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 coo­

Coo­gie Pot­ter re­ceives his pur­ple belt from Mar­cos Nar­dini.

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