Monday, January 30, 2012

Sun, surfing, segways and silver medal in Portugal

I got back home from Portugal last night, and what an action-packed trip it was :)

Our little team performed really well and we took home three medals, one of each kind. The goal was to get a medal, so I am very satisfied with the result. It was a huge event over four days with a swarm of people filling up the sports hall. I met lots of people, who were reading this or my other blog, and many of my friends I trained and lived with on my trip around the world were there too. It was nice to see so many of them again.

For myself, it went pretty well, in fact a bit better than I had expected. I didn't really have any ambitions for myself, but ended up getting to the final in the master middle weight division, losing on points to the guy who also won the absolute.

I had three matches on the day, and it was nice to compete in master, where the time limit is six minutes instead of eight. It suited me really well, and my energy level was fine. Especially considering, that I haven't been able to do any real cardio or strength training since august. 

Let's get straight to the matches :)

First up was a german guy, who had already won his first match. I was seeded one round, so I got the chance to check him out before I met him on the mat. His game looked pretty good and I noticed, that he used his left leg as lead in guard top, which puzzled me a little bit about my tactics. I can do all my moves to both left and right side, but with most people leading with their right leg, that is where I have most experience.

Anyways, I pulled guard right away and for some reason, I got my left leg over his arm right from the start. He was in the wrench, and I was not going to let him out. Broke posture, then locked in a reverse triangle to stabilize while he tried to pull his head out. As he paused, I switched it over to regular and finished when he stood up to escape.

A short first match, that didn't really even get me warm as I hoped for. But it was nice to be able to save some energy for the next ones.

Second match was against a guy I have known from the danish BJJ community for something like ten years now. It was a pleasure to compete against him, and we had a good time before and after the match. I knew his guardpassing style suited my guard really bad, and he also has a tight closed guard. So I couldn't really decided where to play the game, but I eventually picked his guard. From the moment he pulled it, it was survival mode for the rest of the match. I had a decent attempt at passing, but I was mostly defending his sweep and submission attempts. My hope was, that there would be scored no points or advantages, so I would get the referee's decision for being on top. It was a tactic with a tiny margin for winning, and it worked. It could easily have gone either way, but I pulled home the smallest possible win and advanced to next round.

We'll have a rematch another day, where I'll promise to play less boring tactics :D

My opponent in the finale was exceptionally strong. I just couldn't move any of his limbs at all, and when I tried to sweep him, it felt like he was bolted to the floor. My technique and cardio felt good, but he was just physically too big of a handful for me. Usually I try to handle the big guys by taking the pace out of the match in the guard, but eventually he passed using a grip from hell on my ankle.

I managed to keep calm, recover my guard and sweep via deep half, but it was too late and I lost 5-2.

All in all, I am very satisfied with the result. I don't think I made any big mistakes in my matches, really. Of course, that is not always enough to win, but over all I am pleased with my own performance.

Apart from the competition, we had a great time in Lisbon. I wanted to focus on doing other things than just sitting in the sports hall for ten hours a day, so I had arranged for the team to go on a Segways race around town thursday. We did it last year, and it was still just as fun racing up and down those steep, narrow streets of the old town. Walking with my legs seem like such a waste of time after having tried a Segway :D The guys renting them out are super cool and one of them even does BJJ. I highly recommend dropping by GoCars Lisbon if you are there for the tournament next year and - like me - are getting tired of sitting indoors all the time in the noise.

The last day, we went surfing before heading to the airport. It was really nice to be back in the water, and despite difficult conditions, we had a great time there. I got to try my new camera on a surfboard for the first time and got some cool footage out of it.

Good things:
  • Silver medal at major IBJJF tournament
  • Cardio and endurance felt ok
  • Nice to work on guard top defense
  • No nervousness really

Bad things:
  • I need to fix my shoulder to get back to weight training
  • Deep half needs some polishing and experience

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Off to Portugal tomorrow

Tomorrow afternoon, I am heading to beautiful Lisbon in Portugal, to compete at the European Open.

Last year, I set a team with the goal of getting a medal at the tournament after six months of preparations, and we succeeded. This year, I did the same, but we have had a lot of unfortunate injuries and sickness, which means that we will be a smaller group going. I am still very satisfied with being able to take seven competitors from our small gym (eight with visitor, Mario :)), all the way to Portugal to compete at the biggest event in Europe.

I think we have a very good chance of taking home a few medals, and I know everyone will do perform really well and have a good experience.

Personally, I am having my debut in the masters division for brown belts. I have absolutely no idea, how it will go, but will just go on the mat and see what happens. There are some tough guys there, and it is hard to focus on myself, when I am so emotionally involved in my students matches. We'll see! :) No matter what, it will be cool to once again have the opportunity to compete at this level, in one of the world's biggest competitions.

After the competition, I have planned for us to rent segways for sightseeing around town and sunday I will take the whole team to the beach for surfing lessons before we go straight to the airport :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Interview on Fightmap about quitting my job to start a gym as a blue belt

Audio interview on the new website Fightmap just got online. I had a bit of a cold at the time, so sound a little funny.

Check out the interview here:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Competing at the Europeans next week, shoulder not feeling good.

It's been almost five months since I got some shoulder problems from surfing and weight lifting. It still comes and goes and bothers me a lot. Since it happened, I have been forced to cut down on my weekly training schedule in periods and since I was in Moldova, it has gotten a lot worse.

A full weekend of hard sparring with big guys, many of them beginners who were trying to rip my limbs off with all their power, was definitely not good for me. Add to that, that finding icepacks in Moldova is basically impossible. No one seems to use them, and they don't sell them in pharmacies. Result is, that the inflammation has gotten much worse, and I haven't been able to spar since I got back home. Probably the worst pain in 3-4 months at this moment.

Wednesday, I am flying to Portugal to compete at the Europeans. I know I won't feel anything during the match, but it still is annoying that it has affected my preparations so much. I have done zero upper body weight lifting since august and only been able to do half the amount of weekly sparring than usual.

But whatever, injuries are a part of the game, and the preparations are what they are. I have come to the conclusion, that I will never be 100% ready and fit, so just have to accept it. Worst thing I can do, would be to not step on the mat and compete. There are no excuses, and I need the experience in my BJJ backpack. It can always go good or bad, no matter how prepared I am.

More thoughts about the competition next week before I leave :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

BJJ Globetrotter wins "Best BJJ blog of 2011" award... twice.

Recently found out, that my BJJ Globetrotter blog won best blog of the year awards with both (tied) and Jiu Jitsu Laboratory.

Man, I miss writing that blog :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Documentary from my trip to Moldova

My weekend in Moldova was awesome. I taught six lessons in 48 hours and more than 75 people showed up to the seminar.

BJJ is just starting to really grow in the country, so it is extremely exciting to be a part of it and be able to help them on the way. I got to train and roll with lots of cool people, including some really skilled and tough Sambo guys.

A lot of impressions and things to write, but I think I'll just let the video do the talking :) It is a bit long and includes me being a bit geeky with my camera as well as lots of training and sparring footage. Hope you like it!

For more, check out a clip from a Moldovan TV station, that did a short feature on the seminar, including an interview with me:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sparring videos from Colombia

Just got back from an awesome trip to Moldova - will write about that soon.

While you wait, here are some videos, I just discovered were on YouTube of me rolling during a visit to Gracie Barra in Medellin, Colombia:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Off to teach in Moldova

Tomorrow morning, I am heading to Moldova to teach BJJ over the weekend. I visited during my round the world trip, and now it is time to go back, and see how much has happened since then. Unfortunately, it was not possible for me to make it to the village with the kids this time, but will definitely be back there another time.

Stay tuned for a report, when I get back home next week :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

385 flighthours

After a tough night of hard sparring the night before, I did a nice and light training yesterday.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Training with Robson again

Last night, Robson Barbosa dropped by to teach in my gym again. He is living in Sweden and has been coming consistently to train with us over the last 3 or so years. We had about 15 kids, 30 beginners and 40 advanced guys showing up for his classes yesterday, and everybody seemed to like the training.

As always, I got some really good sparring rounds with him. He has gotten an interesting game, that is very explosive and athletic, something that is great for me to practice handling.

I hope to be able to train with him a little more before the Europeans in the end of the month.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Season 2011 recap

I had planned to write this before New Years, but couldn't find the time, so here it goes, a little delayed :)

2011 was a year, that changed me tremendously both as a person and Jiu Jitsu practitioner. I kickstarted it by competing at the European Open in Portugal for the first time. Lost my first match, but it was a great experience and marked the end of my 2010 competition team project.

Shortly after, I packed my backpack and ventured east for five months of the most intense and life-changing experience I've ever had. Carried by the hands of Jiu Jitsu, I managed to travel 57.920 kilometers all the way around the globe. On the way, I did 90 classes in 56 gyms, visited 43 cities in 24 countries and flew in 35 airplanes. Not to mention, that I made countless of new friends and connections, that will impact the rest of my life.

Needless to say, that trip has become something special to me. I could keep talking about it, but I am currently writing a book on it, where I will put it all in instead. There are just too many good stories and experiences to tell about, that I can't allow not to write it all down.

It was nice to be home in the summer. I had missed everyone here, and I could pick up on the physical training again, something I hadn't been able to do on the trip.

2011 was also an intense year of competition for me. I had originally planned to compete a lot on my trip, but it proved too difficult to practically work out with my busy travel schedule. I managed to do the Worlds in California though, which was a great experience, despite being in horrible shape for it.

When I got home, I felt more confident in my game than ever, and I used that to aim for an ambitious end of the season, competition-wise. In just two months, I did five major competitions around Europe, going to Switzerland, England, Scotland, Paris and Sweden. I took medals in all of them, a few from losing first match, but also a handful of golds from actually winning some matches :)

All in all, my 2011 competition season summed up to seven tournaments and a record of 8 wins and 6 losses. In total, it was four gold, one silver and two bronze for me. For the whole team, we managed to get 67 medals in two months. I can't complain about that :)

Competition is a great indicator, for what one needs to work on, and my experiences this year has been no exception to that rule. Even though competition doesn't really interest me as in I don't hold any ambitions to win, I find it very interesting, when I just see it as a part of my job and development in the sport. Stepping on the mat is just a part of what I do, and really has nothing to do with proving myself or trying to win something. I have learned a ton from competing this year, and all of it, I have taken back to my gym and let my students and training partners benefit from.

I have always known, that I don't have a "competitive spirit". For many years, I used this as a reason to not compete. Now, I still don't have it, but I see the enormous value of competing anyways, and will keep doing it for other reasons, than to try and reach a certain result. A longer blog post about my thoughts on competing is on it's way, as well as being written in the book to come.

I have only spent a little over half a year in the gym at home this season, but it has been an amazing time. The team seems to be at an all time high, with all the classes being full of enthusiastic and fantastic people. Beginners and experienced guys and girls work together and the development of everybody's games are skyrocketing. I recently promoted a lot of guys on the team, which is always something that makes me really proud.

Since I got home, I have had a lot of visits from around the world, which has been really great. Some of them had followed my blog and some of them, I had visited on my trip. We had Martin Aedma from Estonia over for a few weeks during the summer. Robson Barbosa dropped by as usual, a guy from Finland and an american traveller had both read my blog and came, two Scottish BJJers dropped by, a guy from Paris trained with us for a week, Fernando I visited in Costa Rica taught for two months and two days ago, the guy I stayed with in the Galapagos Islands just arrived to train with us for the Europeans. Coming home from Portugal, the man behind Kauai Kimonos and another one of my travel partners from the trip, will be here for a few weeks. This is Jiu Jitsu networking at it's best ;)

So what does 2012 hold? In three weeks, I will compete at the European Open in Portugal. I have also gotten a handful of invitations for seminars, and so far I will be going teaching in Moldova this coming weekend and Moscow, Russia, in the beginning of February. I am also planning a two week trip to Thailand in March, but probably won't be training much there. As far as the rest of the year, I don't know yet, but I will do my best to make it as awesome as 2011!

Now I gotta run, the gym and the world is waiting! :)