I got an email from Robert in Moldova, who received the gi’s from the judo gym in Denmark:
“Thanks to everyone who pitched in and made this work. My wife and I are headed to Moldova tomorrow with two or three bags full of gis but I will still have to make at least another trip in August to get them all out there (and as I understand there are a couple more gis floating around Chisinau somewhere). I plan to buy some shelves this trip as well as take the Burlacu team to Chisinau and back for a friendly competition with the Chisinau team with the donated $285 courtesy of the Ronin Athletics.
So thanks again to Georgette, Mikkel, Christian, Jason and all your people for helping out. I will be sure to take pictures of the donated material “in action”. For now we don’t need any more gis though. I have asked Tudor at Absoluto BJJ here in Bucharest to ask his guys to dig all their extra karate/judo/bjj/tae kwon do/kung fu etc. belts out of their closets to add to our huge pile of gis in our living room, but that’s about all we need. So like I said, NO MORE GIS!!! And you guys are awesome.”
Since the kids in Moldova have enough gi’s, I am now redirecting any donations I hear about to the gym in Dominican Republic. First gi’s have just been shipped there by Gregory in the US, thanks!
This burger had all the nice gear. It looked great in it’s fancy gi with all the cool patches. I had good game too, but there was just something about it that rubbed me the wrong way. I rated it blue belt four stripes.
The way I ended here in DR was, that I was looking at google maps, trying to figure out, what places were close to where Mike and Rebecca’s boat would be. I checked the surrounding islands and saw that DR was close. I googled for BJJ and the rest is history.
I know I am beating the same drum, but how amazing is it, that I can point at any spot on a map, buy a ticket, go there all alone and end up in this situation, where I am sad to leave, because I made so many good friends in just four days. Dominican Republic turned out to be a place of beautiful people, beautiful places and beautiful Jiu Jitsu.
I have stayed two nights in Santo Domingo, the capital, to where we took the bus for five hours. Abraham, a huge brown belt, offered me to stay in his house and we had a great time. I am looking forward to meet him again next week in L.A. and see him compete.
We went training tonight and I had some very tough and great rolls with a bunch of brown and black belts. Really good night of training.
Now, I will get three hours of sleep before heading to the airport and flying to Costa Rica, to see what awaits me there! (another place, I found by looking at a map)
My neighbor Glen drove to me Playa Encuentro this morning on his super awesome old school moped. The waves were surprisingly good and we had a great time in the water, catching many waves. To finish it off in style, the last wave I decided to go for, took me all the way to the beach, it was perfect :)
I joined the class at the gym last night. It was Papo, the brown belt instructor who I rolled with earlier in the day, and a big group of local boys, all white belts. They were very physically strong from kitesurfing, fishing and working in the fields and their body mechanics were impressive. They gave me a serious run for my money, not often I experience that with beginners. This place has unlimited potential, I am looking forward to follow these guys in the years to come.
I just weighed myself this evening. 172 pounds without the gi. Should I try to cut down to middleweight or just don’t worry about it and compete in middle?
I couldn’t decide wether or not to spend all that money on competing in the Worlds next week, but BJJ Legends magazine generously offered to sponsor me so it would be possible. I am looking at flight tickets today and will sign up as soon as I make a decision on the weight class. Maybe I will weigh myself tomorrow morning and see what it says.
On one hand, I would prefer to compete in lightweight because I haven’t done much physical training on the trip and I know everyone is cutting. On the other hand, my preparations have been terrible in terms of trying to perform well at the tournament (amazing in terms of having fun and traveling though ;)) so maybe the weight class is of less importance.
I had a great training session with Papo and Joe this morning in the skate ramp gym. Very technical guys, who give me some seriously good sparring sessions. We trained for an hour or so before getting some lunch.
After, I took a motorbike to Encuentro beach, where all the surfing is. Unfortunately, there were no waves today, so I had to drop that project. I am finding myself getting restless because I haven’t been surfing since Hawaii. I really miss it, so hope there will be some waves tomorrow morning. I could kitesurf, but there is so much to learn and so much equipment. I have fallen in love with the simplicity of just having a board and nothing else. Tomorrow it is!
Now, I will try and find some flight tickets for next destination (still to be determined), then roll again tonight.
I was honestly a little sceptic, that yesterday would be Judgment Day where all the true believers would be zapped to heaven, but it turned out to be true.
I came to Cabarete late last night in the dark and arrived directly at a big afterparty for a BJJ tournament. Don’t remember much that happened, but I think I met Jesus in a bar on the beach later, and when I woke up this morning and saw this place in daylight, I realized that all the religious ramblings were true and I had actually gone to heaven!
I don’t believe in God, but I guess he believes in me, because he designed heaven just as I imagined it. Outdoor BJJ gym with great guys on a perfect surf beach with a bar. And wifi. See you guys here if you are not going to hell or something.