Black belt 🖤

As I rest my weary bones back home in Glasgow, I still can’t quite wrap my head around this week. Cristiana Theodoli and I managed travel to one of the few remaining countries where it’s still legal to train, getting to see and roll with so many of our Globetrotter pals. I had the privilege of taking two classes at the camp, a real milestone in my teaching journey thus far, and I am grateful to Christian for the opportunity.

Then on Saturday, out of the blue, I was awarded my Black Belt by Christian Graugart, along with the blessings of the other instructors at the camp. I cried – I’ve been training for 13 years. I’ve always tried to stay true to my own values – which comes with its own difficulties – so being considered worthy by my peers was such welcomed validation.

This is a milestone in a journey I will be on until I die, but I couldn’t have made it this far without the support and guidance of so many people:

Christian was the one who planted the thought in my head to take educated risks, and to be open to new ideas, which ultimately led to the founding of Ronin Grappling! If it wasn’t for Christian, I would have quit Jiu Jitsu years ago.

Steve Robinson took me under his wing about 13 years ago, instilled a pretty no-nonsense approach to learning and training, and has never been shy to reject bullshit and seek the truth – his guidance over the years has been invaluable and has been a major factor in my development as a practitioner and instructor. I simply would not be teaching if it wasn’t for Steve.

Richard Cotterill gave me a lot of the technical tools, logic and methods I now use to teach my own students – it would be an understatement to say that Richard has been a massive influence on how I learn and how I teach.

Richard Wood & Scott Dickie have both been incredible assets in terms of helping me train, learn and coach – they have helped me unpick gordian knots, are a key part of the team at Ronin and have helped cover teaching duties whilst I’m otherwise indisposed.

Brian Robertson and James William Murray were instrumental in getting the academy open, pouring their blood sweat and tears into the place – out of love and a beautiful desire to see martial arts thrive in Scotland. I would not have a wonderful place to teach without them, nor would I be in the privileged position I am today.

David Galbraith, a fellow maverick who has provided advice, support, hard rolls and a platform to teach at his own gym – I hope to be able to continue to repay his faith in my teaching abilities long into the future. David is off his rocker, and so am I – I think that’s why we work so well together!

My parents, who pushed me into martial arts at a young age, and who have always supported me throughout the decades – driving me to/from training & competitions, travelling to different countries with me, and forever guiding me – I would not have achieved anything were it not for the positive qualities they instilled in me and their unconditional love.

My students, who I am so proud of, who have supported the club and I throughout some tough times – 2020 included – and have not wavered. Their hard work, dedication and capacity for love is limitless.

Lastly, I wouldn’t be where I am today without Cristiana. In between working as an A&E nurse under immense pressure, she maintains the club website, social media, handles all the photography, deals with hunners of paperwork, and is brutally honest with me when it comes to things I could be even better at. It may be the ridiculous amount of energy drinks she consumes, but she has a near infinite amount of energy and will when it comes to making the club, and me, even better.

TL;DR: I got a black belt, what the fuck do I do now?!

Welcoming new members!

After two weeks reopening and operating on a members’ only basis, we are excited to now welcome new members as of next Monday, the 14th of September 2020.

Classes will still be *non-contact* for the time being as yesterday’s announcement postponed indoor contact training further and the new indicative date for contact sports is the 5th of October.

In the meantime our dummies classes as a good way to be introduced to the fundamentals of Jiu Jitsu! Get in contact for more information or just fill out a ParQ form and register on the members’ portal to book a class! Make sure to check out the current schedule and the Phase 3 Hygiene Rules!

Lockdown skills

As many of you know, we’ve been pretty busy during lockdown, running online Q&As, match analysis, filming videos, and adapting the gym to comply with Covid guidance. However I couldn’t leave it at that!

After some intense training back in June I completed the Yoga for BJJ instructor training! I’m by no means an expert, so the REAL work starts now, and I’m game for it.

Having suffered a myriad of injuries over the years, through a combination of stupid decisions and poor self-care, I can safely say that Yoga has had a positive impact on my physical well-being over the past few years (albeit intermittently).

As I’ve been more consistent, I’ve found my usual aches and pains have lessened, and that I’m a little less stressed! Furthermore, I’m also glad that Sebastian & Stine have such a pragmatic approach, eschewing the esoteric aspects that puts so many folk off Yoga, and focusing on the real benefits it can give you.

Also, big up my fellow Ronin Scott Dickie AKA ya boi Panther, on completing the course as well!

We are back!

Our temporary non-contact schedule is going live on Monday, 31st of August!

Initially we will open to existing members only due to the limited amount of spaces and classes.

If all our existing members could please read the non-contact hygiene rules on our website linked in the bio before re-opening that would be great!

We are uploading the classes over the next couple of days and will be opening them for booking soon-ish.

We are also going to need a new ParQ form filled in from everyone, as it is slightly expanded to include details for Covid Track & Trace, if members could fill this in as soon as possible that would be great! Your data will be, of course, stored securely – Giles is a paranoid IT manager after all.

You only need to fill this once, but you will not be able to step on the mats without filling in the updated ParQ form


Exciting addition to the Ronin Grappling family!

Last month we welcomed to the Ronin Grappling family the good folks at Evolution MMA, down in the Scottish Borders. A few of the guys have travelled up to train with us or to attend seminars with us in the past and it was an absolute pleasure to return the visit today!

Along with Ronin OGs James and Fraser, I drove down to teach a NoGi open guard passing seminar, and it was most excellent to meet the rest of the crew, and get some proper rolls in!

I’m really looking forward to working closely with everyone, and to be part of their Jiu Jitsu journey!


#Repost @evolution_mma_rdas
What an incredible day! We had @el_guanche run a 3 hour seminar on No-Gi Open Guard Passing, and it was a huge success!! So many little details that make all the difference.
Thanks to everyone that came, and let’s get ready for many more in 2020. 🦍💪🏼