Welsh Director Election January 2021

UPDATE 9 January 2021: BALLOTS HAVE BEEN SENT OUT – If you think you are eligible to vote and have not received yours, please contact ceo @ ukbjja.org

We are holding elections for the vacant position of Regional Director, Wales – to be voted on at a virtual EGM scheduled for January 2021 (date tbc). This will be for a four year term.

The position:
The Regional Director is responsible for growing the sport of BJJ in Wales and representing the interests of all Welsh member clubs and individuals. In addition, the Director has a voice and vote on the Board of Directors. For details of the structure of the UKBJJA, please refer to the constitution.

The process: 
Each club with current UKBJJA membership at the time of election has one vote.
Clubs may vote in advance via email, or nominate one representative to attend the EGM and vote in person.

Candidates have until 21 December to nominate themselves or be nominated and each candidate will have their profile and vision statement visible on the UKBJJA website for a minimum of 14 days prior to voting.



Eira Culverwell

About me:

My name is Eira and a purple belt under Chris Rees.
My combat sports and martial arts background extends from a being athlete in BJJ and Kyokushin Karate; a National coach for two large full contact Karate organisations and an instrumental person in setting up and running the MMAcymru / IMMAFCYMRU organisation.
Aside from my external passions, I am the Managing Director of a Community Interest Company (CIC) called RESOLVEit that specialises in using personal safety and self-defence to engage and teach valuable life skills –  www.resolveitcic.co.uk
Annually, the team deliver to circa 20,000 young people, from primary and secondary schools, pupil referral units and communities across Wales; are Approved Activity Provider for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, run accredited BTEC courses in self defence and breakaway techniques and in response to the 2020 pandemic, deliver online training to teachers who wish to run our school workshops, via our own online learning platform www.tuborial.com.
I believe that my experience and knowledge go hand in hand with the aims and goals the UKBJJA as striving for, within BJJ, across Wales and throughout the UK.

My vision:

I will use educational establishments, as just one example sector the UKBJJA should focus on for a growth and development.
The initial problem, across the board, is that people don’t often know what BJJ is, but that, ironically, should not be the focal selling point – well, not initially. People do not have time, especially educational establishments, to find the “hidden” messages. Instead, the aim should be to offer the benefits and to explain why the product will solve their issues.
Educational Establishments – Current reality:
1. Schools intricately are sceptical of anything that isn’t known, recognised or have some track record they can trust. They also don’t have time to understand it beyond a level that’s convenient to them, notably: a) What will it do for them? b) What will it solve? c) How much is it going to cost them?
2. Schools do not address life-­‐skills very well. At Key stage 2, there is no set curriculum and in Key stage 3 & 4 it is a very blurred mess.
Options: Focus on education instead of promotion -‐ sell the benefits vs not the product.
A way forward 2021-­‐2022:
1. Q1 -­‐ Highlight the benefits of the product in the simplest way possible. For example: the belief is that every child has the right to grow up happy and healthy in an inclusive environment which allows them to flourish and be the best that they can be using sport as a platform to achieve this.
2. Q2 -­‐ Create a package that ticks the curriculum requirements and guidelines that educational establishments or clubs can pick up and run. The product, BJJ, is not the promotion. The life skills that underpin it are and should the solution they want. BJJ promotion comes afterwards.
3. Q3 -­ UKBJJA trials a simple introductory package to promote the self defence element. Basic awareness, twinned around an anti‐bullying, confidence theme, packaged well, as a cross sector package to offer all clubs/schools.
4. Q4 – a) Work with focus groups/clubs to link in with schools and run trial packages and /or train up PE staff to run the workshop. b) Review and develop with the aim to roll out Q1 2022.
Summary: BJJ is and should be seen as a business, as well as a sport and therefore, the UKBJJA should adopt this coin a phrase -­‐ ‘Sell the problem not the solution’. The problem solved is much more specific and personal to the customer’s needs.

Greg Creel

About me:

I am currently a 2nd degree black belt in Brazilian  jiu-jitsu having been promoted by Pedro Bessa  in 2012.  I am a multiple IBJJF European medalist, a British gold and silver medalists at Black belt and a Polaris competitor.   I’m also a highly experienced referee, having refereed IBJJF rules events such as the UKBJJA open, British and English  opens and many more both domestic and internationally.  I am currently a referee on Polaris pro one of the world’s premier submissions event’s.  I run a highly successful martial arts academy, Celtic Pride Martial arts.  I currently coach domestic, international and world champions in BJJ and MMA in world leading organisations such as the ufc and cage warriors.

I have worked extensively  with the UKBJJA for over 6 years with previous director Mr Neil Williams.   I was responsible for founding the Welsh kids bjj league, the biggest junior development event in the UK and creating the junior development framework for the UKBJJA.  I have coached and organised the junior development days seeing over 100 kids training from different clubs across the UK.  I have run many events including UKBJJA ranked events the celtic and Bristol opens.

Omied Khakshour

About me:

I am the acting UKBJJA Junior Development Officer for Wales, a BJJ black belt with 11 years experience in the art and I run 2 BJJ clubs in South Wales. As Head coach at Two4 Martial Arts in Swansea and co-founder of CF24 Jiu Jitsu in Cardiff, I have overseen the competition success of these clubs winning national team trophies and producing national and international champions.

As an active competitor, coach and experienced referee I have been heavily involved in the Welsh BJJ scene for the past decade. I believe this experience gives me a unique understanding of how to further grow the sport in Wales and how to represent the interests of all Welsh member clubs. During this time I have also developed excellent relationships with club owners and community heads across the principality.

As a dedicated member of the Welsh BJJ community I have been involved with the UKBJJA in Wales over the last 6 years. This involvement includes assisting the previous regional director with the organising and running of the very successful Welsh Kids League and Junior Development camps. This dedication and passion to the success and growth of Welsh BJJ led to me becoming the UKBJJA Junior Development Officer for Wales – a role I have held for the past 5 months.

My contribution to the growth of BJJ in Wales so far also includes the running of the West Wales Kids League. These events have been successful in giving experience to our Junior members and giving greater access to these events to member clubs.

My Vision:

As Regional Director I will focus on upholding the UKBJJA’s mission for BJJ by following the 3 core principles of Integrity, Participation and Growth.

  1. Upholding the integrity of the art.

BJJ has seen impressive growth in Wales over the last decade. One key component of this growth has been the UKs thriving competition scene. So far, a healthy competition scene has been shown to act as a driving force in maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of BJJ by encouraging clubs to focus on the performance aspects of the sport. This, in turn, ensures that the integrity of the ranking system can be upheld as the standards of the whole community can be seen in a performance setting.

The pandemic has made the future for the competition scene uncertain. In order to reignite the scene I intend to introduce a national championship in Wales with funding for the winners to represent our nation at international tournaments. I believe this can act as a focal point for the BJJ community in Wales which can kick start the community’s regrowth.

  1. Promoting wider participation.

I see the upskilling of our members and member clubs as a crucial component to the future of BJJ in Wales. In order to encourage wider participation in all areas of the sport (in addition to competitive participation) there also needs to be a focus on the equally important supporting roles – such as coaches and referees. The UKBJJA already has a number of courses built to service these roles – my vision would be to promote participation of these to existing members and member clubs in order to build the quality of the community from within. 

I see junior development as an integral part of my vision for the UKBJJA in Wales. In my role as Junior Development Officer, I am currently working on an initiative to extend the referees course to include a Junior referee’s qualification – with the aim of including juniors in the sport that aren’t as focussed on competing. I would also look to add similar extensions to the coaching qualification for juniors and any other relevant schemes in the future.

  1. Growing UKBJJA membership.

Growing membership needs to be achieved both from within the existing community and via new participants.

The first step will be to focus on increasing individual membership at existing member clubs. This can be achieved through providing greater regional access to the UKBJJA’s courses and qualification’s and by running member only events in the region (seminars, camps and competitions). To expand club membership, I will increase engagement with non-member clubs with the use of direct marketing and case studies outlining benefits of membership. New participant growth will be achieved via regional specific advertising campaigns directing potential new members to UKBJJA member clubs in their area.


BJJ is a “quality over quantity” martial art. Each and every participant is proud of the effectiveness of the art we practice and values the integrity of its grades over the numbers that hold them. I, for one, want to keep this as the status quo of our art. I believe that building our community and actively pursuing steady sustainable growth from existing member clubs in parallel with growing overall participation will put BJJ in good standing for future generations in the art.