Achieving a black belt in BJJ is one of the hardest martial arts accolades to earn, with only 0.01 per cent of students making it to the top award.
But BMA’s Nico has not only achieved the crowning glory but also knocked years off the average time to achieve it, under the expert guidance of world-renowned Leo Negao, fifth degree black belt and four-times world champion.
Nico explains: “Achieving a black belt in BJJ is the hardest by a long shot, taking on average 12 to 15 years, so I am proud to have achieved it in just 10. It takes even longer to achieve than becoming a doctor and there are only about 350 black belts in the whole of the country.”
Nico has fought in the cage, ring and many high-level matches on the mats, becoming a Grapple Nation and Welsh Empire champion. He has also fought on the prestigious Pantheon Invitational and trained in Los Angeles.
He is already working with 20 champion blue belts, cage fighters and many high-level kick boxers – but also teaches private groups for children who have been victims of bullying, as well as training private security personnel.
Nico adds: “Spending 10 years as a student, while simultaneously working as a coach, has given me a great eye to see what my students need.
“Starting BMA (previously called Citus MMA) with just four punch bags in a lock-up, it has grown to become one of the largest martial arts academies in the UK and helped to produce over 50 active competitors, including junior champions.
“The longer I run BMA in Halifax, the more satisfaction I get out of using exercise to help improve members’ mental health and build youngsters’ confidence. I also train police officers and other public security personnel in real self-defence.
“BMA is well-known for having a solid competition team and countless gold medalists continuing to come through our system. But it’s not all about that – everyone is welcome and we make them all a champion in life. Both are just as important.”