Jiu-jitsu champions

The victorious members of Progress Academia. Credit: Chris Birchall

The young members of the jiu-jitsu school in Torrox, Progress Academia, recently participated in a national competition in Toledo and returned with an impressive collection of medals.

Despite only opening last year, Progress Academia in Torrox, the only Brazilian jiu-jitsu club in the area, is fast making a name for itself. Its members have already won medals at several competitions, the latest of which was the AEJJB national championship held in Toledo on March 12 and 13.

As participants compete in categories based on their age, weight and belt ranking, relative beginners are given the opportunity to participate in large-scale competitions and potentially win. This is something that many other sports do not offer, which is perhaps one of the reasons why jiu-jitsu is currently one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.

The club owner, Chris Birchall, said that the competition experience for the kids “starts the minute we tell them”. As nerves and excitement kick in, training intensifies and becomes more competition-based. Despite the growing number of medals under their jiu-jitsu belt, Chris said: “We’re not really interested in the medals. It’s about making life-long memories for them.” He praised the supportive atmosphere over the weekend spent in Toledo, saying that everyone had been “really present” and there had been “no rivalry”.

The proud winners are Lucy Birchall (aged 8, gold), Max Birchall (12, silver), Alex Arnold (10, silver), Lewis Arnold (8, silver), Mateo Welch (13, silver), Pablo lunsdrud (14, silver), Louis Donnelly (15, bronze) and Ricardo Hargadorn (adult, gold).

Lucy Birchall, aged 8, the proud winner of a gold medal.

The club will also be offering new self-defence classes for women every Tuesday between 7.30 and 8.30pm. Classes start on April 5 and cost just 6€. For more information, WhatsApp Chris on 711036961.

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Written by

Tamsin Brown

Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.