OK so a few months back I posted about my much needed return to Jiu-Jitsu  at Gracie Barra Cheshunt as my quest to move on in life continues.

8 weeks in and with a couple of the usual bumps and bruises along with a hyper extended arm, I’m glad to report I’m loving it! Yes, I ache at times but it’s a bloody nice ache. It means I can rest after my classes without getting caught up in feelings of life passing me by whilst I do nothing. Actually I’ve a few benefits to report, I’m feeling stronger, fitter and most of all; humbled.

You see the issue with being stuck in depression (yes I dance daily with the black dog), is that I’ve often consoled myself with thoughts of what I could have been if certain things never happened.  Whilst being pissed at the past holds a certain justification to a point, hanging on to it means you corrode any chance of the presents attempt to demonstrate it’s power for a new lease of life.

The rage and frustration I was carrying now has a platform to release itself and BJJ serves as a great reality check. Once you’ve had your arse handed to you on a plate a few times via the medium of getting caught in an arm bar, choke or kimura, it helps bring you back down to earth with a ‘welcome back to life’ thump.

What I love about this place though are the people, down to earth, willing to take the time to teach you but also more than willing to go full tilt when it’s game on. The classes are made up of regular guys who love to roll to the more full Pro MMA fighter which means you get a real varied and challenging work out.

Gracie Barra Cheshunt is run by former Cage Rage Fighter Wessley Johnson. I knew Wessley from a few years back when I worked on promoting his WFC MMA Events so when I was looking to get back into martial arts he was my first port of call.

MMA Marketing Design

MMA Marketing Design

What’s also worked is that my daughter has taken to the sport really well and she absolutely loves it. It means we get good quality time together and we both get to learn a good form of functional fitness.

Highlight for me so far? Seeing Grace win her first medal at the English BJJ Open last week!


Grace moving into side control


Grace takes silver at the English BJJ Open Championships

From my perspective I’m learning slowly but surely. It’s the first form of martial arts I’ve tried that works in a modular ‘chess like’ fashion. For each move you learn,   there are a series of moves to counter it. That means that whilst I roll, my brain is forced to consider WTF is going on instead of ruminating on dumb boring depressive crap and for me that’s the biggest take away so far.

For three hours or so per week I’m guaranteed psychological freedom from the grip of depression, bereavement and everyday crap. Which is nice!

Yes I get turned over quite a bit but I’ve also scored a few taps myself. At the start, I couldn’t even lift my arms after a session on the mats, such was my propensity to execute unnecessary death grips on my opponents GI’s. I’m now starting to chill now when getting flattened by a 120kg MMA dude and trying to get a feel for when the window of opportunity opens. It’s the start of a journey, now it’s up to me to keep it going and not bullshit myself into moving onto something else!

Time to stand up and be counted if you will! Catch yo soon! Pete xxxx

Written by Peter J. Coleman