Competitions Officer
Alain PozoCompetitions Officer
Representative for South England
Alex de SouzaRepresentative for South England
Executive Officer
Arlans SiqueiraExecutive Officer
High Performance Coach
Braulio EstimaHigh Performance Coach
Executive Officer
Chico MendesExecutive Officer

Chico Mendes started training Jiu Jitsu in his early teens at Romero “Jacaré” Cavalcanti academy, though his introductory class was given by Leonardo Vieira (who was a purple belt at the time). At the time the gym had a huge range of talented people giving classes, such as: Romero Jacaré, Eduardo Jamelão, Ricardo Franjinha and of course, Leozinho Vieira. Chico received all his yellow belts (in 1994) and blue belts (in 1996) from the Alliance master Romero Cavalcanti and Leo Vieira, and after master Jacaré went to the United States and Leozinho to Sao Paulo, Chico moved his training to Octavio Couto’s gym (also known as Ratinho). Training there, he achieved both his purple (in 1998) and his brown belt (1999). In 2003/2004 he moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil to be reunited with Leo Vieira. In December 2004 Chico Mendes was awarded his black belt by Vieira. In the beginning of 2011 after some time travelling and displaying Checkmat’s Jiu Jitsu in seminars around the world, Chico settled in Bristol – England, United Kingdom, teaching at Checkmat BJJ Bristol. He is Checkmat co-founder & Checkmat Europe head coach.

Executive Officer
Darren CurrieExecutive Officer
Secretary + Head Referee
Dave ColesSecretary + Head Referee

Dave has a Master’s Degree in Sports Science and worked as a lecturer of physical education and outdoor activities for 15-years. In 2011 he quit his teaching job in order to teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu full time. He first attended a BJJ seminar with Carley Gracie in the late 1990’s and entered his first BJJ competition in 2002. In the same year, Dave took off his British Judo Association 5th Dan black belt, put on a white belt, and started making a 2-3 times a week round trip of 120 miles to train BJJ under Braulio Estima. In 2010 Braulio awarded him his black belt and he remains a student of Braulio to this day. In 2003 Dave fought in the IBJJF Pan-Ams held in America, and in the same year in the IBJJF World Championships held in Rio de Janeiro. He has subsequently travelled to train and compete in Brazil on eight occasions. Additionally he has competed on many occasions throughout the UK. Dave has been involved in providing competitions for the UK BJJ community for over 12 years. He runs the highly successful Hereford BJJ Open, British Open (Juniors and Juveniles) and has acted as an advisor to some of the biggest BJJ events in the UK. As a qualified IBJJF referee Dave has officiated at several IBJJF championships and continues to mentor new referees through the UKBJJA referee programme.

Child Protection Officer ad Health and Safety Officer
James McIntyreChild Protection Officer ad Health and Safety Officer

James McIntyre presently holds two roles within the UKBJJA: Child Protection Officer and Health and Safety Officer. I’ve a wealth of experience in both fields due to my career as a secondary school teacher and also serving as a shop steward for Scotland’s largest teaching union the EIS.

He has been training since 2003 and currently holds the rank of purple belt. James has spent a significant amount of time training overseas mostly in America and Brazil. He is also one of the organizers of the Scottish Grappling events and has refereed at BJJ events for over 10 years.

For any Child Protection queries, James can be contacted at

The UKBJJA Child Protection Policy can be located here.

Representative for North England
John Paul HartleyRepresentative for North England

John Paul Hartley is a 1st degree Black belt under Lucio Lagarto Rodrigues. He received his black belt in January 2011 in Lisbon Portugal.
He started his Jiu Jitsu career in the year 2000, at which time he already had a full time academy teaching Jeet Kune
Do, Escrima and Silat. Paul suffered a brain hemorrhage, due to getting hit a lot in the face…as he said “needed to work harder on slipping them punches!” His focus changed after being told he could no longer take head shots. He looked around and started to learn Jiu Jitsu. He was training in a wrestling club in Bolton near Manchester where he met Ben Poppelton who introduced him to a 22 year old Brazilian monster Lagarto. John Paul has trained with him from that day. Lagarto was coming back and forth from Brazil but he always had a black belt there to teach and train with him everyday. The first was Sem then Gabrial Kitober then Lucio Sergio, and Paul feels very privileged to have been able to train and hang out everyday with the black belts. He is the owner and director of Gracie Barra Preston where at 52 years old he still trains everyday and competes. Paul is currently teaching in London at Gracie Barra Fulham with his professor.

Representative for East England
Lee JohnstoneRepresentative for East England
Executive Officer and Belt Committee
Mark TuckerExecutive Officer and Belt Committee

Mark Tucker is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt under Pedro Bessa which he was awarded in 2012. He started his martial arts career with Boxing and Judo when he was 18 while serving in the Royal Marines. After leaving the Royal Marines in 1994, he was introduced to Jeet Kune Do and Kali which allowed him to travel the world training with many great instructors. It was with this tool box that Mark started a Pro MMA career until he was lucky enough to be invited to a Dan Inosanto seminar by Rick Young where he experienced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the first time with Mauricio Motta Gomes. Mark was was then hooked. He now runs a school in Cornwall.

Area Officer for Wales
Neil WilliamsArea Officer for Wales

Neil is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Pedro Bessa with under whom he has trained since 2007. He is an instructor and owner of a non-profit Judo and Jiu Jitsu academy based in Rhondda Valley, South Wales, Combat Training Centre CTC (Pedro Bessa BJJ Rhondda). He also organises the Welsh Kids BJJ League, with Pedro Bessa black Belt Greg Creel. Neil has been Involved in martial arts and combat sports since childhood but found BJJ after retiring from playing rugby and fell in love with the art and sport. He has worked in an advisory capacity for some of the biggest Jiu Jitsu clothing companies in the world, dealing predominantly with athlete sponsorship and global distribution. He current works as a Business Analyst in the financial sector for Lloyd’s banking group), but has previously worked as a manufacturing and production manager and a global process engineer, covering China, US, Hungary, and the UK.

Executive Officer
Pedro BessaExecutive Officer
Area Officer for Northern Ireland
Pete LaveryArea Officer for Northern Ireland

Peter Lavery has been the owner of Kyoujin gym in Belfast since 1994. He holds black belts in Japanese Ju Jitsu with Bushi Kempo jiu jitsu and Tai Jutsu kai . He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt under Rodrigo Mediros and a member of BJJ Revolution. He has also been an MMA referee since 2001 and sits on the technical committe of the UKMMAF. He was previously president of the Irish branch of IMMAF. Apart from my day job, he works as a stage technician with stage crew Ireland,working with some of the film crews and concerts such as MTV and the last Dracula film,when they arrive in Belfast. He is a big fan of psychobilly and rockabilly music and plays double bass with his band, gigging regularly around Ireland.

Executive Officer + Sports Psychology Expert
Rebecca HillExecutive Officer + Sports Psychology Expert
Executive Officer and Belt Committee
Thiago BorgesExecutive Officer and Belt Committee

Thiago “Monstro” Borges started training in 1996 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil with Huanderson Pavao at Universidade Gama Filho (now known as GFTEAM), always competing at every chance he had, When he was awarded his brown belt, he had to move to Brasilia for personal reasons, where he started training with Carlos Portugues Vieira, who awarded him his black belt in December 2004. Thiago moved to London in December 2005 and has been helping with the developmen of BJJ ever since, currently teaching at London Shootfighters.

High Performance Coach
Victor EstimaHigh Performance Coach
Area Officer for London and England
Nick BrooksArea Officer for London and England
Area Officer for Scotland
Garry ChristieArea Officer for Scotland
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