Liverpool Brazilian Jiu Jitsu star Ryan Bartley has attributed his dedication to his inspiring older brother, Jonathan.
The 22-year-old had to give up boxing when his local gym shut down.
And it was his brother who then brought him into BJJ to keep active.
He said: “I was enjoying boxing for around a year and a half before the gym shut down. Unfortunately, the gym owner’s mother passed away.
“My brother wanted me to keep active, so he introduced me to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and since then I haven’t looked back.
“I started BJJ in 2016. I was training with Mario Sukata in Cherry Lane before he moved to Masda gym.
“That was more MMA orientated, so we moved to Gracie Barra in Warrington.”
Sukata is a coach who Bartley wants to be under, and when Sukata moved back to LBJJ in Old Swann, Ryan and his brother followed.
So far in his career, Ryan has fought in four competitions, winning silver in three and he hopes to earn gold when he next competes.
“I hope to get to a number of competitions this year and show how I’ve progressed since my last fights”, he said.
“I look at Jiu Jitsu like chess. As I have gained more experience, I feel now that as I look to submit, I’m not, if you understand.
“For me, I like to look two steps ahead to see how my opponent will react.”
Bouts can be won via submission or by out-scoring the opponent. Ryan says he always aim for the former.
“You earn points for different moves for example take-down is two points or a pass into side control is three points.
“I’m always looking for the submission. I don’t really aim for points, I don’t like how that system works.
“If I’m dominating someone I will try and generate the points, but am always looking for the submission.
“My favourite submissions are either the triangle or a foot-lock. I always tend to go for flying submissions in competitions, though.
Bartley is constantly looking to better himself and often analyses his performances in training.
“When I first started, I seen that sometimes I was putting myself into bad positions.
“After class I’d sit and ask myself why I allowed myself to get in those positions. Now I feel I have figured it out.
“I am currently sitting at Purple-Belt-One and with how I’ve progressed I aim to have my brown belt by September next year.”
Ryan intends to go even further in BJJ.
The 22-year-old revealed he’d like to have earned his Black belt by the time he turns 27.
But, that’s not all, as he modestly admitted.
“The way I look at it, a black belt is only gracing the surface.
“Yeah, you’re at the front of the Jiu Jitsu train, but you’re at the back of the black belt train.
“I want to be the best I can be. I know I wont reach where Jonathan does, but I want to go as far as possible.”
Ryan believes competing and learning from his older brother will help him get to where he wants to be.
He said: “I always look up to Jonathan as he’s the one who got me obsessed with the sport.
“Sparring with him really helps me as he’s my main partner.
“He’s over 90kg and I’m only 65kg, so sparring someone at that weight makes me stronger.
“I’m 5’11 so when I’m competing against other 65s, they’re normally much smaller than me – around 5’7.
“After class, we often talk about our spar on our way home. If he got me in a bad position we reflect with each other for next class.”
Once Bartley has acquired his black belt for some time, he says he hopes to open up his own gym with his brother.
“In the future when I’ve earned my black-belt, opening a gym could be a possibility.
“I think I would like to be a coach one day, as I would like to help people progress in the sport.
“Opening a gym isn’t definite, but I would at least want to take adult and kids classes as a coach to develop that side of things.”