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

Archive for March, 2011

380 kilometers roadtrip and first Bali training is in the books

As I woke up this morning, Erik and Liam were still sleeping. I was the only one who could fall asleep in the warm room we had rented, so the had been awake most of the night. I got up early and went to the local internet cafe. A guy called Hoky had emailed me and asked if I wanted to train a bit. He was on vacation in Bali for a few days, leaving this afternoon and wondered if we had time to roll before he was going to the airport. We had four hours to get back to the gym, so I woke up the guys, we jumped on the bikes and drove the last stretch back to the city. When we got to our hotel, we had driven a total of 380 kilometers in two days. What an awesome trip!

Hoky had invited a few other guys, so we ended up being quite a big group for a free sparring session. We were all really tired and I had a bad headache from driving behind big trucks and breathing in the black smoke from the exhaustions. We managed to train for a few hours despite that. A few really good guys there, I had my hands full and it was great. Hopefully we can find time to meet them tomorrow or another day and do some more training.

I could really feel how a few days of not working out, drinking a few beers and breathing polluted air had taken it’s toll on my cardio. Hopefully it will be better when I get back in the rhythm of training.

Location:Jalan Drupadi 1,Kuta,Indonesia

Bali roadtrip, day two.

Drove for about 150 kilometers today, it was a beautiful trip. On the north side of the island, there wasn’t much traffic. The nature was beautiful and the roads really well build, so it was a pleasure to drive on them.

In the evening, we arrived at a small surfer beach. We are staying here for the night in a hot but very cheap place. Tomorrow we head back to the south!

Bali roadtrip, day one.

We drove for 140 kilometers on our motorbikes today from Kuta to Lovina. It was a trip of contrasts, as we started out on sunny, warm coastal road, then through a misty, cold mountain and ended in a crazy thunderstorm rain shower with lightning above our heads as we reached the other side of the island.

It was a very interesting trip through beautiful nature. I saw a guy play guitar by the roadside at his little gasoline shop and I stopped to play a bit with him. His guitar played really bad but it was beautiful and had obviously been used a lot. As we reached the top of the mountain, a ceremony was going on at a very big and beautiful temple. We decided to check it out, which included wearing the traditional sarong and hat thing. Super cool experience and funny photo.

We arrived at Lovina, a small place by the beach, after roughly seven hours of driving. We found a room here and tomorrow we will chill a bit by the beach before we head west.

No BJJ in Bali tonight :-/

We have had a great time here in Bali so far. Went to the only BJJ gym on the island this evening to roll a bit. Unfortunately, the matfee was over our budget (about $20 a person), so we decided to skip the training and go upstairs for some weight lifting for $6 instead. I was sad that I didn’t get to roll, but I guess that is how it is to be a BJJ bum on a tight budget.

Tomorrow, we are heading out for a motorbike road trip around the island. Will probably take us 2-3 days in total, depending on how many places we feel like stopping along the way. No Jiu jitsu there, but check in for a few interesting photos I might snap along the way.

When we get back it will be time to surf and celebrate my 29th birthday :)

Location:Jalan Drupadi 1,Kuta,Indonesia

Singapore craziness

Was only in Singapore for a few days, but it ended up being a crazy visit with lots of experiences. I met up with four good friends, with who I had an awesome time. Erik and Liam from my gym in Denmark, Jonathan my gi sponsor from Kauai Kimonos in Bali and Mikkel, who was my little brothers class mate in school 10 years ago and invited us all to stay with him.

Trained in three different gyms, went to the top of one of my favorite buildings in the world, had lots of laughs and a crazy (includes “crazy expensive”) night out. What an experience. I can’t believe how much I get to see on this trip and how many cool people I get to hang out with. I feel so privileged and is enjoying every second of it.

The adventure continues in Bali!

Seminar in Kreation today

Went to Kreation today to do a seminar. It was a big group of really cool and enthusiastic guys. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to roll today since we had a dinner date with our host Mikkel.

Tomorrow it is time for Bali!

Location:Central Blvd,Singapore,Singapore

The amazing around-the-world burger project: Singapore

The burger in Singapore (from “Berg”), was a purple belt with no stripes yet. Being naturally athletic, He was very competitive against any belt level, and proved difficult to handle, even for an experienced burger-grappler as myself. Mastering “the avocado” witness years of training and dedication to the sport.

In the gym he could probably go toe-to-toe with the french guy, but if they met in competition, he would lose due to lack of experience and maturity in his game.

Not bad, Singapore!

I guess this is why people say you should never wash your belt

(this is not a result of the food poisoning)

Location:Central Blvd,Singapore,Singapore

Double training in Singapore today

Went to two gyms today here in Singapore. I as invited to come train with the instructors at Evolve MMA this afternoon, and there was no way that I was gonna turn that offer down. It was me, four black belts and three blue belts, so it was really nice to get some high level sparring partners. I still felt a bit tired from the food poisoning, the stomach is not all right yet. Went to the toilet twenty times last night, so not much energy in me. Didn’t plan on going hard with these guys anyways.

I was naturally a bit nervous to walk on the mat today, feeling like I had a target on my back. The guys were super nice though, and the training was great. I got completely owned in sparring, which was, as always, a greet feeling :) I would love to be able to spend some more time training in a place like this, could really improve my game. They put a LOT of pressure on me in the positions, check out my bruised face on the photo haha

Next training was in the evening at Impact MMA. It was a small class with some white belts, a single brown belt and a single purple belt. I rolled with the brown belt and it was awesome. Super technical, back and forth roll. I really enjoyed that, hope I get the chance to roll with him again.

My friends Erik and Liam from my gym in Denmark arrived this morning. They are a bit jetlagged but still managed to finish the training. Tomorrow, I am teaching at Kreation gym and hopefully also have some time to check out this interesting city.

Location:Telok Ayer St,,Singapore

The amazing around-the-world burger project: Borneo, Malaysia.

I was rolling with two burgers in Borneo last night. Unfortunately, a “hip injury” kept me from enjoying the roll fully. In fact, I had to stop half ways to go and heal my injury. Here are the verdicts:

First one had trained for the street. A so called “street-burger”. It was all about defending rape chokes, bearhugs and wrist grabs, but in reality it never got much sparring done. This showed off under pressure, where it was greatly confused on what to do when I mounted it and went for the submission.

It didn’t have a belt, since it only “trained for the street”, but I graded it a white belt three stripes anyway.

First burger was bringing his friend to the gym that night. It was a richer kid, showing off a little bit. In reality though, it only had a few fancy moves to show off (such as “the apple slice”) and was lacking fundamentals. I felt like it would be a good idea if the two friends where following each other in training, so I graded it to a white belt three stripes as well.

In Singapore

Going crazy, buying expensive watches and all.

Location:Telok Ayer St,,Singapore

No more Borneo, lots more toilet visits.

Had my last training here in Borneo today. There was a good group of people and I think I managed to give them some stuff they can use in their game. After the class, I rolled for about 15 minutes with Albert, the owner of the gym. He is a very good blue belt and we had a great technical sparring session. It was really nice to roll again, although I had to stop early since I was out of energy and also had to go to the toilet for the 40th time today. I am seriously getting tired of this, I hope it will be better for tomorrow. I had some Chinese medicine against diarrhea called “Chi-Kit”. The name alone should be enough to cure anything!

Getting up early and going to Singapore for three days. Will meet up with some of my friends from the gym back home and is really looking forward to that.

I also had some Malaysian burgers today and will post a review soon ;)

Location:Jalan Abell,Kuching,Malaysia

Borneo jungle trip

I am only here in Borneo for two days, so I was a little busy seeing stuff. It would be too easy to just sleep and train, so I am happy that I got to do something today.

From early morning, we went on a kayak trip through the jungle. It was beautiful, quiet and the weather was perfect. It has been raining for the past few days here, so there was a nice stream which meant we didn’t really had to do much apart from steering for three hours. It was like the jungle took us for a nice, guided tour and we could just lean back and enjoy the ride. Very cool experience.

Still not 100% recovered from the food poisoning. Feel a bit dizzy when I walk around but it is getting better. We are training again in a few hours and then going to find Malaysia’s best burger!

Location:Jalan Mathie,Kuching,Malaysia

Tough day at the office

Today has been a really tough day. I was in bed until 16:00 when Albert picked me up and we went to the gym. I felt really dizzy, nauseous and had a headache, but there was no way I would skip teaching the class.

The gym here is absolutely beautiful. Clean, well designed and with big windows all around, providing fresh air and a tropical view.

My brain worked really slow. I was catching my breath each time I had just demonstrated a technique. I managed to roll a single round with one of the white belts and had to stop after that. No energy in my body whatsoever.

I weighed myself and was three kilos under weight. This was after I just drank three liters, so guess I must have lost around 5-6 liters of liquid during the night. No wonder I feel dehydrated.

I bought some water, salts and stuff and went back to the hotel room. Earlier, I had bought a chicken sandwich that I didn’t manage to eat. As I took a bite of it in the hotel room, I realized that it had the same sauce on as the chicken wings I had thrown up and tasted all night. I almost panicked and thought I would have to throw up again, but lots of water and chewing gum saved me. Don’t think I’ll be eating that anyways ;)

Now it is time to get some sleep. Tomorrows schedule is jungle trip and more training.

Food poisoning did not come as a surprise…

But it still wasn’t very nice to shit and throw up all night long :-/

I was prepared for this to happen. Everyone told me that I would definitely get food poisoning in India or Turkey, so maybe I was getting a little confident when I passed through these countries with no problems what so ever. I even ate all the local food in all the local restaurants I could find.

Yesterday, I arrived here in Kuching, Borneo. Albert picked me up from the airport and we went straight to a nice little street market to eat. I had some delicious local food and was ready for bed. Woke up a few hours later and felt seriously bad. Traveling alone is great for meeting people, but not so great when you are sick and could need some help getting water, etc. Twelve hours, and not much sleep, later now and I feel a bit better. Had been looking forward to sparring and physical workout tonight, but my guess is that I will be completely exhausted in a very short time.

Time to relax and drink water for a few hours, then teaching tonight and tomorrow jungle trip!

I’ve got my own poster

Just stumbled over this on, how awesome is that LOL

On my way to Borneo

It was three nice and relaxing days in Perhentian Kecil. No electricity, hot water or mobile signal. Internet was only open from 7-9 pm every night.

I spent most of the days relaxing on the beach and in the hammock. There were lots of waves due to the earthquake in Japan, so I spent some time bodyboarding as well. Good fun!

I met a group of Brits on the way to the island and ended up hanging out with them for my entire stay there. Once again I was experiencing a new culture, this time the authentic British one of drinking beer and getting sunburned on the beach. More about the island experiences will go in the book :)

Now I am in Kuala Lumpur airport waiting for my flight to Kuching. I shared a (1984 totally trashed and 60 km per hour) taxi from the boat to the airport with an American guy. He wasn’t flying till the afternoon and my own flight was three hours delayed, so we ended up hanging out all morning around the airport. He had a really cool guitar, I got to play a little on. As we were sitting in the airport playing guitar, loads of malaysians came by to check it out. It was a fiberglass, super light one and they all wanted to try it. Many of them actually were really good! One of them must have been some kind of superstar, he travelled with a band, played like a pro and looked like an Asian Bon Jovi lol They invited us to their concert in Kuala Lumpur, but unfortunately, I am not in the city tonight :-/

I can’t help thinking about how many cool experiences like this the world around me posses. Twice in three days, I ask strangers to share a taxi and out of the blue, my day completely changes direction and new friends are made. I guess that anyone around me can either become my new best friend or someone I never get to know.

Do Not Disturb

…I’ll be back on the mats in a few days :)

Goodbye India

I am sitting in Mumbai airport, on my way to Malaysia. When I was trying to figure out where to go on my trip, I was looking for places that I knew nothing about. India was one of these. I found a confusing website with a few photos of some guys grappling. It seemed to be the only gym in India (that had a website at least). I sent them an email, and here I am. Five days and so many good experiences later, on my way to the next adventure.

I wonder how many of these undiscovered places and friends exists out there?

The guys here are working hard to put the Indian flag on the MMA map of the world. There is a lot of talent, and with these few passionate people doing what they do now, the potential of this place is unlimited. I am honored to have been able to give them a little push in the right direction with the experience I have and can share.

Every place, I have visited up until now, I have had a different role. In India, it turned out to be focus on positional foundation and training program planning for competition.

What will be next?

Day two in Nashik

I slept around 5 hours during the night, and decided to take a small nap In the gym while the other guys worked out and had breakfast. I woke up four hours later and panicked a bit because I missed training. All the other guys were sleeping on the mats too though, so I was fine :)

We did some training with a smaller group today. I went through basic wrestling for MMA. There is a lot of wrestling in India and many cities have mud pits where the locals wrestle. I really wanted to try that, but as far as I can understand, they are not too keen on fighting foreigners :-/

It was fun to do some MMA again, I haven’t done it for at least a year now. In the end, I got to roll with everyone in class. The knee held out just fine, didn’t feel anything. Rolled for a good half hour and was very pleased.

After training, we went for dinner (once again, amazing food) and then I drove back to the house with Alan on his motorbike. It was a perfect evening for the ride. Clear skies, quiet and perfect temperature.

Tomorrow, I am doing some one-on-one training with Alan, before heading to the airport (four hour taxi ride!) and flying to Malaysia.

Nashik Zombie

Apparently, Indians don’t sleep much. I consider myself very privileged to live a life without an alarm clock. I basically sleep till my body is done resting and wakes me up. Today was different though. I was going to bed around 2 am, not knowing that we were getting up at seven. With a long day of training and working out, needless to say, I was a bit tired. I took a three hour nap in the gym office, it helped ;)

The gym here is great. It is nice facilities and there are quite many guys. I did a class on mount escape today and think we were about 20. Some good talent in between for sure, I hope to spar with someone tomorrow. No time for sparring today unfortunately.

I like the fresh air and the slower pace here. People in the street are staring a bit more though, I don’t think they get many tourists here. I haven’t seen anyone else than myself yet, except for one swede, disguised as an Indian.

I am alive

I am in Nashik, India. It is a small city in the countryside, which means it has a population of an average Scandinavian country, roughly five million people.

Here is no wifi, so I cannot update my blog from my iPad. I have written some posts and taken some photos, but they’ll have to wait.

Tomorrow is my last day here. I am flying to Kuala Lumpur. It was my original plan to stay there, but I am getting a little tired of big cities and I need a break from all the training, so will go to a desert island for a few days to relax and write my book. I don’t know if there is wifi, but I’ll look for it :)

The Mumbai Gunshow!

I had a great day so far in Mumbai. Taught a class in the morning, then spend some time in the gym upstairs, working out with the local gunshows. The gym has an outdoor pool (=awesome, I need that at home), so I took a swim there after working out. This was all followed by an amazing Indian lunch.

The level of BJJ here is still pretty low, but the guys are dedicated and there is a lot of potential. I did some basic mount top positioning today and managed to do a few rounds of sparring. Knee felt fine today, but still not 100% comfortable with sparring. Made sure to put some ice on it after training.

In a few hours, we are headed to Nashik, another city outside Mumbai. Will stay there for two days before heading to Kuala Lumpur. Still have no idea what to do or where to stay there, but I consider going to a desert island or something to relax a bit alone and write on my book. I have tons of notes from the trip so far, so wanna write it up before I forget all the details :)

First day in India!

About to sleep now after my first day in India. I arrived at 3 in the morning, had some food and then to bed. I slept till 1 and as soon as I woke up, I was being picked up to go to the gym…. On motorbike! :)

Basically it felt like I came straight from snowy, cold Istanbul, slept, and woke up on the backseat of a motorbike in hot and sunny Mumbai’s crazy, crazy, crazy streets. It was quite a change of environment (even though Istanbul’s traffic was crazy too :)).

This place is really something different. It is hot, smelly, poor and dirty. For some reason, I really love it here despite this. People are friendly and funny, and the food is great. I love Indian food, so great to actually eat it here :)

My winter jacket and jeans are now officially packed away and will be shipped home asap.

We went to the gym and I was teaching a small class in the evening. People showed up about an hour late, but I was respecting the local traditions of being late ;) I did a little bit of sparring to test my knee and it went ok. Didn’t feel anything, but I am sure that one wrong movement can hurt it again. It is a little sore now, but much better than in Cyprus.

It was a really good feeling to train again, even though I only sparred for ten minutes. I got my dope and I am really happy now. Also got to do some more weight training, nice to keep it going.

Now it is time to sleep. Tomorrow will be more training, a swim in the pool and then off to Nashik to the next gym!