Flying Knee: Windy Miller gets his BJJ black belt, Arnold Allen at UFC 204 and BCMMA 17
It is renowned as the hardest belt to achieve in all of a martial arts.
But after years of training, Suffolk pioneer Windy Miller has become the first person in the county, and one of only a handful in the region, to be awarded his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).
The grappling art, which incorporates a range of submissions, sweeps and chokes, is widely seen as the most effective of all martial arts – if you want to get to the top in MMA, you’d better be good on the ground.
It takes most practitioners years just to advance beyond the basic level, with Miller, 51, awarded his black belt by BJJ legend Victor Estima after 15 years of sharpening his craft.
“I found it very, very emotional,” Miller told me. “It’s the hardest black belt to get in martial arts and I’m one of the only people in the UK, if not the world, to get theirs over the age of 50.”
The belt is the latest in a long line of achievements for Windy, who first started training in martial arts when he began judo aged 10-years-old in Kenya. He’s also a high-level karate black belt, brown belt in judo, Krav Maga coach, personal safety coach for the police and an advanced knife defence instructor.
In addition, he sits on the governing body of the UK MMA Federation and can regularly be seen judging at MMA events around the country.
“I just did whatever was going,” said Miller, recalling his early steps in the martial arts world.
“When I was training some Kung-Fu someone lent me a video tape of one of the early UFC events and I said ‘I’ve got to do BJJ.’
“I had a friend in London who found one of the only places in the country teaching BJJ, near London Bridge, and I started going there every Saturday to train.
“The beauty of it is that it’s all about leverage and intelligence overcoming size and strength.”
Miller started Blue Wave Martial Arts back in 2004 to teach others what he was learning, while training alongside the likes of East Anglian MMA legends Lee Catling and Lee Doski.
And he says anyone, of any age, can benefit from training in martial arts. “A really good club is really friendly and everybody will help you,” he said. “No-one is going to jump on you and kill you – it’s all about learning and helping each other.”
He added: “I just want to say a general thanks to everyone I’ve trained with. They’ve all been part of my journey.
“It’s been a fabulous journey and I don’t intend on stopping soon!”
Windy teaches MMA and BJJ at Unit 1 Gym in Bury St Edmunds.
Call him on 07799 403584 for more information.
Our very own UFC fighter, Arnold Allen, has a huge chance to step into the upper echelons of the featherweight division next month.
Allen, from Trimley St Martin, fights 14th-ranked Mirsad Bektic at UFC 204 in Manchester on October 8.
Fighting the unbeaten Bektic (10-0) is a big step up for Allen (11-1), but he will relish the chance to prove his skills at a higher level.
The 22-year-old, above, is one of the country’s brightest young MMA talents, having impressed in his first two fights in the UFC.
He started with a come-from-behind submission win over Alan Omer in Berlin – earning a $50,000 bonus – before totally dominating veteran Yaotzin Meza en route to a decision win at the O2 back in February.
Allen is now based at the world-famous Tristar Gym in Montreal, training under the brilliant Firas Zahabi, and will be ready to put on a show at the Manchester Arena, fighting on the same show as British UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping.
I’ll be catching up with him before the fight, so watch this space!
Injuries to key fighters have forced the postponement of BCMMA 17, which was due to be held in Colchester on September 24.
The show will now be held on Saturday December 3, at Charter Hall, with explosive Colchester bantamweight Kerry Hughes headlining as she fights for the title against Lucie Bertaud.
Lightweight Sean Carter is also on the card, as is talented atomweight prospect Wendy McKenna as she makes her pro debut.
For tickets and more, visit www.bcmma.co.uk.