There were no BJJ burgers in Taitung. I asked around, and one place, I found someone who wanted to grapple with me. It had never trained BJJ, but came from a strange self invented Sambo/Judo/Combat Grappling background. Despite not knowing such basic BJJ positions as “beef” or “lettuce”, it handled itself very well in sparring. Surviving on strong base, good physique and natural athletic abilities, it actually gave me a pretty hard time on the mats.
I complimented it for it’s game, and even though it didn’t do BJJ specifically, I awarded it the rank of white belt four stripes. Almost cheating, but it was very impressive and the locals told me it was the only guy in town to grapple with.
Went to train in Taitung MMA, a small gym located in a garage style place. Very authentic, looked like something out of a Van Damme movie :D I rolled for an hour or so with everyone there, nice training!
I have probably pushed my knee a little too much. I started with two hours of skimboarding in Boracay, next day one hour of sparring in Taipei, next day one hour of sparring in Taitung judo gym and next day two hours of surfing, then one hour of sparring in the garage. I could really feel the pain in my meniscus when I went to sleep, so I skipped surfing yesterday in Taitung.
Me and Daniel drove back to Taipei on what was one of the most beautiful roads I have ever driven. Huge, green mountains and the ocean divided by a small coastal road, zigzagging through the landscape. Unfortunately, we slept a little much, so we only had about an hour of sunlight to enjoy the place, before it got dark. From there, it was about five hours of pitch black rally style driving through little mountain roads to get to Taipei. When we finally arrived, we had driven all the way around the country. Not really on purpose, but cool none the less :)
We went surfing today. We were the only ones in the water, in fact on the entire beach. The scene was amazingly beautiful. So quiet out there. Clear, clean water and giant green mountain walls towering up right in front of us.
I caught many, many waves today, was really going well. Next surf stop will be Hawaii :)
The roadtrip to Taitung was like fail pearls on a fail string. Everything seemed to go wrong. We thought we would drop off a microwave oven in a city on the way. And by on the way, I mean it resulted in a 7 hour detour around the island, since there was suddenly a mountain in the way we couldn’t cross. Only music in the radio was chinese love songs. We got to stay one night in Kaohsiung, a random city in the middle of nowhere. The hotel had spongebob teddybears. We tried to get into a nightclub with slippers, that failed. Then we bought black socks and put them over the slippers to simulate shoes. That failed too. After giving up on discussing with the bouncers in chinese, we eventually found a small bar, probably the weirdest we’ve ever been to. The owner was super excited to have visitors from abroad. He was a huge fan of Bon Jovi and WWE, and his daughter worked in the bar, dressed as a nurse. He told stories and served us japanese whiskey all night. Strangest night out in a long time.
Today, we drove the last part of the road to Taitung. We had been driving through mountain roads, small villages and fishing industrial areas, so we had no idea what to expect. What we found though, was the number one biggest and most impressive gym I have ever been in in my life. It was a HUGE judo gym, seriously, seriously awesome. About 20 people showed up for my class, including some really impressive judo players. We were surprised, to say the least, to find a gym like that in what seemed like the middle of nowhere.
We trained for two hours, then rolled for an hour before lifting weights a little bit. I might go back there and train with the judo team one of the days.
After training we went to an aboriginal restaurant (had no idea there were aboriginals here) and had some very interesting food with the guys from the gym.
Tomorrow it is time for surfing!!
About to leave Taipei for a roadtrip down south to Taitung. It has been some eventful 36 hours here and I have really enjoyed it.
Daniel picked me up by the hotel and we went to the Taipei 101. I have fallen asleep on the couch countless times to documentaries on Discovery about this building, so it was very interesting to finally see it and go up there. Especially the big counterweight steel ball at 87nd-92th floor is an interesting engineering masterpiece. The Taipei 101 is incredibly tall, but to make things even better, they serve beer with ice-cream in it at the top, how cool is that. I also made sure to take a dump up there, something I try to do in all tall buildings of the world. It’s a little side project I’ve got going.
After the 101 we rented bicycles and drove like madmen around the city, before heading to the gym for training.
To my disappointment, Makoto, the coach, was away for Japan. I had been looking forward to train with him, but maybe I’ll catch him on the way back from Taitung instead. I ended up teaching the class and afterwards we rolled for a good hour. Many good guys there, I was having a lot of great rounds. Great feeling to get a full hour of quality sparring done, I haven’t had that for a long time now. I was SO sore in my hip from the skimboarding though, it was crazy.
After training, we went out with a few of the guys from the gym. The eight hour drive to Taitung is gonna be tough with these hangovers :D
Arrived safely in Taiwan, sitting outside on the sidewalk waiting for Daniel to pick me up. He is a Scottish BJJ guy, staying in Taiwan for three months, who saw my blog and contacted me a few days ago. We agreed to meet up and go on a roadtrip to southern Taiwan for BJJ and surfing.
What fills my thoughts most right now, is where to go next. I have no plane tickets from here, and I should make a decision within the next few days.
I could go for a few days to Shanghai or Korea maybe? And then there is Japan. The big, scary, nuclear, earthquake threatened ghost. I am having a really hard time deciding wether I should go there or not. On one hand, it is a place I have wanted to visit for very long, that has a very big attraction to me. Training there is amazing and I want to visit my friend Ryan, who I haven’t seen for years now. On the other hand, there is the current situation of radiation, earthquakes and so on, which is a bit scary. Is it all mass media hysteria? Or is there a real danger of going there? Is it worth the risk, or will it be an amazing, completely safe experience that I would miss out on? Should I play safe, even though I had promised myself to take risks on this trip? I will have to think it through thoroughly before I make any decisions.
What to do?