A BRAZILIAN jiu-jitsu class recently set up in Romsey is going from strength to strength. 

Bear Strength Grappling was started by former gym owner Jamie Martin at the beginning of March, and it has quickly grown in popularity. 

The group initially started at Abbotswood Community Centre, but has moved to the AEC Protection building at Romsey Industrial Estate. 

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a ground-based martial art where people use controlled movements to try and get the better of an opponent. 

Jamie has big plans for the group and is planning to increase the number of weekly classes from one to three at the start of April. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Jamie Martin

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He said: “We're getting around 12 people consistently at the moment, this is the busiest one we've had. From the start of April, we are going up to three sessions a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. Later we'll start doing after-school drop-offs and kids' classes on a Saturday morning.

“There are two aspects to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. If you're competitive and you're looking for a hobby to compete in or something that challenges your mind it's definitely something for you.

"On the flip side, the way the world's going at the moment, I see it as a life-saving skill. My daughter does it, I think it's something kids should do growing up to give confidence in self-defence.”

Jamie added: “There's lots of competitions all over the world, I've done quite a few myself. Jiu-jitsu is currently quite small, but it's at a point where it's just exploding and becoming mainstream and that's because of the UFC. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Jamie Martin doing a demonstration

“Pretty much every UFC champion is a blackbelt in jiu-jitsu. It's a very effective ground-based martial art. 

“I've been doing jiu-jitsu for nearly three years. I had a judo background previously. I had a little stint of being a professional Crossfit athlete for a few years. When we lost the gym I stopped doing Crossfit, so I wanted to get back into a combat sport. I didn't want to get punched in the face so we thought we would do jiu-jitsu. 

“It's very control-based, there's a lot of thinking about technique. You can also develop your own tactics, so I like attacking legs whereas some people like attacking chokes. 

“This group is just for beginners. You're a beginner in jiu-jitsu for two to four years. Everyone's welcome, everyone's always learning.”

For more details, visit facebook.com/JamieMartinPT.