Kingston Jiu Jitsu is affiliated to the Mauricio Gomes Legacy Team.
Mauricio began training in Jiu-Jitsu at just four years of age. His father, who was a brown belt, started his journey and took him to classes at João Alberto Barreto’s academy.
As a teenager, Mauricio began training with the legendary Rolls Gracie. Under Rolls’ guidance, he became a highly successful competitor and won the absolute division of the Rio de Janeiro State Championships in 1981. Shortly after this victory Rolls would award Mauricio his black belt. Mauricio continued training with Rolls until his tragic death in 1982.
Through his close ties with the Gracie family, Mauricio met Reila Gracie, the daughter of Carlos Gracie Sr. The two married and, although their relationship didn’t last, they had a son, Roger Gracie. Roger would go on to become a ten-time World Champion and is widely recognised as being the greatest Jiu-Jitsu competitor of all time.
In the late 1990s, Mauricio came to the UK and established the very first Gracie Barra gym there. Through his teaching, many new gyms would open and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is now the fastest growing martial art in the UK. Mauricio is affectionately known as the ‘Godfather of British Jiu-Jitsu’ because of his efforts to grow the sport in the country.
Mauricio acts as a mentor to Kingston Jiu Jitsu Head Instructor, Marc, and regularly visits the club to teach classes, seminars and take gradings.
Marc is a lifelong martial artist, starting at a young age with ninjutsu, and then Shotokan karate in his late teens. He trained in this for many years, achieving a 2nd Dan black belt. Karate also inspired travel to Japan where he trained at the Shotokan Headquarters in Tokyo for three months in 1999.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu became a new focus in 2006 when he discovered the Roger Gracie Academy in London. Ten years later, Marc was awarded his black belt at the Roger Gracie Academy in December 2016. Marc is one of a small number of black belts personally mentored by the legendary Mauricio Gomes, who introduced BJJ to the UK in the early 2000s and is the father of the legendary Roger Gracie. Marc was promoted to first-degree black belt by Mauricio in December 2019.
Marc now runs Kingston Jiu Jitsu and teaches many of the classes. He has also introduced a highly successful kids programme in Kingston and has loved the chance of introducing jiu jitsu to his children. Marc is also a qualified doctor and was recently appointed as the medical officer for the UK governing body for Jiu Jitsu, the UKJJF.
Alan is one of our most experienced grapplers and instructors, holding a black belt in Judo for over 20 years in addition to a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Alan is currently a 2nd Dan black belt in Judo under the British Judo Association (BJA). Alan was promoted to black belt by Marc and Mauricio in December 2019.
His unique perspective of both arts has enabled him to isolate the takedowns and stand up work that he feels is most relevant to BJJ practitioners. Alan is out head Judo coach and teaches the ‘Judo for BJJ’ sessions on Tuesday evenings as well many of our regular Jiu Jitsu classes.
Andreas came to Jiu Jitsu via training in Muay Thai and grappling in his early thirties in 2003. Due to work commitments, he took a break for a few years but returned to Jiu-Jitsu in 2015 in order to get in shape for his wedding. He hasn’t left us since, and apparently, you can teach an old dog new tricks as he won a Gold medal in the NAGA No-Gi competition, as well as Silver and Bronze medals in IBJFF, NAGA and the Surrey Open Gi. Andreas is our competition team captain and organises our extra pre-competition preparation classes. He was awarded his brown belt by Marc in July 2018.
Andreas’ attention to detail style of teaching helps our beginners get up to speed quickly and understand the basic concepts of BJJ. He also very much enjoys stretching and yoga and emphasises it in his warm-ups, having learned the hard way how important flexibility is.
Salam has been training at Kingston Jiu Jitsu since the very early days when the club had only just opened and is one of our longest-standing students. He is also an excellent wrestler and teaches the no-gi classes on Wednesday evenings. Salam is renowned for helping the junior students and is always very approachable and generous with his knowledge. Salam was promoted to black belt by Marc and Mauricio in December 2019.
Clare has been practising martial arts for over 20 years, starting with Shotokan karate whilst at University in 1997 and gaining her 1st Dan black belt in 2001. She also travelled to Japan with Marc to train at the Shotokan Headquarters in Tokyo for 3 months in 1999.
Clare started her jiu-jitsu journey in 2014 after constant nagging by her kids, taking part in the first Kingston Jiu Jitsu beginners course. She fell in love with the art and has continued training ever since. Clare was awarded her purple belt in February 2019. She loves teaching children and is now a vital part of the kids coaching team. Clare also organises and helps to teach our ladies only classes and is our Designated Safeguarding Officer.
Yiyang is a martial arts enthusiast, a medical doctor and a certified personal trainer. Before discovering Brazilian Jiujitsu and Grappling, he spent his younger years training in various striking disciplines namely Taekwondo, Kungfu and Kickboxing. Besides martial arts, he is an advocate of body weight and movement-based workouts and is also a fully qualified Ginástica Natural instructor.
Graham started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at age 58 when the Kingston club was first founded and now teaches adult lunch sessions on Tuesdays. He also actively supports the kids club programme as an assistant instructor. Now in his mid-60s, Graham has almost 50 years of martial arts experience and in addition to a purple belt in BJJ, he is a 5th Dan in Shotokan karate and a Tai Chi practitioner. Graham is a testament to the belief that BJJ can be safely practised at any age to promote self-confidence, fitness, self-defence and well being.
Our Muay Thai classes are taught by Lee Verdova, the Head Instructor (Kru) of Esher Muay Thai. Lee has trained in Ayyuttya and Bangkok in Thailand under Arjan (Master) Kanock and Master Toddy and in the UK under Master Boon and Kru Jonny Boon. Lee qualified as a Kru (Instructor) under the World Muay Thai Federation and the M.T.I.A (Muay Thai International Association), and is also qualified as a Reps Gym Instructor and an M.T.I.A Referee. Lee has over twenty years of experience in striking Martial Arts and a wealth of fight experience!
Tamasine has practised yoga for over 30 years. She holds a 200-hour and 500-hour Teaching diploma in teacher training and is also trained in teaching Yin Yoga and a form of deep relaxation called Yoga Nidra.
Tamasine is a traditional Hatha yoga teacher, but she also brings influences from many schools of yoga. She emphasises the importance of the breath in each posture and teaches how to practise yoga mindfully and with awareness of the body, breath and safety.
Tamasine has two passions: yoga and surfing, and has found yoga the perfect complement to a physical sport such as surfing as it builds strength, flexibility and balance. Tamasine believes that yoga has a positive effect on your physical and mental wellbeing, and with regular practice, this can bring harmony and transform your everyday life.