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! :)

1 comment:

Brendan @ BJJ Gi Reviews said...

Great recap of 2011!! I really miss reading Globetrotter during my lunch break.

Also, you guys won Top BJJ Site for 2011!! Congrulations! Check it out:

Hope to see more in the future!