Welcome to the BJJ in a Year challenge.  On this page you can follow Sam Priestley‘s progress as he attempts to get as good as possible at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Over to Sam.

Note – The year is now up and you can read my write up here.

Following the Expert in a Year model, I am going to improve as rapidly as possible by maximising the two parts of this equation:

Good Practice x Lots of Hours = Success

I have gone into detail on how I plan to maximise both “Good Practise” and “Lots of Hours”, but in short I am going to train as close to everyday as possible with the aim of getting at least 365 hours of good quality mat time. Check out my live timesheet and live expenses to see I’m getting on.

13 April 2015 

POST: The Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu Challenge Starts

21 April 2015

One week in and I test my skills against Rian, an experienced blue belt.

A big thanks to Urban Kings and Jude Samuels for letting me film.

22 April 2015

I think I have broken my finger…

27 April 2015

POST: I take a look at the positives of breaking a finger.

28 April 2015

Sam catches on camera his first ever Brazilian jiu-jitsu submission! In this second episode of the BJJ in a Year challenge he talks us through his sparring with three other white belts.

18 May 2015

POST: One month in, I take a look back on how I am getting on.

2 June 2015

I am now seven weeks in and although I am still getting dominated by most of the other white belts, I am finally getting good enough to defeat most complete beginners. In this video there are clips from three fights, beginning with one massive guy who trains as a body builder but who has just started learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu…

3 June 2015

50 hours in.

4 June 2015

Injured… again. :-(. This time I mess up a rib meaning I can’t train for a while.

16 June 2015

POST: Two months in, despite being off from injury I think the training is going well…

23 June 2015

Finally back training properly. But taking it slow to begin with.

1 September 2015

100 hours in.

3 September 2015

“You’ve really improved a lot”. My first compliment from our coach Jude Samuels.

18 October 2015

At just over six months it’s time for my first tournament. The London open. I have one fight which I lose by an advantage point.

28 October 2015

POST: The write up of my first tournament.

3 November 2015

150 hours in.

14 November 2015

Seven months in and my second tournament, the London Open. My first win! I get three fights in total, losing two and winning one. All three went the full five minutes.

11 January 2016

200 hours in.

11 February 2016

POST: Hitting the Road

4 March 2016

Last training session in the UK.

10 March 2016

250 hours in.

24 April 2016

Arrive in Brazil for a trip of a little over a month.

29 April 2016

Start training in Rio De Janeiro with Luciano Christovam at Leão Teixeira.

10 May 2016

The year is up! But the journey continues.

POST: What I Learnt Spending A Year Getting Beaton Up

27 July 2016

I get promoted to blue belt by Jude Samuel at Inglorious Grapplers.


POST: Levelling Up In Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu

4 November 2016

I move to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria for 6 weeks and train at Gracie Barra Las Palmas.

2 February 2017

I move to Malta for a month and train at Arete Malta.

26 March 2017

I move to Lisbon, Portugal for a month and train at Gracie Lisboa.

21 July 2017

I get married and moved to Tunbridge Wells (moved for work). That is too far to continue training at Inglorious Grapplers so I move to Carlson Gracie Kent.

26 October 2017

POST: From BJJ in a Year To BJJ in a Lifetime


Sam Priestley is a business owner with a love of learning. His experiences learning table tennis caught the public imagination and was featured on many news channels. His YouTube table tennis videos have been viewed over 8 million times. He blogs about life and business at sampriestley.com