Rufus Spiller is a Graphic Designer and a BJJ Instructor and competitor. This site covers his thoughts on life and training.

2017 In Review


  • Time Training: 1063.5 hours (approx)
  • Current belt: Purple

Inauspicious starts

I came off 2016 on a high having won my first purple belt competition in November.

Starting at the top in January with the IBJJF Europeans. I felt really well prepared after a month back at EquipeTCA HQ but didn't get past the first round. Not much else to say. It was great to see my team mates Sam Bentley pick up gold, Fraser Hackley grab a silver and Merv step onto the podium but I was pretty disappointed.

I followed the Euros with the IBJJF European Masters in Barcelona where I met Leigh Remedios in the first round and again went no further. On the flipside I had a great time with Baz Hopkins catching up and talking nonsense. 

The hunt for IBJJF success continues.

Opponents not belts

Back in Romania I began competing on the domestic circuit. The oddest thing was going from having belt categories to having beginner, intermediate and advanced. Advanced really covers everything from experienced blue belts to black belts. This is due to a lack of higher belts in Romania and to make the divisions bigger. Add to this if I wanted to fight masters I had to fight Lightweight. On some occasions I felt like the shark in a division and sometimes like the minnow. 

While trying to get as many fights as I could I competed in my first JJIF Ju Jitsu Newaza competition where I met a traditional Ju Jitsu brown belt and a couple of white belts. Taking the experience levels out of the picture, the format was pretty much the same as IBJJF rules. I met Norwegian white belt Rogie Flores, who had been training with me in Deva, in the final which made it a big more fun. After finishing the final I was asked to fight a blue belt who had turned up late. That was a pretty fun competitive roll which ended with a my opponent getting a DQ right at the end and gave me four fight wins that day.

Next on the Romanian circuit was the ProBJJ Tomis Open where I picked up Gold in Masters Lightweight and Bronze in -76kg Open. At the end of the competition I was awarded the 2016/2017 -76kg Expert Belt which was pretty much down to the number of times I had competed throughout the year, if I am being honest with myself. I would like to win it more definitively in 2017/2018.

I also did my first invitational this year, meeting UK based Romanian Brown Belt Dinu Bucalet in the first round of the Valahia Invitational. I managed to score first on Dinu but got subbed shortly after. The next day I compounded my frustration by getting subbed in the first round of the Okami Cup by Roland Pauletti. 

Back in the UK

In September I headed back to the UK to compete in the first UK National Masters. After a few hiccups throughout the year I was really pleased to take home gold. This good feeling followed me to the UKBJJA English Open in November where I picked up gold again and won for the third year in a row. 

In summary

2017 has definitely been teaching me to just fight the guy in front of me. I have had tough fights from white belts, lost when I was confident and won against intimidating opponents.

I've been learning about being a coach and I continue to look at how I can continue to progress while being a coach. 

It has also been a period of adjustment for me in my new home in Romania. I have made a load of new friends and I am very thankful to be involved in sport, as I believe that this has helped me socialise and integrate. 

2017 Competition Record


  • UK Masters 2017 - Purple Belt, Featherweight, Masters 2
  • ProBJJ Cupa Vipguard 2017 - Advanced, Featherweight, Adult
  • ProBJJ Tomis Open 2017 - Advanced, Light, Masters
  • English Open 2017 - Purple Belt, Featherweight, Masters 2
  • JJIF Sfantu Gheorghe - Featherweight


  • ProBJJ Cupa Vipguard - Tecuci - Advanced, Absolute (-76kg), Adult


  • ProBJJ Tomis Open Masters - Advanced, Absolute (-76kg), Adult


  • ProBJJ -76kg Expert Belt Holder

Bring on 2018.

Passing Thoughts No.1