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SA Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter Michael Toyama wins to national title. FOURTEEN years ago, Michael Toyama ran his eyes down a list of martial arts in the Yellow Pages until he stopped on something called Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)...

“I had no idea what is was but I thought I’d go down to the academy. I saw some guys training on the ground and it looked a bit funny,” Toyama said.

“I jumped on the mat and trained with the guys there and it was really challenging, I left with my tail between my legs.

“But I went back and before I knew it I was hooked and fell in love with the art of Jiu Jitsu.”

Jiu Jitsu is a form of submission grappling fought on the ground and is rapidly growing around the world.

Fast-forward to today and 31-year-old Toyama is a BJJ black belt certified with the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation.

He teaches the martial art full-time at his own academy — South Australian Brazilian Jiu Jitsu — is a sponsored athlete and in February won the Grappling Tournaments Australia: Australian No-Gi Jiu Jitsu Championships.

“I won the black belt open weight division, and the prize was an all-expenses paid sponsorship to represent Australia at the world championships in the US later this year,” he said.

Toyama pulled off three wins (two by submission and one by points) against his competitors to qualify for the tournament in Los Angeles in November.

“It was a pretty big moment for me,” he said.

“It took a little while for it to sink in to be honest.

“Everyone went crazy at that moment (in the gold medal fight) because the final match was so close right to the final seconds of the 10-minute match.”

Now Toyama is in training in preparation for his black belt debut in his first world championships.

“I’ll be competing in the middleweight division and almost every guy in the division is going to be a top level competitor,” he said.

“It’s going to take a good solid four to six months of training before I go over there.

“I’ll be doing all of my strength and conditioning work at Fast Twitch Performance Training Centre and I’ll be on the mat six days a week training Jiu Jitsu at my academy to keep my rhythm going.

“It’s a dream come true.”

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