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By REORG Founder Sam Sheriff  The Gone Wild Festival is a great chance to learn new skills. There’s a ton of stuff on offer for the thousands who flock to Powderham Castle in Devon on the last weekend of August. You can learn to start a fire without matches, or try your hand at anything from archery and axe throwing through to kayaking and climbing, with great live music and  food and drink, all helping support the Royal Marines Charity.   This year for the first time Brazilian jiu-jitsu was among the activities on offer. Along with some former colleagues...

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By Coach Joanna, World and European jiu-jitsu champion and Roger Gracie black belt   People are drawn to martial arts for all sorts of reasons. Maybe they want to learn to defend themselves, gain some confidence, or just get fit. But often they are put off because they worry that classes may be intimidating. This is particularly the case for women. But I would encourage them to try, because the benefits go far beyond anything you might imagine.   I got into martial arts just because I thought it looked cool and I wanted to be able to defend myself....

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By the Atlantic Grappler, aka jiu-jitsu black belt and former Royal Marines Commando Mike Bates   My sons were fighting for their lives from the minute they were born. My eldest was five weeks premature and my youngest was 11 weeks early. It is hard to explain how tough it is to see your babies with tubes coming out of them, not knowing if they are going to make it through the night.   Both of my sons received specialist treatment from the amazing staff at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI). We will always be grateful for everything they did and...

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By Marko Stott, historian and martial artist   We used to joke that my brother got the brawn, while I got the brains. It was certainly impossible to compete physically – James is six years older than me and went onto join the Royal Marines. I was happy to leave the macho stuff to other people, adopting a more bookish persona, graduating in history, working as a teacher, guide and lecturer. I always stayed pretty active, it’s just that I never had a particularly competitive streak andI was certainly never drawn to martial arts. I just didn’t think that side...

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By Coach Tommy, black belt under Roger Gracie and head instructor at Elevate Martial Arts and Strength   If you have never trained regularly in Brazilian jiu-jitsu it is almost impossible to imagine how many benefits it can bring to your life. It is best known as a core element of mixed martial arts, as a formidable grappling style that became famous when the UFC arrived in the 1990s.   This reputation as a fighting style is well deserved, and not just in the cage. If you want to learn one martial art for self-defence, whether you are a civilian...

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