Bringing Jiu-Jitsu to Bradford, how one couple used the martial art to create their own future

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A Leeds couple with a passion for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is taking on the business world with hopes of opening up training centres in Europe.

Directors Josh Taylor and Meg Flaherty, both in their 20s, opened Origin Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Bradford, this Summer.

Head coach Josh, who is in training for his black belt, said the martial art empowers the weak.

He said: “If you learn a new technique that’s something you can take positivity from. There is a challenge to it. It’s a very cerebral martial art. Drawing from the confidence of the day to day practice helps you attack things in life with much more confidence and enthusiasm I find.”

Meg believes young people should feel encouraged to open up a business after deciding the university route wasn’t for her.

“Don’t believe that everyone has to go to university. It was our choice to set up a business and we made sure we thoroughly took the steps to make it possible. Sometimes university slows career processes down for people and experience is so important. University might not necessarily give you that.

Directors Meg Flaherty and Josh Taylor, who is also head coach.

Directors Meg Flaherty and Josh Taylor, who is also head coach.

“As young people we have more time effort and energy to put 100% into the business and make this our future- we have the luxury of creating our own lives,” she said.

The entrepreneurs have also taken the sports’ philosophy into local hospitals, especially those who regularly deal with confused patients such as those who may be suffering from dementia.

The pair taught staff how to break away from certain grips in a gentle but firm way as well as discussing conflict resolution and situational awareness.

The first class Origin students take is the combatives class to learn 36 essential techniques.

Head coach Josh said, “These are the techniques you would need in a real street fight to defend yourself. It’s the class where every adult starts when they come through the doors at Origin.”

After this students learn the remaining 600 techniques taught in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Jiu-Jitsu student Michael Faulkner, who trained alongside Josh at a previous centre, said: “I really found jiu-jitsu was much more of a clever sport. It was about using your mind. Under Gracie Jiu-Jitsu I’m a three strike purple belt. I’m really pleased with my progress with Josh and looking forward to continuing working with him.”