HMS Somerset sailor takes silver at international jiu jitsu games

Standing proudly on the podium in Rome after taking silver in the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJFF) Competition is 26-year-old Leah Budd – by day a young weapons engineer aboard HMS Somerset.

HMS Somerset sailor takes silver at international jiu jitsu gamesThe blue belt represented her navy and nation in the No Gi light featherweight division – competing without a ‘gi’ (a sort of specialised heavy cotton kimono traditionally worn by sparring martial artists).

She saw off competition from Brazilian Heidi Tiiroo and Kazakhstan’s Moldir Mekenbayeva, who took joint third place, but was beaten to gold by Chilean Jazmin Hamuy.

Originally from Pontypridd, Leah spent time with the RN’s Engineering Training Squadron before joining her first ship, Somerset, at the beginning of the year.

It is obviously more difficult to keep practising at sea, but I find the time and this is the result of that hard work

RN weapons engineer Leah Budd, HMS Somerset

Conducting patrols and training in home waters, plus escorting HMS Queen Elizabeth to Gibraltar, the ship has had a busy schedule – one which continues into the spring with participation in high-profile Great War commemorations.

All that has kept Leah busy maintaining the ship’s weapons and sensor systems, somehow finding the time and energy when not on duty to continue practising her jiu jitsu skills and remain competition-fit.

“It is obviously more difficult to keep practising at sea, but I find the time and this is the result of that hard work,” Leah said.

The sport encourages smaller, seemingly weaker fighters to defeat larger, stronger, heavier opponents by using the proper technique, leverage, and most notably, taking the fight to the ground and is proving increasingly popular around the globe.