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Irish fighter takes European silver

By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]

Irish resident Colin Byrne is no stranger to professional fighting, having practiced mixed martial arts since 1997, but his latest medal has placed him as one of the top practitioners of Brazilian Jujitsu, a discipline he teaches at his new gym in Lagos.

Colin told the Algarve Resident: “I moved to the Algarve a year ago after I had found the perfect place to open up a mixed martial arts gym in Lagos. I had planned to travel up to the European Brazilian Jujitsu Championships in Lisbon on January 28 to promote my new gym and while I was there, I thought I would enter into the competition, which had around 2,000 entrants.”

For most people, entering into a European standard competition would seem daunting but Colin is already an established Brazilian Jujitsu expert having taken the Irish National Championship title in 2010.

“I have only entered two competitions before as really my sport is mixed martial arts and I do not specialise in one form. It’s a bit like taking part in a triathlon; in mixed martial arts you have to reach a certain standard in a number of disciplines,” he said.

Colin Byrne is now passing on his martial arts knowledge at his Shinobi Academy Mixed Martial Arts School in Lagos, where he teaches and trains young beginners in Brazilian Jujitsu, Muay Thai and Ninjutsu.

“I am at the gym full time training up beginners in mixed martial arts. This is a sport which is now very popular around the world with the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the US being bigger than boxing now as spectators pay to watch intense rounds involving a very high level of skill, “ he said.

While the sport involves fights, Colin stresses that you do not have to be a fighter to take part in the sessions at the gym: “It looks violent but it is very skill based and if you do not want to fight, you are welcome to come to the gym and train as this is a very intense work out session for people.”

With his silver medal now under his belt, Colin is concentrating on upcoming fights in the Algarve, with the next due to take place on April 10 in Messines.

He said: “By training the beginners at the gym, I have been able to technically improve my skills. However, I am very thankful to Florin Vintila and Mauro Chueng from Albufeira who have been training with me to keep my levels high for upcoming fights.

“Mixed martial arts can be for everyone and there are no egos at the gym with many of those who come down to train now socialising out of the gym also. It is a great way to get fit and keep fit and a very friendly place to train in.”

For further information about all the training opportunities at the Shinobi Academy Mixed Martial Arts School, please call 927 379 135 or email [email protected]