European gold for Mansfield newcomer to Brazilian jiu-jitsu

A Mansfield-based exponent of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) has been crowned the best in Europe -- after only six months of training.

Mark Case, who is 40, landed gold at the European Championships, staged by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation at Lisbon in Portugal. And his triumph was another feather in the cap for the M Pire BJJ academy, on Leeming Street, Mansfield, which now has nearly 100 members, including teams for adults and children.

BJJ is a martial art that embraces self-defence techniques as well as combat sport, and Case had already won gold at the British Open and the Nottingham Open.

To enter the tournament in Lisbon, he needed to raise £600 in ten days, but managed it through a GoFundMe page online and also with help from family and friends. The effort proved well worthwhile as he took the championships by storm, alongside his coach Shane Mills.

Case won all four of his fights convincingly, dominating his opponents and finishing two of them with what are known as Americana submissions.

“What Mark has achieved in such a short space of time is incredible,” said a spokesman for M Pire, which started training and teaching BJJ in a garage and has made remarkable progress since it was launched three years ago.

“BJJ is an art form and lifestyle that promotes healthy, fitness, discipline and team spirit.”