Have you ever thought of trying out martial arts but didn’t know where to begin? Why not check out the LGBT Ishigaki Ju-jitsu Club, which has groups in both London and Brighton. Rory Desch, from Out for Sport, profiles one of its members.

No stranger to martial arts before joining Ishigaki Ju-jitsu Club, 44-year-old Ian from London previously trained in karate while at university. On moving to London he stumbled across the club’s stand at a gay pride event. Ian was keen to get involved in martial arts again and after trying out Ju-jitsu he found himself hooked.

Enjoying all that the club has to offer, Ian explains how he has learned some useful skills, made some good friends along the way and most importantly it’s helped to keep him fit. The club has been in existence since 1994, so it’s fair to say that it’s popular and successful.

Completing his black belt training has been a major accomplishment for Ian.

The club has continued to grow over the years with classes in both London and Brighton.

Ju-jitsu is not just an opportunity to display physical strength; it is as much about mentally analysing the weaknesses of your opponent.

Ian points out that the club is also more involved in the larger Ju-jitsu association than ever before along with being fully involved in their training sessions.

The completion of his black belt training allowed Ian to cut back on the intensity of his training and focus more on coaching others.

Ian enjoys the opportunity to share his knowledge and seeing others improve, noting that in training others, it often helps himself see the various techniques more clearly, thus benefiting his own training.

On encouraging new recruits, Ian suggests: “Try it – if you hate it you don’t have to come back!

“Seriously though there is nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain.”

To anyone unsure about trying it out, Ian quickly points out that everyone has had to start at the beginning.

There are opportunities to take part in competitions, but this is not compulsory.

By being part of the Jikishin Ju-Jitsu Association, this allows the club to compete in UK competitions, though the club have also completed at events like the Gay Games, where they have has some success; Ian’s own preference though is to observe rather than compete.

On the social side of the club, he points out that it’s really quite lively, with members generally going to the pub after each class and various parties are held throughout the year.

The club’s birthday party takes place in Brighton along with other events the social committee arrange.

Regarding the club’s involvement in Out for Sport, Ian recognises that some LGBT people may not have previously had a good experience in taking part in sport and that initiatives like Out for Sport provide the opportunity to change this.

So, why not give get in touch and try Ju-jitsu. Your first class is free, then £8 per class, there’s also a concession price for students and the unwaged – £4.

Want to know more? Then take a look at Ishigaki’s Ju-jitsu Club’s by clicking here.