Martial artists take on 25-hour challenge in aid of coach's condition

Zena Sworder with one of the young students in an early morning bout
Zena Sworder with one of the young students in an early morning bout

MEMBERS of a martial arts school tackled a £2,500 fundraising target for a health charity and smashed it by more than £1,200 with a gruelling 25-hour marathon.

Gracie Jiu Jitsu Swindon fought bouts and completed personal challenges to raise cash for Crohns and Colitis UK because one of their coaches Jake Sworderlives with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

One of the members, John Walsh said: "The day was a great success with lots of members of the academy taking part and kids doing their separate fundraising, such as their bear crawls and 100 minute rounds.

"We also had one of our adult members, Matilde, roll consistently for three hours with different members including Zena Sworder.

"Jen Higgins came in at 7.30am to start the sports massages and we also had one of our members, Cristian Bucerzan, become the resident chef who made the food for everyone throughout the evening, into the night and in to the morning."

Organiser Jake said: "I tried to not do too much training whilst it was busy but ultimately failed as I was too excited to train with everyone. I did a little nutrition planning and prep, carb loaded for a couple of days before and avoided anything that could cause any gastric distress. Other than that I just took easy for the few days running in to the grapplethon."

He's been doing the sport for 14 years with breaks for illness. "It always gave me something to motivate me to get healthy again for.

"I love contact sports so it's healthy body, healthy mind, and we have such a good group of people here the social aspect is great for me, otherwise I'd be a shut in."

Academy professor Lucas Luz said what he enjoyed was members and supporters working together on the day. "It's inside Gracie Swindon DNA - look for a better life through jiu Jitsu. That day was a reflection of that.

"It is a fantastic lifestyle, it will help you to build confidence and it you change many aspects of your life such as self- esteem, social life and fitness. The goal is to make everyone a better person."

The final total for the marathon was £3,742.

For information about the group see @gracieswindon on social media, visit or call 07491 400743.