Jitsu take up the gauntlet

Belted up: the Jiu Jitsu Club won a host of individual awards as well as the Club Shield. Image: Nathan Hoyles

Last weekend was a great success for the Newcastle University Jiu Jitsu Club, who travelled down to Sheffield to compete in the 2016 Atemi National Championships.

Despite fielding a much smaller team than many of their rivals, the club fought off tough opposition and was awarded the highly coveted TJJF Atemi Nationals Club Shield.

For those unfamiliar with the sport, Jiu Jitsu is a traditional Japanese martial art incorporating throws, joint locks and strikes, with practitioners aiming to take attackers to the ground and restrain them by using their strength and balance against them.

The Atemi Nationals sees entrants from clubs across the country taking part in an exhibition of their martial arts prowess over two events, with the winners determined by a panel of judges. The first event, referred to as a ‘V’, is a fast-paced scenario where competitors must deal with a series of armed and unarmed attackers in rapid succession, testing both their speed and endurance. The second event, the ‘Gauntlet’, is a slower-paced affair, which allows entrants to truly put the ‘art’ into ‘martial arts’ and demonstrate the full extent of their throwing and joint locking techniques.

“This is the first time in many years that the club has been awarded the Club Shield”

At this year’s competition, club social secretary Mikhail Barb struck gold in the orange belt category, while teammate Will Postlethwaite’s success in the green belt category added a well-deserved silver medal to the gold he won last year.

White belt Magno Carlos added a second silver to Newcastle’s medal tally with an impressive second place finish, while white belt team mate Marcus Soo also reached the final stages of the competition – a particularly impressive feat for someone who only took up the martial art a few short months ago.

There was also success for the club’s instructors this weekend, with Sensei Brian Naisbitt reaching the final round of the elite black belt Open Competition, and with club president Gabriela Martins da Silva and team mate Liliana Martin putting in strong performances in the orange belt category, it was an amazing all-round display of the team’s Jiu Jitsu talents.

Despite many individual medals being awarded to Newcastle University Jiu Jitsu Club members at recent National Championships, this is the first time in many years that the club has been awarded the Club Shield. With a second National Championship being held in February (with a focus on ground fighting techniques), this is hopefully only the first of many successes for the Jiu Jitsu club this year.

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