Aylesbury is now home to the European Brazilian jiu jitsu champion after Kev Capel saw a decade of hard work and dedication pay off in Portugal at the weekend.
Capel, who runs the Bucks branch of the Roger Gracie Academy in Duck Farm Court, was victorious in the black belt masters in Lisbon to finally win gold after coming so close on a number of occasions over the last 10 years.
The 38 year old has been competing in the European Championships since 2004 and could have been forgiven for thinking he might never win the gold after taking three silvers and a bronze during that time.
Brazilian jiu jitsu is a martial art, combat sport and self defense system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting.
It is an art form Capel has clearly mastered. The popular Aylesbury fighter and coach beat Carlos Kazuo of Japan in the semi-final to set up a final clash with Italian Cristian Migovan.
Capel’s yearning for gold did not cloud his focus in the big finale, though, and the modest martial artist remained composed to win in style with his favourite move.
“I’ve come close before but today I got lucky and won the gold,” a humble Capel told The Bucks Herald from Lisbon.
More than 3,000 competitors started out in the championships, but Capel was the only one left standing come medal time. There was no luck involved in Capel’s win, though. He revealed years of dedication in the gym and training paid off.
He said: “I submitted my opponent in the final with a choke known as a bow and arrow that is one of my favourite chokes to use in training.
“It puts a lot of pressure on the neck and if your opponent doesn’t submit in time they are rendered unconscious.
“I first competed in the Euros in 2004 at their inaugural event but this is the first time I have won a gold so to do it at black belt meant a lot to me. “Also this now puts me ranked no.3 in the world at black belt for my age and weight group so I am over the moon, it is a great feeling.”
There was no time for Kev to rest on his laurels and enjoy his hard-earned success either.
He arrived back in Aylesbury from Portugal at 7pm on Monday night and went straight to the Academy where his members were all ready for a tough training session.
He said: “It has been a bit hectic! I literally had to grab my stuff straight out of my case and get into it.
“But the support has been great and really means a lot to me.”
Do you want the chance to be trained by Kev and his team? Visit RGA Bucks for more information.