The story of my trip around the world to train, teach and compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and other grappling arts.

New York

Video of me rolling with Marcelo Garcia in New York

I found out today, that the video of me rolling with Marcelo Garcia during my visit to New York was just uploaded on MGinaction. You can watch some videos for free, then it is $25 a month. I highly recommend signing up for that site, it is the number one best source of BJJ instructional material ever made, in my opinion. Marcelo shares everything, and the site it really well organized.

Click here to see the sparring video

Location:Calle 61 Oeste,Panama,Panama

The amazing around-the-world burger project: New York City, New York.

I got this burger recommended by a reader of my blog. It was training in a secret spot hidden inside the Parker Meridien hotel on Manhattan. A fancy hotel with an expensive looking lobby, hiding behind a curtain and secret entrance a sleazy, noisy and dirty burger gym.

The burger was selling itself well. It had a great story about how it fought it’s way out of poverty in the burger favelas and now ran a gym in a fancy hotel in New York. unfortunately, it didn’t really live up to the hype in my eyes. It was like going to a seminar with a big shot world champion and only learning self defense techniques against rape choke and grab-my-wrist attacks.

It had a great base and good balance. It only had a few techniques though and they were not really impressive. The mat fee was also really high, $8 for a single roll. And I had to stand in line for 30 minutes while trying to warm up.

A good opponent for me, but not world class as it pretended to be.

Blue belt three stripes!

Training with Ryan Hall & hangover. Bad idea.

The bus ride to Washington DC was a good five hours. There was supposed to be wifi in the bus, but it didn’t work, so I basically looked out the window for five hours, just waiting for the hangovers from hell bustrip to end.

Right off the bus, I went to Ryan Hall’s 50/50 gym. The bus was 45 minutes late, so I didn’t get to do much of the technique part of the class. It was looking very interesting though, Ryan had lots of details on taking the back from a scramble position, super interesting.

With only four hours of sleep, a hangover, five hours sitting in a bus and a body that probably has been pushed a little too much recently, sparring was horrible today. I felt the worst I have felt in a very long time. I rolled first round with Ryan and he would normally make me feel like a white belt, but today he made me feel like I had never even heard of BJJ in my life. It was pure survival on my side, struggling to breathe and stay in the game.

Showing up to class in a shape like today, I can only blame myself that it would be tough. I wanted to get on the mat regardless, and I was happy I did. It was a healthy reminder from my body, that I should not expect any love from it, if I treat it like shit.

Tomorrow, I am leaving for Richmond, Virginia to meet up with Robert and Amanda, who I visited in Romania. There is training at noon which I will try to make, but might be a little difficult when I am also trying to make it to Richmond in time.

Goodbye, New York.

Today, I left New York with the bus to Washington DC. Last night, I met up with Daniel, the scottish guy I went roadtripping with for a week in Taiwan. I originally planned to leave the city thursday, but since he came, I stayed for another day to meet up.

It was good to visit New York again. I have been there six or seven times before, so there wasn’t many new experiences for me, but just meeting up with old friends was cool. My girlfriend came to visit me too for the week, which was really nice.

I have decided, that New York should be the last spot, where I am lazy with my pace of travel. I have spent almost a week in each of the last five or so places I have been to, and I miss the high pace traveling I did the first month and a half of the trip. My plan for the upcoming weeks is pretty ambitious, but I think I can pull it off. Planning to buy lots of tickets soon, check back soon for update on my crazy itinerary ;)

Training with Marcelo Garcia

I originally decided to skip Marcelo’s gym because it was a little over my budget. However, several people offered to help me out with the mat fee, including the academy itself. They emailed me and said I was welcome to stop by, which was really awesome of them.

I have been studying Marcelo’s game for many, many years. I don’t often watch or follow BJJ competitions, but I always seem to study Marcelo’s match to try and figure out what he is doing.

The result of this was an interesting experience at the gym the other night. It was like grappling with clones of myself, they did exactly what I had been working on for years, just much better haha. All my signature moves were being pulled off on me, it was really weird. Sometimes I stopped in the middle of a roll, laughing because I knew exactly what happened but still couldn’t defend it :)

I also got to roll a round with Marcelo, which of course was quite an experience. Writing about it in the book, too much for here :)

Nice gym, cool people, very clean and world class instruction and sparring. Highly recommended!

Location:W 23rd St,,United States

I am doing a fundraiser seminar thursday in NYC!

If you have been following my blog, you might have read about my experience with the kids in the village of Burlacu, the official middle of nowhere in Moldova.

Read the blogpost about my experiences in Moldova here

They only have a few old gi’s and a non-heated sports hall with some old mats. They do have a passion for grappling though, and we are going to help them continue to do this sport. Some helpful people from Romania are going to go there to teach and set up a small tournament for them. They will also build a shelter for their equipment.

For that, we need a little bit of money, less than $150, but more will also help of course.

I am doing a fundraiser seminar in Ronin Athletics on thursday at 8:00 pm. It will be with the gi, but no-gi can participate too. Price is $5 or whatever you want to donate for the kids. All the money will go directly to the project in Moldova.

If you are in New York and want to support the kids, please show up on thursday. Everyone is welcome and all help is appreciated!!

Visit to Ronin Athletics

Straight after training at Renzo’s, I went to see my old friends in Ronin Athletics. It was the first gym I visited in New York back in 2004 when I got here first time, and I have come back to train with the guys many times since. Last time was 2008 though, so it’s been a little while. It was great to see my friend Christian Montes again, he has done such a good job of building up the gym. When I came first, they were only four people there.

I rolled a bit with the guys, then taught a short class on sweeps before I had to go.

Training at Renzo Gracie’s academy today

A while back, I got an email from Jeff Knight, who trains at Renzo’s place. It is a gym I’ve always wanted to visit, but it was a little over my budget for this trip. Fortunately, the guys there were super nice to invite me as a guest during my stay here in New York, so I went there for an afternoon class with John Danaher. The gym is beautiful and three floors, it is huge!

A friday afternoon class at 1pm would probably draw a handful of guys in my own gym at home. This one had so many, I couldn’t even count it, it was amazing. Tons of good guys and lots of black belts there. The only downside to being so many was, that it was difficult to find room to roll, and people were bumping into eachother all the time.

I happened to be there for a black belt promotion, which is something very special and rare in this sport.

I hope I can find time to go back there for more training, but with my super tight schedule it might be difficult :,(

P.S.: I am still working on, what facial expression says “call me” most. Didn’t quite get it with Renzo this time.

Location:E 23rd St,,United States

Open mat training at Clockwork BJJ sunday

I was looking for a new gym to visit sunday, but my plans didn’t really work out, so I went to Clockwork again for an open mat session. A handful of guys were there, my host Kyle included, and we had some good rolls for an hour or so. Nice gym, I like it! :)

No training yesterday

I needed a break from training yesterday. The jetlag and all the training had been hard on my body, so I thought I would take a rest day and do something else. We went to a baseball game instead. Have never seen baseball before so it was cool to do that for the first time.

Trying to plan where to go train the rest of my stay here, there are do many options, wish I could do them all! Definitely going to Renzo’s Monday afternoon and probably Matt Serra’s on Tuesday. Looks like I will go to clockwork again this afternoon and trying to find out when to train at Ronin too. Wanna go to Marcelo’s really bad, but the $40 mat fee is a little over my budget :-/

Location:E 23rd St,,United States

The amazing around-the-world burger project: Honolulu, Hawaii.

The burger from Hawaii was competing out of “Teddy’s” gym. It had great base, many years of experience and a solid game based on fundamentals. Nothing fancy, but it worked.

I ranked it a purple belt!

Arrived in New York, first training done.

Arrived in New York last night. Staying with Kyle, a reader of my blog, who lives in Manhattan and trains in Clockwork BJJ. They had a class today at noon that I went to. Really impressed by the amount of people on the mats at that time on a weekday, there must have been 40 or so. Friendly people and lots of good guys to roll with, I had many good rounds despite being quite jetlagged today.

I am trying to plan my time here in NY. There are so many places to train, I will try and make it to as many as possible. Planning to stay here for about a week, after that I plan to really get up in gear and visit as many places as I can for the last two months of my trip. Or at least before the world goes under the 21st.