He might only be 16 and sitting his GCSEs but rising star Nathan Johnstone is already hitting the headlines in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
The talented youngster from Bournemouth has not only climbed the rankings to reach the top 10 of amateur flyweights but he is also to feature in the heavyweight of all MMA programmes – Cage Warriors.
And the LeAF Studio student has achieved all that while studying for his exams, teaching jiu jitsu to Royal Marine officers and combatting men up to 12 years his senior in MMA.
The martial arts king (Nathan is also ranked third in the world for his weight in jiu jitsu) has put his success down to his inspirational dad, well-known jiu jitsu and MMA coach Jimmy Johnstone, and the support of his school.
He said: “I wouldn’t have been where I am without my dad, who got me into jiu jitsu at a young age and who I still work alongside at his gym.
“It’s been a very busy time for me with competing, training and of course taking my GCSEs and everyone at LeAF Studio has helped me through it.
“They have not only supported me with my training but they have made sure I have got through my studies and when I’ve needed extra revision they have provided this for me – even out of school hours.”
Nathan first started jiu jitsu when he was just six and after his dad and mum opened their own gym.
From the age of 10 he started winning competitions and didn’t lose a fight for the next four years.
More recently he has competed in the world jiu jitsu championships, winning silver and bronze in his weight category.
Two years ago he joined specialist state school LeAF Studio for talented young athletes so he could combine advice and training from expert coaches with his daily academic studies.
And now Nathan has stepped into the MMA ring and is beginning to make just as much of a mark in that sport as he did in jiu jitsu.
MMA is a combat sport in which contestants are permitted to use the fighting techniques of wrestling and boxing but also those of martial arts such as kickboxing, judo, and karate.
Nathan will take the next step up in MMA when he makes his debut on Cage Warriors, to be shown live on BT Sports on June 24.
Principal of LeAF Studio, Nadine Lapskas, said: “Nathan is an incredible young man. Not only does he work diligently in his studies but he also trains hard every day, teaches in his spare time and is making a name for himself in the tough world of MMA.
“We couldn’t be prouder of him and we’re all looking forward to watching him make his debut in Cage Warriors.”
Nathan’s ultimate goal is to make it as a pro MMA and to join the Royal Marines.
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