Meet the Team
Professor Paul Bridges holds a third-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – and can lay claim to being one of the pioneers of the art in the United Kingdom.
Having achieved a black belt in freestyle karate, he switched to BJJ after seeing Royce Gracie’s win UFC 1 and was awarded his black belt in 2009 by Marc Walder and Mauricio ‘Motta’ Gomes making Paul one of the UK “Dirty Dozen” (the first twelve UK born Black Belts).
Paul remains an active competitor and believes in leading from the front.
Over the years he has competed in the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships, and won gold at the first European Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship, as well as the English Open Championship.
He was also crowned 2015 ADCC British Open champion in the Pro Division under 65.9kg category - defeating ex-UFC fighter Leigh Remedios with an armbar before winning a thrilling final against UCMMA champion Spencer Hewitt.
Paul is also a veteran of the TUFF Invitational and Polaris events, and was one of the first Europe-based fighters to represent Gracie Barra in the MMA cage.
However, he is just as devoted to teaching self-defence as he is to the developing his academy’s competition team.
‘The most important element is teaching people how to defend themselves in a street fight,’ he says. ‘My job is to provide people with the skills and the confidence to use them.’
Paul offers 1-2-1 or small group sessions - please use the contact form for more information.
Professor Ali Bayley began training Jiu Jitsu with Paul in 2002. Alongside a full time career as a teacher, gaining a Bachelors and a Masters degree, and being a mum of three, Ali continued to train and was awarded her Black Belt in March 2017. She also made the “Dirty Dozen”, as the twelfth UK born female Black Belt.
Ali is the Program Director at Gracie Barra Hastings and runs all aspects of the business. She is the lead instructor for the Tiny Champions class.
Ali is passionate about sending a positive message to women about the benefits of training Jiu Jitsu.
“In nearly every other martial art the first thing you learn is to kick, punch and attack but they never truthfully teach you how to defend yourself in a worst-case scenario,”
Learning how to protect herself has also given her confidence.
“I have focused strongly on the self-defence elements of the art because, as a woman, I am conscious there is always the possibility of being attacked by a larger, stronger person and I know the skill I have refined over the years will enable me to defend myself in any situation.”
As well as developing her own skills, Ali has dedicated herself to teaching women’s self-defence classes and she has Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on the PE curriculum in the schools she has worked in.
Ali offers 1-2-1 or small group sessions - please use the contact form for more information.
Professor James Creaser is a veteran of Martial Arts, not only holding a Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu, he is also an accomplished Muay Thai instructor and MMA coach.
James has been training Martial Arts since he was a teenager and has always focused on developing his own skills and teaching others.
He is the lead instructor for the ‘Grapple & Strike’ class and he also teaches Muay Thai for Double K gym on Wednesday and Friday evenings.
James has supported Paul with his training for events such as Polaris and Tuff Invitationals Jiu Jitsu tournaments and is a trusted cornerman and technical advisor in all of Paul’s professional fights.
THE PROFESSORS AND COACHES AT GRACIE BARRA HASTINGS