Knowing how to land on the floor is key in the study of ju-jitsu, an ancient Japanese martial art that practices without weapons. The art was developed to take down armored opponents who were utilizing weapons against the user. The name ju-jitsu (of which there are many different permutations) literally translates to “the gentle art,” where the focus of the art is submission and grappling rather than injuring by striking. Developed by samurai, this form of combat has gained recently popularity due to the rise of mixed martial arts tournaments like the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

In the heart of the United Kingdom there exists a club where members of the LGBT community can learn and practice free of discrimination or judgment about their sexuality and instead focus their attention on tangible goals.

Ishigaki ju-jitsu is a club that makes its home in London and has recently expanded with a branch in Brighton. The mission statement of Ishigaki is simple: if you want to build confidence while getting in shape, come roll (a ju-jitsu termed used when two opponents are locked on the ground) with us.

In the spirit of making a mark on the community, Ishigaki urges members to try their first class free of charge to see how they enjoy the sport. The website is consistently updated with a blog reel that features all of the interesting news from the heads of the club down to the new members.

Practicing a martial art can seem strange or scary in the beginning, but the rewards found within can be gained few other places in life. Only a slim number of places  contain socializing and exercising on the same axis, and even fewer that make themselves publically open to gay exploratory athletes. Give Ishigaki a try if you’re in the UK looking to find a samurai mentality.

Ishigaki can be found at