All posts by Can

Artemis BJJ was founded in 2014 by Dónal Carmody and Can Sönmez. We offer Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) in Bristol at Bristol Sports Centre, five days a week.

Interview with Can, by Colin ‘serpiconinja’ Byrne at Shinobi Academy Lagos

Can recently went to Portugal in order to train with his friend from BJJ Globetrotters, Jeff Knight. While there in beautiful Lagos, he was interviewed by Colin Byrne for the Shinobi Vlog:

The full vlog that interview is taken from can be found on Colin’s YouTube channel. That is well worth watching too, as Colin is a talented filmmaker. If you’re ever in Lagos, be sure to head down to Shinobi Academy to train (and get a gorgeous view of Dona Ana Beach too):

Artemis BJJ Xmas Schedule 2017

Hooray, it’s almost Christmas! Lots of presents, mince pies and excellent cheesy music. You’ll still be able to get in some BJJ, although  MYGYM will be closed for some of the period. So, the normal schedule will be changed to this for the next couple of weeks:

🎅🎄XMAS SCHEDULE 2017🎄🎅

We’re running as normal until this Friday, then based on MYGYM holiday opening hours, this will be the schedule:

Friday 22nd Dec – Xmas Class
Sunday 24th DecCLOSED (🎄Xmas Eve🎄)

Monday 25th DecCLOSED (🎅Xmas Day🎅)
Tuesday 26th DecCLOSED (Boxing Day)
Wednesday 27th DecCLOSED
Thursday 28th Dec – 12:00-13:00 Open Mat
Friday 29th DecCLOSED
Saturday 30th Dec – 11:00-13:00 Open Mat
Sunday 31st DecCLOSED (New Years Eve)

Monday 1st JanCLOSED (New Years Day)
Tuesday 2nd Jan – CLOSED
Wednesday 3rd Jan – 18:25-19:25 Women’s Class, 18:30-19:30 Intermediate, 19:30-20:30 All Levels
Thursday 4th Jan – 19:00-20:00 (but closed daytime, so no open mat)
Friday 5th Jan – 18:30-19:30 All Levels, 19:30-20:30 Intermediate

MYGYM is then back to normal

 

6 New Blue Belts, 3 New Purples & 1 New Brown at Artemis BJJ Grading Seminar with Kev Capel

Grading Seminar with Kev Capel at Artemis BJJ Bristol Brazilian Jiu Jitsu kneebar
For our first Winter Grading, there were plenty of deserving belts to be awarded. We still had something of a backlog from the last grading, with several people who weren’t able to make it back in June. After a great two hour seminar from Kev on throws and leglocks, the promotions began with one of those longtime students, Matt Robinson. He has been with us from almost the beginning, starting when he was around 12 years old.

Matt was followed by six blue belts, including his mother. Tracey has been an absolutely central part of Artemis BJJ pretty much since the club started. She’s done a lot behind the scenes, worked really hard on her jiu jitsu, stepped up to teach the kids class and also competed for the first time last weekend.

It was also great to see two of the stalwarts from the daytime open mat sessions receive their blue belts, Heidi and Rich M. The daytime sessions have really grown over the past year, contributing to the club’s overall growth spurt in 2017. Big Marcus, Steve M and Sam L all earned a promotion to blue too: for a full list of the current blue belts (with links to their promotion videos), head over to our BJJ rank page.

The promotions didn’t end with blue. There were a lot of higher belts to give out as well. Two of our instructors were upgraded to purple, Paul and Rich, who have both been a major part of Artemis BJJ. Not only do they run their own sessions at the club, they also ensure the classes run smoothly when Can is away. Eugeniu also earned his purple belt, after four years of training at various schools around the world (including his native Moldova). Finally, Can was promoted to brown belt by Kev.

As has become tradition, we headed off for a delicious meal at Pieminister afterwards. Thanks again to Kev!

Episode Eight of the Artemis BJJ Podcast: Kev Capel & Megan Williams


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In this episode, there are two brief interviews. That begins with Kev Capel, Can’s instructor. This was recorded directly before the first Artemis BJJ grading in May 2017. Kev talks about building his school (RGA Bucks) over the last decade, his thoughts on grading and helping his students who run schools. Click the link for The Raspberry Ape interview that was referenced.

That’s followed by a conversation with Megan Williams, from Can’s visit to Florida back in 2014. An experienced businessperson, she talks about business in BJJ, marketing and social media, as well as the impact of blogging on her development in BJJ. Megan was speaking in her car, in case you’re wondering about the audio.

Artemis BJJ Brazilian jiu jitsu seminar with Kev Capel
Kev teaching at Artemis BJJ in May 2017

The sites you’ll hear her refer to  in the interview are two old projects, Groundwork and Gi Freak, along with her blog, Tangled Triangle. Those old sites live on, through awesome Facebook groups like Megan’s BJJ instructor community.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, let us know on info@artemisbjj.com

Details of Artemis BJJ Charity GrappleThon 2018 For Tap Cancer Out

Artemis BJJ Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Charity GrappleThon for Tap Cancer Out, Meerkatsu posterWhat: The concept behind a GrappleThon is very simple: at least two people are grappling at any one point over a predetermined period.

When: 14:00 on Saturday 3rd February 2018 until 14:00 on Sunday 4th February 2018 (Facebook event page here).

Where: At our central location in St Paul’s, which is MYGYM Bristol, Unit 4B Dean Street, Bristol, BS2 8SF

How: To take part, simply turn up and roll. If you want to earn a fantastic custom Meerkatsu t-shirt (kindly provided by Tatami Fightwear), there’s only one way: join the fundraising team! Here’s a step-by-step guide.

Why: On the World Cancer Day 2018 weekend (3rd-4th Feb), we will be supporting Tap Cancer Out, a charity that raises funds to fight cancer through BJJ tournaments and events. To learn more about their important work, have a read of their website, here.

Donate: Head to our Tap Cancer Out donations page, here.

Press: Take a look at the Artemis BJJ press page for upcoming articles and interviews about the GrappleThon (as well as previous events), here. For pictures and videos from both previous and current Artemis BJJ GrappleThons, go to our Instagram channel.

Simultaneously with the GrappleThon, we’ll also be running a Rolla(d20)thon, aiming for 24hrs of continuous D&D. So even if you’re not super keen on BJJ, you can still take part (and with WiFi, you can join one of our DnD sessions wherever you are in the world). Click on the event page for more info.

Thanks to our wonderful sponsors, renowned BJJ apparel brand Tatami Fightwear, top BJJ artist Meerkatsu, upcoming BJJ brand Tacerob and of course our awesome hosts, local fitness specialists MYGYM. The mighty Lisa will also be back, offering her professional massage therapist skills to fundraisers.

Artemis BJJ visit to the 2017 Leuven BJJ Globetrotters Camp

Artemis BJJ team at BJJ Globetrotters Leuven 2017 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Bristol

In July 2017, the intrepid grapplers from Artemis BJJ made a return visit to Leuven. All of us had been before, while in my case it was my third Leuven Camp. There was lots of excellent training, top notch techniques and some funky dance moves at the random mass singalong that happened in the centre of town on the last day.

Most importantly for the club, Can had loads of techniques to bring back and teach. So far, we’ve had a look at half guard techniques from Fran Vanderstukken and Kenny Polmans, along with some nifty triangle details from Joey Carta.

There is plenty more to come in the next few months, which will be further enhanced by yet another BJJ Globetrotter Camp, this time in Heidelberg. Can is the only Artemis BJJ representative at that one, as sadly Chris had to pull out due to injury. Not to worry, as the techniques will be coming back to Bristol.

Be sure to book your ticket as soon as possible for Leuven next year: they sold out a few weeks after the box office opened last year, so you will need to be quick. Don’t miss out!

There are also more upcoming camps this year which will feature Artemis BJJ students. A large group (not including Can, who will be teaching class as usual) is planning to go to Zen Camp in Poland, another brand new offering from BJJ Globetrotters. Hooray for even more techniques to bring home!

12 New Blue Belts & 1 New Purple at Artemis BJJ Grading Seminar with Kev Capel

Grading Seminar with Kev Capel at Artemis BJJ Bristol Brazilian Jiu Jitsu group

Can and Dónal founded Artemis BJJ back in January 2014, with the women’s class beginning shortly afterwards in July 2014. We’ve grown a lot since then, going through many changes. The most significant was Dónal’s move to Wales in late 2014, meaning that Can suddenly found himself running a jiu jitsu club on his own. It’s been a steep learning curve with some interesting challenges. Perhaps the biggest has been to decide how to grade the excellent students we are lucky to have on our mats.

As it turned out, the solution was much less difficult than expected. Can originally began his training in 2006 at the Roger Gracie Academy. He soon met a purple belt there, Kev Capel. A few years later, Kev mentioned to Can that he was starting his own school back home in Buckinghamshire. So, when Can was living near High Wycombe in 2009, the choice of where to train was obvious: Kev’s still relatively new school.

Although Can moved to Bristol in 2011, shortly after he was promoted to purple belt by Roger Gracie and Kev, he had no desire to be graded under anybody other than Kev. Can has met countless people in BJJ, but there are very few that can match Kev’s combination of teaching skill, character and integrity. That connection has therefore been maintained ever since, with Can making sure to travel up to Aylesbury regularly.

Grading Seminar with Kev Capel at Artemis BJJ Bristol Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

When Artemis BJJ was founded in 2014, it was intentionally not affiliated to any large organisation. Instead, Can decided he wanted to go the BJJ Globetrotter route (having been impressed by the way Christian ran things, particularly the great atmosphere at his BJJ Globetrotter Camps), as that fit well with his principles and feelings about jiu jitsu. While Can remained individually under Kev, grading under him, he was not sure how to get his own students promoted.

The solution was sat in front of him the whole time: as soon as Can asked his instructor, Kev straight away agreed to pop down and do a grading seminar. We can’t thank you enough.

Grading with Kev Capel at Artemis BJJ Bristol Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

On the 11th June 2017, Kev was able to grade twelve students to blue belt, many of whom had been training long before Artemis BJJ was in existence (ranging from two years to over a decade). He also promoted Artemis BJJ stalwart Chris Jackson to purple belt, very well deserved: Chris has been a blue belt for a long time.

A special moment of vindication and pride was seeing three women get promoted. Creating a women’s class was a priority for Can when he started the club. It’s continued to grow, especially now that as of this year, it is in the capable hands of Lisa. Huge congratulations to Milka, Ruth and Kirsty!

We took a lot of video, plus plenty of pictures: that’s all up on Instagram. Well done to everybody who got a new belt! At the same time, a belt is just a piece of cloth: the goal is to get better, the belt is merely a pleasant side effect that comes with that improvement. Though admittedly it is nice being able to give them out. 🖖

Grading Seminar with Kev Capel at Artemis BJJ Bristol Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Pieminister

Thanks for the write-up on the MYGYM blog, Anona!

SARSAS: A brief introduction to their important work

SARSAS logo grapplethonThis year, we will be supporting local charity SARSAS for our annual GrappleThon event. Artemis BJJ instructor Tracey, who is part of the team running our kids classes, has written a short piece explaining the important work done by SARSAS. Find out more on their website

Helpline volunteer SARSAS grapplethon
Helpline volunteer

SARSAS are a specialist support service for people in South West England who have experienced any kind of rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse at any time in their lives.

SARSAS services include a helpline, one-to-one support, counselling and e-support, all of which are free and confidential.  They have over 40 trained volunteers and 26 paid staff.  Last year, over 4000 calls were made to the helpline and over 500 emails responded to.

The support they give to survivors is life-changing.  It gives them an opportunity to be listened to, believed and supported to rebuild their lives.

counselling room SARSAS grapplethon
Counselling room

Statistics from SARSAS show that in the South West, 1 in 5 women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime and over 60 serious sexual assaults take place every week.  Numbers using SARSAS services are increasing, including a significant rise in 13-17 year olds.

Please donate to this wonderful organisation, so they can carry on helping people who desperately need support. We are almost halfway to our fundraising target for SARSAS: if you’d like to help, the donation link is here.

Artemis BJJ women’s course (5 weeks) starts 1st March

artemis-bjj-women-laughing brazilian jiu jitsu

On the 1st March, Lisa will be starting a women’s BJJ course, which runs for five weeks at MYGYM Bristol on Wednesdays, 18:25-19:25. It’s important to pre-book, as spaces are limited. The course will cost £25. For more information, contact us on info@artemisbjj.com. You can also click here for a course poster.

  • No punching or kicking, just using the body’s leverages
  • Wrestling and submissions, the groundwork aspect of MMA
  • Women of all abilities welcome, very sociable
  • Extremely fun, great for confidence and self defence

For more info about the regular women’s class, which will be resuming after the course, click here.

Episode Seven of the Artemis BJJ Podcast: Carlos, Roger & Jean Machado


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For the first episode of 2017, I’m bringing out the big guns. Back in 2012, my friend Triin from Fenom Kimonos arranged an interview for me with Carlos Machado, the eldest of the legendary Machado Brothers. His younger sibling Roger also joined in, along with a representative of the next generation, Jean Machado (son of Carlos’ brother John). An edited version was later published in Jiu Jitsu Style magazine.

We talked at length about the history of BJJ, along with the specific history of the Machado Brothers’ journey to the US. There was a discussion of early female black belts in the States, the important role played by Chuck Norris, as well as a long and thought-provoking discussion of teaching pedagogy. Many of the ideas I’ve brought to the class structure at Artemis BJJ resulted from this chat with Carlos Machado.

In five years, naturally some things have changed. The WBJJO had only just been launched in 2012, with a goal similar to Rickson’s later JJGF. There was also a Machado reality show mooted, which would be cool: as far as I’m aware, that hasn’t yet been broadcast, but I’d certainly watch it.

07 Carlos Machado, Roger Machado & Jean Machado on the Artemis BJJ Podcast Brazilian jiu jitsu Bristol
Carlos Machado, Can, Roger Machado and Jean Machado

The Metamoris Pro was also very recent back in 2012. Carlos talks in this interview about his thoughts on the infamous match between Ryron Gracie and Andre Galvao. That led into discussion of its implications, such as the question of time limits.

This episode means I have now just about maxed out my free storage on Spreaker. If you would like to support the podcast so I can upgrade that storage, head over to our Patreon.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, let us know on info@artemisbjj.com