Some of you may remember Musharaf, the young lad with the stutter from Channel 4’s brilliant documentary: Educating Yorkshire. If not, then this clip below which has recently been doing the rounds on social media will most certainly tug at your heartstrings.

How does any of this relate to MMA, you may be asking? Well upon seeing the clip myself a few weeks ago, it reminded me of a conversation I’d had with a BJJ instructor in Leeds, who told me that Musharaf had been training with him regularly. I took this opportunity to track down Musharaf and talk with him about his BJJ exploits, and how the sport has shaped his life since being on TV.

Hi Musharaf! It’s been three years since we saw you on our screens in Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire. What have you been up to since?

Where can I start? I’ve been super busy! Ever since Educating Yorkshire my life has been an absolute rollercoaster, I’ve been filming shows non-stop. I was recently on Celebrity First Dates which was a crazy experience. I’m also at University and currently working. Very busy indeed but I love what I’m doing.


How did your BJJ journey begin? Did you learn about the art through watching MMA or did you find out about it some other way?

I think it all began 5 years ago. My eldest brother’s friend really introduced me Jiu Jitsu. He’s a semi-pro MMA fighter, so yeah I’d say he really got me into it. Back then I was a massive boxing fan – still am to be honest. But yeah, there was one UFC fight which really got me into MMA and that when GSP fought Carlos Condit. The absolute war that they both put on for the fans was just amazing. The heart and determination of Carlos Condit really shined through. Even though he didn’t win the bout, he was the champ in the eyes of the people.

Ever since watching that fight my love for MMA grew. What really got me into Jiu Jitsu was Anderson Silva and Jose Aldo, I just loved how technical BJJ was. I did boxing for almost 10 years and I really felt I wanted to try something new so that’s why I felt BJJ was the right martial art to pursue, and I can’t honestly explain how much I love it.


How long ago did you begin training BJJ?

I started exactly on the 5th of January 2016. I remember the night before being so pumped to open a new chapter in my life and try something totally different.


Where do you train?

The first gym I ever trained at was in Morley in Leeds with the nicest BJJ coach Liam Cann. and I’m also about to start training at Gracie Barra in Bradford. As I study at the University of Bradford it’s a lot easier travelling-wise. Hopefully I’m going to start getting graded and start competing, fingers crossed!


We saw you take massive steps in overcoming your stammer during the show. How have things been going since then and has BJJ helped you in any way?

Things have been going really well. I’m speaking a lot more and really trying to get out there and not keep myself enclosed from anyone. I guess I’ve always been that sort of person. I never really shy

away, I’m always eager to speak and get my opinions across. BJJ has definitely helped me in so many ways. Not only in defending myself, but I feel helped to stay humble and down to earth. It’s really motivated me to train hard and continuously.


You mentioned on the show that you suffered from some bullying at school as a result of your stammer. Many people begin martial arts as a way to overcome bullying, would you say that has been the case for you or were there other reasons for you learning to fight?

Like I mentioned I was a fan of the sport. I did boxing for almost 10 years and I just really wanted to work on my ground game. I don’t really feel I did do BJJ to “fight the bullies” but really just to test myself. I never give myself a break I guess. I always need to challenge myself and this was a challenge I really wanted to go into head first… although going in head first in BJJ will result in getting caught in a guillotine choke, so just take that into consideration (laughs). But yeah, I did want to test myself but more so over the fact that I loved the sport.


Families can have very different reactions when they find out that their children want to start martial arts, especially with the “cage fighting” connotations. Have your family generally been supportive of your BJJ exploits or has there been any friction?

I’d be lying if I said they were fine about the fact that I wanted to get into BJJ. My mum advised me several times to not get into a brutal sport, but I don’t know, once you set your mind on to something you can’t let it go. It’s funny because every time I could hear my Mum walking down the stairs I would change the channel because she knew I would be watching UFC, Bellator or boxing. She wasn’t so keen until I showed her it’s not about ripping limbs off and crowing champions. It’s really about ground control and breaking limbs, which is obviously less severe than ripping them off… only joking (laughs). But on a serious note once she saw it wasn’t stereotypically as bad as people make it seem she was fine. My family are very much supportive now about the fact that I really love not only BJJ but martial arts.


Your English teacher Mr Burton seemed to have a particularly positive effect on your school experience. What does he or any other of your friends think of you doing Jiu Jitsu?

I’m not sure what he would think to be honest, because I don’t really tell people that I do it. I don’t want to seem big headed in any way shape or form, it’s not my thing to be honest. But my friends were quite surprised about this new love I had found in BJJ.


Have you ever competed in BJJ? If not, is it something you’re considering?

I’ve not competed yet unfortunately as I’ve been super busy with university, filming and work. But 100% without a shadow of a doubt I will be competing soon.


Do you have a preferred style of grappling or a favourite submission?

My previous trainer Liam always showed us new submissions every day, so I guess I don’t really have a favourite submission but I do however submit a lot of people with leg locks.


Do you have any interest in training in any other aspects of martial arts or is BJJ the focus right now?

Like I mentioned, boxing has always been a part of my life ever since I was a kid and now this new love for BJJ has come. I think the next martial arts I’m going to try are SAMBO and wrestling. But that’s all in the future. Right now, I want to start training hard again and compete in BJJ.


How far would you like to go in BJJ and what plans do you have for the future?

I’m not sure right now. I’ll ring Dana White and see what he thinks of be debuting in UFC sometime soon. Jokes aside I’m not sure. I don’t really know how good I am right now so there’s a lot more work I need to put in, so let’s just see what happens.


Thanks a lot for talking to us Musharaf, and good luck with everything!

No problem, thanks for the interview!




A nocturnal troglodyte that only ventures out of his cave in Leeds for Domino’s pizza or Budweiser. Do not be fooled though, as despite his troll-like nature Luke is quite the wordsmith and possess excellent leg-kicks.