I was originally planning to fly to Paris, then spend some hours walking around a bit before taking the train down to Montpellier. A few days ago, I got an email from someone who invited me to come to Paris for training, so I decided to buy a new train ticket the next morning instead (set me back 44 euros). This means, I can stay one full day in Paris for training, sightseeing, etc :)
I will be staying with Jerome, who is training in a gym, I haven’t really been able to find the website for yet. I don’t understand any french, so makes things a little more difficult on google :D
Looking forward to spend one night in Paris!
I am starting to plan the US part of my trip, and my biggest problem with this is, that I have so many invitations to so many interesting places, that I have no idea where to go and where to not go.
My plan so far is to go from Hawaii to Oregon in beginning of may and from there fly to New York on May 5-6 to meet my girlfriend for six days. After that, I will head west and hopefully end up in Los Angeles for the Worlds in the beginning of June. So basically, I have a month to get from New York to L.A. while visiting as many interesting BJJ gyms as possible along the way.
Anyone up for a little roadtrip? :D
Went shopping with my MasterCard on AirAsia.com today and got three more tickets. From Kuala Lumpur, I will go to Kuching in Borneo, where I was invited by a small gym. I know nothing about the place, but I read that there should be some amazing nature and I really want to sail a canoe through a quiet jungle river, so that is my mission for Borneo :)
After Kuching, I head for Singapore for a few days, before I go to Bali to visit Jonathan from Kauai Kimonos. Don’t know yet how long I will stay in Bali, but it will be minimum 10 days or so, since I want to surf there and also spend my birthday there (april 4th), before I move on. Next stop from there will probably be the Philippines, but not sure yet.
Got all three tickets for less than 1000 dkr (around US$170), so that was not bad at all :)
On my way from Cyprus to Mumbai, I have arranged a quick one-night stop in Istanbul. I was recommended to check it out and got in touch with Burak from Corvos, who is kind to help me with a place to sleep and also invited me to come train with them. Seems like they have a really good gym going there, so will be exciting to check it out. Unfortunately only for one night, since I have to make it to the weekend training in Evolution MMA in Mumbai, but it is pretty close to my home, so I can always come back another time.
It will be an exciting nine days in Turkey, visiting both Ankara, North Cyprus and then Istanbul. I am really looking forward to it!
I was originally planning to go straight from Ankara, Turkey to Mumbai, India, but in the last minute, I was contacted by Selman from Cyprus, who invited me to come by and teach some classes there. He is a white belt, running the first and only BJJ training group in Cyprus, currently counting around 30 members. I think this is very cool and I would love to help them out with growing BJJ there, so I will go there for a few days before heading on to India.
Cyprus will be a very interesting place to visit and I am looking forward to see how far this group have gone in BJJ without much/any help from instructors. Just like I started myself :)
BJ Penn has always been an inspiration for me with his technical and intelligent approach to Jiu Jitsu and fighting in general. And since I am flying from Japan to California, what would be more obvious than to stop by Hawaii for a week or so to train in his academy in Hilo.
I have no contacts in Hawaii, but if I don’t get any before I get there, I’ll just show up at the doorstep of the gym and see what happens from there. If anyone out there trains in Hawaii and have a free couch for a week or so sometime by late april, let me know :)
I got contacted by Isaac from Taiwan BJJ Academy, who invited me to come train and sleep on their couch in the gym. I am looking forward to see what this place is like, since all I know about it is from the many documentaries on the Taipei 101 tower from Discovery Channel ;) Taiwan in april it is!
I know John Frankl from my former association with the SBGi organization. He is a school teacher in South Korea, where he is also running a BJJ gym. He visited me briefly here in Copenhagen a while back, so I thought I would invite myself to his place this time :) He is a very good instructor, so I am looking forward to pick his brain for a few days.
The situation in Korea is pretty tense right now, but I never liked to stay away from danger in general. Anyways, I can’t think of many cooler ways to die, than being nuked by my favorite dictator of all time, Kim Jong-Il, while I am practicing BJJ at the same time? Definitely on my top three list of best ways to die.
I got in touch with the guys running Evolution MMA in Mumbai and Tiger’s Gym in Nashik, India. They invited me to come by for a week to train in both gyms. I have no idea what to expect from India, but I am really looking forward to meet the guys, do some training and hopefully taste a lot of good Indian food ;)
For the last two years, I have been to training camp in Estonia. The training there is really good and the place is awesome for a summer trip. This year, it was held in the city of Pärnu by the beach, which is where most estonians go for vacation. There is no way I am going to miss the camp this year and since it is being held in the beginning of July, where I planned to come home, I thought it would be a great place to end my round the world trip.
So the plan is to go straight from Brazil to Estonia and spend a week or so there before I finally head home :)
South America is a place I would love to explore a bit on this trip, since I don’t really know much about it and have never been there before. One of the places I have heard good things about, is Medellin in Colombia. A swedish guy contacted me and said he was going there for 6 months to train, and it sounded awesome. Then the other day, I got an email from the founder of Gracie Barra Colombia, Carlos, who invited me to come and train there.
Since I am already going to Panama and Colombia is only an hours flight from there, it was an easy choice for me. Can’t wait to see the place and get some good training done!
I got in touch with some guys in the Philippines, and it is a place I would love to come by on the trip. I was in Boracay back in 2006 and I loved it there (check out my blog from that trip – unfortunately, some of the photos were deleted by accident).
I heard from a guy called Francis who trains in New Breed Academy in Manila. I was in Manila only one night back in 2006 so this time I will take some more time to check out the place. I have also talked to John Acosta, who invited me to Cebu, so I plan on going there as well.
Apart from that, I would like to spend a little time travelling around the islands while I am there. It is a very beautiful country and there are many places I didn’t get a chance to visit last time. Francis have recommended me a lot of interesting things to see and do, and domestic flights are really cheap so I think I’ll play it by ear when I get there :)
One thing, that I would really like to do on this trip, is to compete in the Mundials / Worlds. It is being held in the beginning of June i California, so I will try and make that the last thing I do in the US before I head towards South America. It might cost me an extra plane ticket since I plan on traveling west to east in USA, but I think it will be worth it. Maybe I will try find someone to sponsor the tournament for me, before I go there.
I don’t really expect to stand a chance in the brown belt division, but none the less it will be a great experience to compete there and do my best :) I have a LOT of invitations from gyms in L.A. so will see where I end up training for this tournament. I wish I had time to visit all of them!
I have been to New York for training six or seven times, and I have lots of great friends there, mostly from Ronin Athletics, where I really enjoy training. One of them is Ryan Mizuno, who moved (“back”) to Japan a couple of years ago. Since he moved, I have threatened him to come visit, and though one attempt a while back failed, I will not let it slip this time :)
Ryan lives with his wife in Okinawa, which is right in my travel path, so couldn’t be more perfect for me. There is not a lot of grappling there, but there should be some and I think I will get a lot of it in Tokyo anyways. Ryan is a skilled guy and I always enjoy training with him.
UPDATE: Ryan recently moved to Tokyo, so I’ll visit him there instead :)
Also make sure you check out his cool blog about life in Japan on www.RyanMizuno.com!
I got an email from Eren in Turkey, who invited me to come stay at his place and train with their small BJJ group there. Ankara is east of Bucharest, so hopefully it will fit right into my travel plan if I can get the right deal on the transportation.
Eren is a firstmover with BJJ in his country, and I would love to help out with this project as much as I can. I plan to spend some time there to teach, train and eat a lot of kebab ;)
Check out their gym here: www.bjjankara.org
I was looking to find a new, lighter gi after coming home from a competition trip to London with my big, heavy old one, and I accidentally stumbled over a thread on MMA.tv forum about some super lightweight ripstop gi’s that people were raving about. I contacted Kauai Kimonos who produced them, and Jonathan turned out to be a long-time reader of my ShogunHQ blog. He immediately offered to sponsor me some of their gi for my trip, which I think was awesome. Especially because their lightweight one only weighs less than one pound, so it will be perfect having in my stuffed backpack. I am still waiting to receive it but it should be right around the corner. Only waiting for the last embroidery of the “BJJ Globetrotter” and “We Are All One” logos to be done :)
But anyways, I have gotten to talk a bit with Jonathan about this trip and he seems like having a very similar view on life as me. I will definitely drop by Bali on the way to check out the place, do some training and maybe work a bit at the gi factory, as they seem to be super busy.
Back in 2005, I visited my friends Mike and Rebecca in Kingston, Ontario. They owned a very nice gym there, where I trained for a while. I had a great time there, and have had the pleasure of meeting them several other times at training camps etc during my training trips in the US and Canada.
A while ago, they decided to do something most people only dream about. They sold their house, business, car and everything else they owned, and bought a boat instead. With no knowledge of sailing whatsoever, they learned everything from bottom up, and after years of preparation, they have finally set sail south and have now sailed for the first two weeks of their new adventure life at sea.
I have been following their sailing project for a long time now, and it would be awesome to be a little part of their adventure, so I have talked to Mike about visiting them during my trip and hopefully spend some time with them at sea. Even better, according to their schedule, they should be sailing around the Caribbean islands at the time I get there, so I might get a little genuine pirate experiences on my trip as well! Mike and Rebecca are both black belts, but I am not sure there is room on the boat for much grappling though :D
I think their project is very inspiring, and I would recommend anyone to follow their blog over at www.zerotocruising.com.
I made a post on the MMA.tv wrestling forum about where I could go and do some wrestling training during my trip. I only got one reply but I think it will do for now. Matt Smith invited me to come stay at his place in Colorado, where he trains both BJJ and wrestling. He just got his brown belt and seems like he competes a lot, so would be a great opportunity for me to get some high level training and exchange of ideas with an active competitor. And like me, all he seems to think about is training, so can only imagine I will have a great time there ;)
Wrestling is something that I would really like to spend some time on during this trip. We don’t really have much good wrestling here in Denmark, so if I can bring home some skills in that area, it would be of high value for me and my training partners.
I am planning on visiting Matt sometime in March/June when I am in the US.
One of my old training partners from my gym moved to southern France a while ago, and when I talked with him about my trip, he invited me to come down and stay with him for a while. He lives in Montpellier and I can take a train there from Paris, where I plan to start my trip, so I think this will be the first training destination for me.
Thomas trains in Arte Suave, which he tells me is a very good gym with great instructors and a relaxed but competitive environment. It sounds like a great place for me to start training and also, traveling around southern France for a bit to start things off doesn’t sound bad either. I might see if I can find other gyms around that area to visit while I am there.
I got an email from Carlos Mora who invited me to come and train in Panama. Another place I probably wouldn’t have thought of going to myself, but it sounds really good and I can’t wait to check it out.
The gym he is training at is Marcao Jiu Jitsu Academy. I am not sure if their website is down or what, but I did find a facebook page with information about the place.
I highly appreciate the hospitality of Carlos and his girlfriend. It will be an interesting experience to live and train there!
Note 1: Profile “Mateo” from Sherdog forums live and train in Panama.
Note 2: Got an email from Jaime who invited me to Gracie Barra HQ in Panama
I have concluded, that finding places and people to visit on this trip will NOT be a problem. More so do I think it will be a problem to decide where to go and where not to go. I haven’t even really gone public with this website, and already I have a handfull of very interesting invitations in my inbox from people all over the world, willing to share their passion for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with me. France, Romania, Moldova, Bali, Japan, Oregon, Los Angeles, Colorado, Georgia, Washington, Maine and Panama. These are the places I have invitation to already, so I am eagerly trying to plan how to make it to all of them during my trip.
One of the invitations I got was from Robert, who emailed me after hearing about my trip from a friend in the US training at Lloyd Irvin’s academy (thanks, Sharon :)). He is a US citizen living Romania and having set up a small BJJ group for kids in Moldava, basically out of nothing. It has existed for four years now, and he invited me to come and train with them. I think that is a very cool opportunity to see a part of the world, that not many tourists will ever see (none?), so I am definitely putting that one on my itinerary. It will probably be one of the first places I visit, since I plan to just head east from Europe.
Robert has a blog with his experiences in Romania and Moldova, that I will encourage anyone to check out: Vampires and Brown Bears. He also send me a story about his experiences with wrestling at a local festival at a small city in Moldova, that I think was very inspiring: Click here to download.
The BJJ community is so strong throughout the world, and I can’t wait to see where this will take me.
Note 1: Robert recommended contacting http://www.absoluto.ro/ for training in Bucharest.