Roger Gracie Black Belt, Nicholas Brooks On His Academy Mill Hill BJJ, The Growth Of BJJ In The UK, And His Academy in Slovakia

1.Hi Nich, can you please introduce yourself to the BJJ community of Eastern Europe 

Nicholas Brooks, London UK, Black Belt, Roger Gracie Academy, Mill Hill BJJ (my academy)
Europeans 4X, World Masters & Seniors 2X, Gracie Invitational 1X, Gracie Invitational NOGI 1X

2.How did you start training Jiu-Jitsu and how did you come into contact Mauricio Gomes and Roger Gracie? 

I met by chance Joao

 Santos (Robin Gracie Black Belt) who was a blue belt at the time, We both trained japanese ju jitsu and bumped into each other at a seminar, I had trained some submission wrestling as there was very little or
no BJJ in england back then, So we started to do some bjj training together he was only in the uk for a short time so when h
e returned to portugal he told me Mauricio Gomes was opening a full time academy in London and i should go and train with
him as he is a fantastic instructor, I went to the Academy on the very first day it opened in Febuary 2004 walked in and it was empty except for a big guy

painting the wall, He said to wait as there would be a class very soon, He put down the paint roller put on a GI that was the first time i met Roger,

4. Please tell us more about your academy MILL HILL BJJ. What made you decide to open your own place? What do you do differently than other BJJ academies?

Mill Hill BJJ in London

My work commitments at the time made it very difficult for me to get the mat time i wanted so i and some friends rented a hall and did some training together, It was a sport hall at a university so many students would pass by and watch and as time went on the class grew from 3 people to 20, then 30 and 40 until after a few years being very unhappy with my job decided to make a go of teaching

full time, Along with Andrew Marshall a proffesional strength & Conditioning coach who is one of my students
we decided to go into business together and try and build a succsessfull team,Things we do different, The instructor always picks your training partner when it comes to sparring, No bullies here and on the plus side the student gets a training partner who will give him good sparring, Competition team training for the serious competitor and strength & Conditioning program for to compliment there BJJ training, Beginners don’t have their own class all white belts are paired up with higher grades ie Blue & purple belts, It is like they are always getting a private lesson i think this increases their learning curve as opposed to white belts training together which can be like the blind leading the blind.

Nich training at De La Riva’s in Rio

5.Please tell us about your best students like that we should look out for at international competitions.

Daniel Strauss Brown Belt and the UK’s only adcc qualifier last year, Michael Hawkins Purple Belt and British champion in his first competition at the belt Beat Kiwan Gracie en route to GOLD with Daniel coaching Michael against Roger! nothing like a bit of in house rivalry
Jay Herridge Green Belt 14 years old, 26 straight GOLD medals only failed to submit 1 opponent in the last 4 years, we are all scared

6.What are other BJJ players that you admire, and why?

Roger Gracie amazing technician impecible timing, de la Riva just an amazing game my favourite person to spar with.

7. How do you view the progress of BJJ in the UK? How popular do you the sport getting there?

The sport is growing at an incredible rate here i can see no boundries to it’s development.

8. How much importance do you attribute to drilling techniques over and over? (do you do much drilling or more sparring)

I personally spend more time drilling than anything else, Building the muscle memory is the most important thing it has to be reactionary
if you have to think about it you have missed the moment.

9. You travel very often to Brazil for training and competition. Where do you train there and what does training in Brazil have that the UK doesn’t?

I only train at the de la Riva academy in Cocacabana, I just love the atmosphere there it is all about learning and improving each other there is no ego, plus i get to train with a choice of over 30 Black Belts on any day of the week the variety of their games is amazing

9. Please tell us about your schools in Slovakia and Croatia.

Nich in Slovakia with Lubomir Repasky

BJJ Slovakia in Bratislava is run by my student Lubomir Repasky (Brown Belt) who is doing a fantastic job there his students are
all very technical which is because his passion and dedication is second to none, I am sure the academy will go on to do great things,

RGA Split is actually Rogers academy, I go there when Roger cannot make it to support them The academy is Run by Dejan a very very good (Brown Belt)
and Toni Amižić also a (Brown Belt) A very good academy with very technical students

10. What are your favorite guard passes?

Knee Slice

11.What is next for you and your team in 2012/2013

To build on what we have achieved so far and push harder and further

12.If you want to thank somebody please feel free

Mauricio Gomes, Roger Gracie, Braulio Estima, de la Riva

13. Thank you Nich and all the best!

My pleasure and thanks!