Sensei Ross Iannoccaro
Ross Iannoccaro started his martial arts training in 1972 at his local Jujutsu and judo club under Sensei Ron Bampfield who had martial arts training whilst serving as a merchant seaman . After leaving the forces Sensei Bampfield continued his training with notaries such as sensei Kenshiro Abbé and other Japanese masters who were teaching in the UK at this time.
In 1978 Ross was awarded his Black belt in Jujutsu and judo. Then gained his Karate black belt a few years later. His passion and interest in martial arts, particularly Jujutsu continued, and with the help and advice from his Sensei opened his first school in 1980. (Tai Jutsu Kai)
Having competed in many Judo and Karate competitions Ross became frustrated that his favourite martial art ” Jujutsu” did not have a sporting format that truly represented the art. So in 1989 Ross started to promote his sporting format which he called jujutsu kumite. Jujutsu kumite allowed competitors to score points in both grappling and striking standing and on the ground. Jujutsu Kumite became a popular sport in the UK and soon gained international interest with events taking place in 8 different countries . Most sport Jujutsu events held around the world still use similar rules and methods today.
In the late 90″s Ross became one of the first martial arts practitioners in the UK to gain direct tuition in Gracie Jujutsu from Master Carly Gracie who was the first member of the Gracie family to conduct seminars with Ross in the UK in the late 90s. With the advent of the UFC and MMA events around the world the UK’s interest in this exciting combat sport started to gain momentum which led Ross to start and format one of the UK’s first MMA events known as Grapple and Strike. Combat Magazines front cover 2000 describes Ross as the UK pioneer of MMA. These events became a platform in which many notable competitors started their successful MMA careers such as Mark Weir, John Kavanagh, Ronnie Mann, Joseph Duffy to name a few. Mark Goddard a top UFC referee and MMA practitioner recently said in an interview.
“If it wasn’t for Ross and his Taijutsu Kai organisation none of us would be here”
However Ross being a firm believer that one must “understand the old to know the new” never lost his traditional roots and in 1994 became a disciple of Fumon Tanaka Soke, head and grandmaster of one of Japan’ most respected and authentic samurai arts schools.
Today he is the first non Japanese martial artist to be awarded 7th dan and title of Tasshi “expert master” from the school.
Ross is a true ambassador of his art and without doubt one of the most knowledgeable and versatile Jujutsu masters around today. He has received many accolades and awards for his contribution to martial arts and remains devoted to his Jujutsu association Taijutsu kai which celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2015.
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