BUDE’s Martin Edwards will represent Team GB at the 2017 WCJJO (World Council of Ju-Jitsu Organisations) World Championships in Australia this October.
The 43-year-old only took up the sport in 2009 alongside his son Scott who suffers from autism.
However, when they had both reached their junior brown belts, Scott decided to quit, but, with his 1st Dan Black Belt only two belts away, Martin decided to carry on and he hasn’t looked back.
Back in April 2016 coaches from Team GB were invited by Tony Curtis from Gojuki Ju-Jitsu Club to demonstrate and recruit some new team members. After an evening of sparring and exploring different moves, Martin along with other members of the club were offered a place to join the team for training.
Since being picked, Martin along with Adam Trace and Emma Jones, who are also both from Bude, have joined Team GB to train in Stoke-on-Trent, Dunstable and Yeovil. After a few months of training, Martin was awarded a place on the team and has been travelling the country ever since.
As with other sports, Ju-jitsu teams and individuals receive no sponsorship, and travelling to training and competitions comes out of their own pocket.
Martin has approached businesses for sponsorship and Dave Herman from Fusion Fitness has kindly offered Martin the use of his gym to train before the competition, which has been a huge support to train and improve Martin’s strength and fitness.
Martin, who works as a support worker for mental health and challenging behaviour, says that finding money can be tough. Martin said: “Asking people for money is awkward, everyone is finding the economy difficult, but everything counts even the smallest amounts or offers of other support build up.
“We also have to go to either Stoke-on-Trent, Yeovil and Dunstable just for three hours every month and then we turn around and come home again. A lot of people don’t know a lot about ju-jitsu so it’s vital that we get the word out there. It is really hard work trying to finance it all but I don’t want to sit on a beach when I’m 60 and think what if, so everything we do is totally worth it.
“Me and my wife Louise are doing a lot of car-booting and trying to do as much as we can. I still need another £1,000 so it’s all about cutting back and trying to get as much money in as we can but I can’t wait to get out to Australia and show everyone what?I can do.”
Martin’s employer Sue has also been supportive, arranging his rota to allow him to train at his club at least once a week since he started.
Martin said: “Without her doing this I wouldn’t be able to train as much as I have over the years and be where I am now. I go the gym four times a week around work while I also do the weekly club sessions each week as well as the monthly trips to train with Team GB.”
Since the coaches came to Bude, Martin has gained his 1st Dan black belt and his teaching qualification at Gojuki Ju-Jitsu Club at Kings Hill Industrial Estate. With his club’s mentor, Tony Curtis, he is able to continue practising the moves he will need in Brisbane.
Martin, who will compete in the 82-84kg category, is confident that he will be successful, adding: “I am going out there to do my best and represent my country and that’s what it’s all about.
“Unlike alot of other sports, age doesn’t come into ju-jitsu that much and with the skills, experience and knowledge that I have I’m confident that I can do well and compete to pick up some medals.
“Before then I’ll continue to train and work with Tony and the coaching staff at Team GB to make sure I’m ready to go in October. I’m grateful to Tony for arranging the coaches to come down and for his support since, as without him I wouldn’t be where I am now.”