Affiliated academy: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Sri Lanka

BJJ Sri Lanka

Where is the gym located?
Colombo, Sri Lanka.

How many people train there?
Around 40 students.

Is the gym growing – if so by how many new members each month or year?
Yes, 2-5 new students monthly.

What are the highest and lowest belt grades training?
Purple belts are the highest and white belts are the lowest.

When did the gym open?
We started in November 2016.

Some facts about you:

Name: Tithira Hiranjith Perera
Age: 38
Belt: Blue
Profession: Martial arts instructor
Years in BJJ: 7 years
Other martial arts: Jeet Kune Do, Wushu, Wing Chun
Currently living in: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Originally from: Colombo

Please tell us the story of how your gym came into existence
I and my business partner, Prageeth were both software engineers by profession. We were martial arts enthusiasts since we were kids. Prageeth was practicing MMA and I was doing JKD. When we invited one of our instructors, Kirk Weicht of the Jeet Kune Do Athletic Association from the USA, for JKD training, we ended up doing seminars for the general public and the military. So we decided to continue the effort of spreading the knowledge, and started to build the gym from scratch.

While we were building the gym I got the opportunity to fly to Singapore to train with Rodrigo Teixeira, a 3rd-degree black belt . I was introduced to Rodrigo by Arun Sharma, now the first Indian-bred black belt, who was also a fellow JKD instructor. After I returned from Singapore, we started our BJJ program for gi and no-gi. That marked our gym as the first gym that had dedicated BJJ programs in Sri Lanka.

Alongside the gym, we are running an active small-scale BJJ competition called “Invictus”.

Tell us about the people that train in the gym– who are they?
Most of our members are from all walks of life. Ranging from the oldest student of 72 years old to the youngest of 4 years old.

Why do they train?
Most of them train for recreational purposes. Some of them for health benefits, such as reducing obesity and improving cardio etc. There are a few who train for competitions in both MMA and BJJ.

What are some of the challenges of running a BJJ gym in general, and in your area specifically?
In Sri Lanka, BJJ is a very new sport. Competitions like UFC or One FC make BJJ popular among Sri Lankan fans. There are many members who cross-train with other martial arts like MMA and Muay Thai etc.

Getting new members is hectic work. We have to be very active in social media and have a referral scheme. Due to cultural barriers it is very hard to get female members to train too.

Due to the political and economic crisis at the moment, in general all gyms are suffering with low clientele.

Also, being on an island, it is very hard to bring down knowledge. There are three possible ways. Bring down a black belt and do some camps, fly out and get training, or online instructionals. Occasionally we get visited by BJJ practitioners who visit Sri Lanka for holidays.

How do you see the future for BJJ in your area?
Due to all the hard work of gyms that are related to BJJ, word is spreading faster about the sport. Generally the future is looking good!

What’s the best thing about your gym?
The culture! We are like family. Anyone who has a like-minded clique together. We as the gym hangout once every three months or so, or in annual outbound training, paintball comps or kartracing challenges etc. So people bond together easily.

What would you recommend Globetrotters to see in your area apart from the inside of your gym?
Sri Lanka is a beautiful island. We have surfing points in Weligama (2 hours from Colombo) or Arugam Bay (8 hours from Colombo). And World Heritage sites like Lion Rock and the Sinharaja rain forest (the most bio diverse forest in southeast Asia). Also misty mountains and tea plantations (4 hours from Colombo).

There are lots of things to see and discover on this island. Visit and see for yourself.

Warning*** if you’re a spicy food lover you will never leave Sri Lanka!


Thanks for sharing! If you’d like to visit BJJ Sri Lanka, you can contact them here.