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Martin Hollis is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) black belt under Keith McKenzie and part of Checkmat BJJ.

Headed by the Ricardo and Leo Vieira, Checkmat is one of the top teams in the world with some of the biggest names and strongest competitors in the sport.

Martin trained in judo and traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu as a child and teenager. When he moved to London in 1999, he discovered Muay Thai at KO Kickboxing, Bethnal Green. After winning tickets to UFC 38 at the Royal Albert Hall in 2002, Martin then decided to look for a gym where he could train in mixed martial arts (MMA).

That’s what led him to London Pancrase in Finsbury Park, which was one of the UK’s very first MMA clubs. Here, Martin found out how easily he could be picked apart on the ground, so he focussed on grappling at Top Wrestling Academy, where he was taught by submission specialists Rob Sulski and Kamal Shalarous.

When Martin later moved back to Reigate, Surrey, he discovered his passion for training BJJ in the gi. He trained in a number of local clubs and gyms, but didn’t find a home until a friend introduced him to McKenzie BJJ, Crawley. Martin quickly gravitated towards Keith’s relaxed, technical teaching style and developed his skills using this fresh approach. In 2017, Martin became Keith’s first black belt (an honour he doesn’t hold lightly).

Martin’s lineage

Mitsuyo Maeda → Carlos Gracie → Helio Gracie → Rolls Gracie → Romero Cavalcanti → Ricardo Vieira → Marco Canha → Keith McKenzie → Martin Hollis

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