Scotland has a new Brazilian JuiJitsu black belt. Calum Murrie was promoted recently to become the first 10th Planet black belt in Scotland and the first in the U.K.
Not only is Calum a great submission expert he has also fought for a world title for South African promotion EFC in MMA, currently recovering from injury, its only a matter if time before we see him competing again.
I recently asked Calum how it felt to be awarded such an honour.
“Yeah, I’m over the moon to get my blackbelt in 10th Planet jiujitsu. I’m one of the first in UK which is quite an achievement in itself.”
Calum talks about his BJJ journey, “I’ve been training BJJ for 10 years now, started off messing around with the guys at the local gym, I trained at SMAC then really enjoyed it.
“I was actually put on to 10th Planet jiujitsu by my best mate Mop (Craig McIntosh), so I watched the videos online and liked the style Eddie Bravo was using, as he said it was a no-gi clinch style developed for MMA and that was what I was wanting to compete in so it made sense.”
Calum found it difficult to find a 10th Planet instructor, to begin with.
“Trying to find out how to learn this stuff one to one off an instructor was a different matter,” he explained. “I searched online and there was one 10th Planet affiliate gym in the whole of UK, (10th Planet Grimsby) it was run by a blue belt at the time, Simon Cox, who then progressed to purple a short time after.
“I used to go down there for weeks at a time training specifically, rubber guard, lockdown paths and twister side. It gave me all the basics I needed and worked for me when I used to come back home and use it in the gym. It just kind of suits my body type and flexibility.
“So the following year I went to a Sean Bollinger seminar down in Essex and Salisbury. Sure this was 2010, where I got on well with Sean and he invited me over to stay in his gym for a month or so at a time in Riverside.
“It was there I met Jeremy Fields who was the gym owner and also a blackbelt. They have now moved to Corona and I have been making the trips out there and headquarters basically every year for the past 9 years.”
Calum explains he doesn’t compete as much as he used to in BJJ.
“As far as competing in BJJ I only compete back and forward, here and there. To be honest, MMA is where my competing priorities lie right now, there’s only a short window so you got to make the most of it while you can in MMA. I’m 31 now so I’m not getting any younger. I’m sure once I finish competing in MMA I will be very active in the Scottish and UK grappling scene.
“That’s kinda the transition a lot of MMA fighters have in mind as it’s not half as bad on your body and you can compete as long as your body will handle which can be up to like 60 years old!
Would Calum suggest more people give BJJ a try?
“I think everyone should take up BJJ, it genuinely helps your body in every way. Physically, mentally, and keeps your ego in check. You will lose weight, tone up, become fitter, your mind has to think about every move, keep’s the brain working and every time you step on the mat you learn something new. I reckon within the next five years or so we will see BJJ in the Olympics. It’s just growing so fast and everyone wants to know what it is and what it’s about.”
Calum is no stranger to travelling around to train BJJ, whether it be the U.S or The Netherlands, where he visited last week. He has also found that the level of the Scots practitioners holds their own when up against other countries.
“Going out to other countries training is always cool” Calum explains. “It’s good to see the different way coaches teach, everyone has their own shit and what they’re good at so you will always learn heading to other gyms and pick up new stuff.
“To be honest in Scotland training at Higher level MMA you don’t actually realise what level you’re at or even the training partners are at. When you go abroad and train at good places and you’re like I’m probably gonna get smashed off everyone but it doesn’t happen like that.
“Of course there are the guys that are killers like anywhere but in general you can’t put these guys on a pedestal above you until they have been tried and tested. It’s a crazy game. I’ve gone abroad before and smashed black belts and totally surprised myself but then at the same time I’ve gone abroad and been smashed by purple belts and been like how did that happen haha.”
“Anyway as far as it goes the BJJ scene in Scotland and UK as a whole is growing fast and I don’t think it will be long until you start seeing UK guys doing well in ADCC, EBI, Polaris all the major competitions.”
Calum also has some praise for his head coach at Higher Level, James Doolan.
“James is a blackbelt head coach with a tonne of pro MMA experience and creating champions so when it’s so close by to you you’d be daft not to take advantage of being taught by the best.”
Talking of James Doolan, he also had some praise for Calum.
“I think it’s very cool Calum has become the first UK based tenth planet Black belt, it’s some thing he should be proud off,” James said.
“When he started training with me at Higher Level he had already trained with 10th Planet black belts Jeremy Fields and Sean Bollinger a few times in the states.” James continued.
“I’ve always encouraged Calum to keep training in the 10th Planet style as well as the training he does at Higher Level with us in the Gi, he is currently a purple belt under me.
“Calum’s physical abilities mean he suits the 10th Planet style of Juijitsu in particular certain techniques or sequences of technique which require a level of dexterity and flexibility most people don’t have.
“Calum’s proved the effectiveness of his grappling multiple times in both MMA fights and grappling competitions.”
Photo credit, Calum Murrie Facebook.