Five martial artists from the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Team Malta have just taken part in the BJJ British Open, held over two days at the NEC Arena, Birmingham.

Joe Vella returned home with a silver medal after four fights in the White Master category.

He won his first three matches by submission, which is the equivalent of a knockout in other combat sport, only losing his final match on points.

Neville Thomas, who comes from a judo background, competed in the White Senior 2 category and managed a bronze medal after two tough bouts despite fighting in a higher weight category.

This was the first Jiu-Jitsu competition for both Vella and Thomas, the latter having only had a few months of BJJ training.

Andreas Haaland, who hails from Norway but is studying here and training with the Maltese team, won his first fight in the White Adult class but was eliminated in the second round by points.

In Adult Blue, Jozua Curmi was having a good showing in a heavier category before losing his bout on points.

Keith Darmanin, the instructor of the Maltese group, had an outstanding performance in the Purple Master category.

A silver medallist at the European Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Lisbon and the highest ranked BJJ martial artist on the islands, Darmanin secured a gold medal after three fights, eliminating his opponents who are member of more renowned Jiu-Jitsu academies.

Meanwhile, BJJ Malta recently staged a seminar where head instructor Rogerio Olegario (third Degree Black Belt) delivered the main talks.

During the seminar two BJJ Malta members – Andrei Spiteri and Noel Montebello – were promoted to the grade of Blue Belt. They achieved the grade after more than two years of constant training.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a modern martial art derived from Japanese ju-jitsu and judo.

BJJ is a very safe combat sport, based exclusively on grappling and where the aim is to gain superiority by adopting crippling techniques such as arm-locks.

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