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

Archive for February, 2011

Taught a seminar in Bucharest today, now looking for hamburger.

Today we walked around Bucharest for a few hours to check out the city. It was cold and snowy, but really interesting. The contrast between the old, original buildings and the concrete east block style buildings were very interesting. I took some good photos but will upload them at a later point since I need some time for editing.

At 14:00 I did the seminar in the gym. About 40 guys showed up which was really cool. I went over some stuff from side control and people seemed to find it useful I think.

Now we are looking for a hamburger for my hamburger review on the blog. Seems to be really difficult to find a real Romanian hamburger though!

In two hours, we are catching the bus to Moldova. It will be a nine hour drive (arg), but I’ll take it as a part of the adventure :D

Not much time to write here in fact, will be back tomorrow when I get online somewhere ;)

Arrived in Bucharest after most expensive taxi ride ever.

Wow, this day was really intense. Last night when I was getting to bed, I just wanted to check out how I could get to the airport from the train station. I found out, that even though I arrived in Paris three hours prior to the takeoff of my plane, it would be extremely tight making the bus or train in time. It made it a little difficult for me to sleep, so only got five hours.

In the morning I said goodbye to Thomas and Kristina, before getting on the train to Paris. I had a really great time in Montpellier and was very happy to stay with them.

When I arrived in Paris I was in a serious hurry. With help from Arthur, I got on the right trains and got to the bus station in record time, but I was exactly three minutes late. The kind guy at the ticket booth informed me, that my only option to make the flight in time was by taxi to the airport. It was more an an hours drive away and costed me 140 euros!!!!!!!!!!! I had no other option so I got the best out of it. Got a photo of the taxi driver laughing with my money in his hand, so it was all worth it lol

Anyways, I made it to Bucharest and it was snowing heavily. The landing was basically all white. I couldn’t see anything out the window.

Robert and Amanda was waiting for me in the airport with a SIGN!!! How awesome is that, I’ve always wanted someone to pick me up in the airport with a home made sign :D

We drove to their apartment (which has a guard dog, awesome again!), got some food and then out the door again to the gym. I was pretty tired but I am only here for 24 hours so I wanted to go to the gym. And what a cool experience!

It was at a military facility in a huge wrestling room. Very simple, eastern Europe style place. There were tons of people in the class, i think at least 40. People were extremely friendly and their English was really good. I hadn’t been there for more than a few minutes before people came to say hi and asked for advise about BJJ. It was very easy to socialize with them and they seemed eager to learn and to hear about my trip.

Tudor, the owner of the gym, who I had met in Portugal for the Europeans was sick unfortunately, so there wasn’t really anyone to teach. They asked if I could teach a bit, so I did. We went over some one-legged x-guard and everyone learned it easily. In general, the level was really high. There were a good handful of very good blue belts.

I got two rolls before I had to call it a day. All the traveling and to little sleep was in my body. I wanted to save my energy for tomorrow, where I am teaching a seminar at 14:00. I hope there will also be time for checking out the city a bit and taking some photos. We are leaving on the bus to Moldova already at 6 in the evening.

So far, Romania has been a really good experience. It was awesome to get on a plane, land in some completely unknown country, walk directly into a Jiu jitsu gym and connect with people like that. It seems that everywhere I go, I instantly want to go back, and this is no exception.

I am really looking forward to tomorrow. Right now I am sitting in Robert and Amanda’s apartment. I can’t wait to take some photos here, it is as eastern European as I could imagine and I love it.

The beginning of the amazing around-the-world burger project

Tomorrow, I am leaving Montpellier to go to Bucharest in Romania. We decided to skip training tonight, since we were both really tired. Training every night since I left home has made me pretty sore, probably because I had a long (2-3 weeks) break from training before I left.

Instead, we went for burgers with some of Thomas friends. It was a really good burger. They talked a lot about that they were really big, but I am no noob when it comes to eating contests, so I challenged Thomas to order the biggest one for me he could. Even the waiter seemed impressed when he took the order. Needless to say, I finished it in style ;)

Thomas suggested, that as a side project for my trip, I should rate burgers from all over the world on my blog. Since I am losing weight fast when I travel (down to 76.9 this morning!), I thought that was a great idea.

The burger from Burger & Co in Montpellier, I will rate as a seasoned purple belt with three stripes. Good base, hard to sweep and and experienced competitor with some teaching experience.

On the way home, I found some pretty cool shop names. Who wants to be “Forever Seven”?

A walk in the park

The title of this post is not about sparring with the French guys!

Location:Rue de l’Argenterie,Montpellier,France

Cooking skills impress fellow Danes, first gi training followed.

I decided to cook dinner for my hosts today. Unfortunately I ate too much of it, so getting up in gear in class was a little difficult tonight :)

I had been very sore in my body today after the hard training yesterday. Once I got warmed up I felt great though.

There we more people on the mat today. Florent, the own of the gym, and his twin brother Jean Claude was there, both brown belts. Apart from that, there was a few blue belts and white belts.

The sparring with the twins was really good. They are very friendly and technical and I recommend anyone coming by southern france to go train with them. Check out their website!

Some photos from Montpellier today

Got a long night of sleep and took my time to get up. My three week break from training makes it a little hard to get used to sparring again. The hard warmup yesterday didn’t help either :)

I started the day experimenting a bit with my monkeypod and fisheye lens. The staircase to Thomas and Kristina’s apartment is crazy narrow and it took me some time to get the angle right, but think it turned out pretty good.

Christie, an American girl from the gym, was off work today and had offered to show me around the city a bit. This place is a complete maze with narrow streets and tall buildings, so it is very difficult to keep a sense of direction and therefore a “local” guide was highly appreciated.

Spend a while checking out the beautiful city and taking some photos. Now i am just relaxing before gi class tonight. Should be a bigger class than yesterday from what I’ve heard.

New city, new gym, more training.

Tonight I went to Arte Suave, which was a fifteen minute walk from where Thomas lives. The first thing that hit me when I entered the door was the humidity, it was crazy. No open doors or windows and no ventilation. Keeping warm would not be a problem, I reckoned.

Six guys showed up for class, and the atmosphere was very relaxed, which was perfect for me. Earlier in the day I had decided to skip training today because I was so tired, but I went anyways and was happy I did.

We did a pretty hard warm up with some card and endurance drills. A little hard for my tired body, I could definitely feel the lack of sleep.

The trainer, Francisco Nonato, was a HUGE guy. He showed some pretty nice stuff from the kimura in guard bottom. One way to finish it if the opponent hides his arm and one way to use it to take the back. Will go in the notebook and be showed to the guys in my gym playing the kimura game.

We did about 30-40 minutes of sparring, and my knee felt fine. I went really nice and easy, no need to take any chances by going hard with strangers. If I get injured (especially in that stupid knee), I will pretty much be fucked :) they level of the guys was pretty high, especially Florent, a brown belt around my size. Very nice roll. I also went a round with Francisco, it was basically like trying to grapple a house.

Now I am back in the apartment and will sleep as long as I can, I really need it. Tomorrow night is some sightseeing and gi training.

Arrived in Montpellier

This morning, Jerome came by and we took the train to Gare de Lyon, where we had breakfast before I jumped on the train to Montpellier.

Since I came home late from my Eiffel Tower walk, I only got about 6 hours of sleep. That totals 10 hours in two days, which is the minimum I sleep daily. Was really difficult to stay awake in the train (3,5 hours), but I made it and met up with Thomas at the station. He trained in my gym in Copenhagen a while back, but moved here to study a year ago. He was the first person I talked to about coming by on my trip, so it was cool for me to finally get here after so much preparation.

I am right now sitting in his apartment and relaxing after a nice French style lunch. There is training tonight, but I’ll have to wait and see a bit if I have the energy for it. Also, my knee injury was really sore today, so is very nervous about it :-/ it needs to last for another four and a half month!

A rainy Monday night in Paris

I was really tired when I got home from training around midnight, but I convinced myself that I should walk to the Eiffel tower and try to get a good shot of it. It is lit up at night and with the rain and fog on my only one night in Paris, I couldn’t let this photo opportunity pass.

I was glad I did it. What an amazingly beautiful structure it is. Especially on a night like this and with no tourists around. I was totally alone there, it was really a cool experience. Got some other shots on the way, but it was getting late, the rain was getting heavier and my fingers started to freeze.

First training session in the books, feeling high on BJJ!

Today was my first training session as a BJJ Globetrotter, and what an experience. I had my first training in Hybrid Team Jiu Jitsu, which is being run by black belt Olivier Millet.

Before I left for the trip, I was sick and had some problems with my knee so today was the first training in over three weeks. I must admit that I was a little nervous about going into this training, because I step into a completely unknown gym, wearing my brown belt (which in many places translates as a target on my back) and just coming back from a knee injury. You never know what kind of guys you run into, and it could potentially end really bad if someone just decides to give it everything and rip your legs off.

Fortunately, the gym I went to wasn’t anything like that. Arthur, who showed me around the city all day, trained there and I brought Jerome with me since his own gym only had MMA training tonight. We met the trainer and he was a super nice guy, welcomed us both with open arms.

The class was a mix of gi, no-gi and mma sparring at the same time. The facilities were very simple, I think it was a room at a public swim hall. We waited for a karate class to end before we could start training. Very informal atmosphere, just like it prefer it :) most guys were not wearing their belts, everyone seemed to have a good time and there was lots of laughs and smiles, always a good sign.

We did some isolation drills from side control and quarters and the instructor showed a way to turn over the turtle that I really liked and will remember for my own game.

We did two or three round of sparring. I only got to do nogi, but I am not in a hurry and should have lots of options to spar with the gi in the next four months :)

Got some good rounds of sparring with some tough guys. No headhunting and technical rolls going back and forth. Had a roll with my host Jerome, who did very well and is quite heavy to move around :) also I got to roll with a brown belt and it was a great round.

No problems with the knee and now I am sitting in the metro going back to the apartment to wash my gi and get some sleep. Feeling really high on BJJ, it was such a rush to roll again and a great feeling to once again walk into a gym and meet some super cool guys. If this is s sign of what will come the next four and a half months, then this trip is going to be epic :)

I am right now standing outside a mcdonalds and uploading this blog post. Really need to sleep, it has been a long day zzz

I recommend anyone in Paris to stop by the gym for some training! Here is some info about it from Arthur (the guide ;)):

training schedule for BJJ :
Monday 21h/22h30 + thursday at 19h30/22h30 at the “cour des lions” 9 Rue Alphonse Baudin 75011 Paris

There’s also courses in the suburb at the Henri wallon gym in Bagneux on tuesdays, fridays, from 18h to 20h and on sundays from 10h 13h : 2, Avenue Stalingrad , 92220 Bagneux

and finally a grappling class from 10 to 13h on saturdays at the marcel cachin gym in Bagneux too : 4 RUE DES CUVERONS 92220 Bagneux

contact : +33677105928
or the facebook group : HYBRID TEAM JUI JITSU

Tomorrow I will have brunch with Jerome and Arthur and then I take the train down to Montpellier to continue the amazing adventures of the BJJ globetrotter ;)

Arthur the tourist guide

Since Jerome was busy today, I met up with Arthur, who is a guy from the Sherdog forum that contacted me about coming to train when I was in Paris. He is studying English, so while I could help him practice the language, he could be a tourist guide for me in the city :)

I met up with him today at 14:30 and we walked around for some hours and talked about BJJ. Beautiful city even though the weather was really boring. I took some photos, but it was difficult as I am more into blue skies and sunshine. I guess I could use some more practice in taking “sad mood” photos :)

Meet Jerome

I arrived well in Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and took the train to the city. I didn’t have data coverage on my phone so I had to do with my handwritten travel directions. I like that better actually, there is some kind of romantic thing about finding my way in a place I have never been before. Yes, I am a little weird, I know ;)

Made it to the Motte Picquet Grenelle metro station and met Jerome there. In fact it was his friend Sacha, who first contacted me about coming to Paris, but since he is in Japan now, he hooked me up with Jerome instead. I am staying in his small, but nice, apartment close to the Eiffel tower, while he will be sleeping at his girlfriends place.

I must say I was pretty excited to finally meet up with the first BJJ stranger on my trip, who I had met just through this blog. Tonight wee are going to a small gym to train a bit, will be interesting! Especially taking into consideration that I haven’t rolled in three and a half weeks basically.

This trip starts REALLY well lol

Destination: Paris, France.

Before it’s too late

When this post is being published, I am sitting on a plane towards the first destination of my four and a half month long journey around the world. Doing something like this is a dream, that I have had for as long as I can remember. In some periods of my life, it has been very clear and concrete, and in other periods, it has been vague and almost forgotten. But is has always been there, and this day I know, that I am doing the right thing. This is what I want to do, this is where I want to be. This is what I want to do with my life.

I will leave with a track from my favorite movie of all time, “Into the Wild”. It is a beautiful film with a beautiful soundtrack, and together with a very tragic event happening around the time I watched this, it really gave me the push I needed to make this dream reality. We have one life and one chance, that not everyone takes before it suddenly one day, out of the blue, can be too late.

“The secret of happiness is freedom.
The secret of freedom is courage.”

Thucydides (471 BC – 400 BC)

Packed and ready

Backpack weighed in at 14.3 kilos. I guess this is actually happening :)

Thanks for the interest, everyone.

Just checked the stats of my blog and was surprised by the large number of visits I get these days. I appreciate everyone’s interest in my project and can’t wait to get out there tomorrow morning.

Got back from an all-weekend competition (news from danish website) and now just getting all the last little things done tonight.

Preparing to pack my backpack, predict smelly socks.

Tonight I found all the things I will pack in my backpack and put it out to get an overview of the situation. I don’t think it will be a problem to fit in everything, in fact I might have a little extra space available. Not going to fill it up with wooden statue souvenirs, but maybe I should get myself some more socks. Sorting through my current ones, I find out that I do not have many thin, light ones. Lots of thick winter socks though, but not gonna work for my trip. Better find some more, so I don’t have too smelly socks on the trip ;)

Leaving in one day and 12 hours!

The official (and experimental) globetrotter competition gi is ready!

I already have the super light weight black gi from Kauai Kimonos and now I have the second one, which is cotton so I can use it in competitions.

It is an experimental model from Kauai not on the market yet, so I will give it a thorough test by taking it around the world to tons of different gyms. The material is quite different from anything I have ever seen before, and takes some time to get used to, but I am getting there and like it more and more. The material is super light and takes up very little space in my backpack (some more than my black ripstop though). It also dries really quickly, which is an important thing to me while traveling.

I have been waiting for some patches to pimp it up before I posted about it here, but now it is finished and I took some photos of it. Also got a Scramble patch that I sew on the pants of my black gi. Looks sweet!


Went to the pharmacy today to get the last things I needed for the trip. My friend Martin already hooked me up with lots of probiotics pills, and today I bought some anti-inflammation painkillers, malaria medicine (just in case) and something if I get a sore throat. I also plan to shit a lot when I eat all kinds of strange, exotic foods, so got something to help me there as well ;)

Now officially welcome in India

Picked up my visa at the Indian embassy today. If I had been one day later with my application, I wouldn’t have made it in time. Living on the edge!

Last day in my gym, everyone impressed with my baking skills.

Yesterday, I was teaching my last classes before I leave monday. I am free on Fridays and in the weekend we are going to a tournament with the team.

As I posted yesterday, I baked an awesome cake for the guys. In fact I made two of them, but the other one was too ugly to take a photo of lol

It was a nice evening in the gym, even though I couldn’t really train myself. I rolled a bit with the young boys and was yet again surprised at how skilled they are. I know I am their coach and trainer, so it is “my own work”, but I am genuinely impressed with their level.

It was kind of an emotional evening for me. I see these people many days a week and consider them all my friends, so it is strange to think that I won’t see them for so long. I am definitely going to miss them all a lot, both as friends and as training partners.

Here are some photos where I officially present the cakes to my junior team and adult team.

Saying goodbye in style

This weekend we are taking the team to a tournament, so tonight is the last class I teach in my gym before I leave. Is there any better way to say goodbye, than with a cake?? I think not. So I’ve been in the kitchen all day, working my magic, and of course the result was stunningly beautiful:

Sleeping bag and towel

Bought myself a sleeping bag and a microfiber travel towel today. It was pretty expensive (1138 dkr total) but I think it will be worth it. Really good quality and with two gi’s in my backpack I don’t have much room for other stuff, so these super compact items are necessary.