MORAY martial artist Shay Montague has made history in the grappling combat sport of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
The 19-year-old, from Findhorn, is the first Scottish adult athlete to become a jiu-jitsu world champion.
Shay, who fights for the SBG (Straight Blast Gym) Moray club, took gold in the IBJJF no gi world championships in Los Angeles just before Christmas.
Yet he insists that his enjoyment of training and coaching in his sport far outweighs his desire to claim major titles.
"I do it because I enjoy it really. The competitions are just an extension of my enjoyment," said Shay, who only started jiu-jitsu three years ago.
"It was nice to finally realise my potential because I've been forcing myself to visualise this for a while. But the main part is that I enjoy the sport so much, the training and the physical and mental aspects of it."
Brazilian jiu-jitsu was adapted from judo, and focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting.
The ultimate goal for fighters is to get their opponent to ground and either gain a submission or achieve the dominant position to score points. It is a sport which promotes the idea that smaller participants can successfully defend themselves against bigger and more powerful assailants using the right techniques.
Emphasising this concept, slightly-built Shay produced an impressive performance in the lightest weight category of rooster (under 55.5kg) to claim his world title.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is contested in both gi (traditional costumes where fighters can grab on to each other's clothes) and no gi (tighter costumes, such as lycra) disciplines.
Shay competed in the worlds in both disciplines this year, being controversially beaten in a bout in the gi tournament, also in California, which made him all the more determined to succeed in the no gi alternative.
After being given a first round bye, he battled through three more bouts, defeating the world gi runner-up, a top-ranked Australian in the final on points.
He paid tribute to colleagues at SBG Moray, based at New Elgin Road, and sponsors Lima Autobody Shop for supporting him on both his trips to America this year to take on the best fighters on the globe.
"The gym paid for all of it. They banded together, I did a seminar thing and people donated, then members of the club donated to get me over there.
"Without their support it wouldn't have been possible."
SBG Moray is run by head coach Martin Donaldson, who said of Shay's world title success: "To become the first adult Scottish world champion is an amazing achievement especially considering he trains at one of the smallest gyms and teams in the country."
Shay either coaches or trains in his sport every day, and he hopes his success will inspire others in Moray to take part in Brazilian jiu-jitsu
This year he plans to visit Portugal for the European Championships, while his ultimate aim is to go one better win in 2018 and win both gi and no gi world titles.