Joe Chapple Commando Temple Coach

Combat Sports PT

Hi – I’m Joe,

I’ve worked in fitness for around 13 years and have been involved with grappling for 15 years. Here’s an insight into my fitness and combat sports journey.

Growing up I was a short and skinny kid and was terrible at any sport I tried. I was often picked on due to my lack of size. After years of dealing with this I decided to start weight training in my school gym in 2007 at the age of 16. It was at this point I fell in love with fitness. Although I didn’t know exactly what I was doing, I trained every weekday during my lunch break and started doing my own research to learn how best to improve. Before long I was bigger, stronger and more confident and naturally found myself helping the younger kids in the gym and felt that they all looked up to me, which was an amazing feeling.

So after I finished my A-Levels I decided to pursue this as a career and did my level two fitness instructor course at college in 2009. I finished this top of my class and immediately began searching for a job in a gym, which didn’t take me long. I worked in a leisure centre for eight years and in that time learnt so much working and training with people from a variety of different training backgrounds, from bodybuilders to calisthenics athletes, powerlifters to martial artists, all bringing different training methods, which I tried and tested to see what worked best for me.

I did my PT course in my spare time in 2016 and as soon as I’d qualified I immediately built my client base and became self employed. After two years as a personal trainer in the public gym I decided it was time to move on and started working in a private PT studio instead, where I stayed for four years whilst researching different training methods and continually expanding my knowledge of different areas of fitness. I love to combine elements of the more basic barbell or dumbbell exercises, with bodyweight or Calisthenics movements, along with Kettlebells or ViPRs (Vitality, Performance, and Re-conditioning) to improve my functional strength and mobility, and implement these methods in my clients programmes to help them to reach their strength/fitness goals.

My combat sports journey also started at the age of 16 when a friend introduced me to freestyle wrestling at Lewisham Wrestling Club. I threw up after my first session as it was an intensity I had never felt but decided I wanted to keep going back. So the following week I returned and found that I was picking up the techniques really quickly. It was the first sport I’d tried that I was actually good at. I trained there for 6 years in total and, although I didn’t compete a lot I did medal at national competitions. After the first two years I started teaching the warm ups/fitness elements of the sessions. They were mixed adults and kids classes so I found a way of keeping the intensity of the fitness but also making it fun and specific by implementing games such as wheelbarrow races, fireman carry races, tug of war etc. Before long I was teaching the techniques too and found I had a knack for teaching people of all ages and abilities. Then one day a guy I knew from school (but never spoke to) turned up to my class and told me he did Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and asked if we could do some submissions at the end.

Having never heard of Jiu-Jitsu I thought to myself, I’ll easily take this guy down, which I did. Next thing I knew his legs were around my neck in what I later learned was a triangle choke, and I felt like I was about to pass out so I tapped. It was at that moment that I realised I had to learn this magical martial art. So he started teaching me in his attic, introduced me to my first BJJ club, and became my best friend to this day. Two years in I was teaching wrestling classes based on Jiu-Jitsu rules and assisting with the kids classes teaching children as young as three years old. In 2021 I was offered the opportunity to teach and train under Ross Nicholls, well known as one of the best Jiu-Jitsu athletes in Europe, and have been teaching wrestling and kids classes at his club,  London Grapple ever since.

I completed the training and was awarded my brown belt by Ross in 2022. I’ve competed over the years in a fair few competitions and have done reasonably well, often entering heavier weight divisions and getting medals against opponents sometimes 15kg heavier than me. It’s a never ending learning experience and I plan to continue for as long as I can physically move. I absolutely love teaching Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling to everyone, the confidence it builds is like nothing else and seeing the students I teach, in classes and private sessions, improving so much gives me such a great sense of achievement.

Joe Chapple



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