealth of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu knowledge. Not feeling up to the main team training session? Want a slightly slower, gentle start to your BJJ? Join our Monday night fundamentals class – cost just £10. See for more information.

Come and Join the Fun – BJJ Lifestyle Team – Kingston

Have you practiced BJJ in the past but been out for sometime? If you want to pick things back up and now is the right time to try a new team – come along! For us – BJJ is all about serious training in a relaxed environment. There are 50 people on our team – training for all of us has never been so enjoyable – we have team spirit in abundance and there are many strong friendships. If you’re looking for the highest level of instruction, a sociable and genuinely great group, want to stay fit and healthy and also progress your TECHNICAL ABILITY – BJJ Lifestyle Team is the team for you.

White, blue, purple, brown and black belts very welcome – bring your knowledge, learn from us – reap the rewards of BJJ.

We’re just three minutes walk from TGI Friday’s. Make training with us your weekly routine. Rekindle your BJJ spirit!


Fundamentals Class Added to Weekly BJJ Training Schedule

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for complete beginners in Kingston. Designed as an easy route into BJJ Lifestyle Team’s main training sessions – our fundamentals class is proving a great success with those wanting to focus on the basics of BJJ.

Led by Alex Pichler – an experienced brown belt, the sessions are entirely given over to learning technique – and repetition. There is no sparring. Taking place on Monday and Thursday nights between 7 and 8 pm – class numbers are low but growing, so you’ll get a great deal of attention and experience Lifestyle Team’s training atmosphere – meet all the coaches and gain valuable skills.

The cost for BJJ fundametals training only on Mondays and Thursdays is £50 a month. See the website to find out more. The class is open to all belt levels.

Gold at the BJJ British Open for Michael Cheung

Michael Cheung is starting to take grip on the Rooster Master 1 blue belt division. This month he won gold at the British Open where he took the back of both of his opponents and submitted them. Success at the British Open follows on nicely from the gold he won last year at the Surrey Open. Congratulations – hard training paying off.

Silver at the BJJ British Open followed by Gold at the Gloucester Open

Congratulations to Richard Mackie who earlier in the month won silver as a white belt in the heavyweight division at the British Open.

Rich has now followed this up with a gold medal as a blue belt at the Gloucester Open – finishing his opponent with a Kimura in the final. Oss.

Lifestyle Team hits 50 strong..

Oss! Our reputation for quite outstanding coaching attracts new16344057_10154934776811081_1721491669_n members to the team – deepening the ranks. Very pleasing to see some very capable and athletically able beginners joining the team this month – all with a promising future. Judo specific BJJ is thrilling to

16343796_10154934782066081_1264245130_nwatch on Monday nights with many of the team’s more experienced members really getting the combinations off sweetly.

Those with three years experience now reaping the rewards of all their hard work and consistency. Our purple belts have done an incredible job along
16358487_10154934776691081_1969426390_nwith the more experienced blue belts – of making the new team members – total beginners – feel very welcome. Thank you.

Our King of the Hill training sessions are now often an hour-long – and provide a fun challenge to everyone with some stand-out performances.

Exciting times ahead this year with more people joining the team – some bringing prior BJJ experience to our mat – just great.

Lastly – congratulations to Piotr for his two IBJJF European championship medals – bronze in the blue belt division and gold in the Absolute. Incredible. We’re lucky to have him training with us every week.

‘Brazilian Style’ BJJ Training in 2017

Standing with my teacher - Leo Negao.
Standing with my teacher – Leo Negao.

2016 has been a great year for us with lots learned from Leo Negao.

We sailed through our three-year team anniversary in September.

imaage7Leo’s pressure game has had a very significant impact on the team’s BJJ.

The team has grown to such a size – topping 50 – that there are now regularly 25 people training on the BJJ Lifestyle Team mat – with very good blue and purple belts bringing years of experience.

Staying calm under pressure!
Staying calm under pressure!

The last few months have brought ‘Brazilian Style’  training with an internal championship and extended King of the Hill sparring sessions – something the entire team looks forward to.

2017 is expected to be our very biggest year to date with much planned in terms of further improved training methodology, the team competing at competitions and of course, lots more stand-up training and strong groundwork.

If you would like to join BJJ Lifestyle Team in Kingston as a complete beginner – come along and meet us. We offer quite exceptional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instruction from a teacher with 25 years BJJ experience, Judo specific BJJ for takedown knowledge and Wrestling specific  BJJ – all under one roof.

imaage2We’re situated just two minutes walk from Kingston bridge and 5 minutes from Kingston station. Our first training session of 2017 is on Thursday 5th January – contact us through this site for more information.

Gold for Michael Cheung at the Surrey Open

Big Mike bosses division to take gold at the Surrey BJJ Open…

Michael Cheung and Richard Mackie put it on the line for the team at the Surrey Open, performing brilliantly – four fights between them, three wins, two by submission.15327222_549696878552129_6798835138292905599_n

Very exciting it was to watch Mike take both opponents down with an Uchi Mata. Rich also took his first opponent down with a lovely foot sweep – going on to sub his opponent with a carefully worked choke – to take bronze in an eight man division. 

Knee on stomach and mount retention

15203288_545369928984824_3843100509955420173_nAnother superb week of training with some critical grip fighting details from Jon Purssey with his BJJ specific Judo and an in-depth look at securing the triangle with an ‘S’ mount entry – taught by Diccon Lynes in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training sessions. Options were given for an arm-bar finish or a triangle submission – two of BJJ’s big moves.

Pictured: two of BJJ Lifestyle Team’s high level blue belts practicing knee on stomach, mount retention and Kimura finishes.15338620_545370075651476_7131717297611868239_n

Both have become high level grapplers – joining the team as complete beginners a couple of years ago.

If you would like to join us as a complete BJJ beginner you will be given a very warm welcome!


Leo Negao Back In Kingston And Purple Belt Awarded

thumbnail_img_0018ltSaturday saw the return of Leo Negao to Kingston to conduct his second Lifestyle Team Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu seminar. 14909938_534266973428453_6498209076253814249_nA BJJ black belt for over 17 years, Leo’s seminar was three hours long and focused on building a strong guard and three side control escapes.

At the end of the seminar, Gary Hewson was promoted to purple belt by Diccon Lynes after 4 years of solid training.

If you would like to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Kingston – give us a call on 07974 303 147 to find out what we can offer you. Lots of our coaches are former high level champions and teach their skills to a wide range of beginners, those with intermediate experience – and the advanced.

Triangle Mechanics – Come and Learn This Devastating Submission

One of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s signature techniques – the effectiveness of the Triangle Choke is widely seen in the UFC. Group 1 logoAlthough relatively easy to learn, it’s the fine details that really make the Triangle submission easy to finish.

At BJJ Lifestyle Team, we focus on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques that could be relied upon in a self-defence situation. We work hard to hone the fundamentals of BJJ.

Tri finish 1 logoCome and be part of our team – our focus is self-defence, health and well-being – and our beliefs are realised through our dedication to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo and Freestyle Wrestling.

Learning the Fireman’s Carry at BJJ Lifestyle Team in Kingston

Danny and Dic 2Monday’s training session with Danny Williams – Commonwealth Games 2014 Judo gold medallist was very detailed and focused heavily around stance, posture, gripping and movement. We all learned some solid fundamentals that we can add to our existing stand-up games.Danny and Gary

The movement patterns helped us with further mobility and Danny’s tips on the gripping exchange were truly enlightening.

grips & LogoLots of us realised just how effective a well executed Fireman’s Carry is – as always, the details make the difference. We look forward to adding more of Danny’s Judo for BJJ to our system.Judo

In addition to our Judo session we did lots of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with emphasis on guard and the triangle choke. BJJ was followed by a combined Judo and BJJ sparring session.


Coaching Team Further Strengthened at Lifestyle Team in Kingston

Exceptionally excited about learning Kata Guruma (Fireman’s carry) from Olympic athlete and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Danny Williams – over the course of the next eight weeks.

The Lifestyle Team coaching line-up now includes:

Hitting a No-Gi takedown..

Lyubo Kumbarovteaching No-Gi takedowns for BJJ on Saturdays between 10.30 and 12 noon. Lyubo is also available for private lessons. Lyubo’s Saturday training sessions are available to non Lifestyle Team members and cost £10 per session. Saturday training sessions are included in the Lifestyle Team membership of £60 per month – £40 for students.

Leo Negao – teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for self defence – Leo’s seminars are 3 hours in duration – exclusively for Lifestyle Team members. IMG_0009Leo also teaches in Vauxhall on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. 2016 will see Leo conducting several more seminars at Lifestyle Team in Kingston.

DSC03977Jon Purssey – teaching Judo for BJJ – Jon teaches on Mondays between 8 and 9 pm. All trips, throws and sweeps are very carefully chosen for BJJ. Jon is a highly experienced coach and also runs Core Judo for children.

Danny Williams – teaching Judo for BJJ.

New to the team coaching line-up – Danny is an active high level Judo competitor and also a BJJ purple belt.

DSC03132Diccon Lynes – teaching BJJ. A teacher for many years, Diccon has received hundreds of private lessons from Leo Negao and now has over 10 years BJJ experience.

There has never been a better time to join Lifestyle Team in Kingston. We have a very complete coaching team, multiple training sessions for people to attend throughout the week with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo and Freestyle Wrestling being taught by multiple time champions with decades of experience between them. The team is now 45 people strong with beginners, intermediate grapplers and those with 5 years plus BJJ experience, all training on the mat together. We’re less than ten minutes walk from Kingston station and two minutes walk from Kingston bridge.

Beginners are very welcome – call 07974 303 147 to speak to Diccon to find out what we can offer you.



Nice Technical Training Session on Thursday Followed by 45 Minutes of Sparring

More work from the guard last Thursday with a fascinating insight from Gary Hewson on destroying your opponent’s lead grip LT Group 2– very interesting and I look forward to learning more and adding this to my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

We carried on breaking down the back take and included detail on how to create space to put the hooks in.

Our sparring session lasted a full 45 minutes and was pretty exhausting and great for our grappling cardio.LT Group 3

Nice also to see a good BJJ blue belt from Rio de Janeiro  – who trains under Royler Gracie’s association and a second blue belt with considerable experience. Thanks go to Sam and George for introducing Ben to the team. Oss.

Twenty Plus On The Mat Practicing Takedowns Followed By BJJ

Great training session last night – the start of a new era. A privilege to be coached by Jon Purssey, former Commonwealth and British Judo champion. After ten months of Judo for BJJ, everyone is starting to look really good on their feet – for those that have been consistent, the hard work is paying off.

Teacher Diccon Lynes and blue belt Luke Hennessey demonstrating one of our sequences.
Teacher Diccon Lynes and blue belt Luke Hennessey demonstrating one of our sequences.

Our new training structure has received positive feedback – our drilling concept is helping people to define their routes.

Jon and I have agreed today that last night’s session was the best so far – with intensity and realism – we’re excited about the team’s progress. The BJJ session revisited some of our previously drilled techniques – everyone picking up our guard to back take to rear naked choke sequence very well.

The evening ended with a long sparring session with all matches on the timer, started from the feet.

BJJ Lifestyle Team Welcome Leo Negao For First Seminar

Leo’s first seminar was three hours long with a lot of attention given to detail – technical demonstrations were followed by practice and questions and answers. IMG_0009The first part of the seminar featured a strong mount defence and we were then taught how to attack the foot as a follow-up, securing the knee and forcing the opponent to roll.

Leo’s Triangle defence was broken down and built back up again, stage by stage until the team had a firm grasp of the concepts.

The mount is a particularly difficult position to escape from if the person mounted has a strong understanding of how to secure the position and submit their opponent. Leo offered several escapes based on a number of possible mount attacks – lots has been gleaned and we now have our opportunity to practice during our weekly training sessions.Group

Leo is scheduled to do another defend and escape seminar in three months time – with Side Control escapes featuring strongly.

If you would like to start learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Kingston – come and join us – there are lots of complete beginners on the mat. IMG_0031Your monthly membership fee gives you access to a former World BJJ champion, a Bulgarian National  champion and a Commonwealth Judo champion, all of which coach on our mat. Call Diccon on 07974 303 147 or contact us through our website for a prompt response and start your own BJJ journey.


We’re Building A BJJ Competition Team – Beginners Very Welcome

NAGA_UNITED_KINGDOM_2016_splashBJJ Lifestyle Team is going from strength to strength and we are building a competition team. If you haven’t practiced BJJ before, why not join us at our grass 12814314_576167899209589_6919888454053389275_nroots level and train to become a future champion! There is a very active beginners/white belt competition scene in the UK.

We’re now entered at NAGA, The British Open, The Bournemouth Open and The Surrey Open.


IMG_4241_2Perhaps you’ve watched the first UFC’s and seen Royce Gracie beating all comers or you’ve had a more recent interest in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – come and join us at BJJ Lifestyle Team in Kingston – we have former National, Commonwealth and World champions teaching..

4626387649Our competition team will be competing regularly in 2016 – and the team is growing from strength to strength – now with 45 active members.

People have different reasons for taking up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – self-defence, health and fitness, sport or just purely a desire to learn new practical skills. As a member of BJJ Lifestyle Team, you don’t have to compete but those that want to are fully coached and supported.


A Very Sociable Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Team!

Friday 18th March saw lots of us visit Rodizio Preto in Putney – the well-known Brazilian restaurant. We all had a fantastic night and ate as much as we could – the meat was delicious and so was the Brazilian beer!

We’re all looking forward to our next team outing – tickets are booked to watch Polaris 3 in Bournemouth. 1016705_561742097335723_7443181327251150028_n Seeing Gary Tonon fight live is going to be exciting and there are many more talented fighters competing, Joao Miyao,  Gianni Grippo, Augusto Tanquinho,  AJ Agazarm, Jake Shields, Rousimar Palhares and others. So, we’re all fired up for April 2nd – another Lifestyle Team outing!

There are several booked onto the BJJ Globetrotters summer campuk-camp-poster-SOLD-OUT – all very excited and looking forward to being trained by some amazing instructors.

If you would like to learn BJJ and would like also to be part of a team that enjoy socialising together – look no further than BJJ Lifestyle Team in Kingston – we’re just two minutes walk from Kingston bridge! We’re enrolling new beginners all the time and there’s a discount available for students.

The coaching line-up is truly incredible – our Judo coach is a former Commonwealth champion and also a BJJ player. Our No-Gi takedown program is headed up by a multi time Bulgarian freestyle wrestling champion and our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills are passed down by one of the UK’s most formidable BJJ fighters who is a former world champion.

BJJ Lifestyle Team – more than just training.

Strong Performance At Kleos Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Competition

Strong performances at Kleos Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition at the High Wycombe Judo centre – with Ben Gracie picking up a silver medal in a stacked division.

Ben walking onto the mat, focussed and ready for his first BJJ fight.
Focussed and ready for his first ever BJJ fight.

Entering his first BJJ competition, Ben (in the white Gi) had a total of four fights, submitting his first two opponents. In his first fight he finished his opponent with a head and arm triangle choke, the second opponent was also choked out and in his third fight he heavily dominated his opponent to win by a very substantial number of points.

Ben was the only competitor to submit his opponents in the early stages of his division..
Ben was the only competitor to submit his opponents in the early stages of his division..

Ben lost the final after a gritty performance but took home silver in a big division.



Charged up and ready to fight..
Charged up and ready to fight..

Richard Mackie (in the black Gi) also put in a strong performance – winning his first competition fight – in a big division.

Passing the half guard..
Passing the half guard..


Rich lost his first fight but recovered quickly and with a strong and determined mind, dominated his second opponent to take a points victory.

Victorious. An exhilarating feeling.
Victorious. An exhilarating feeling.

Richard’s third fight was a stand out fight in the division – truly exciting with both fighters having periods of positional dominance. Rich lost the fight narrowly, on points but put in a very strong performance against a clearly experienced competitor.

If you would like to join a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team in Kingston-upon-Thames, join Lifestyle Team. We have big plans for 2016 and beginners are very welcome.

Richard Mackie with Diccon Lynes - Team Coach.
Richard Mackie with Diccon Lynes – Team Coach.

Our large team trains just 2 minutes from Kingston bridge.

We have upwards of twenty people on the mat during our training sessions making the Lifestyle Team a fantastic place to train with a brilliant atmosphere. There are no egos and everyone is looked after and very welcome.

If you are a beginner and would like to learn the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – find out how the team runs, costs or our beginner’s program by contacting Diccon: 07974 303 147 or e-mail:


First Training Session of 2016 With Twenty Seven People Training

Join BJJ Lifestyle Team and start your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle – our beginners are well looked after and learn all of the ‘basics’ of BJJ very quickly..

Happy New Year to everyone – 2016 is going to be a big year with Lyubo Kumbarov doing some week night No-Gi training sessions, Jonathan Purssey continuing with his Judo for BJJ training program and Leo Negao conducting some of his brilliant Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu seminars. Mondays and Thursdays will of course always be BJJ nights and Fridays continue as usual as our sparring only night – with all welcome. Saturdays are No-Gi takedown training sessions – if you can make Saturdays you will not be disappointed!

We did the looking like tough guys picture just before this one..!
Training at Vauxhall BJJ with my friend and teacher, Leo Negao..

For those that don’t already know, Lyubo is a 4 times Bulgarian Freestyle wrestling champion, Leo is a former BJJ world champion and Jonathan is a former Commonwealth and British Judo champion. I have never trained anywhere with such an incredible line-up of coaches.

2016 promises to be big in many ways – lots of our white belts will be embarking on their competition journeys and our blue belts will be getting out there again, too.

Contact me and I will answer any questions you have.
Contact me and I will answer any questions you have – 07974 303 147.

Our team size is about forty strong now and average class sizes are much bigger. Although we have one of the biggest mats I have ever trained on – I am going to enlarge the mat further still to accommodate the growing numbers on the team. More people on the mat means our training experience just gets better and better with lots of people to spar with in every weight category from featherweight through to heavyweight.

Looking forward to training with all of you sometime in the next week or so – I’m teaching defences and escapes from classic guard submission attacks so if you want to learn the finer details of a triangle or guillotine defence – grab your Gi and get down to the mat! Oss!




Friday Nights – Open Mat At Lifestyle Team In Kingston

Everyone welcome. Friday nights, 6.30 – 7.30 pm. Cost £5. Sparring only.

We train at the Sea Cadets centre – 5 minutes walk from Kingston train station. We are located just behind TGI Friday’s, near Turk’s Launches by the Thames and 100 yards from the John Lewis goods entrance.

Contact Diccon on 07974 303 147 if you would like to come along.


Lyubo Kumbarov Teaching No-Gi Takedowns For BJJ

Back on the mat – this Saturday 10th October at Lifestyle Team in Kingston. If you haven’t yet attended one of Lyubo’s takedown sessions – come along – we are now offering a pay as you train option of £10 per training session for non Lifestyle Team members.

Amazing set-ups, slick takedowns – learn how to control the fight to give yourself positional dominance on your feet when practicing No-Gi BJJ.


Judo For BJJ Followed By Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – Monday Nights

Monday nights have become very special at Lifestyle Team in Kingston – a full 2.5 hour training session. Just over an hour of Judo for BJJ with Jonathon Purssey – former British and Commonwealth Judo champion – and over an hour of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Our Judo sessions are modern and dynamic and tailored for BJJ competition. In just five weeks, we have learned to build our techniques together – with follow-up techniques if the first sweep fails. We feel genuinely excited about the team’s competition future with many of us wanting to compete in 2016.

Standing to pass the guard..
Standing to pass the guard..

Our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sessions focus on repetition of all of the key positions, transitions, submissions – defences, escapes and counters. There are always an average of 15 to 20 team members on our mat of varying different levels of experience. We are combining our Judo with BJJ and working towards transitioning from standing to the ground to take a strong first ground position.

Enjoying one of our Judo for BJJ training sessions..
Enjoying one of our Judo for BJJ training sessions..

Join Lifestyle Team in Kingston and learn takedowns in the Gi, No-Gi takedowns and the best ground work provided by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Freestyle Wrestling.

Our Judo for BJJ sessions have only just begun and it isn’t too late to join the team and reap the benefits of learning from three experienced coaches from three different grappling disciplines.

Lifestyle Team Kingston Offering Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling and Judo for BJJ


Make Monday and Thursday nights - plus Saturday mornings, your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training days. Start your BJJ lifestyle..
Make Monday and Thursday nights – plus Saturday mornings, your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training days. Start your BJJ lifestyle..

There has never been a better time to join us – Lifestyle Team in Kingston is now offering a triple grappling program – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Freestyle Wrestling and Judo for BJJ.

Hitting a No-Gi takedown..
Hitting a No-Gi takedown..

If you have an interest in self-defence and martial arts or just want to join a sports team to stay fit, learn a practical system and become part of a team, join us. We have a large number of beginners and the more beginners we have, the better the training experience for everyone.

Hitting a takedown in the Gi..
Hitting a takedown in the Gi..

BJJ Lifestyle Team was founded two years ago – many of our team members now live the ‘BJJ lifestyle’ and incorporate all aspects of healthy living as part of their training regime. Training consistently, they have improved their diet for health, well-being and performance, stay well hydrated, have added weekly flexibility training and feel passionate about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grappling as a whole.

Passing the guard..
Passing the guard..

Your first training session is free and we can lend you a Gi (the jacket and trousers we wear for training) for your first few sessions.


Our training week is as follows:


7-8 pm – Judo for BJJ with Jonathon Purssey – former British and Commonwealth Judo champion

8-9.30 pm – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Diccon Lynes – brown belt under Leo Negao


7-9 pm – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – Diccon Lynes


10.30-12 noon – Freestyle Wrestling with Lyubo Kumbarov (four times Bulgarian national champion) – No-Gi takedowns for BJJ

Join us and become part of Lifestyle Team – we give those with a full-time job or who are in full-time education – the chance to train like a sports professional. Serious training in a relaxed environment.

Our training sessions involve a warm-up and stretch, followed by

Sparring is an essential part of our training sessions..
Sparring is an essential part of our training sessions..

technical training and practice – and towards the end of our training session – sparring to develop what we have learnt. There is no striking and we work together to improve our individual performances. For some, getting to their first training session is hard to do – they imagine that a training environment might be

Enjoying one of our Judo for BJJ training sessions..
Enjoying one of our Judo for BJJ training sessions..

intimidating or unfriendly. At Lifestyle Team we pride ourselves on our warm welcome – we want beginners to thoroughly enjoy their first training session. Everyone on the team is motivated to help beginners and we all want people to join our team.

Take the first step and contact us to experience incredible coaching and a strong team spirit at Lifestyle Team in Kingston.

The Lifestyle Team 'huddle' - reflecting on our training session..
The Lifestyle Team ‘huddle’ – reflecting on our training session..


Former British and Commonwealth Judo Champion Teaches Takedowns For BJJ

Jonathon Purssey, former British and Commonwealth Judo champion, has begun teaching at BJJ Lifestyle Team in Kingston.DSC03977

We feel absolutely privileged to have such an exceptional teacher and accomplished Judo champion, on our mat. Almost two years to the day that Lifestyle Team was started – we now combine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Freestyle Wrestling and Judo for BJJ.

Jonathon teaches a refreshing style of Judo that he has tailored for our BJJ needs – with a strong focus on preparing our growing team for competition.

Our first Judo for BJJ training session was exciting and inspiring. Those that teach full-time and have practiced their chosen art since childhood – DSC03979move with such incredible precision and within minutes of our first training session starting, it was just so obvious that we were being taught by an incredible practitioner.

At BJJ Lifestyle Team in Kingston we now have two exceptional former champions teaching us – Lyubo Kumbarov, 4 x Bulgarian Freestyle Wrestling champion and Jonathon Purssey, former British and Commonwealth Judo champion.

The second part of our Monday night training sessions are entirely BJJ driven. Mondays now start with Judo from 7 until 8 pm and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from 8 – 9.30 pm. Our BJJ training sessions are growing rapidly in terms of the number of people getting on the mat – friendships and team spirit are growing and the atmosphere is relaxed with a seriousness about training and advancing in technical ability.DSC04014

Our beginners are really looked after by the team’s more advanced players. New team members are arriving on a weekly basis and we are making sure that those new to the team are learning the fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.DSC04033

Our beginner’s program is equipping the newer team members quickly – most showing early signs of talent and promise. Our team policy is to develop well-rounded grappling skills, bringing in exceptional coaches – underlining our intention to grow a super strong team.DSC04059

If you want to be trained by highly experienced grappling coaches that are committed to developing every team member to their fullest potential – it is the perfect time to join BJJ Lifestyle Team.

We want to make our training sessions available to everybody – and keep membership costs as low as possible while providing amazing coaching. Costs are £60 a month or £40 per month if you are a student. We just want people to come and train with us and start their BJJ journey. We give those with a full-time job or who are in full-time education – the chance to train like a sports professional. Mondays:Judo for BJJ and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Thursdays: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Saturdays: No-Gi takedowns for BJJ – come along and meet us – beginners are very welcome.

Team Spirit At BJJ Lifestyle Team Kingston

As someone who moved to Kingston in 1999 – I know how hard it can be to settle into a new town and find a social circle. If you want to join a group of positive minded people who bond further every single training session – join us and learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

We teach BJJ as an art and a sport – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also has definite self-defence application. Join the team, start your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle and never look back. Some on the team say Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has changed their life – train with us to find a new outlook, become fit and healthy and count yourself as a Lifestyle Team team member. Competition training available for the serious! Good ground based self-defence skills taught to everybody – recreational grapplers, club athletes and those with competition in mind.

Pictured: just some of the guys at the end of a Monday night training session. Our ethos is to train hard, help and support each other grow as a team and have fun.

More Beginners, More Blue Belts Joining Lifestyle Team

Learn to dominate people 20 kilos heavier than you with pure technique at BJJ Lifestyle Team in Kingston – growing from strength to strength – join us to be part of it.

If you are a blue belt that hasn’t trained for a while or has relocated to the Kingston area – come and join us for free training for three months. We are so keen to grow our team – highly skilled, competitive blue belts are arriving on our team – we all need each other to progress our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The bigger we get, the stronger we will all become.

BJJ Lifestyle Team have just created a competition team – for white and blue belts. Join us now if you want to be part of it – serious training in a relaxed environment. Oss.

Practicing Our BJJ Stand-Up Skills Every Training Session

Additional blue belts are arriving on the team and they’re all saying that they can feel the difference our wrestling makes in sparring. We practice our wrestling basics every training session – refining our posture, our hand positioning – our set-ups – gaining confidence and vital mat time on our feet.

Just a few of the team sporting the Lifestyle Team rashguard
Just a few of the team posing with the Bulgarian bag – they add slick set-ups and takedowns to their solid BJJ groundwork..

Our training sessions are a mix of stand-up work and Gi and No-Gi training. If you are a blue belt that hasn’t trained for a while – we’re offering free training for three months if you’d like to join our Monday and Thursday, two hour training sessions.

Three Months Free Training For Blue Belts

Are you a blue belt that hasn’t trained for a while? Are you a blue belt relocating to Kingston upon Thames?

BJJ Lifestyle Team in Kingston want to add additional depth to their experienced team. We have some very good blue belts training regularly including some with four years consistent BJJ experience – we want to further strengthen BJJ Lifestyle Team and take everyone’s standard forward.

We invite blue belts to come and train with us for three months for free.

If you are interested in joining us, e-mail:

The bigger we get as a team – the stronger we will all become.

Learn To Attack The Back At Lifestyle Team In Kingston

At Lifestyle Team in Kingston we combine superb wrestling takedowns with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Working plenty of No-Gi BJJ and Gi training, we focus on the big positions and submissions of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

We will teach you guard passing, side control, knee on stomach, the mount and all the defence you will need to become an accomplished grappler. Add to that the No-Gi takedowns we practice on Monday and Thursday nights – and the exceptional and demanding Saturday takedown training sessions and you have the full grappling package.

Our takedown training sessions are a true team highlight of the week – where we learn detailed mechanics – it’s all in the set-up and we will teach you exactly how to hit slick single and double leg takedowns – combined with subtle arm drags and ankle picks to take your opponent to the mat in order to dominate with relentless pressure.

If you have been thinking about learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – we would love you to join us. The bigger we get – the stronger we will all become. Start your journey.






Why I think training twice a week, every week – is the perfect training routine..‏‏

Training twice a week, every week – is the perfect training frequency in your first year or two of learning BJJ, in my opinion.

Since starting BJJ Lifestyle Team in September, 2013 – I have advised a number of people who have asked me what I think they should do to get better in the shortest possible time frame – and my advice has been – ”train twice a week, every week.”

A flag that means a great deal to me. I have been visiting Brazil since 2007 and will be visiting for a tenth time, this year.
A flag that means a great deal to me. I have been visiting Brazil since 2007 and will be visiting for a tenth time, this year.
Being the teacher at Lifestyle Team – I am on the mat every training session. I know who trains consistently and who doesn’t – and no surprise, the ones that are consistent are among the most technical on the mat. What has also become very evident is that there is no ‘magic formula’ other than – be consistent and train hard. There will always be talented people – but for the majority – success lies in consistency and the people who make the fastest gains and seem to be ahead of others in terms of success in sparring – are simply the ones that train every Monday and every Thursday.
Two of Lifestyle Team's best blue belts - both have trained consistently for over three years.
Two of Lifestyle Team’s best blue belts – both have trained consistently for over three years.

Before I continue – I want you to ask yourself the question – ”why did I start training in the first place and what was my dream.”

Certainly, for most of us the answer would not have been: ”to be average” – if you re-study the question above – notice the last word in the question.
My personal ”dream” was to be ‘good’ – really good. For lots of us the answer to the question would’ve been to one day be a black belt (and black belts are really good). 
There are two reasons I think that training twice a week, every week is perfect for those with a full-time job, or who study full-time or have a family to be with.
Training twice a week every week is manageable – so you can be consistent – the frequency is realistic and achievable.

Training twice a week is enough to acquire skills and keep them – training once a week is not really enough.

Still consistently practicing what I was taught in 2006.
Still consistently practicing what I was taught in 2006.

I trained consistently with a number of dedicated people at the Roger Gracie Academy in 2006. Among the small group of regulars were two guys, each with a different approach to training. The first guy was in his early 20’s, trained every session and whenever I was at the academy, he was there. The other, was 34, married and had a family. He could only train twice a week – he just couldn’t do a third training session every week, due to family commitments.

Train consistently and become not just a highly skilled grappler but also an athlete..
Train consistently and become not just a highly skilled grappler but also an athlete..
Well the guy that trained six times a week lasted about seven months and then much to everyone’s amazement, gave up. He burnt out.
Focusing on the basics consistently pays dividends.
Focusing on the basics consistently, pays dividends.

The guy who trained twice a week never missed a session – and by the time he got to purple belt, he was a killer. He was giving everyone a nightmare – including the brown belts. His secret – consistency.

Simple to work it all out – the family man was doing nearly 100 training sessions a year. There were others that trained once a week, some that would train three times a week and other weeks, do four training sessions – but they would also sometimes miss a week or even two weeks. They had a month off from time to time – if they didn’t feel like training.
The ‘killer’ maintained his twice a week every week without fail routine – and slowly but surely he moved past a lot of people at the academy.
Take my advice – if you want to get really good – my twice a week, every week – without fail approach, will serve you very well. Enjoy the journey.

Takedown Straight To Ground Control – Join The Team In Kingston

Saturday training is just getting better and better at Lifestyle Team in Kingston. Complementing our BJJ perfectly – we are working on two-on-one arm control and the front head lock drag down from a deep undertook. Learning the mechanics from Lyubo is enlightening – our stand-up games are building quickly and we are all improving with the application of leverage and correct shoulder and hip positioning.

Our team is growing – people from academies in London are joining us on Wrestling Lifestyle Team membership ( for more information and WLT membership price) – the atmosphere is one of true team spirit where we are all training with one common goal – to become the best grapplers we can be.

If you would like to join Wrestling Lifestyle Team and learn from Lyubo Kumbarov – former Bulgarian national wrestling champion – get in touch. Beginners and experienced BJJ players very welcome.


Exciting No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu At Lifestyle Team

Beginners, white, blue, purple and brown belts very welcome at BJJ Lifestyle Team in Kingston. We are growing quickly and it’s the people on the mat and the big class numbers that make Lifestyle Team the place to train. The bigger we become as a team, the stronger we will all be.

Beginners are our future – we are teaching all of the basics with plenty of detail and no prior experience of BJJ is needed. We have a large team of beginners and they are all growing together. The atmosphere is amazing and we have lost count of the number of people who have said that our ‘serious training in a relaxed environment’ is perfect for them.

Learn to take people down, pass the guard, secure side control, mount and submit people.

BJJ is great for self-defence, sport, fitness and the feeling of truly belonging to a team – if the time is right for you to start your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey, come and visit us at BJJ LIfestyle Team in Kingston upon Thames – training Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.


2014 Was A Great Year With Many New Friends And Teammates..

I look back with fondness at the huge steps forward we have taken at BJJ Lifestyle Team in Kingston, during 2014. There are many who have completed their first full year of BJJ training. Those who have managed to train consistently have been rewarded in so many ways. Teaching has become such a pleasure and I look forward to our training nights immensely.

Don Eckley, Luke Hennessy and John Watson - BJJ Lifestyle Team's first three blue belts.
Don Eckley, Luke Hennessy and John Watson – BJJ Lifestyle Team’s first three blue belts.

I always knew that teaching would be rewarding, but I hadn’t realised just how incredibly passionate I would feel about BJJ Lifestyle Team and also, welcoming newcomers to the club. Our numbers have soared compared to our very humble first few training nights in September 2013. I feel so proud of what everyone has achieved – everyone has made good progress as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes.

Jim Lavender - BJJ Lifestyle Team's fourth blue belt.
Jim Lavender – BJJ Lifestyle Team’s fourth blue belt.

We now have some very capable blue belts who are not only very good grapplers but also helping greatly to improve as quickly as possible, our growing team of white belts. You have all made new team members feel very welcome and contributed a huge amount to their BJJ skill development. I know there are lots of white belts who feel particularly looked after and enjoy coming to every training session for the team spirit and also the great skills you are giving them. Thank you..

Some of the team celebrating another belt promotion. Thank you to Gil from Rio de Janeiro for bringing his wealth of knowledge to the team.
Some of the team celebrating another belt promotion. Thank you to Gil from Rio de Janeiro for bringing his wealth of knowledge to the team.

I would like to thank Gil from Rio de Janeiro for bringing his wealth of knowledge to BJJ Lifestyle Team. Not only has Gil been incredibly generous in terms of teaching others what he knows – he has also been a fantastic sparring partner. Obrigado, Gil – meu amigo. Well done to Donovan Eckley who in June 2014 won Lifestyle Team’s very first gold medal, fighting No-Gi at the Midland’s Open.

Donovan Eckley wins gold at The Midland's Open - first Lifestyle Team gold medal.
Donovan Eckley wins gold at The Midland’s Open – first Lifestyle Team gold medal.

Congratulations too to John and Luke for their performances in their first competition – big futures ahead of them. The team has a huge thank you to make to Lyubo Kumbarov for the amazing No-Gi takedown skills he has taught in such great detail making takedown training both enjoyable and truly rewarding. Lyubo’s guidance was invaluable to Donovan at The Midland’s Open allowing him to be in charge quickly with his takedown skills – a pleasure for me to watch – I felt very proud.

What a takedown - Lyubo Kumbarov teaches us how to hit opponents with angles and correct body positioning.
What a takedown – Lyubo Kumbarov teaches us how to hit opponents with angles and correct body positioning.

Our Saturday training sessions are equipping us with skills that I believe will be a defining factor as we compete in 2015. I am extremely excited about the new training syllabus that’s being developed and launched in January. The syllabus is being carefully designed to ensure that we are working on BJJ techniques from the top position and for when we are fighting from our backs in full or half guard – training being apportioned equally – key concepts and fundamentals key.

A quick shot of some of the team sporting the BJJ Lifestyle Team rashguard.
A quick shot of some of the team sporting the BJJ Lifestyle Team rashguard.

Incorporated into our syllabus will be further No-Gi takedown training and also more matches that begin from the standing position. Those that consistently attend the Saturday training sessions are going to be competition fit and also reaping the rewards during sparring on Monday and Thursday nights.

Meeting some of the team at Arena/Behring in Sao Paulo, Brazil. A good training partnership.
Meeting some of the team at Arena/Behring in Sao Paulo, Brazil. A good training partnership.

I also had the pleasure of meeting the team at Arena/Behring in Sao Paulo, Brazil – December 2014. Fantastic training and a great partnership coming – I’m sure I will train with them many times in the years to come. Obrigado.

Some of the team posing for an early 2014 group photograph. A new group photo is being scheduled for early 2015.
Some of the team posing for an early 2014 group photograph. A new group photo is being scheduled for early 2015.

With more and more people joining the team and a special offer of training at just £40 per month for full-time Kingston University students – 2015 promises to be a big year. If you are thinking of joining our central Kingston based Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team – use the ‘Contact Us To Find Out More’ button in the top right corner of this homepage.

Contact me and I will answer any questions you have.
Contact me and I will answer any questions you have.
Looking down our extensive mat - great times ahead!
Looking down our extensive mat – great times ahead!

Fill out the form and you will receive a quick response from me by e-mail – if you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them. We train at The Sea Cadets Centre behind TGI Friday’s – beginners are our future and we would all love you to join us and be part of it. First training session of 2015 – Thursday 8th January at 7 pm.

New BJJ Lifestyle Team Syllabus Developed for 2015

We are nearly at the end of a fantastic BJJ training year – well done everybody – the team has grown considerably and there have been some strong performances in sparring. There are now well over twenty of us – the bigger we get the stronger we will become.

2015 is going to bring a new team syllabus that has been designed to focus on core fundamentals – the areas we must practice over and over again that are going to make the biggest difference to our performance.

Thank you to everyone for their loyalty and commitment to Lifestyle Team – we look forward to a bigger team in 2015 and some significant achievements. January 2015 is the perfect time to join us as we launch our new training syllabus. Beginners very welcome – we are just two minutes from Kingston bridge.

Find out more about our Saturdays only membership at

Our No-Gi takedown training sessions for BJJ take place on Saturdays at 10.30 in Kingston just five minutes walk from Kingston station. Join our sessions and learn good posture and footwork, how to use your body weight to tire your opponent and create pressure, technical set-ups and entries, single and double leg takedown combinations and strong finishes.

Training sessions are led by Lyubo Kumbarov – four times Bulgarian Freestyle Wrestling champion who uses his eighteen years of wrestling experience to coach the team to their full potential. To find out more visit


Benefit From Exceptional No-Gi Takedown Coaching

At BJJ Lifestyle Team in Kingston we combine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Freestyle Wrestling takedowns. There are four training sessions every week and we are coached by one of the very best No-Gi takedown specialists in the UK, on Saturday mornings.

If you are serious about No-Gi BJJ training and want to develop a highly technical takedown skill-set based on angles, combinations and efficiency, contact us to find out more.

Learn Submissions at Lifestyle Team in Kingston

BJJ Lifestyle Team was formed in September 2013. We have a number of very talented White belts that need more experienced sparring partners. We also have a growing number of highly experienced Blue belts on the mat, with a number of years training behind them.

If you are interested in joining our Kingston based team or just want somewhere different to train – contact Diccon Lynes through the ‘Contact Us’ page on our website to arrange your first visit. We are just five minutes walk from Kingston train station.

Serious Training In A Relaxed Environment

Practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays for £60 per month.

If you’ve ever thought about learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wished there was a club in Kingston – read about us on our website and see what we can offer you.

We are serious about developing athletes – coaching people with a full-time job who like the idea of training hard and consistently to become as good as they can possibly be.  People who can’t be a professional athlete but would like to train like one with the time they have available to them.

The coaching team is ambitious and seek competition success – if you share our dream of realising great things – come and bolster a growing team and be one of the original first year members. We already have people on the mat who are showing great promise and we are about to embark on the team’s competition story. There is however, no requirement for people to compete if they don’t want to – cheering for your teammates at competitions is about being part of the team too.  Some train as a hobby, some train for recreation, train to get fit and learn new skills, some want self-defence skills.

We are coached weekly by Lyubo Kumbarov – 4 x Bulgarian national Freestyle Wrestling champion who has extensive experience as a high level athlete – he provides his professional level coaching knowledge to develop our athletes. In addition to our weekly wrestling for BJJ sessions we train and practice a considerable amount of BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) – training sessions are available on Monday, Thursday and Friday nights – also Saturdays from 12 until 2 pm.

Come along for a very friendly welcome – we want people to thoroughly enjoy the training experience we provide and wish to grow the team into a substantial and successful force.

Check out our ‘Team Location and Training Times’ page for full information. Use the ‘Contact Us’ page to express your interest in becoming part of the team. Beginners VERY welcome.

If you are already a Blue, Purple or Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and are considering joining a new team – come on-board to learn incredible wrestling takedowns from one of the best takedown coaches in the country.

Watch some of the world’s best and soak up the atmosphere..

I truly love everything that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brings – health and well-being, friendship, interest, challenge, satisfaction and so much more. I’ve posted this video in the past, but it is just so motivational, I wanted to post it again for those that haven’t seen it – unquestionably, best watched with sound!

I’ve been to a big competition in Rio de Janeiro and the atmosphere is amazing – I look forward to many great years ahead of us and hope we will enjoy our own successes.

How we are linked to Carlos and Helio Gracie – founders of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

The history of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is very interesting, there is much to read and the stories are many. Researching the Gracie family and the early days of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu right up to the first world championships held in 1996 and beyond, is fascinating. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu gave way to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also referred to in short as ‘BJJ’.

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu we often hear people referring to ‘lineage’ – in other words, who their teacher’s teacher was and who that teacher’s teacher was right back to Mitsuyo Maeda a Japanese Judo practitioner who taught Carlos Gracie.  Helio Gracie developed a system to emphasise leverage, giving smaller and weaker people the opportunity to defend themselves. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu continues to evolve to this day.

We can trace our lineage and here it is:

Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Fábio Gurgel> Leo Negao > Me > You

Pictured at the top of this post is one of my all time favourite Gracie family pictures – a very famous picture within our community. Pictured left to right back row first – Rickson, Rolls, Carlos, Helio, Robson, Mauricio Motta Gomes, Royler, Carlos Jr, Crolin, Rorion, Rolker, Royce Gracie.

I hope some of you start to research the Gracie family and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – I think it’s important to know about the origins of the art we practice.

A strong message – you need to train like you compete

When Renzo Gracie is asked in the documentary ‘Legacy’ –  ‘why do you still compete’ he answers, ‘my friend, because I am writing my life story’, I think that is an incredibly powerful statement – and it really inspires me. I want a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition life story and I hope members of BJJ Lifestyle Team have many great experiences writing their life stories, too.

The following video carries many strong messages. I hesitated to post this video because JT Torres makes it clear that if you want to be a champion you need to put yourself round champions – we don’t have champions yet – but we can work together to have champion mindsets and I believe in time, we will all have great moments if we want things badly enough.

I wanted to post this video because the messages are so strong and powerful and I am sure that you will benefit from the positives – listen to what JT says at 1.40 mins and play it back.

Lyubo Kumbarov is a four times Bulgarian Freestyle Wrestling champion and that really is an INCREDIBLE achievement when you consider that wrestling is a huge sport in Bulgaria. Lyubo has told me that we need to spar all out in preparation for competition next year – that’s exciting. I am looking forward to all of us starting new chapters in 2014 and we will be heeding the advice of Lyubo and JT Torres in training sessions from January – let’s write our life stories.

Which is more dangerous, strength or technique?

Which is more dangerous, strength or technique – I say technique.

Personally, I think there are three key areas to focus on in order to become as good at BJJ as possible and they are: technique, cardio and flexibility. These three areas are where I am laying my personal focus with technique being the single most important factor.

I really can’t remember where I read ‘which is more dangerous…’ – but I remember it was said by a BJJ Black Belt from Rio de Janeiro – and I will never forget the direction the statement afforded me.

Strength doesn’t last forever, but technique does. I have seen highly technical 11 stone guys ripping 15 stone men to pieces. Focusing on technique gives me everlasting hope and provides me with reward that the gains from weight training could never equal. I am nowhere near as strong as I was 20 years ago and in 10 years time I won’t be as physically strong as I am today – but I will be technically much stronger. Caio Terra, eight times world champion believes technique conquers all – there is no strength that will beat technique.

The following video is a personal favourite – Raphael Mendes is an incredible competitor, superb teacher, outstanding role model and is technically amazing – watch the video and when you’ve finished, ask yourself the question – how would strength stop that technique? Make sure you watch the second technique starting at the 9 minute mark.

My strategy for learning and teaching BJJ

Featured photo – Andre Galvao, a true believer in drilling to win

BJJ Skill Development – creating behavior

I am extremely interested in the principles of teaching – and coach myself in the hope that I can make progress quickly. My interest in teaching extends to BJJ Lifestyle Team’s training sessions and I believe that rapid progress can be made with a well designed plan. My performance as a teacher impacts the team – everyone is making good progress due also to their interest in and commitment to becoming exceptionally good at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We are goal setters.

We all realise that we individually govern our ultimate success  – and also take strength from the fact that we are a team pursuing the same goal. We are motivated, have strong desire and ambition. If you would like to join us, we would all welcome you in our pursuit of high level BJJ.

I have written the following to support my approach to teaching core BJJ techniques – if you relate to this concept, become part of our team – our team HQ is by the Thames, in Kingston.

  • Choose a high reward, low risk technique
  • Mentally commit to the technique and focus positively
  • Believe totally and visualize yourself becoming unstoppable
  • Welcome the fact that repetition is key – drilling is a path to winning
  • Enjoy the journey and believe that every repetition takes you closer to where you want to be
  • Do not doubt the technique and focus on being relentless in achieving your goal
  • Understand the importance of every stage of the technique
  • Work on technique initially, resisting the temptation to add speed
  • Be deliberate with every stage of the technique – make each stage count
  • Continually assess your success
  • Continually assess the weaknesses that your training partners expose
  • Analyse the weaknesses >> eradicate the weaknesses
  • Strive to become supreme in your mastery of the ‘route’
  • Do not give up, never stop believing, use all experiences positively
  • Enjoy the process of owning more and more of the technique
  • Strive to increase the positive outcomes
  • Work the technique endlessly with resistance to have a full understanding of all the possible things your training partner or opponent can do to stop your forward progress
  • Practice the technique on as many different training partners as possible
  • Never give up utilizing the technique – frequency ensures sharpness

BJJ Lifestyle Team has big ambitions – and we are building a beginner’s program to bring the benefits of BJJ to as many as possible and also hope for future champions.

We are building weight category teams within the team. If you would like to be part of our BJJ journey – it would be my pleasure to meet and teach you.


Train With Us And Start Your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Lifestyle

For me, after eight years of training, there are no ‘downs’ in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, just valuable lessons. We have all felt as if we aren’t making progress, have hit a plateau or can’t seem to get any better, but as long as every training session is viewed positively, there is only progress. It’s natural to compare yourself with others but I believe we should be happy with our own advancement and providing you are attending training sessions, you’re progressing.

Getting to training has been a challenge for me in the past. I have had long periods without obvious progression or so it seemed at the time, but now I feel that every time I step on the mat, I’m taking a few more steps forward.

Natural instinct makes us all want to fight and want to win, but now the key to success in my opinion is to go to training to learn. If I tap someone I learn, if I’m tapped, I learn. With this mentality, I never lose.

If my training partner taps me, he’s shown me where a weakness is – thank you. I wish I’d had this approach years ago, I think I would be much further on – although all the frustrations have made the successes sweeter. I hope this little post helps people to travel the Jiu-Jitsu journey with greater ease than I sometimes have.

In terms of relaxing, I’m still not quite there though. I need to open up more in sparring, take more risks and try new things – the cost is dear if I don’t find the mental strength to try new ideas, new techniques. The cost is nothing if I get caught, I’ll just tap, and try again. I’m truly trying to become ego-less, not just someone who has heard the saying ‘leave your ego at the door’ – I don’t want an ego, full-stop. Once that last little bit of ego is chipped off, and I’m close – I believe the start of the path to real technical development will have been reached. In the past it’s only been me that’s held myself back, by allowing myself to become tense when sparring, not allowing myself to use my full arsenal of skills because I haven’t wanted to run the risk of finding myself in a bad position – I now believe that if I can relax more and let my skills go, I’ll slowly start to flourish.

I’ve read that Rodolfo Vieira taps at his team home with teammates – he tries to really let his game go in training. He’s one of the best in the world and rarely taps in competition.  I would imagine he understands the difference between training with friends and competing against opponents in competition – this I expect helps him to constantly improve his skills in new areas so that when competing – the tapping has already been done and he can unleash a huge highly refined, technical skill-set.

Every tiny success needs to be enjoyed and savored as another little step in your Jiu-Jitsu evolution. Analysing every outcome will make us stronger and keep us interested – that’s the beauty of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Enjoying the obvious successes and replaying in your mind, the moments that led to achievement and analysing also, what led to us needing to tap out – using the experience positively to start to close another chink in your armour is essential. Looking forward to playing Jiu-Jitsu all over again – is key.

Be tense, don’t take chances and use the same tried and tested techniques week in week out without being brave enough to flex newly acquired Jiu-Jitsu skills and the journey will be less interesting and take more time – in my humble opinion, you will struggle to acquire a repertoire of silky smooth BJJ.

If you and I can reach the stage where our best is always good enough and look at every outcome positively, we’ve got huge potential to become technically very good. I look forward to walking down the path of pure technical BJJ development.

Come on Kingston, come and learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at BJJ Lifestyle Team!

BJJ Lifestyle Team learn and practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from the Sea Cadets centre in Kingston. We’re right by the Thames, very close to Turk’s Launches and John Lewis – we are two minutes walk from Canbury Gardens – we’re directly behind TGI Friday’s.

We are a big team but would like more teammates – come and be part of things. There really are so many benefits to learning and practicing BJJ. As much as anything, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will help you become fitter and more flexible – two aspects of overall health that make everyday life more enjoyable, too.

Our team is all about learning together, enjoying our training, being happy on the mat and looking forward to training sessions. Consistency brings the richest rewards in all ways – finely tuned skills, comradeship, discipline and the health benefits derived from a physical activity.

Our training is geared towards realism, but there is no striking and training is progressive. We are creating a number of sub teams within our team, so the people you train with are likely to be in your weight category.

Competition training is available but there is no requirement to compete in competitions if you don’t want to. Our style is very much welcoming, we want people to enjoy training with us on a long-term basis – we strive to look after people, particularly those that are a bit nervous and don’t know what to expect. We want people to enjoy training with us and we want them to come back.

If you would like to find a very enjoyable way of getting fitter and more flexible whilst learning a new skill that will give you confidence and so many other things – don’t hesitate, make contact with us through this site and start a new hobby that may well change your life.

BJJ Lifestyle Team would also like to have a women’s BJJ team – if you are looking for realistic self-defence and an incredible way of staying fit, trim and healthy – please get in touch, you are very welcome to join us.

A strategy for becoming an unstoppable guard passer, taught by Vitor ‘Shaolin’ Ribeiro…

Vitor ‘Shaolin’ Ribeiro is a four times World champion and 4th degree black belt – he was black belt lightweight World champion in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

I really wanted to share this video with you because it is so inspiring – it makes me feel genuinely excited about my training – I can’t wait to get back on the mat.

Everybody knows that practicing the fundamentals and principles of grappling is key to success – my thoughts are influenced by all of the great competitors – those with a simple game always tend to be the ones who win the big competitions.

Marcelo Garcia talks about how he uses the same techniques with such frequency that he knows exactly what his opponent’s options are and is prepared to counter every attempt to dominate his opponent makes. He has seen absolutely every possible technique applied against his own favored game, that nothing now is a surprise or a technique he hasn’t got an answer for. He also knows exactly what he might be faced with when an opponent is trying to stop him from advancing his position – he has seen it all before and knows how to deal with what he’s faced with.

The video I have posted is not so much about a great guard pass although it is considered by many to be one of the best – it’s about becoming so good at something through practice and repetition that you ‘own’ the move and can put it on anybody. I hope you find the video as interesting and informative as I did.

Thank you to Stephan Kesting of for allowing me to post this video. Stephan’s free e-mails and videos are very interesting and well worth receiving – sign up – there’s a wealth of information.

An immensely proud moment, receiving my Brown Belt from Leo Negao..

After 7.5 years of training – I have been given my Brown Belt by Leo Negao. I am hugely grateful to Leo for absolutely revolutionising my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game – I am extremely proud to be a Brown Belt under him. Obrigado, Leo.43 years old and receiving that Brown Belt from a man I admire so much - means everything...Thanks for everything, Leo..

Thank you to all of my training partners at Leo’s club in Vauxhall who have helped me to improve so much – training with you guys is such a pleasure. I look forward to many many more training sessions together. Oss.Team Leo Negao.

And the fun bit...getting thrown as congratulations!
And the fun bit…getting thrown as congratulations!

I also look forward to passing on everything I learn from Leo to all members of BJJ Lifestyle Team. As many of you know, Leo Negao and Lyubo Kumbarov will be visiting us in Kingston to support the team.

The technical skill and teaching ability of both my teachers is simply at a professional level. Leo and Lyubo have both competed and won medals at the highest level of competition. To say that I feel honored to learn from them just doesn’t describe how lucky I feel. Come along to BJJ Lifestyle Team where you will get the very friendliest welcome.

Keeping with tradition...Oss
Keeping with tradition…Oss

The bigger we get as a team, the stronger we will all become. Join BJJ Lifestyle Team and get personally coached by two of the country’s best grapplers. We have big ambitions and we need ambitious beginners to realise our dreams.

We are going to build an incredible defence system..

Featured photo: Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida on the hunt for a submission while fighting Rodolfo Vieira in the Absolute world championships final this summer..

The very best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes have incredible defence. I love studying defence and escapes and would have an entire evening dedicated to the study of defence and escapes once per week, if time made it possible. What I will ensure is that we all have a rock solid defence and escape system for dealing with the most common submissions – arm bars, triangles, guillotines and the Kimura.

Roger Gracie stresses the importance of phenomenal defence - we will practice a huge amount of positional sparring - something Roger Gracie believes is essential...
Roger Gracie stresses the importance of phenomenal defence – we will practice a huge amount of positional sparring – specific training that Roger Gracie believes is essential…

The defence and escape system we practice will involve a number of aspects:

Understanding why we might be vulnerable to attack

Anticipating attack and shutting attacks down before they get started

Recognising attacks quickly under pressure

Responding to attacks with the most appropriate defence

Dealing with attacks once they have progressed

Escaping efficiently

If you have a well rehearsed plan you can execute for all the common submissions – you will have great confidence. We will all be working hard to achieve this – and will be building a lot of repetition into the defences and escapes we practice, so that we can deal with attack when put under pressure.

Felipe Costa on dealing with competition pressure and sharing his emotions

I am very grateful to Hywel Teague of BJJ Hacks who has allowed me to post his absolutely brilliant videos on the BJJ Lifestyle Team website. Of course the videos are also available on YouTube, but it’s a pleasure to put such high quality work on my site. Thanks again, Hywel – so interesting to watch your films, I really admire your work.

I love Felipe Costa’s sincerity, he’s so easy to relate to – for those that enjoy this video, there is a Felipe Costa mini series on YouTube that follows Felipe’s competition progress – the series is very inspiring and takes us on his travels – it’s a four or five-part mini documentary – watch it, it’s excellent.

Strong Posture Will Make A MASSIVE Difference To Your Success

Featured photo: Roger Gracie teaching his famous choke from Mount during a seminar – a great picture of the students at Rilion Gracie’s academy – the academy looks like a lovely place to train.

Of all the things that have made a big difference to my performance when sparring, I would have to say that posture and hip movement are without question – the most important breakthroughs.

Rickson Gracie is one of the genuine legends of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and whenever I have found interviews on him on the Internet, or articles in magazines, I have read them thoroughly with great seriousness and interest. I have read several times that Rickson Gracie thinks that of all the things that make a difference, good posture is the big one.

Good posture when you are in someone’s Guard is paramount. In my opinion, there is no point in trying to break someone’s Guard open until you have managed to sit with good posture. I believe posture is so important I constantly test my posture under conditions of complete resistance with a training partner. I sit with good alignment and simply ask the person underneath to break my posture – I want to feel the pressure and learn to readjust myself according to where force is being exerted from below. I want that person to hammer me with submission attempts, too. I not only want to learn and practice, I want to take my confidence as far as I can, as well.

When you start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it can feel as if you are constantly fighting for survival when you are in someone’s Guard and they are aggressively looking for submissions. I distinctly remember my first few training sessions in Brazil in January 2007 and I honestly lost count of the number of times I was submitted. Humbling to say the least.

Good posture is not only the platform for advancement  when in guard – it also keeps you safe from submission attempts. My first defence against Guillotines, Triangles, Arm Bars and collar chokes, is good, strong posture.

I have listed seven things on this website under ‘accelerate your training’, that have made a big difference to my game and every one of the principles or concepts I have listed is highly important in terms of overall, what has made the biggest difference to me. Some arrived early on within the first year or two – some later, it’s all a journey. Things that come easily in life are not as satisfying as things you have to work hard for. I have had my posture broken hundreds of times which has often led to a fight for survival – it’s the hundreds of times I’ve had my posture broken that has made learning the changes necessary to keep posture, so rewarding.

Accelerate Your Game – Maintain Space When Defending

Roger Gracie, a master of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, teaching a seminar at Rilion Gracie’s academy in the US – I love this picture. Photo courtesy of

Management of the space between you and your opponent is essential when defending. This short article is about maintaining adequate space when defending from the bottom position – but just to make a point – your best strategy when attacking from the top position is to stay tight to your opponent and take space away. You need to maintain space to defend and execute submissions. If someone manages to shut down the space you need in order to defend and submit, of course you need to carry on defending and will need to open up space to become comfortable again – but the job of making space becomes a far harder one. You are dealing with weight, strength, gravity and technique. Once someone gets their body weight over you, particularly if they are heavier than you are, you are in trouble.

There are two skills that I feel are important to acquire if you are going to successfully maintain space in order to defend yourself and stop your opponent from progressing to a stronger position. Space is critical if you are going to have a chance of submitting your opponent, or yet to be mentioned, sweeping your opponent.

The first principle:

Simple to understand, harder to apply, don’t let your opponent get near you. To close the space the person on top needs to come forward – I know how much space I am comfortable with – I know how much I need to have a chance and successfully operate – so if some of the space is taken when someone comes forward, you need to take it back by physically moving back. You have a chance of doing this because there is still sufficient space in order to move. If you don’t move back when the person on top enters your imposed danger zone, your chances of survival are halving and will soon disappear altogether, presenting you will the tougher next battle, which is creating space once body weight is down and locked in with technique. Much better to become highly skilled at managing the radar and stopping people from entering the danger zone in the first place. If they come onto the radar and stay there, they need to be dealt with and removed from the danger zone. This can be achieved by a combination of moving back, mostly, and moving them back with your feet.

Basically, I want just under an arm’s length of space to successfully operate, if someone comes forward, I move back an equal amount to preserve my ideal amount of space. I protect that space as a top priority, they move a little, I move the same amount of space back – they move forward a lot, I move back a lot. Whatever my opponent does in terms of coming forward, I retreat the same amount of space – this way, my protected area remains constant and I’m not forced to deal with increased weight and power. The space is maintained by moving the hips back – one of the big keys to Jiu-Jitsu. The only time I allow someone into the danger zone is when I want them there – they will have tried unsuccessfully to come forward a couple of times, and I will now let them through and providing they are committing too much weight forward and have through frustration started raise up a bit to clear my legs – I will attempt to sweep them, failure to sweep results in retreat to put myself out of range of them, again. By moving back, I put them back outside the danger zone I manage. You can also let them come forward if you want to attempt a submission or an arm drag, but things are on your terms, they are your invention.,

The second principle:

Put simply, make sure you bring your knees up to create a shield. For your opponent to dominate you they need to get their body down across you between your hips and your shoulders. If you bring your knees up, it’s very difficult for your opponent to get their body down tightly onto you. If your knees fill the danger zone, you can ensure there is enough space to push back if necessary to establish your ideal amount of safe operating space once more. I remember distinctly, this break through and it allowed me to keep bigger people off me. Lie there flat and all they need to do is drop themselves on top of you. Pulling your knees up towards your chest and bringing your elbows down creates a very effective defensive barrier.

Maintain space and you are always in a much stronger position than you would be if the space has been lost.

Fabio Gurgel – Head Instructor at Alliance in Sao Paulo

Eight times world champion, head instructor at Alliance in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Fabio Gurgel – eight times world champion and head instructor at Alliance in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Leo Negao trained with Fabio at Alliance in Sao Paulo and was a teacher at the academy – receiving his black belt in the late 90’s. I have always admired Fabio’s incredible guard passing game – he is considered one of the best passers in the world. I am looking forward to meeting Fabio and training at his Sao Paulo academy. My in-laws live about 20 minutes from the Alliance academy in Sao Paulo!

I’m finally managing to treat BJJ as a game…

I am finally getting there, I am treating BJJ as a game – it’s taken years. I want to accelerate my Jiu-Jitsu development as quickly as I possibly can and I know that to do this, I must relax, try new ideas, concepts and techniques and not be bothered about tapping. It’s a balance. You want to do well when sparring, but doing well at all costs will destroy your chances of becoming technically better or considerably slow your development down. It makes it much easier to go training if you can treat BJJ as a game – there’s no fear, it’s impossible to lose. I don’t mind letting you know that I’ve missed training sessions in the past because I didn’t want the pressure of having to fight and win. I wish I’d had the game playing mindset back then, I would be much further on with my technique development.

I now know that training is about learning and not just winning.

I read a great deal about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and constantly find articles and interviews that express the views of the champions and the resounding theme is that you must be ego free, try new techniques and not worry about tapping. If you are tapping you are learning. I don’t want to tap all the time, but if I do, it’s only training. Sometimes you just get caught – it’s a learning experience.

It is important to train with people who can dominate you and tap you out. If you are not being pushed by others, your skills will not rise as quickly as they would if you were training with people who are better than you. They are often better than you because they are further along the BJJ journey. I remind myself that we are just trying to make each other give up – it’s a game.

It is very tempting to use the techniques you are best at in sparring – the ones you see the most success from – but how will you develop new techniques and bring them to a high level if you have not tried and developed them in sparring situations? What is for sure is that when you try new techniques and concepts, it is highly unlikely they will work first time, but this is the process of development. If you cannot allow yourself to try something you have recently learnt because you are scared of losing position or being tapped – you will never ever become skilled with that technique and although you may win many sparring matches with your limited game – the ultimate loss will be yours.

Are you really ‘winning’ if you don’t grow your repertoire but you tap the same people week in week out with the same limited game? One day, someone more experienced and more athletic than you will absolutely smash you and you’ll wish you had developed a deep technical defence and a fluid, ever-changing, difficult to read and deal with, offence. I have been cut to shreds by eleven stone guys in Brazil and it was humbling, totally technical and absolutely impossible for me to stop – despite the fact that I was stronger than them. This is the level I dream of getting to – and I know that consistent training, relaxation and a willingness to experiment with new techniques is the key.

I am not promoting myself as an expert with all the answers because I know I still have an incredible amount to learn, but if I can help people progress faster than I did, that would be very satisfying. I am trying to develop my Jiu-Jitsu on a daily basis and my development includes analysis of recent performance, visualisation and mental preparation for my next training session. I often drive home from training sessions and think deeply about how and why I was dominated, if of course I was, how I was tapped and why, and reflect on my successes, too. Little successes, little steps forward are very satisfying for me. Tiny improvements, perhaps managing to get into a particular position and feeling and experiencing what it is like to be there for the first time, but not quite getting it right and losing position – an improvement on a previous week’s effort to get to the same position. I know that if I keep on trying new things, despite the failures and set backs, I’m likely to get a bit further still if I persist in future training sessions. I’m treating my BJJ as a game.

None of what I have described is possible if I define success purely on the basis of whether or not I tapped my training partner. I know that finally treating Jiu-Jitsu as a game is putting me in the fast lane for getting to where I want to be – which is to be as technically good as possible.

I want to make BJJ Lifestyle Team as big and successful as possible..

Featured photo: Team Alliance – HQ, Sao Paulo, Brazil – at the 2013 world championships. Why can’t we become a big UK team…?

I have revisited my motives for starting BJJ Lifestyle Team and my reasons are as follows:

  • To have a Kingston based training opportunity
  • To build a big, successful competition team
  • To become as good as I can be as a teacher and competitor
  • To involve as many people as possible with the team

I am excited about developing many training partners – I would like us to become a recognised UK team and look forward to travelling as a team to competitions in the UK and abroad. I would like to create a sense of team loyalty and pride.

I want to make the opportunity to join available to as many people as possible. I certainly don’t want to lose the chance of teaching people with huge potential which is why I have set the monthly membership fee at £60. I want to constantly make progress on what we offer too and will be working hard to make BJJ Lifestyle Team THE team to belong to.

I will be reinvesting in the team and would like to be in a position to fund travel to competitions, to have social evenings and afford new mats when we need them, provide additional training times, team clothing and other things that will benefit the team. I benefited greatly from attending a St John First Aid course and would like to put other team members on the course.

If you haven’t ‘Liked’ BJJ Lifestyle Team on Facebook, yet – please do, I want to build the Facebook group up. I will also be ‘tweeting’ regularly so staying in touch with what’s going on couldn’t be easier if you follow BJJ Lifestyle Team on Twitter.

The man who made a HUGE difference to my Jiu-Jitsu – Leo Negao

Introducing my teacher to BJJ Lifestyle Team, Leo Negao. Leo will be visiting us in Kingston to teach his Gi and No-Gi techniques – he has a relaxed teaching style which makes being part of his lessons a pleasure. I first met Leo in April 2009 – his Jiu-Jitsu was refreshing, exciting and captivating – I have learnt so much from him and feel very lucky to have him as my teacher…

Thank you to Aire Valley Martial Arts for letting me post this video.

Caio Terra – at under 9 stone, he often wins open weight competitions…

A huge thank you to Hywel Teague of BJJ Hacks who has allowed me to put his fantastic videos on the BJJ Lifestyle Team website. Hywel’s videos provide an invaluable insight into the minds of some of the sport’s greatest competitors. I will be posting my favourite films for the team’s enjoyment and benefit.

GracieMag, July 2013 – article review: ‘Deconstructing Keenan Cornelius’..

Keenan Cornelius – a phenomenal competitor…

I have been buying GracieMag since 2006 and find reading the magazine a real pleasure. I would strongly recommend subscribing to the magazine, it is a great source of technical information and serves as a training motivator, too. Magazines are shipped from the States, but don’t let that put you off becoming a subscriber, it’s easy to sign up and not that expensive. I look forward to my magazine hitting the doormat every month – and read it while drinking a nice cup of tea!

I am going to post a GracieMag article review every month – picking out the most interesting parts of my favourite article. I think you can learn so much just by reading and thinking – and I can usually pick a few things up from each magazine issue that give me something extra for my Jiu-Jitsu game. I feel inspired by the champions of our sport and look to their observations and experience to improve my own performance. I hope that the beginners at BJJ Lifestyle Team become as technically interested in sport Jiu-Jitsu as I am – I look forward to sharing and debating new ideas, concepts and techniques with those on the team. I am very interested in all aspects of BJJ and seek as much knowledge as possible.

I know I can no longer be the fittest, strongest or fastest – so I must be as technically good as I can be. I have already written the following on this site – but love this line, so here it is again – it was stated by a highly experienced Brazilian BJJ black belt:

‘What is more dangerous, strength or technique, I say technique…’

I read this line a few years ago and it has always remained at the forefront of my Jiu-Jitsu mind – I thought at the time and still believe it is a very powerful statement. I referenced the line to Leo Negao a year or two ago and he responded – ‘of course my friend’ – and that’s coming from someone who is more athletic and powerful than most.

So, onto July’s GracieMag article – my favourite in the magazine this month ‘Deconstructing Keenan’…

For those that are not yet fully familiar with the current world sport Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu scene – Keenan Cornelius has been devastating in competition since Purple Belt. He is a feared man on the mat, has won numerous big competition gold medals including winning all four of the major IBJJF competitions in 2012, as a Purple Belt. He doesn’t win the odd big competition, he wins them all.

I have read the article two or three times, making a mental note of the things that I believe I can take to improve my own performance. Keenan trained at Lloyd Irvin’s in Maryland until recently and one thing the medal chaser team were renowned for was their pure Jiu-Jitsu training intensity. I personally have limited time to train each week because I work in an office for 40 hours, like many others. I know that the more repetitions I do of a technique, the better I will become at performing it. I also have a mindset of wanting to be good and have a high expectation of myself. I am also realistic, but try to strongly emulate the competitors that impress me. I cannot afford to waste my limited time so try to remain focused because every minute I spend on the mat is precious.

I train with intensity because I am on the mat to work and get better. Keenan emphasises the intensity at Lloyd Irvin’s as a key contributor to his success and this reminds me to train with purpose. Each repetition I perform, I perform with good form and increasing accuracy. If you look at how the best freestyle wrestlers train in the States, they drill hard and sessions are intense. I try as hard as possible to ensure everything I do on the mat is done well – sloppiness of technique creates bad habits. Practice with poor technique and you learn to do something badly. Keenan’s intensity can be followed – you don’t need special physical attributes, just a strong mind and desire. Keenan also comments within the article that he ‘learnt to have a work ethic’ – at Team Lloyd Irvin. I personally believe in creating a behavior – and will bring this to our mat. I am not going to lose sight of our need to relax and have fun, but I want to develop our Jiu-Jitsu, too. Keenan finishes on the subject of intensity by adding – ‘I do a lot of repetitive move drills.’ Noted.

Although everything above is critical to success – a further and even bigger factor in Keenan’s success is his ‘mental state’. I am especially interested in this subject – the mindset of a champion is fascinating. I will not explain my personal thoughts on the subject in this article review – but we will be big believers at BJJ Lifestyle Team.

Keenan talks about how his Jiu-Jitsu has become more aggressive and how he now attacks more during fights and ‘sets the pace’. I have often read about people trying to impose their game. Marcelo Garcia states – ‘the more I attack, the more he has to defend’.

If you have to endlessly defend, you can’t attack. Whenever I get dominated, I feel as if I have done nothing but defend. Whoever I have sparred with has successfully imposed their game on me and I haven’t managed to get mine started – largely because I’ve had to constantly defend.

Keenan believes that whenever you have someone ‘killing you in training, you are improving’. How true this is, although it’s hard to think this way when you are getting smashed.

The last part of the interview that I have taken something from is Keenan’s self-analysis of his guard passing game. He believes that everyone has strengths and weaknesses and he has identified an area of his game that he thinks he can improve. He believes he needs to apply more pressure when passing guard. He has decided that he needs to work on the way he puts his weight over the opponent to pass the guard and keep the opponent under control.

This is an interesting area of Jiu-Jitsu and one that I am constantly working on. I have read a great deal on guard passing and learnt an enormous amount from Leo Negao. Leo’s guard passes are so heavy that I have to give him the pass because of the pressure he exerts. All of this he generates through correct body positioning and technical use of weight. He is an expert at making himself feel much heavier than he really is. A point of note, Leo constantly presses the need to ‘keep position’, the only time you start to lose a fight in terms of position is when you give your opponent too much space and don’t successfully apply your weight.

I read a superb article by Fabio Gurgel once where he stated that he gets his students to ‘count to ten’ when they are passing someone’s guard. The forward pressure applied is delivered slowly to a count of ten and this ensures that space isn’t given and weight feels at its maximum – making the opponent feel very uncomfortable.  Fabio is credited with being one of the best guard passers in the world.

Technically heavy, dominating passing is Leo Negao’s guard passing style and I am trying to replicate his style of Jiu-Jitsu. Big, heavy, dominating passes impress me and in my opinion, this is a style that you can maintain despite your age.  Speed and agility are not governing factors. Keenan’s self-analysis has further compounded my thoughts on guard passing and got me thinking.

In summary – a great and inspiring article with the main messages being train with intensity, have a strong work ethic, impose your game – setting the pace – be TECHNICALLY aggressive and don’t worry if you are getting  dominated, you are learning all the time and will develop if people are tapping you.

BJJ Lifestyle Team Update

Featured photo – Rodolfo Vieira receiving heavyweight Gold at the 2013 IBJJF world championships (Mundials) – I hope we can achieve many podium places in UK BJJ competitions.

BJJ Lifestyle Team Update

I have been looking into the cost of mats and will be purchasing a set of new Judo mats that will be 40mm thick – so that we can have nice comfortable training sessions. I will be including a lot of freestyle wrestling takedown practice as part of what we do – and I want to make sure our landings are well cushioned and easy on the body. The mats are costing thousands of pounds but we will have the use of them for many years.

Good quality, thick mats are essential to consistent takedown practice – I will be making sure that Leo leaves us with a good Gi takedown to practice when he visits. I also know an exceptional national standard Judo player who I intend to invite along from time to time to teach us some nice Judo sweeps.

I am also in the process of having a team logo designed by a professional design agency – this will feature on our Gi’s, on the website and in marketing.

I have booked myself onto a St Johns First Aid, first aid for sport course – and club insurance will be in place by 9th September.

I will also be arranging to have a huge team flag made – this will become the backdrop to our training sessions – we may not have this for 9th September but I hope to have a team flag by the end of the year – before the first BJJ Lifestyle Team Christmas dinner!

I would like to have pictures of our humble beginning and ongoing training sessions – I have bought a very good Sony camera and will be posting pictures to the BJJ Lifestyle Team site for everyone’s enjoyment!

The team HQ will be at Kingston & District Sea Cadets Centre, Thames Side, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1 1PX

I have chosen this centre because it is in a quieter part of town, by the river and also provides a large training space. I considered other halls but partly chose the Sea Cadets Centre because it is a charity providing a great experience to children. I would prefer to pay hall fees to a charity rather than a commercial organisation – it all sits well with my morals.

For those that are unfamiliar with the area, the Sea Cadets Centre is very close to Turk’s Launches,  John Lewis and behind TGI Fridays.

Parking is available outside the centre and costs £1.20 per hour – the centre is 6 or 7 minutes walk from Kingston station.

Training Days and Times:

Mondays and Thursdays 7 pm – 8.30 pm. I would be keen to hear from people with regards to preferred start time – we will go with the popular choice. E-mail me at: to let me know which start time you prefer.

Our ethos will be to train in good company with team spirit, to learn without pressure for enjoyment, and to have a strong work ethic.

Our first two training sessions will be on Monday 9th September and Thursday 12th September, 2013.

Depending on interest – I may organise a one hour sparring session on Saturday mornings – once we’re established.

Really looking forward to starting – and looking forward to meeting everybody.


Accelerate your game by developing good hip movement

Featured photo: Gui Mendes winning at the 2012 World Championships – courtesy of

Developing correct posture and fluid hip movement has made an enormous difference to my Jiu-Jitsu – I’m looking forward to teaching the details at BJJ Lifestyle Team…

Long before I was a Blue Belt, sometime in 2006, I was training in a group class at Roger Gracie’s academy. Taking the lesson was Mauricio Motta Gomes, Roger’s father.  Something he informed the class that night I will never forget. We were ‘shrimping’ up the mat and Mauricio announced ‘what you are doing now is one of the most important and useful things you will ever learn’. I’m not sure how many people heard Mauricio’s statement as we were all exercising hard and many I expect couldn’t see the relevance of ‘shrimping’ – everyone was trying their best to shrimp as hard and as fast as possible up the mat, though.

Carlos Gracie Junior also stated in an article I read in Graciemag once, that hip movement took time to develop and really started to become fluid when someone becomes a Purple Belt – good hip movement was absolutely critical.

It can be difficult to move your hips, but developing movement is essential to success in so many situations. In my opinion, if you’re not moving your hips into position, you’re not practicing effective Jiu-Jitsu – I truly believe that. Not only are the hips highly important in defence but they are also very important when executing attacks. You need to move your hips to maintain your base when sitting in front of your opponent, you need to move your hips to keep your opponent at distance and you need to move your hips to Sweep your opponent – moving your hips when executing a Sweep gives you the leverage to make your opponent light.

The reasons for moving your hips are many – everything hinges around the hip – most defences and escapes need strong hip movement.

I caught a guy in a Head and Arm Triangle choke when training in North London once. I was on the bottom and the guy I had caught was in his early 20′s and aggressive. I was squeezing with all my strength because I really wanted to tap my opponent – it was a very physically demanding match for me and I wanted to finish it. Leo Negao walked past and said to me ‘get your hip out’ – I did of course and bang – the choke went on with little strength used and the guy tapped – a lesson learnt that evening.

I also believe that when you are playing open Guard you have an amount of space that you feel comfortable with – this may be more or less space depending on your size. My rule is always – if he takes 6 inches of space off me, I move my hips and take 6 inches back. If he takes 10 inches of space off me I take 10 inches back – if he comes smashing through – I retreat my hip aggressively to account for the amount of space I think my opponent is going to take – shrimping being the killing factor in terms of nullifying my opponent’s efforts.

In summary – hip movement is one of the two big things that have accelerated my training – posture, being the other one. If you don’t move your hip, expect to be dominated and have your Guard passed.

Vital to the BJJ Lifestyle Team – Submission Escapes

Featured photo – Ciao Terra. At 8 stone 9 lbs, this man is a human weapon – pictured applying a Triangle choke.

Truly a passion of mine – I have spent a lot of time looking for answers to submissions people have applied to me. I made the decision to hunt for answers to submission attempts early on as a grappler wanting to have at least one well-practiced escape for all common submissions. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a fascinating art and the more you study the more your passion grows.

It isn’t always possible to be the victor in every match – but if I can’t dominate my opponent and submit them, I want to at least survive the onslaught. Good defence is critical and often you can shut attacks down before they become more dangerous. Having a good understanding and recognition of the steps someone needs to take to achieve a submission can be a very good start to understanding how to survive. If you can read the opponent’s intentions you can make sure you are using preventative measures to slow down and then destroy an opponent’s attack. Good positioning and understanding what gives an opponent openings will keep you safe.

Sometimes the person you are fighting will use set ups to force you to commit to being in a certain position or you may have no choice but to expose yourself slightly to deal with a submission attempt made by your opponent who is working hard to progress their position. This game is played by very experienced grapplers and when they force you to react a certain way they will already be waiting for you – possibly with another submission attempt.

The best time to deal with a submission attempt is early on in the first stages of the sub being applied. I read a fantastic book once which was co-written by Helio and Royler Gracie. They described ‘being early’, ‘being on time’ and ‘being late’. Recognising submission attempts in the early stages helps you to shut down a potentially dangerous situation. If you are ‘late’ – you are in trouble and will need to rely on the submission escape you have practiced that really is your final chance of survival before needing to tap out.

There are submission escapes for all submissions and I believe having a super strong defence and battery of escapes brings confidence that helps you focus on your attacking game. As a further area of interest, understanding defences and escapes makes you better equipped for attacking because you will understand what someone needs to do to defend or escape and can cleverly spoil their defences to force them to leave openings.

Once you know how to technically escape from being triangled, arm bared or guillotined, you are well on your way to having an easier time when sparring. As I’ve said previously though, I believe you have to struggle and suffer to really appreciate the beauty in the art that arrives with the breakthroughs. The first time I visited Brazil, I lost count of the number of times I was tapped – and because of this experience, finding the answers was very rewarding.

We will all have limited time to practice at BJJ Lifestyle Team – but I want to make sure we are dedicating a lot of time to defences and escapes so that we can all survive in difficult sparring or competition situations.

How the BJJ Belt System Works

When you start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu you will be a White Belt. It takes a long time to receive belts in BJJ so you need to be prepared to be patient – there is a lot to learn and your ability is apparent because we spar with full resistance. If you train consistently, you will become more skillful and your success will be clear when sparring with others. Everyone can get there, but hard work and persistence are essential.

It took me 18 months of training to receive my Blue Belt – the second belt given in Jiu-Jitsu and it’s considered quite an achievement to get to this level. You will without question be considered no beginner on the ground. It is possible to receive your Blue Belt in a shorter period of time but to be honest, once you’ve got a Blue Belt tied around your waist the white belts will be very keen to tap you out so waiting until you really do feel comfortable on the ground and are experiencing consistent success when sparring with your peers really isn’t a bad thing. It does feel mightily good to have a Blue Belt tied around your waist and the more often you train the faster you are likely to be recognised as worthy of belt promotion. Personally, I don’t think anyone with less than 12 months experience should be given a Blue Belt. When you wear a belt of any colour you should be able to defend it as far as I am concerned. First and foremost, I believe belts should be awarded for technical ability when sparring and in competition, but other factors such as depth of technical knowledge and consistent training are factors considered, too. That said, I couldn’t award a belt to someone who couldn’t hold their own – getting technically good just requires consistency and hard work.

After the Blue Belt comes the Purple Belt – this is the first of the ‘big belts’. I started training in June 2006 and received my Purple Belt in August 2011 although I’m told it had been waiting for me for a while – but it gives you an idea. Trust me, the night this one is tied around your waist they will come at you guns blazing, but it’s all enjoyable and for me, being given my Purple Belt made me up my game – receiving it was also a proud moment. The first night I wore my Purple Belt, there were only five or six people on the mat plus Leo Negao and we had the fortune of being visited by a 6 ft 2 inch, very athletic guy from a well-known MMA gym. He wanted to see how good our grappling skills were – boy was I pleased I had five or so years of training behind me because our visitor wasn’t taking prisoners and did everything he physically could to dominate me. Thankfully I held my own at 5 ft 7 , 75 kilos and 20 years his senior and my thoughts since are that this was all a very good experience.

From Purple you are given your Brown Belt and finally, after many years of dedication, hard work, personal research and sacrifice you are given your Black Belt.

Likely timescales are White to Blue – 12 – 18 months, depending on how hard and how often you train, Blue to Purple, at least another couple of years, Purple to Brown – the same again and Brown to Black Belt – probably another year, maybe more. But once you have all that skill and experience and enjoyed the journey, you’ll be a hell of a grappler and the holder of a belt that really is an incredible achievement – for many, one of a few lifetime achievements. Of course I would like to progress, but it’s not a race and when I finally get my Black Belt, I hope I will still have many years to proudly wear it.

It’s natural to want to know how long it takes to be promoted but the day you start training you become a grappler – and hopefully you will dedicate yourself to the sport – the time it takes to receive belts becomes less important and you just do what you do – the belts will come when you are ready to receive them.

What do BJJ Lifestyle Team training sessions involve?

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while. If I was thinking of beginning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I would be happier if I had an understanding of how I was going to be taught, what the expectation and demands might be on me and how the class might be structured. I’m going to make this a question and answer post, if anyone has further questions, please contact me through the ‘Contact Us’ page and I will be happy to answer.

Do I need to be very fit to train?

No. People that practice Jiu-Jitsu regularly, become much fitter through training. If you are worried about your physical condition, please consult a doctor before your first training session – but please don’t let your present physical state stop you from coming along. BJJ for me is as much about becoming healthier as it is about training.

What do I need to wear for my first training session?

If you have a Gi, bring it. If you don’t have a Gi, you can borrow one of the team Gi’s.

Will I be expected to buy a Gi and where can I get one?

Let’s make sure you want to continue training before you buy a Gi. If you enjoy training at Lifestyle Team you will be need to buy your own Gi. There are lots of companies selling Gi’s on-line – prices range from £60 – £110 for a good Gi. I have my own favourite Gi and will help you choose a good Gi if you want me to.

What colour Gi can I wear?

We allow white, blue and black Gi’s.

Is there a belt system and what belt will I be?

When you start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu you will be a White Belt. It takes a long time to receive belts in BJJ so you need to be prepared to be patient – there is a lot to learn and your ability is apparent because we spar with full resistance. If you train consistently, you will become more skillful and your success will be clear when sparring with others. Everyone can get there, but hard work and persistence are essential.

It took me 18 months to receive my Blue Belt – the second belt given in Jiu-Jitsu and it’s considered quite an achievement to get to this level. You will without question be considered no beginner on the ground. After the Blue Belt comes the Purple Belt – this is the first of the ‘big belts’. I started training in June 2006 and received my Purple Belt in August 2011 although I’m told it had been waiting for me for a while – but it gives you an idea. From Purple you are given your Brown Belt and finally, your Black Belt.

Likely timescales are White to Blue – 18 months to 2 years, depending on how hard and how often you train, Blue to Purple, at least another couple of years, Purple to Brown – the same again and Brown to Black Belt – probably another year, maybe more. But once you have all that skill and experience and enjoyed the journey, you’ll be a hell of a grappler and the holder of a belt that really is an incredible achievement – for many, one of a few lifetime achievements. Of course I would like to progress, but it’s not a race and when I finally get my black belt, I hope I will still have many years to proudly wear it!

Can I wear another team’s logo on my Gi? 

Fine if you want to try Lifestyle Team out – but if you want to train with us long-term, we would expect someone to become one of us. I am very keen to build a TEAM – and we will all be wearing Lifestyle Team patches. We want Lifestyle Team members to have a team identity.

Is there a warm up at the start of training sessions – how hard is the warm up?

Yes, there is a warm up, but it is designed to get us ‘warmed up’ – lightly sweating – we don’t punish people. I warm people up so that they feel relaxed and a little sweaty.

What happens after the warm up?

I teach one or two techniques. I show techniques as thoroughly as possible with lots of explanation and detail. Teaching is something I take great pleasure from and if you are in my class and interested, I will be extremely pleased to teach you. I am very patient, enjoy showing things many times and will never embarrass anybody. It’s a pleasure for me to teach and I want it to be enjoyable, comfortable and a pleasure for people to come to my classes.

Who will I practice the technique with?

You will practice the technique with a teammate, but will also have the opportunity to practice with me.

How many times will I practice the technique?

I will be expecting a strong work ethic during training sessions. I want everyone to make the most of our opportunity to train together. I won’t hide the fact that I want to make everyone as good as possible and time chatting when we could be working, is wasted time as far as I am concerned. I personally want to take my Jiu-Jitsu to the highest level I can and dream about being a very high level and technically difficult to deal with for anyone who spars with me. I am ambitious and have ambitions for everyone on the team, too.

What will happen if I don’t understand a technique or can’t get it?

Don’t worry, I have been there – everyone has ‘off’ nights and people learn in different ways. If you want to learn and are interested, I will have all the time in the world for you.

What is drilling? I’ve heard of it, do you drill at Lifestyle Team?

Drilling involves repeating techniques, movements, transitions (moving from one position to another) and building sequences into our training. I love drilling and believe it is one of the keys to success. I will build techniques up, linking them between sessions. Andre Galvao is a world-class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor who is Brazilian and lives in America. He believes drilling is so important, he has written a book called ‘Drill to Win’ – I subscribe to this philosophy of learning Jiu-Jitsu.

What happens after a technique has been taught and practiced?

After a technique has been practiced, we will either spar isolating the technique or put the technique into a sequence – both of which will be easy to perform and carefully explained. We will also practice positional sparring which will be very carefully explained and demonstrated.

What is sparring and how is it done? This is the bit I feel anxious about..

A lot of our sparring starts from a kneeling position. I will be pairing people up where I can, by weight. People that are much heavier, stronger and taller than those they spar with have an advantage. I will be trying to make sure that people are paired up within 5 kilos of each other. I have sparred with many people who have been 25 kilos heavier than me and it’s very difficult and can also lead to injuries.

The sparring lasts 6 minutes per match and we are likely to do several matches each per night, increasing the number we do as we become fitter and more experienced. We will also increase the number of matches we do if we are close to competing as a team at a competition.

The sparring will not involve strikes of any kind. I practice BJJ as a sport and for self defence and I teach submission only. In other words, we try to make each other give up by applying a choke or joint lock. When someone needs to give up because they can’t continue without risk of having their joint damaged or falling unconscious,  they will tap their training partner a couple of times to indicate they can’t continue. No violence or unsporting aggression is tolerated. If you want to learn MMA – you will need to find another club, we practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Will I be expected to compete at competitions?

If you would like to compete, you will be encouraged and I believe competing will provide us all with a deeper knowledge and understanding of Jiu-Jitsu. If you don’t want to compete – coming along and flying the Lifestyle Team flag would be really appreciated. There’s something for everybody and you can be just as big a part of the team without needing to compete.

What do I need to do to become a member and is there a contract?

You will need to complete an application form and a health questionnaire. There is no contract.

Will there be any training done standing up?

There is a competition focus at Lifestyle Team. All competitions require competitors to start from a standing position so we will do more training standing than most teams, however, we start a lot of our sparring sessions from the knees for a number of reasons. It can take time to bring the fight to the mat if standing and I want to maximise some of our 6 minute sparring sessions for groundwork only.


Learn Positional Escapes

Xande Ribeiro mounted on his opponent at the 2013 IBJJF World championships.

Positional escapes don’t come easily but once some success is consistently achieved, the answers feel simple and the difficulty and confusion are replaced by a calmness, followed by a well-practiced plan and strategy for escape. I am passionate about Jiu-Jitsu and deeper knowledge is virtually an obsession. As already mentioned under the ‘fighting from underneath’ page, I have spent a lot of time defending and escaping – sometimes having no choice but to be there, other times choosing to be there in order to practice my game. We also start much of our practice when sparring from a kneeling position – and being 5’7 and 75 kilos, faced with someone who wants the top position, it’s now easier to concede the top position and sweep when the moment is right. I would also prefer not to use strength and athleticism and so rather than pushing and shoving at the beginning of a sparring session, would prefer to take the bottom position to get straight on with practicing that aspect of my game.

When you first start practicing Jiu-Jitsu, everything is a struggle and nothing is easy – but you have to experience this to fully appreciate the beauty of technique when you finally acquire it. If we were all given techniques we could apply with no effort to learn them, there would be no wonderment.

The two big positions that we are frequently challenged with are being held in Side Control and being Mounted. Of course there are other positions that we need answers for too, and we have those answers – but becoming highly adept at escaping Side Control and removing someone who has managed to achieve full Mount on you, brings a lot of confidence.

As with submissions and their defence, positional escapes need to be practiced and honed. Rule one in my mind: stay calm, think and remain focused. Identify the difficulty and plan an appropriate escape keeping in mind that you must be switched on and aware of the need to stop your opponent from advancing still up the hierarchy of positions – the further the opponent gets, the worse your situation becomes and the opponent must be prevented from improving their position and further dominating you. Wait for the right moment, an ease up in the opponent’s pressure, a lapse in their concentration or a preoccupation with something else, a little space – a moment immediately after they expend energy when they are recovering, regaining position, when their attack and pressure is momentarily weak – and at that moment, after being patient, you escape.

Beginners often explode as soon as they are dominated and once they have exploded and spent their effort when they are at their strongest, further efforts to escape can only be physically weaker. There is no point in using all of your energy at a moment when your opponent is at their strongest – let the opponent feel safe and comfortable and allow them to sense no danger. If you try to escape at a moment when your opponent is prepared for a struggle and their weight is firmly over you – you will probably lose your fight to escape.

As beginners, we think that we need to escape from every position. There are answers to escaping all positions but they aren’t always achievable. I learnt something invaluable from Roger Gracie’s father, Mauricio Gomes when I first started training. Mauricio is a genuine legend in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and I was having difficulty escaping from Side Control and asked for his advice. What he told me I will never forget – he said, ‘sometimes you just can’t escape – so you just need to wait’. I have found out over the last seven years that often the best time to escape is when your opponent is ‘transitioning’ between positions because this is when little spaces appear. Mauricio allowed me to accept that sometimes you just can’t escape and his advice has served me well.

BJJ Lifestyle Team – Training Methodology and Focus

Featured image: Rodolfo Vieira – an exceptional champion and fantastic role model for anyone beginning sport Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – photo courtesy of

BJJ Lifestyle Team – Training Methodology

My overall approach to team training will be focused on building the basics of technique, understanding principles, and repetition. I will be concentrating on laying strong foundations, building a deep understanding of the fundamentals, the little details which make a big difference, and drilling. I am a big believer in carving the neuro muscular pathways that allow us to respond quickly under pressure. To achieve this, familiarity with position needs to be built and a technique needs to be repeated many times.

I will be leading my classes with an extremely strong focus on the structure of BJJ that is the making of those most successful. There are many complicated moves that are rarely used – and time spent refining them is time that could be used mastering the concepts that make the biggest difference. I am looking forward to developing training partners that I can drill key positions and escapes with.

To summarise: BJJ Lifestyle Team training sessions will be based on mastering the fundamentals, drilling and repetition and practicing a technique for multiple sessions rather than dropping techniques and moving on. There will also be considerable time given to take downs, defences and escapes.

I would dearly love a medal one day…

I would dearly love a medal one day…

Photo courtesy of


As my journey begins in competition BJJ, I know that I will need so many physical and mental attributes to win a gold medal in my weight class. For something to be truly satisfying, its attainment will not have been easy and sacrifices will need to be made, considerable effort delivered and anxiety and emotion controlled and overcome.

I have never competed in sport BJJ, but I have challenged myself in other disciplines and have a strong interest in studying and understanding what makes a champion.

To be successful in anything you need to be focused and will overcome all obstacles and difficulties. You need to have desire, belief and ambition – mental preparation is key to success. Those that regularly expose themselves to something they are fearful of eventually conquer their fear.

With the formation of the BJJ Lifestyle Team, I will be training myself and others in preparation for competition and with time, hope we will enjoy many successes.

An insight for those thinking of joining

Rilion Gracie at a seminar in the United States – note the message at the top of the photo! Photo courtesy of

I trained in Rio de Janeiro in January 2007 – where I met a Brown Belt who told me that in the 8 years he had sparred with Rilion Gracie, he hadn’t managed to pass Rilion’s Guard once, incredible. The Brown Belt was 26 years old and weighed about 90 kilos – Rilion weighs 68 kilos and would’ve been in his early 40’s at the time.

BJJ Lifestyle Team will start training in September 2013, in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey.

You’re reading this blog – so you must be interested. You might be thinking: I feel reluctant to go along, but I would really like to see what it’s like to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

I feel anxious and don’t know what to expect. I might get hurt, I don’t want to fight anyone. I don’t want to get punched or kicked. I don’t want to feel embarrassed, I’m unfit – I’ll join when I’m fitter.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, sometimes referred to as ‘The Gentle Art’, doesn’t involve striking of any kind. We specialise on the ground and there are many positions that we practice to dominate an opponent. Equally, there are many escapes we practice should we find ourselves being dominated. We finish fights with a submission – by submitting people. There is no striking of any kind, so you won’t need to worry about getting hurt by someone punching you.

We operate what we call a ‘tap’ system, where we ‘tap’ the person we are sparring with a couple of times in quick succession to indicate that we want to give up if we can’t continue. It’s a simple system, but one that works very well and ensures we rarely get hurt.

I started my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Journey in June 2006. During the last seven years, I’ve experienced many emotions. I have decided to start a team with the intention of creating what I believe is the perfect training environment. Training consistently is very important in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) if you want to develop your skills and that of course includes my own training. I intend to offer a training environment where we can learn together, become friends and above all else, become a team supporting each other.

It’s hard for some to get started – to try anything new for the first time – but you need to try BJJ. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve heard say ‘I wish I’d started sooner’ or ‘I wish I’d started in my 20’s’.

I started practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu when I was 36 and it wasn’t too late – I’m 43 now and intend to train for as long as I possibly can – it’s a way of life. I believe a well-trained person of any age will dominate an unskilled younger fighter, in BJJ.

To reassure you if you are struggling to find the confidence to try a training session – I am very keen to give all team members and those that want to come along for the first time, a very enjoyable and inspiring experience – with no pressure. I have considerable teaching experience gained since I was twenty-one years old. Patience, detail and the avoidance of overload are key to ensuring people pick things up and retain what they’ve learnt – repetition and relaxation being important factors, too.

I’ve personally felt anxious before training sessions and I’m striving to make the BJJ Lifestyle Team a welcoming and relaxing place to be – so that training is something people want to do and not something they are forcing themselves to do. I know first hand, that you can only force yourself to do something for so long before you give up. If you don’t give up entirely, you’ll find reasons not to attend training sessions. I will be working hard to create an environment where people want to be.

If you would like to start your own Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey, it would be a pleasure to count you as a member of the BJJ Lifestyle Team. You can contact me by completing the short form under ‘Contact Us’.

What to expect from your first lesson at BJJ Lifestyle Team

Rafael Mendes of Team Atos in America, with a spectacular arm bar submission – I watched him compete at the ADCC in 2011…he is an incredible athlete.

What to expect from your first lesson at the BJJ Lifestyle Team. I am extremely keen to introduce people to a way of life that I didn’t find until I was 36. Training needs to be fun. If you don’t have fun you either miss classes or give up completely. My approach is welcoming, I don’t believe in grueling warm ups, I have no interest in aggression or violence and I believe that people should learn slowly at a manageable pace. Any possibility of awkwardness and embarrassment is avoided. You don’t need to be super fit, but you will get there if you train consistently. Egos aren’t welcome.

I am very keen to promote a true team feeling where we learn and develop together. My Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey started 7 years ago and I would like to build a team where those around me are just as committed and interested in the world sport BJJ scene as I am. I would like to develop training partners so that I can continue to develop my own technical ability.

If you would like to join me by starting your own journey, I would be very pleased to teach you. Lessons are starting in September 2013 in Kingston upon Thames.

Become one of the first members of BJJ Lifestyle Team

An inspiring picture of eight Black Belts and a Brown Belt at a Rickson Gracie seminar in the United States – hopefully this will be a picture of BJJ Lifestyle Team one day! Photo courtesy of

The BJJ Lifestyle Team will start training in September 2013, in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey . Focusing entirely on complete beginners from age 16 and upwards, the BJJ Lifestyle Team is aiming to become a close-knit team that will initially compete at White Belt level at competitions across the UK.

We will be focusing entirely on sport Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

If you would like to be part of the BJJ Lifestyle Team – please send your contact details using the form under the ‘Contact Us’ page in the menu above and you will be contacted with more details in late August.

The team will be led by Diccon Lynes who is a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Leo Negao.

Leo is from Rio de Janeiro and is one of the best Black Belts in the UK – he has been a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt for over ten years. Leo will be visiting Kingston for occasional team training sessions and seminars.

The BJJ Lifestyle Team’s technical development will also benefit greatly from the occasional involvement of Lyubo Kumbarov. Lyubo is a 4 times Bulgarian National Freestyle Wrestling champion. Lyubo will be giving the team a great insight into Wrestling takedowns without the Gi.

Leo and Lyubo are both exceptional grapplers and excellent teachers who bring a relaxed approach to the way they teach.

Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida

Current IBJJF Absolute World champion. Other top-level black belts claim he moves like a featherweight – a master of domination, uses movement to great advantage…’Buchecha’, translating as ‘cheeks’ in Portuguese seems unstoppable having recently won the Absolute at the Pan Ams – I’m looking forward to watching him in the other major competitions this year…

Come and learn in a supportive team environment

Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles piling on the pressure at the 2013 IBJJF Pan Ams – Men’s Adult Black Belt. Photo courtesy of

The BJJ Lifestyle Team will start training in September 2013, in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey . Focusing entirely on complete beginners of all weights from age 16 and upwards, the BJJ Lifestyle Team is aiming to become a close-knit team that will initially compete at White Belt level at competitions across the UK.

We will be focusing entirely on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

The team will be led by Diccon Lynes who is a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Leo Negao.

Leo is from Rio de Janeiro and is one of the best Black Belts in the UK – he has been a Black Belt for over 10 years. Leo will visit Kingston for occasional team training sessions and seminars.

The BJJ Lifestyle Team’s technical development will also benefit greatly from the occasional involvement of Lyubo Kumbarov. Lyubo is a 4 times Bulgarian National Freestyle Wrestling champion. Lyubo will be giving the team a great insight into Wrestling takedowns without the Gi.

Leo and Lyubo are both exceptional grapplers and excellent teachers who bring a relaxed approach to the way they teach.

If you would like to become part of the BJJ Lifestyle Team in September, please complete the following form.

Learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Kingston upon Thames

A brilliant picture for Jiu-Jitsu – teammates supporting Gracie Barra at the IBJJF World Championships in America. I hope this will be a picture of BJJ Lifestyle Team members, one day.

What to expect from your first lesson at BJJ Lifestyle Team. I am extremely keen to introduce people to a way of life that I didn’t find until I was 36. Training needs to be fun. If you don’t have fun you either miss classes or give up completely. My approach is welcoming, I don’t believe in grueling warm ups, I have no interest in aggression or violence and I believe that people should learn slowly at a manageable pace. Any possibility of awkwardness and embarrassment is avoided. You don’t need to be super fit, but you will get there if you train consistently. Egos aren’t welcome.

I am very keen to promote a true team feeling where we learn and develop together. My Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey started nearly 7 years ago and I would like to build a team where those around me are just as committed and interested in the world sport BJJ scene as I am. I would like to develop training partners so that I can continue to develop my own technical ability.

If you would like to join me by starting your own journey, I would be very pleased to teach you. Lessons are starting in September 2013 in Kingston upon Thames.

Starting in September 2013

Pictured above, ‘Buchecha’ – Absolute champion of the world.

If you would like to find a fantastic way of keeping fit and healthy, join the BJJ Lifestyle Team and learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Kingston upon Thames. The sole focus of the team is the study of sport Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, often referred to as ‘BJJ’. The team’s focus will be training for competitions. In addition to our competition focus, we practice what is known as the ‘BJJ Lifestyle’. As Team Coach, the BJJ Lifestyle is important to me for health and well-being  – my interest lies in developing technically in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, following a healthy diet for optimum sports performance and overall health and stretching for maximum sports performance to try to stay injury free. If you would like to try this wonderful art and sport, I would be very pleased to hear from you. Classes are starting in September 2013 and will be held in Kingston upon Thames.