Three members of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu club in Grand Falls-Windsor competed in the provincial tournament in Clarenville on Feb. 7 and returned with six medals.
Victor Dray won gold in the Gi Division and silver in the No gi Division, Mark Feener brought home gold in the No gi Division and silver in Gi, while Nick Wiseman won the bronze medal in each division.
The club has only been in operation since August and has already had impressive results at the two tournaments they have been a part of.
"For a club that has been in operation for not even a year we're doing really well," said club instructor Matt King. "The guys are catching on quick - some of these guys have only been involved for a few months and they're taking on guys that have been involved for a year or more and are doing quite well against them. I was really impressed with their performance."
King, who medaled in the previous tournament, was unable to compete in the tournament because there was no division for his level of training, but coached his members and was impressed by the talent from across the province.
"I'm really impressed with everything I see from all the other clubs. They are all really good competitors so when I see my guys submitting other guys were winning on points I'm very proud of them," said King. "We are up there with our level of instruction, and our athletes are second to none."
While Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is very popular in the United States, and growing across Canada, the group is focusing on the sport on a provincial level because, according to King, it is growing at a steady pace.
"Just a few years ago there were no clubs on the island and now there are at least seven," he said. "The schools didn't exist a few years ago and now there are more and more people involved in the club themselves. I would say the level of interest certainly has picked up over the past few years."
While he does not see the club leaving the province to compete any time soon, King is interested in hosting an event in the near future.
"We have been thinking about hosting, but I need to get in contact with the other clubs and see if there is any interest in that and see if the guys from St. John's wouldn't mind making the trip," he said. "There's going to be the competition coming up in March that we plan on going to and hope to have bigger turnout there."
Until then, King will be making some changes to the program that has become popular in the Exploits region.
"We're going to add a bit of striking into our classes and a little bit of kickboxing," said King. "To a pure Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition it's not going to bring much because you are not allowed to strike, only submissions and holds. If they ever wanted to compete in the future at some point in mixed martial arts or they just want to make the transition to kickboxing that will help."