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Teesside kids overcoming hardship thanks to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

News   •   Jun 17, 2017 10:00 BST

Ralph Presgrave and the kids of Submit 2 Success, Middlesbrough

A Teesside charity that helps support disadvantaged kids through Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is in the running to win a £5000 prize, courtesy of Middlesbrough & Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.

Submit 2 Success was set up by youth worker Ralph Presgrave. After taking redundancy in 2012, Ralph used some of the funds to buy mats and equipment and launch Submit 2 Success. The organisation uses Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) to provide an alternative youth club environment to children and young people in one of the North East’s most deprived wards. It helps them to stay fit, healthy, active, off the streets and away from negative influences.

The project continued to gain momentum and has now worked with over 500 children and young people. There are three specific projects: Bullyproof, which focuses on self defence for 6-10 year olds; a kids’ competition team and a teenager’s project for 12-19 year olds. All the projects are free of charge and open to anyone.

Instructor Ralph Presgrave is a purple belt who trains at UKBJJA member club Gracie Barra Middlesbrough. He says: “we’ve had some fantastic success stories. Harry, one of my first attendees on the project still trains with me now and is a volunteer and now board member for the project. He has been selected to attend Northumbria University for computing science degree in September. Another early attender, Bodak West, won apprentice of the year for mechanical engineering last year. We have had others who have now gone on to get good degrees, start their own businesses and turn their lives around.”

The group has also had plenty of competition success on the BJJ tournament scene. Member Alex Williams is a 2x Pan Am World Champion, multiple times British, European and regional champion. Milly Horkan, Ben Eastwood , James Wheeler and Luca Parker are all European champions in their divisions.

Ralph goes on “I had seen the work that similar charities had been doing in the favelas in Brazil and wanted to bring something similar to the UK. At the same time I had became a little disillusioned with youth work and thought there is more I could be doing than just watching young people run around a youth centre without a focus.”

Teesside Philanthropic Foundation run an annual sporting Golden Giveaway - the prizes range from £500 all the way to £5000 for first place and is a funding pot of £20,000. Submit 2 Success was selected as a finalist if only 15 Teesside organisations.

Voting is open to the public, via the Middlesbrough & Teesside Philanthropic Foundation website:

About the UKBJJA:

The UKBJJA ( is a not-for profit organisation which aims to provide a governance structure for the martial art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, that promotes and develops the sport while allowing individual clubs and practitioners the space and freedom to practice the martial art in the way they enjoy. The UKBJJA is currently under assessment to be recognised by Sport England as the governing body for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the UK.

The UKBJJA was formed in 2013, and the association’s goal is to foster the development of BJJ at elite, community and grassroots levels, raising the profile of the sport but also providing pathways for development and involvement across communities in the UK. Visit UKBJJA at or follow us on Twitter @ukbjja.

Contact Details:

For more information, contact Mike Williams, Press Officer on 07748620235 or

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