Category Archives: GrappleThon

Any posts discussing a GrappleThon event, which is a charity BJJ sparring marathon where at least two people are rolling at any point over a predetermined period, raising money for a good cause. There is more information over at

Details of Artemis BJJ Charity GrappleThon For Kinergy

Artemis BJJ Bristol Brazilian Jiu Jitsu GrappleThon 2014
T-shirt and poster design by renowned BJJ artist, Seymour ‘Meerkatsu’ Yang

What: 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 12th April 2014 until 14:00 on Sunday 13th April 2014 (for the Facebook event, click here)

Where: At our upcoming second location in the new Hit Fit venue, which is 8 Aldermoor Way, Longwell Green, Bristol, BS30 7DA

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), featuring the bow-and-arrow choke design on this post, there’s only one way: join the fundraising team on JustGiving! Full guide on how to do that here.

Why: We will be raising money to support local charity, Kinergy. They provide professional counselling to survivors of sexual abuse and rape, helping them move on with their lives. To learn more about Kinergy’s essential work, have a read of what counsellor and Artemis BJJ instructor Dónal has to say, here.

Donate: Head to our JustGiving team page, here. Thanks to all of you, we’ve already raised almost £1,400: please help us reach our £3,000 target!


Charity GrappleThon Set For April

BJJ Bristol Artemis Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - End of Class
As we exchange chokes and armbars, trusting our training partners to keep us safe while we do the same for them, strong bonds of friendship are built. In other words, there is a lot of love in jiu jitsu.

Valentine’s Day is all about love and caring for others, so it seems like a good time to think about helping charity. At Artemis BJJ, we will be doing our bit through an event on the 12th April, known as a ‘GrappleThon’ (there is further information on the Facebook event page). The concept is simple: over a twenty-four hour period, there are at least two people sparring.  You can read more about it at

We have decided to support local charity Kinergy, a great organisation Dónal works for as a counsellor. They provide professional counselling to survivors of sexual abuse and rape, helping them move on with their lives. Here is what Dónal has to say about how Kinergy make the world a better place:

It’s an amazing charity with 22 volunteer counsellors that see up to three clients every week. Kinergy offers a year’s free counselling and is open to everyone, regardless of location, age or gender. It’s hard to put into words how amazing it is at Kinergy.

The waiting list is a year long: due to the lack of funding, Kinergy was forced to not take on any more referrals. It is hoping for more funding to support the service and create more referral opportunities.

Some clients come to Kinergy trying to deal with the indescribable levels of abuse they have faced, attempting to express themselves and gain some sense of what happened. Kinergy can give clients the tools to support themselves in the future.

The counselling can potentially be a huge step for a client. I have met many clients that feel they can’t speak out to get the support they need. Some abuse is hidden and spreading this message of support, even if it only reaches one survivor, could be life changing for that person.

If you would like to donate to the Kinergy Charity GrappleThon, please head over to our JustGiving team page, here. If you would like to take part – whether that is just heading down for a roll or joining in the fundraising yourself – then pop over to our Facebook or use our contact page to drop us a line.

To learn more about Kinergy or get in touch, email, head to their website or call on 0117 908 7712.

Kinergy Details Artemis BJJ Charity GrappleThon Bristol

Using MyDonate For Your BJJ Charity Event

If possible, I generally use JustGiving for GrappleThons. However, sometimes the charity I want to support is smaller, so goes for a free fundraising platform instead. From my experience, MyDonate is the best of the free platforms. That’s run by the large UK company, BT. It has a few advantages over JustGiving, the main one being that they don’t charge charities a fee to use their service (unlike JustGiving, which charges £15 per month). The downside is that MyDonate’s interface is a bit more clunky and setting up a page is rather more fiddly too. However, the advantage of not costing the charity anything is considerable, so that’s worth some hassle. 🙂

Here are the steps to set up your fundraising page on MyDonate, using the 2017 Artemis BJJ GrappleThon for SARSAS as an example (click on the pictures for a larger image):

1. Sign up to MyDonate

2. Click on ‘Start Fundraising’ at the top. Alternatively go to ‘my account’, then click on ‘Create fundraising page’ in the left hand menu.

3. Select ‘Create my challenge’

4. Type ‘SARSAS’ in the ‘search for a charity’ box

5. Select ‘SARSAS’ from the list that pops up, then click through.

6. Select ‘Other’ from the list of fundraising challenges, then put in something like ‘grappling’ or ‘GrappleThon’

7. If you want to add the address, select ‘Yes’ on whether or not the challenge is taking place at a specific location (handily, this creates a map on your fundraising page), then enter:

Unit 4B, Dean Street
United Kingdom

8. The next part is important, as this determines how long your page stays open. Put in the date as starting 15-04-2017 from 14:00 through to 16-04-2017 at 14:00.

9. You can pick however long you want for keeping the page running after the event finishes, ranging from 3 months to 12 months.

10. Pick whatever url you want for the fundraising page (note it has to be all lower case), then be sure to link your page to the Artemis BJJ GrappleThon 2017 team: the reference number is 532098561. When you click ‘Validate’, the name of the team and owner will appear in green.

11. Select ‘No’ for the two tick boxes under Gift Aid.

12. In the fundraising story, you can write whatever you think will best inspire people to donate to your page. If you’re looking for an example, this is what I put. Note that the ‘page title’ has to be less than 50 characters.

13. Next, pick an image if you like (there’s also the option to link to your Flickr and/or a YouTube video).

14. After that, you can set a target if you want, then you’re ready to (finally!) move on to the next page and finish. 🙂

GrappleThon 2013 Post-Event Press Release

On Saturday 4th May, a ‘GrappleThon’ in which at least two people sparred in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) for a day and a night took place at a martial arts club in Bristol. The event was attended by grapplers from all over the country, part of a collective response from the BJJ community to a recent rape at a US martial arts club. So far, the GrappleThon has raised over £8,500 for the charity RapeCrisis.

70 people took part in the event this year, sparring round the clock from 9am on Saturday until 9am the following day. The event was streamed live online so people around the world could watch.

“Jiu jitsu is a very close contact sport and is all about trust,” says Can Sönmez, a prolific BJJ writer and organiser of the event. “The international BJJ community was therefore totally outraged about this rape. We wanted to turn that strong feeling towards something positive.”

The violent rape and beating of a woman by two of her team members from Team Lloyd Irvin was perpetrated on New Year’s Eve. In a church car park, the two men beat their team mate in and out of consciousness while raping her repeatedly. They were indicted on nineteen felony counts in the District of Columbia Superior Court.

“Many women will start training BJJ to avoid exactly this situation,” says Can.

Katie Russell, a spokesperson for Rape Crisis (England and Wales) added, “We are extremely pleased and grateful that the organisers and participants of the GrappleThon have chosen to support our vital work with this event and to highlight important sexual violence issues. This is particularly important because only around 15% of women and girls who are raped or sexually assaulted ever report to the police and around a third tell no-one at the time.”

The GrappleThon took place at Gracie Barra Bristol and involved at least two people wrestling at any one time. “Christian Sayer managed almost 10 hours of grappling, closely followed by Danny Suman and Shane Chittenden, who were the first on the mat and the last to leave.“ said Can.

Raphael dos Santos, a black belt who runs several BJJ clubs in Cornwall, was on his way to a seminar in London when saw the GrappleThon mentioned on Facebook. He immediately decided to make a quick detour to Bristol so he could take part.

For full details about the event and how to donate to the GrappleThon, please go to this link:

The GrappleThon Project

If you’ve been following me on over the last two years, then you’ll know that I’ve put an increasing amount of time and effort into organising something I’ve dubbed the ‘GrappleThon‘, an idea which I first saw in March 2011 via a live stream from Martial Arts Planet in Ontario, Canada. I arranged my first event (changing the name from ‘Grapple-A-Thon’ to simply ‘GrappleThon’) in September 2012, in support of the charity I currently work for, Meningitis UK. The second GrappleThon took place last weekend and went really well: we raised a fantastic amount of money for RapeCrisis (almost £8,500 at the time of writing, which is over $13,000!).

Fundraising for charity is a great feeling. I was also really impressed at the way the BJJ community came together to help a good cause. I want to expand that community aspect, enlarging the scope beyond just national. I hope in future to do simultaneous GrappleThons at various gyms around the world: we almost managed it in 2013 with a club in Arizona, so for 2014 that’s one of my goals.

As somebody has apparently snapped up (which wouldn’t have been suitable anyway, given the GrappleThon is very much about charity, not business or profit), I thought I’d better grab before somebody squatted on it. I’ve got big plans for growing the event, so we’ll see what happens over the next few years! 🙂

If you happen to be viewing this on the mobile template, don’t forget to check out how to run your own GrappleThon, here. 😀