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Yuki Nakai is the head of the association known as Paraestra.

Yuki’s accomplishments are that of legend. His earliest and most prominent achievement was his three fights in a night at Vale Tudo Japan, being the lightest fighter there he submitted two fighters who vastly outweighed him. Nakai was approx 150lb. fighting his first two opponents who both respectively were well over 200 – 220lbs.

Nakai beat his first opponent via straight arm lock after a grueling exchange. If this was not a big enough achievement Nakai went on to fight again in the same night.

In Nakai’s second fight he was severely eye gouged in both eyes, one of which would lead to permanent damage. Nakai with true determination went on to defeat his opponent via heel hook.

Nakai’s last fight was against Rickson Gracie during his prime. Nakai chose to continue to fight despite his terrible injury. Rickson heard of Nakai’s injury and chose not to directly attack this weakness and limited his striking during the fight, Rickson chose to end the fight with a submission.

The whole night was a legendary show of the spectrum of good and bad sportsmanship and a show of true heart from Nakai and a testament to the capability of jiu-jitsu as a whole.

The seemingly stronger, more aggressive opponents being beaten by the smallest man in the room. Rickson was able to show such a deep level of control that you do not have to beat your opponent to a pulp or maim them to defeat them.

Nakai continues to be the gold standard for martial arts and combat sports in Japan. He is the head of the JBJJF the Japanese Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation. The head of the Shooto Association (MMA) and the head of Paraestra one of the most successful and prolific BJJ and Shooto schools network in Asia with schools all over Japan and Korea.

Para what?

Funny name right? Pronounced para – eh – stra. It is a disambiguation of the ancient greek word palaestra which was the area dedicated to the practice of wrestling and combat sports.

“From the 6th century BC to the end of the Roman Empire, there was usually at least one Palestra in every city. It was often owned by an individual and you had to be a member to use it. It was not only a place for practice, but also a kind of social gathering place. The ancient Greeks enjoyed wrestling and boxing, followed by gossip, flowers and intellectual conversations.”

Excerpt from “The Ancient Olympic Games”
Written by Judith Swaddling, translated by Yasushi Hozumi, published by NHK Publishing

Paraestra (パラエストラ) was formed in 1997 by Yuki Nakai Sensei and believes that the relationship with its members is everything. Nakai Sensei wants it to be the home of all those who want to enjoy martial arts, such as those who want to be professional competitors, those who want to study, those who simply want to sweat, those who want to diet and those who just want to visit, That’s right, “enjoying martial arts” is the theme of Paraestra.

paraestra ruins

“Martial Arts Communication” is the Paraestra motto.

It is relatively self-explanatory but also penetrates deeper levels.

When you engage in combat with another human being you learn something of that person whether they are an adversary or a student, something is communicated between you two.

Also, martial arts is conducted very much like a conversation I say one thing, you say another in response. You say something I must also in turn respond.

This is mirrored in the art form of Jiu-Jitsu. Every move must be answered or ‘countered’ in response.

“組討と会話は同じです – Kumi Uchi to Kaiwa Onaji Desu – Grappling and Conversation are the Same”

Jeff Lawson started his journey within the martial arts at an early age with the study and practice of Judo, later with the rise of MMA it was a natural progression for someone with his passion and dedication to the martial arts to test himself within this arena.

Although an experienced grappler with great throwing skills, Jeff wanted to expand this knowledge of ground fighting and his study of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu began. An experienced competitor in Judo, MMA & BJJ he has competed both nationally and internationally including Japan, but now dedicates his study and teaching to Jiu Jitsu under his teacher the legendary Yuki Nakai Sensei.

Yuki and Jeff have very similar backgrounds both starting in Judo then MMA and BJJ so it was no surprise that this relationship would be a success and the growth of Paraestra within the UK is a testament to this.

jeff lawson

Our Location

Ippon Gym, Unit 1-2, 4 Terrace Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5NJ

BJJ stands for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

It is a derivative of Kosen Judo, a branch of Judo that focused on ground fighting. Taught by Mitsuo Maeda who’s students traveled to Brazil and taught this fighting art to the legendary Gracie family.

Nakai sensei can trace his lineage directly to the Kosen lineage of Judo, so we are in an extremely privileged position to be so close to the original source of our art.

We must not however forget If it was not for the Gracie family we would not have had so many brilliant combat sportsmen who refined the art in their country and that represented their family and ultimately spread the effectiveness of this art form to so many and so publicly.

This then truly cemented the effectiveness of fighting on the ground. If it were not for the passage through Brazil and America then perhaps the art form we so love today may never have grown into the levels of popularity that we have seen it rise to.

We are indebted to all those who carry the torch forward of our beloved art of Jiu-Jitsu.

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The Shooto Association is the distinctly Japanese style of shoot boxing.

A precursor to the bigger affiliations you see today such as the UFC.

A heritage stemming back to the 80s and a flourishing in the 90s, It is the blend of all styles of combat. You are allowed to wrestle, box, kickbox, and submit your opponent.

The Japanese Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation is the chief organizer of official tournaments and belt standards for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Japan.
Yuki Naki is the chief of this branch.



jeff lawson

Jeff Lawson

peter robson

Peter Robson

daniel tennent

Daniel Tennent


Any of the Chief UK Representatives can be contacted via email here –

Peter Robson is an experienced competitor and Polaris winner and is available for custom seminars to travel to your club regardless of affiliation to teach Nakai Sensei’s techniques and his own variations, please email for more information. Nakai Sensei’s philosophy is martial arts communication and Peter believes in this also and would love to extend his knowledge to you and receive the knowledge of others.

Jeff Lawson is also an experienced competitor in Judo, BJJ and MMA, he has won Polaris twice and sharing both a similar background and philosophy to Nakai Sensei teaches seminars to all official Paraestra UK affiliate clubs on a regular basis. Lawson Sensei’s seminars not only ensure standards are high across the affiliate schools but also the attitude and approach to Jiu Jitsu remains distinctly that of all Paraestra dojo around the world. Please email for more information.

Please complete the form below and one of our team will get back to you with news and information about our school affiliation programme. Whether you have a number of schools or are just an individual we can provide access to a group that will provide you with guidance, instruction and support. Yuki Nakai Sensei is deeply informal and so are we at Paraestra UK, so please feel free to communicate openly with us your thoughts on affiliation and how we can best start the process for you.

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