He was among 12 athletes representing the British Army team at the championships. The team had high hopes for the tournament having completed an arduous training camp, including sessions at the world-famous Roger Gracie gym in London.
5,000 athletes from across the globe flocked to Lisbon, Portugal, for the IBJJF European Championships.
The competition took place between 20 to 27 January and kicked off with a predictably intense knock-out round, with athletes being categorised by weight and experience level (belt colour). Stakes were high as most competitors travelled had from abroad for the event; nobody wanted to lose in the first round of the knock-out tournament and go home early.
The Army team reaped the rewards of a dedicated training camp, in its most successful year to date. Eight medals were won by the team. Cpl Leon Hinds continued his rich vein of form in the Master 2, Super-heavyweight category. He followed up his win at the World Masters competition in Las Vegas with another Gold in Lisbon. He is the only athlete to win Gold for the Army in a top-level IBJJF tournament; a feat he has now achieved three times in his first year as a purple belt.
The Army team continues to grow and hosts monthly training sessions in Aldershot (open to all), whilst smaller clubs within units continue to pop up. Many people enjoy the team vibe and learning new moves, but the physical and competitive nature of this combat sport has direct correlation with the Army ethos.