MARTIAL arts fighters from the De Souza Dojo Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy won top honours at the latest championships in Bournemouth.

The club, which hosts two contests a year, triumphed in their own Dorset and Hants Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open tournament at Bournemouth's Littledown Centre, winning both the adult and children's team trophies.

Katie De Souza, who runs the academy with husband Alex - a third degree black belt considered a pioneer of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the UK - explained: "Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a ground grappling submission fighting martial art.

"We started teaching in the south of England in 2000. It wasn't really known then, and we've been running the competitions since 2010. Now we have built up a following and there are lots of clubs across the UK."

Anyone can come along to try out the martial art at the De Souza Dojo, which is based on Christchurch Road, Lansdowne, Bournemouth. The academy even takes on youngsters as young as four-years-old.

"You don't have to be in good shape to start," said Katie. "Lots of people do come to us because of fitness and not everyone goes onto compete. Obviously, we encourage competition because it is a good way to test what you have learned and have some fun.

"For the children we find it helps with their confidence, self-esteem and even behaviour at school."

Explaining competition at the sharp end, Katie said: "You start the fight standing up and the aim is you can take each other down. Once the fight goes to the ground it continues.

"Then you're trying to get into the best position, you get points for different positions but also you want to get your opponent to submit. You can submit them by doing a choke, an arm bar.

"They will try to escape - if they cannot escape, they will tap then you immediately have to let go.

"If neither can submit each other, gaining points for specific moves during the fight will determine the winner."

The tournaments run by the academy attract martial artists from across the UK, with some competitors travelling from Spain and France to take part

Visit for details of the De Souza Dojo Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy.