Purple belt for Coogie
ON SUNDAY April 30 Oban BJJ coach ‘Coogie’ Potter received his purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from Marcos Nardini at the annual MNBJJ interclub. This milestone marks seven years of effort in coaching and training and came as a shock to Coogie, who had no idea he would be receiving his belt at the event in front of over a hundred other students and coaches.
In 2007, the organic formation of the Oban club began to take shape as the financial burden of travelling regularly to Glasgow to learn MMA (mixed martial arts) at the famous Griphouse, took its toll. Coogie began looking for other like-minded people, with an interest in practicing the drills he had learned in Glasgow.
A few months later, a small handful of keen club members started staying after their kickboxing class, where Coogie would put them through those Griphouse drills. This was long before the UFC exploded in the UK and many people at the time still thought of MMA as human cockfighting. Not the globally respected sport it has become today.
Gradually club numbers grew and MMA training with Coogie became a permanent fixture. Training seminars became a regular highlight for the club with coaches coming to Oban from all over Scotland to help teach, among those was UFC coach James Dolan and current UFC fighter Joanne Calderwood.
The club’s next evolution saw members compete in fighting competitions across the country, where they enjoyed great success and which cemented them as a respected up-andcoming martial arts club.
The commitment and time it took to get fighters ready for competition as well as normal work and family commitments meant after a few years Coogie could not commit the time needed to dedicate to the fighters so the decision was made to concentrate on one discipline.
The choice was easy, through their love and respect of the discipline, the club turned to BJJ. Since 2012 Coogie has been entering BJJ competitions and has won gold in every event he entered.
In Motherwell, during one of those event Coogie approached the clubs current professor Brazilian Marcos Nardini. Coogie said: ‘I liked his attitude and demeanour, Marcos was well respected in Scotland coming as he did from Brazil and had established schools around Kilmarnock and Glasgow. I asked him if he’d help me as I set up our BJJ school and the relationship has blossomed since.’
The club now regularly travels the UK to enter various competitions and has amassed over 70 medals in just a few years, something that Coogie is extremely proud of ‘the best measuring stick as to where we stand and how we are doing is to put students into competitions and see how they compete against other folk with similar time training, we have never come away from any competition without a few bits of bling and as a coach that’s a great feeling.’
The future of the club looks bright with students training four times a week and monthly seminars with Marcos. When asked his thoughts on receiving his new grade Coogie said: ‘The purple belt is something I’m very proud to receive, all the hours teaching, training and competing is what I enjoy the most and I hope that rubs off on anyone who wants to learn BJJ.’
Anyone interested in learning BJJ should contact Coogie on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coogie Potter receives his purple belt from Marcos Nardini.