CAMMY DONNELLY has his hands full. A rising star in the martial art of jiu-jitsu, it is finalising last-minute arrangements ahead of today's opening of his new gym in Glasgow rather than opponents that he has been grappling with this week.

“I’m trying not to get myself stressed out but I’m failing miserably,” he says with a laugh. “There’s just lots of wee things to sort out but I’m sure it will all be fine.”

It has been a decade-long journey of learning and growing that has brought Donnelly to this point. Having started in his early years as a mixed martial artist, the 27-year-old elected to narrow his focus solely to jiu-jitsu when he turned 18.

A thirst for knowledge and a desire to learn from the best took him to North America, the regular changing of his belts signposts of his progress until he claimed the all-important black one at the end of last year. Ranked 13th in the world in the featherweight division, a burning desire to reach the top continues to fuel his competitive instincts.

“I started training as a hobby about nine or 10 years ago,” he recalls. “It was mostly just for fun after getting into it through a friend. After a while I felt I wanted to get some more external input by going abroad and seeking out some of the world’s most influential figures.

“I went out to Canada and several different states in America to get some of the best training available. And that played a major part in getting me to where I’m at just now with the skill acumen that I possess.

“That was a big stepping stone to not only give me the skills to compete at a top level but also be good enough to open my own place to teach others. I’ve achieved a lot in my career but it’s still not scratched the surface of what I know I can achieve.

“The sport is growing at such a rapid rate. When I started around 10 years ago there were only three or four black belts in the entire country. Now there are countless. It’s a sport for anyone and everyone regardless of background. If your body works you can do it.”

Travelling the world to compete and train does not come cheap, as Donnelly can testify. A number of part-time jobs helped partially fund his way but he admits there were many times when glamour was way down the list.

“When I got to the point of wanting to do this professionally and believing I could become one of the best in the world, I was working part-time solely to support my jiu-jitsu journey,” he reveals. “Life wasn’t luxurious. Far from it. It was a rough few years to start with it but it was all with a view of funding this dream. Only in the last few years has it become a bit easier.”

One thing Donnelly did develop a knack for, however, was teaching others. Having started out initially in the famed Higher Level gym, his individual and group sessions provided an additional income while also giving him the chance to share his love of jiu-jitsu with others eager to learn.

“I coached my first ever class as a blue belt, teaching the fundamentals at that level,” he explains. “As soon as I started I realised this was what I wanted to do and once I got my purple belt I started teaching PTs [personal training sessions] to small groups or individuals of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds.

“That’s a skill in itself. I’ve had a lot of time since gaining my purple belt to become more proficient in the sport and I’ve pretty much been coaching every single day.

“I’m a black belt now and ready to project that knowledge I’ve accumulated onto the greater community.”

Introduced to promoter Sam Kynoch through mutual friend Ross Murray, the former flyweight boxing champion, a seed was planted last year about the prospect of running his own gym next door to Kynoch’s space in Kinning Park, Glasgow.

That has now become a reality, with UFC star Paul Craig and fellow grappler Jozef Chen among the special guests when Meta-Tech opens its doors today.

“I met Sam last year and he expressed an interest in dabbling in the world of jiu-jitsu,” adds Donnelly. “We had a meeting and were both on the same page with the same ideas. That has led to us opening this new academy next door to his boxing gym that has been on the go for a decade now.

“Running a gym was always the end goal for me and, with all the things I’ve achieved so far, I’m confident we can make it the premier facility in the country for grappling and jiu-jitsu.”