Meet our black belt instructors at Leigh Ju-Jitsu.
Sensei Alan Francis (6th Dan)
Head Instructor and Club Owner, Sensei Alan Francis started training in Ju-Jitsu in 1981 at the age of 21 at Howe Bridge Sports Centre under Sensei Dave Hodson.
Having been a keen sportsman throughout his youth, Alan turned to Japanese Ju-Jitsu following the disbandment of the amateur football team he was a member of. From the very first lesson, Alan became hooked on the martial art.
Training under then 4th Dan, Sensei Dave Hodson, and attending courses with top instructors, Robert Clark, Bob Brown, John Steadman and Mark Newman, Alan grew and perfected his martial arts knowledge into what it is today. He also trained at multi-style martial arts seminars which included tuition from top instructors, such as Trevor Roberts and Master Sken.
Dedicated to the martial arts, Alan studied and graded to black belt in Japanese Ju-Jitsu under the WJJF (World Ju-Jitsu Federation) with Sensei Robert Clark as the chief examiner. His second Dan grading was also overseen by Robert Clark at Alan Jones’ Judo club.
As an instructor, Alan began assisting with classes run by John and Peter Royle, after they took over from Dave Hodson, before starting up his own club at Kings Park, Howe Bridge in 1993.
In 1998, the opportunity to take over the Back Findlay Street dojo in Leigh arose, and Leigh Ju-Jitsu was officially born.
During the club’s 25th anniversary year in 2023, Sensei Alan Francis was promoted to the coveted 6th Dan grade.
Since the late 90’s, Sensei Alan Francis has delivered a refined system of Japanese Ju-Jitsu that is simple and practical, yet retains many of the throws and locking techniques the art is known for, for a truly effective self defence system.
“My Ju-Jitsu is for everybody. In my view, it’s got to work in real life. It’s got to work outside the chippy on a Saturday night, outside the taxi place, or when you’re walking home. Every day, it seems someone is getting assaulted or attacked and help may not be forthcoming so the skills taught at Leigh Ju Jitsu may help you to survive.”
Sensei Chris Davies (3rd Dan)
Senior Instructor at Leigh Ju-Jitsu, Sensei Chris Davies is Sensei Alan’s longest active student of the club and has been training in Ju-Jitsu for over 25 years.
Chris’ first foray into martial arts came about when he was seven years old, taking up Karate with a school friend. Chris trained in Karate for several years before trying other arts, such as Muay Thai.
In 1997, whilst attending a fitness gym, he noticed a poster for Ju-Jitsu classes which were being held in the same building. Having a keen interest in martial arts, he decided to take a look at what it was all about, and there began Chris’ journey with Leigh Ju-Jitsu!
Chris achieved his first Dan in Ju-Jitsu in 2001 at Howe Bridge Sports Centre. His most recent grading took place at AMA headquarters in Bury in 2015 for his 3rd Dan grade.
For Chris, every day is a school day with Ju-Jitsu. Whilst he has tried other martial arts, like Taekwondo, Aikido, Judo and Kung Fu, his studies have remained with Ju-Jitsu.
“Ju-Jitsu is kind of a Jack of all trades martial art. You get striking, standing locks, throws and groundwork with a bit of Japanese weaponry thrown in. We do ‘live’ training meaning you’ll learn practical application against a resisting opponent, not just drills. That means it covers all ranges of combat and is great for confidence building and cross training. “
Sensei Chris often holds grappling classes on a Sunday for students who wish to improve their grappling skills. Having trained under Andy Aspinall in BJJ, Chris brings grappling experience to the Leigh Ju-Jitsu dojo which he shares with the junior and adult students to improve their newaza game.
“The crowd at Leigh Ju-Jitsu are a consistently good group so even if you only stay with us for a while, you’ll get a taste of everything that might peak an interest in a particular direction.”
“Look forward to seeing you on the mat.”
6th Dan Black Belt
3rd Dan Black Belt
2nd Dan Black Belts
1st Dan Black Belts
Cadet 1st Dan Black Belts
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