Category Archives: News

All the posts on the Artemis BJJ blog are under the News category, in order to make it easy to link to all the Artemis BJJ posts at once.

First Class at Artemis BJJ!

Artemis BJJ in Bristol at Bristol Sports CentreThanks to everyone who headed to the Bristol Sports Centre for the first official Artemis BJJ class today! There was a mix of purple, blue and white belts, which was really great to see.

If you would like to join us, the next session will be on Wednesday at the same time, 19:30-20:30. Full details of how to find us are over on the Locations page. We hope you’ll join us then: remember, it is currently FREE to train at Artemis BJJ!

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. 😀