31 Jan 2007

Nick Brooks interview

Meerkat recently bumped into 4th dan ju-jitsu instructor Nick Brooks, who runs the Mill Hill Ju-Jitsu Club. Both of our clubs have had affiliations going back many years but it came as incredible news to me that Nick is actually one of the rising stars of the BJJ scene having recently won gold at the European Championships in Lisbon last week.
I spoke to Nick about his success and how he reconciles his interests in both traditional ju-jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

MEERKAT: You are having great success at BJJ comps at the moment, what is your current tally of medals won?

NICK BROOKS: Londinium grappling cup gold –73, London Open
gold featherweight, Emirates cup 2nd in pool a –66, Europeans 2005
gold featherweight, Gracie Invitational gold featherweight, Europeans 2006
gold featherweight, Urban Gorrilaz SENI gold – 66, masters & seniors gold featherweight, Europeans 2007 gold featherweight.

MRKT: You still teach and train traditional JJ (www.millhillju-jitsuclub.com), how different and/or similar do you find BJJ and Trad JJ?

NB: The main difference is in how ju-jitsu is trained, not so much what is trained. In my view, trad JJ is more about demonstration of a technique where as BJJ focuses more on application. The time spent drilling and sparring the techniques learnt in BJJ enforces this unlike in trad JJ where your training partner is standing still and letting you do the technique with very little resistance.

MRKT: How do you prepare for competitions?

NB: Preparation is the key. I start training 5 weeks out from a competition,
running 5 km 6 days a week & rowing 5 km 6 days a week. I train BJJ for 2
hours, 4 days a week with my own students & at the Roger Gracie academy. I also travel to Milton Keynes every Friday to train with Braulio Estima, When I compete, I try to be at my physical best. That way if I lose, it’s to somebody better, not fitter or stronger.

MRKT: Do you think Trad JJ students could learn something from training
sport JJ (ie BJJ or related) and visa versa?

NB: Definitely - we all have a lot to learn, the key is to have an open mind.

MRKT: What are your plans for the future?

NB: My goals are to win the world masters at every belt, and just keep
training and improving.

My thanks to Nick for taking the time to chat and I very much suspect he will go on to achieve more golds in the future (and please God let me never draw him in a competition ever!).

About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


slideyfoot said...

Ah, so you'd met Nick before, just not trained at his club at that point? Will be interesting to read the post where you end up moving to his school.

Meerkatsu said...

By the time of that interview I already had formed an idea that his locale would be the place my family would move to, so I was sounding him out. I'm glad I took the plunge and moved to where I did as MHBJJ has really helped me grow as a BJJer.
I had met Nick many times before as he and his dojo partner Barry would often visit out trad JJ club...since I first started in fact so technically I've known of Nick since c. 1998!

slideyfoot said...

Was he in the same TJJ organisation as you then, or something else?

Meerkatsu said...

Completely different associations (breaking political boundaries even then).
My instructor was friends with Barry Harte (now Hakudakan JJ, edgware) so we'd often do exchange dojo visits and share knowledge. Long before I started BJJ Nick asked me if I wanted to train at his Sat morning 'grappling' class that he had just started (this was before he and Barry split) and I turned it down as I had no idea about BJJ. doh!


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