Jiu-jitsu growing in the Grand Valley

GRAND JUNCTION, Co. (KKCO/KJCT) Grand Valley Brazilian Jiu Jitsu had less than 20 students when they open almost five years ago. Now the gym has approximately 180 athletes.

The gym trains athletes ages five to 60 in jiu-jitsu, bang muy thai and fitness kickboxing.

Cameron Thurgood, a pro fighter and trainer at the gym, is fighting in the main event at the Summer Samsh Kick Down MMA 131 in Denver on July 7.

It'll be his sixth pro fight.

"To me, it's just more about my student going out there and trying to improve themselves," said gym owner and head instructor Kevin Lewis. "If that's their competitive outlet to go out and really do better by themselves then I'm all for it, win or lose. I'm proud about it."

Thurgood says it's important for the growth of the gym and combat sports in the Grand Valley.

"It's everywhere in Denver," said Thurgood. "You drive anywhere off any highway you'll see a jiu-jitsu school or martial arts school. It's not too big around here. When they see someone around here over there going to do it. It opens their eyes like, 'oh we have that here.'"

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