In the beginning...
Exeter BJJ was founded back in the Summer of 2004, originally by Alan Edmonson. The team began by meeting and training together once a week at the University of Exeter.
Alan had begun his Brazillian Jit Jitsu training back in 2001, under the tutelage of Roger Gracie and Roger Brooking, prior to him moving to Exeter and establishing Exeter's first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu club, which went on to become the Exeter BJJ we know today.
Over time the club began to grow in popularity and as such, the number of sessions per week increased. As this growth continued the club quickly outgrew its venue at the University and as such, moved to the larger and better-suited Fitness First gym in 2005.
During this time at Fitness First, the Club continued to see more growth, both in its size and in its successes.
(Exeter BJJ has is proud to be the training ground for multiple British Champions both Gi & NoGi, some of which have won the title multiple times, as well many members have also not only competed nationally but also internationally at some of the world's biggest BJJ competitions.)
A new era...
Towards the end of 2008, Exeter BJJ Founder Alan Edmonson decided to leave the UK to pursue a life in France, and in doing so he handed the club over to our current Head Coach, Professor James Hodges. James split the teaching of the classes between our assistant instructors Alaric Moore and Chris Jones (Cabelo).
In August 2011, Exeter BJJ moved once again to its new home at Riverside Leisure Centre, and under James, Alaric, and Cabelo, the club has continued to grow further in every aspect.
In December 2013, Raphael dos Santos, the Head coach of Gracie Barra Cornwall, awarded James his Black Belt, also making James Exeter's highest ranked BJJ Black Belt, who continues to improve his own skills daily as well as his dedication to improving the skills of all his students.
In December 2015, Raphael dos Santos also went on to award Black Belts to both of our assistant coaches, Professor Alaric Moore, and Professor Chris Jones.
Additionally, in 2016, the club also acheived another milestone when we had our first BJJ Wedding, when long time member David "Genki" Lindsay and Meerkatsu Sponsored Exeter BJJ Athlete Tanya Tansiri became Mr & Mrs Lindsay.
Strength through times of trouble...
Exeter BJJ was doing well, we had four regular classes and a large number of regular members. Unfortunately, through circumstances beyond the clubs control, we were forced to lose one of our classes, dropping us down to just 3 per week and limiting our ability to train NoGi BJJ.
This ultimately was a blessing in disguise, whilst it was a real downer at the time, James managed to negotiate with another local Martial arts club and found us a new venue for our Nogi Classes bringing us back up to a four a week. This venue, however, proved to be a much bigger asset as time went on.
In February of 2017, the Riverside leisure centre, the venue for 3 of our classes, suffered a devastating fire which closed the venue completely for months.
During this time, we were offered alternative accommodation, once a week, in a room far too small for a club of our size.
We were helped in many ways, by our member who donated money to a contingency fund for the club, the Royals Marines, several of whom and members of Exeter BJJ and arranged for us to train on a couple of occasions on base with them.
James, however, managed to secure two extra sessions a week at our 2nd venue, FSC Muay Thai. Despite, the strain this put on the club, we continued to flourish and support one another.
After this, once the Riverside was open again and we were able to train our regular three classes there, and our Nogi at FSC, as before, we also retained an additional Friday session which we run on demand now, taking us up to 5 sessions a week.
What does the future hold???
Exeter BJJ is now bigger and stronger as a club that it's ever been before and the growth and success show no signs of stopping.
We hope throughout 2018 to expand on this further and potentially may begin Children's BJJ classes.
If you're interested in learning more about Exeter BJJ, joining our family, or just register an interest in the potential Child Classes, please get in touch here.