Main image: Jamie representing Gracie Barra Knowle and winning Gold at the British Nationals two years ago.
A martial arts teacher who set up a successful school in Knowle West is now moving on – but says he is leaving the club ‘in good hands’.
Jamie Horsman (42) started Gracie Barra Knowle to teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes in September 2016.
He will now be starting a new life in Plymouth where his fiancé’s family live – but says “a piece of his heart” will always be in Knowle West.
Based at Filwood Community Centre – Jamie set up the training school to help inspire young people in the community – as he credits the martial art for helping him completely turn his life around.
After spells of drug taking and time in prison during his youth – Jamie found Jiu Jitsu gave him the discipline and confidence to keep him on the straight and narrow.
He wanted to inspire local youngsters and help them avoid going down the same path.
The club has since gone from strength to strength, with members winning multiple awards – including Jamie’s daughter Frankie who hit the heights of European and double World Champion in the sport in 2018.
Jamie himself who only took up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu 11 years ago has also won a string of awards – including gold in the 2018 British Nationals at middle weight and open weight. (See main picture).
And in January this year Gracie Barra Knowle also scooped Martial Arts School of the Year in the Bristol Prestige Awards – which recognises businesses offering a “high quality level of service and experience.”
Jamie says of his move to Plymouth: “It’s bitter sweet for me as I really like it there but having to give up Gracie Barra Knowle has been hard.
“For a council estate as deprived as Knowle and training from our local community centre, our team has had amazing success and experiences, we have won the competitions from the Bristol open to the British open, Nationals, European and even world champions!
“We also won an award for being the best martial arts gym in Bristol. But it’s not just the competitions we’ve also built a community and brought the best out of the kids.
“Whether it is in confidence, respect or behaviour – every one of them are the best version of themselves while at Jiu Jitsu…”
But Jamie says he has no need to worry about the club as his “very good friend” Nick Jordan will be taking the school over.
“We have trained together for over 10 years, competing all over the world. We also received our Black belts on the same day. So I know they’re in good hands and also Aaron Carbon will be there, he has helped Gracie Barra Knowle lots and is a great teacher.
“I will be sure to visit as often as possible as a piece of my heart will always be there. I would like to take this opportunity to thank every student and parent for always helping and creating such a family atmosphere – love them all.”
Nick (32) told The Knowledge: “I’m really looking forward to taking Jamie’s legacy in Gracie Barra Knowle forward and giving back to the community.
“One of the biggest mottos is “Jiu Jitsu for everyone” – you can start from as young as five to well into your 80s and it plays a big role in physical fitness as well as a big part in mental wellbeing…
“We have big plans and goals – keeping people safe with the current Covid-19 is a main concern for us, so all our training at the moment is with social distancing in place. We’re hoping to run a bully-proof programme for kids when things get back to normal…”
Classes at Gracie Barra Knowle are running Tuesdays and Fridays 6-7pm and 7-8pm at Filwood Community Centre. To book ring Nick on 0796 749 6772. Visit www.graciebarraknowle.co.uk