wayneA quiet minute so here’s a few words about my bjj experience…. I took up bjj for the first time a few years ago now, and really enjoyed it. I was training in a different club, lots of numbers, and met a few good lads there.. Inanyhoo, after a few months I completed the beginners cycle and rather than move on to the Gi class, I stayed in my comfort zone and repeated the cycle 2 more times! Not great for advancement I know, but after watching a couple of gi classes I thought I would struggle, and so rather than push myself, I stayed where I was. Soon after I badly injured my knee (dislocation) and that was that!
I always kept my interest up but found every excuse under the sun not to go back…. Sore knee, bad back, too tired, too busy…. Until last June. I had gotten fat… 103 kgs…. Not bad for a 6ft4 Adonis…. Terrible for a 5ft8 stump! My back was terrible, I work on my feet all day and the doc had me on 8 painkillers a day to deal with it, I’d 3 kids at home that I struggled to have the energy to play with….. My health was a mess! I decided enough was enough…. At 33 I was too young to have bad health. So I found the Royal Grappling Academy…. After my first class, I knew this was the right place for me…. Jesus, Robson Moura was there my first night! How’s that for a start! I met a group of great lads, every one of them…. They push me in the right way every night I train and in Roger Dardis and Paul Fox, we’ve got truly fantastic coaches who make learning easy…. So here’s the cliché….. BJJ has changed my life for the absolute better. I’ve dropped nearly 15kgs with more to follow…. I’m off all painkillers for my back, I’ve a ton of energy for my family which has expanded so I need all the energy I can get and work and I’m even gonna compete in the Gi and nogi this year! I’m under no illusion about my level in bjj…. I’m at the bottom…. But to steal a quote, ” There are no elevators in jiujitsu… You’ve got to take the stairs. “
And I’m making those steps every day.
Thanks for everything lads – Wayne Palmer 

————————————————————-  I started BJJ at 19 at the start of my first year of college. I had bandied around the idea of trying out BJJ for a while and finally decided that I’d at least give it a go. I emailed the guys here and Foxy replied telling me to come down and try it out. I was nervous as hell when I first showed up, but those nerves settled once I walked onto the mats and everyone was joking and laughing. Every single member of the class shook my hand and introduced themselves. Everyone was more than willing to answer any questions I had or to help me with whatever we happened to be drilling that night.

Since then I’ve made great friends at RGA and my confidence has increased tenfold. BJJ has definitely changed my life. Instead of going out Friday evenings and spending a ridiculous amount of money on watered down booze, I’m either getting my gear ready for training Saturday morning or training in our Navan academy. The atmosphere at RGA is relaxed yet focused, with more emphasis on focus when a competition is coming up. The people I’ve met at RGA are good friends of mine from all walks of life. We’ve got a barber, airplane mechanics, students, security guards, marketing gurus, IT guys, even a mature student or two! Training at RGA has allowed me to go to places I’ve always wanted to (New York and London) as well as make friends with people on the other side of the world.

If you’re currently in the situation that I was in, my advice would be to go for it. I did, and got to compete internationally as well as meet amazing people!

As for Foxy and Roger, thanks for all the support and guidance over the past few years.

Conor Murphy (21) – Computer Science Student (second from right above)


I began training with Royal Grappling Academy in January of 2015. I’d been playing sports on and off for years and was looking for something different. I had been running for a couple of years and ran a few half marathons and marathons over that time. One of my goals when looking to begin Jiu Jitsu was to lose weight, but once you actually go to a few of the classes, that becomes a secondary concern. 

At 32 I had gained a bit of weight and wanted to try something else as running had really started to take its toll on my legs. I first contacted Roger about a year before I actually started, but with wedding plans in full swing it was virtually impossible to fit anything else in to a busy schedule including shift work.My thoughts were, even if I didn’t like it, the course wasn’t that expensive to begin with so I had pretty much nothing to lose. But, like most who walk on the mats will tell you, once you start Jiu Jitsu, it’s hard to give it up. By week 2 I couldn’t get enough.

Something I’ve noticed since starting is the community spirit amongst most people training BJJ. The camaraderie with everyone who you haven’t trained with before but with a sense that we are all there to help each other progress and get better.

 I’ve had my fair share of injuries along the way, but your desire to get back onto the mats is as strong as anything, but sometimes you just need to let your body rest. Once you are ready to return, you won’t fail to find someone who is willing to roll light with you while you slowly get back into it.

The thing that surprised me most about training Jiu Jitsu that I never expected is that it changed me as a person. After every training session I go home buzzing. Along with being absolutely exhausted and a slight soreness, the endorphins are flowing which can sometimes make it hard to rest or sleep straight away. Even my other half has noticed the changes it has made to me. I am much calmer, happier person since January. It also has made me want to look after my body better, eating better food which will go hand in hand with losing the weight I had originally intended to do. This would enable me to train better and become fitter in the process.

Having watched some of the white belts when I started, now being promoted to Blue belt, it’s a real incentive to come to training and just try to get better. It’s a great group to train with, who are just as invested in helping to improve your game as they are their own. Hopefully things progress as well as they have into the future, because even only starting at 32, I have many years left yet. It’s never too late to start

-Pat Byrne