There are not many sports where you can choke someone out and then accept a friend request from them on Facebook.
Nelson Brazilian Jiu Jitsu exponent Mikey Bloomfield won a gold medal at the Auckland Championships by winning his four fights by tap out, including a rear naked choke and a shoulder submission called the Kimura lock
The 23-year-old has tried almost every martial arts discipline, but the middleweight settled on BJJ because of the many ways he could beat an opponent.
“I was hoping I could win gold, but I wanted to test myself against the best in the country and that’s certainly what you get at an Auckland regionals.”
Mikey says the mat-based nature of the sport appealed to him but the friendships keep him in the game.
“All the guys I fought were really nice and now we are friends on Facebook, which is cool.”
Mikey says the a”bility to control your breathing can be important during a five minute bout and he studied fighters in the lead-up to his contests to see if he could pick up any hints about their style.
The sport is a martial art based around self-defence and Mikey is keen to keep going through the grades.
Mikey trains with about 25 others at Club Italia on Trafalgar St, which is now the new home of Nelson’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu scene.
Mikey says the training is about skill rather than attempting to hurt or injure an opponent, and the exposure the martial art is getting through the Ultimate Fighting Championship is a bonus for the club.
“BJJ is truly international and is just starting to get popular with people.”