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By Jacob Rawley
Oban Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is tucked away in the back of town, but it is a trek worth taking if you want to learn the world’s most practical martial art in a fun and friendly environment.
The gym is run by Coogie Potter, a student of Marcos Nardini, Scotland’s only Brazilian born black belt, a European jiu jitsu champion and a former professional mixed martial artist.
Coogie has created a fantastic atmosphere at his Lochavullin base. His students all help each other in their pursuit of a common goal.
There is no ego, no bravado, simply a passion for the martial arts.
It’s a small gym, but often those are the best in the world of combat sports. They are real. Bigger gyms sometimes lose their way, becoming money driven businesses which push a fast-food version of whatever art they may have once taught.
Oban BJJ isn’t like that. It’s more than big enough to have a solid community built around it. However it has stuck to its roots with the community remaining tight-knit and humble.
This is apparent in the training sessions, where people aren’t just trying to improve on their own abilities. They all help each other. If someone catches their training partner with something they will explain how they where able to do so. This means knowledge is passed through all levels.
The team also test themselves and some of the gym’s walls are covered in competition medals. And there’s plenty gold ones there.
Coogie’s coach Marcos Nardini has great things to say about the gym: ‘What Coogie has been able to do for the sport in a small town like Oban is great,’ he said. ‘Oban BJJ is a credit to the town.’
He also complemented Coogie as a coach saying ‘Coogie thinks outside the box’. The team’s standard impresses Marcos, especially considering how isolated Oban BJJ is compared to other Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and mixed martial arts gyms in Scotland.
That is because Coogie goes the extra mile, travelling with his team to places like Kilmarnock and Alloa, giving his students the opportunity to train with different people and learn from different coaches.
If you are looking to get fit, practice a martial art with like-minded people or compete in jiu jitsu or mixed martial arts, Oban BJJ is an outstanding option.
Classes run from Monday to Friday. Tuesday is a mixed martial arts class and Friday is an advanced class.