The Omaplata-man: Bradley Hill

3 min read

Oliver smith dives into what makes Braley Hill tick and why he loves Jiu-Jitsu

The Omaplata-man: Bradley Hill

Location: London, England

Bradley Hill is no stranger to competition. Multiple IBJJF World Champion, European Open Champion, regular on the Polaris Squads line up, and recently holding his own at the inaugural RAW Grappling Championship at the O2 Indigo, against top grappler Josh Hinger, it’s fair to say the boy from Birmingham’s done good.

But as the man himself recalls, it was all from humble beginnings when it came to mixed martial arts,

“I started training when I was 9, but that was Jeet Kune Do. I switched to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 12. The first sign of success was I won my first British Open, that was the first competition I ever did.”

From the moment he stepped on the competition mat, is the moment where it all started. Constantly looking for the gold medal and competing regularly, Bradley began to get the “bug” for competition, bagging many renowned titles whilst always looking to be a role model for others, the goal was to try and be a role model for others in the sport.

Lucky enough to be at Gracie Barra with the likes of Braulio and Victor Estima teaching, he was also surrounded by students such as Chiu Kwong Man (Braulio’s first ever Black Belt) and Norbert Novak to name but a few.

“It was full of this eclectic style of good teachers. It was the home of Jiu-Jitsu in the West Midlands…so we were getting taught by loads of different people and getting influences from all over, so you really develop an all-round understanding of a lot of games.”

Fast forward to today, and Bradley teaches out of a basement gym in Shadwell, trying to build an academy and develop a youth program aimed at helping the community by introducing them to Jiu-Jitsu.

“It’s about building a gym from the ground up. Hopefully in a few months’ time we’ll have beautiful mats, inside a nice facility and we’ll have a grand opening. At the moment it’s just hard work downstairs in a basement and getting a good group of people together.”

But not all people think this is the smartest move. Apparently advised by several people not to open a gym for it being too hard, especially when he’s trying to compete at the same time, Bradley’s response is simple,

“It really is my passion to teach Jiu-Jitsu. I would do it for free. If I had to work a part time job and come and teach people, I’d be doing it. To me it’s hard work but it’s nothing that we’re new to.”

Looking back at when he started to how things shape up today, Bradley can’t help but notice a shift in the sport,

“Everybody seems to be influenced by either John Danaher, Gordon Ryan or Craig Jones. The Danaher Death Squad has taken over the world of Jiu-Jitsu. There’s white belts that are asking me about Ashi Garami and leg entanglements, and I’m like, ‘let’s just pass guard first, shall we?’”

 “[But] the UK scene has become a little bit more professional in terms of a lot of submission only events, even the amateurs that aren’t being paid to compete are jumping on submission only shows, getting super fights, whereas back in the day I couldn’t get a super fight until I had a World Championship medal.”

But whilst the whole style of competitive Jiu-Jitsu may have changed towards No Gi submission-based competitions, Bradley still has a special place in his heart of the IBJJF Competitions,

“I’m still in the realm of winning tournaments being the hardest thing to do. I still lean towards the prestige IBJJF World Championship that just becoming a Polaris fighter.”

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