Lo­cals win medals at jiu-jitsu tour­na­ment

The Amherst News - - SPORTS - dave.mathieson@amher­st­news.ca twit­ter: @ADN­dave

Novem­ber 12, 1993.

at is the day when mar­tial arts changed for­ever, be­cause that is the day Royce Gra­cie used the mar­tial art of jiu-jitsu to eas­ily win the rst Ul­ti­mate Fight­ing Cham­pi­onship, UFC 1, by turn­ing his much big­ger op­po­nents into pret­zels.

Since that day 24 years ago there has been a rush to learn ji­u­jitsu, and three lo­cal prac­ti­tion­ers re­cently won gold and sil­ver medals at the Free­dom Roll ji­u­jitsu tour­na­ment in Truro.

“It gives me pride and joy to see them be so ded­i­cated to the sport and go com­pete at a high level when they don’t have to. It’s very ad­mirable,” said Justin Bourgeois, mixed mar­tial arts coach and owner/op­er­a­tor of Cum­ber­land Mixed Mar­tial Arts in Amherst.

Springhill’s Jerico MacPhee and Port El­gin’s Matthew Fa­gan both won gold, and Springhill’s Mike Blue won sil­ver in their weight and class di­vi­sions.

MacPhee, ranked se­cond in mixed mar­tial arts in the ama­teur light­weight di­vi­sion in both Canada and the Mar­itimes, has been study­ing jiu-jitsu for about six years. He’s com­ing o his rst MMA loss, now 7-1, two weeks ago at Casino New Brunswick. He said win­ning gold in Truro felt good.

“Not fully, but it kind of helped get the bit­ter taste out of my mouth from my last ght,” said MacPhee. “To get my hand raised was nice. It de nitely helped.”

Fa­gan has been prac­tic­ing ji­u­jitsu off and on for about five years and said it felt good to win gold as well.

“It’s nice to feel that adrenaline rush.”

Blue is new to the sport. He’s been train­ing for about one month.

“It felt pretty good to win sil­ver. It wasn’t gold but I’ll be there and I will get that gold,” said Blue.

Bourgeois said see­ing some­body new to the game win a medal was nice.

“I’ve seen it time and time again where mar­tial arts helps peo­ple in many ways,” said Bourgeois. “ey quit smok­ing, lose weight, and they gain con dence, among many other bene ts.”

Blue says jiu-jitsu is all about team­work.

“You’re con­stantly striv­ing to make each other bet­ter,” said Blue.

MacPhee says jiu-jitsu is hum­bling.

“Some­one who is 170 pounds can grap­ple against some­body who is 120 pounds and the big­ger man can get man­gled up.”

Fa­gan says learn­ing jiu-jitsu is a never-end­ing process.

“If you make one wrong move it can cost you the match.” Blue agrees.

“You can be win­ning and, just as you think you’re about to win, you can fall into their trap and lose.”

Bourgeois says the Gra­cie fam­ily calls jiu-jitsu the gen­tle art.

“at’s why it at­tracts such a wide age group, from ve to 50 years old.”

e Free­dom Roll tour­na­ment in Truro was a no-gi tour­na­ment, but Bourgeois prefers to wear the gi, which is heavy cot­ton jacket and pants used by jiu-jitsu com­bat­ants.

“I fell in love with jiu-jitsu in the gi a lit­tle over three year ago. I love it be­cause it’s so dy­namic,” he said. “ere are mul­ti­ple chokes with the col­lars and lapels. There’s so much more tech­nique in­volved.”

Gi or no gi, Bourgeois says there are no speci c phys­i­cal re­quire­ments for peo­ple start­ing out.

“You come in and work at your own pace, do what you can do,” said Bourgeois.

“I don’t have a cur­ricu­lum where you have to do a cer­tain thing in a cer­tain amount of time each time you come in,” he added. “I’m more of a coach who is in­ter­ested in your mind­set or what kind of a day you’re hav­ing. I think that helps my train­ing.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about learn­ing jiu-jitsu or other mixed mar­tial arts, go to the Cum­ber­land Mixed Mar­tial Arts face­book page, or call Bourgeois at 902-297-5373.

DAVE MATHIESON AMHERST NEWS

Medal win­ners (from left) Matthew Fa­gan, gold, Jerico MacPhee, gold, and Mike Blue, sil­ver, took time out for a quick photo dur­ing their jiu-jitsu train­ing ses­sion Tues­day night at Cum­ber­land Mixed Mar­tial Arts in Amherst.

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