Sunday, December 23, 2012

Interview with Swiss "MMA Love" podcast

Interview (and my guns) starts at 22:40 min :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Interview from BJJ Addict radio

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mission: Europeans in one month

Ok, so I haven't updated much on the blog here lately. Why, you might ask? Because I am sick and tired of just writing the same crap about some new injury I got. To skip it real quick, I'll just list them instead:

- Inflammation in shoulder (16 months)
- Sore lower back from disc injury (8 months)
- Pain in left knee ACL (3 months)
- Pulled hamstring tendons (2 months)

 The last one happened at the London Open (I suspect it happened 2:06 in this match) and the physio today told me, that I was looking at 6-9 months of pain and rehab there.

 Enough about injuries! I have signed up for the European Championships in Portugal in January. It went pretty well last time, but with this years preparations consisting mostly of pullups and stretching (all I seem to be able to do), I don't have high expectations for a similar result in the black belt division.

I've actually managed to roll a bit today and yesterday, though. Everything hurts and I feel tired, weak and out of shape. But I'll do my best and I am sure the Euros will be a great experience no matter what.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Interview from "This week in BJJ" show

Starts at 9.30 :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book about my around-the-world BJJ trip is finally released :)

After two years of planning, writing and editing, the book about my around-the-world Brazilian Jiu Jitsu adventure is now available as paperback and eBook.

Both the trip and the writing process was quite a ride for me and in case you decide to read the book, I hope you'll enjoy what came out of it.

Thanks for your patience!!

Click here for more info on how to get your hands on it :)


Monday, October 22, 2012

First competition as black belt is in the books

Came home from England today after a great weekend of fun with the guys and lots of good experiences both on and off the mats. We were a total of 13 guys from the team going and had rented a big house with pool and the works. Only thing lacking was the weather, but what can you expect from London in the fall :D

My goal with participating in this competition was to be able to go through the four weeks of preparations and the matches without making my injuries worse. Especially my lower back has been really bad, keeping me off the mats for half a year since I got my black belt in April. 

I have been focusing a lot on rehab training and listening to my body, since I started training for the competition, and apart from a slight soreness in my left knee, I felt really good this weekend, when I stepped on the mat.

As it usually is with these competitions, it took a handful of hours of waiting (six to be precise), from I arrived in the hall, till my matches were up. First one was against a very experienced guy, who looked really sharp in his first match. I was almost falling asleep sitting next to the mat and waiting for my turn to have a go at him, but woke up when we clapped hands and the match was on. 

It seems like my mind just caught up from where I left before the injury - I felt confident and excited to be competing again, there were zero nerves and I was on my toes from the first minute. Competing as a black belt is something I have imagined how would be for more than a decade of training. It was exciting to feel like the underdog, the white belt, bottom of the food chain, trying to beat a bigger fish with nothing to lose. I looked at my opponent and knew, that he was also just a human being like me - two arms and two legs. There was nothing he could do, that I couldn't learn as well.
Unfortunately, that first match ended way too soon, as we tried for a takedown and hurt his knee. Apparently, he had a knee injury two weeks earlier and it was a bit dodgy. He must have gotten caught in the moment and gone for that takedown anyways. Really a shame - I hope I'll have the chance to compete against him another time.

Second match was against a guy I knew a bit, since we stayed in the same house, when I was traveling in Brazil last year. Apart from being a cool dude, I also remembered him as a tough grappler, which he had just proven by beating two Brazilian black belts on his way to the final.

I felt really good in the match, both physically and mentally and ended up 11-0 and submitting by cross choke from mount. Not much to say about it really, but I was happy that everything came together with my back injury, the preparations and the long break away from the mat.

Sunday was the Nogi European Open, and I was really excited to get on the mat again. Unfortunately, I injured my right knee (the good one!) a little bit in the match on Saturday and it took me a LONG discussion inside of my head, before I finally decided, that it was the wisest decision to not compete. In the situation it was difficult to make the decision, but looking back, it was obvious, that I did the right thing. I am tired of injury breaks away from training and I don't want another one now.

Repeating myself from most other competition blogposts over the last few years, I am still a bit sad that I am not more emotional in winning or losing. It was my first competition as a black belt and - albeit with a bit of "luck" along the way in the division - I took the gold medal in a major IBJJF event. Still, I didn't bother a bit about it.

What I do bother about, though, is to keep my mind and body healthy and strong. For that, competition is one amazing tool and it excites me to see myself develop both physically and mentally along the journey of confronting fears on the mat, I have set for myself.

Next stop is hopefully Swedish Open next month, but will have to see how my knee feels. Right now, I am putting my health above everything else and aims for the big one - the European Championships in Portugal in January.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The road to London: Week 4.

So far, so good! I've managed to keep training pretty hard, although I only rolled three days last week to recover little injuries I am getting from training. Friday, I did over two hours of sparring and some really high intensity rounds in between, which cost me the weekend off. Fingers, shoulder, knee, toes - everything seems to hurt a little bit, but it is nothing serious. I can't wait to be on the mats in London, where adrenaline will make sure, that I won't feel any of it.

Just a few trainings left, and then it is off to England! I haven't really looked at my division yet. No matter who I get to compete against, it is going to be a tough match anyways, and thinking about it, is not gonna change anything.

My preparations has been as good as they could be under the circumstances, now the rest is up to the enormous equation that is a Jiu Jitsu match. Excited to see how it goes and hoping that I'll have some cool matches and experiences in the backpack, when the weekend is over.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The road to London: Week 3.

Another week has passed and the competition in London is closing in. Training has been great this week and my back seems to feel better and better. I managed to do five days of sparring, which felt like a good amount, balanced out with my restitution over the week.

I took my kids to the first competition of this autumn, and as I expected, they did really well. It is such an honor to be able to have an influence these kids and be able to give them some good experiences. Swedish Open is coming up next month, the biggest competition in Scandinavia, and I plan to take them all there to compete.

I've been spending a lot of time this week trying to get in touch with the IBJJF in order to register myself as a black belt as well as registering my academy, so my students can sign up for the competition in London. It was more than two weeks, since I sent the signed forms, but they still haven't really done anything about it. The deadline for athlete and academy registration was two days ago, so I really, really hope I can get to compete there.

Six months off the mat and I am hungry to get back, so cross your fingers for the IBJJF to get themselves together and get my registration done :-/

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The road to London: Week 2.

My body felt really tired from the first week of training, but I did also start out with six days of rolling in one week, so maybe it was my own fault. This week, I have been training five days and sitting here on Sunday, relaxing at home, I feel surprisingly well. I have experimented a bit with different sleeping positions, since I usually have a lot of pain in my back in the mornings and I think it has made a difference for me.

 Thursday, I jumped in on the MMA competition class and rolled with the guys there for the first time in years. Competing in the No-gi Europeans in November, I miss a little of the raw, wrestling based pressure I get more there than in my regular gi-training. It was fun to grapple with strikes again and I will definitely try and do it regularly again, just to broaden my training a bit.

Saturday, I taught a seminar in Odense, a city about an hour and a half away from where I live. There was around 25 people there and afterwards, we had a three hour long open mat sparring session, so I really got to roll with lots of different people, which was great.

All in all, my back feels good and I have felt no pain down my leg this week, which is a good sign. Still doing my daily physiotherapy as well, so hopefully I will be fit for fight in London next month :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

The road to London: Week 1.

Last week I was my first "real" comeback on the mat after being out for close to six months with my back injury. I must have done well with the rehab, because I actually managed to train six days out of seven, only resting on sundays. My back feels pretty strong and I am optimistic about the next four weeks of preparations.

Last time I competed was at the Europeans in January, so with the long lay-off without training and competition, I don't have high expectations for the results. My goal so far is to complete the five weeks of preparation and be able to step on the mat with as healthy a body as possible. It will also be my debut in the black belt division, but I am not really thinking much about that. There will be guys I can beat and guys I definitely cannot beat, so I can do nothing but to just lean back, enjoy the ride and see what will happen.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Got the MRI scan verdict today

I got the answer today, that I expected; slight herniated disc in lower back, touching the nerve root to the left leg. It really doesn't change anything for me, as it was exactly what I thought it would be. Good news are, that the doctor said, there was an approximately 100% recovery rate with the size of the herniation I have, my age and physical shape.

So I'll just keep doing my daily rehab routine as I have done for the last five months. The last two evenings have been milestones for me, as I have managed to roll with the two heaviest guys in my gym (+/- 100 kg) and my back felt pretty good still.

My goal right now is to be able to participate in the London Open and No-gi Europeans next month. I am not expecting to win anything, but it will be a victory for me just to be able to go through the preparations and step on the mat in London.

Baby steps!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rolling with kids in Tokyo, Japan

Last week, I came home from a two week trip to Japan. I was mostly there for vacation and to meet up with friends, but I also managed to drop by AACC a few days for rolling. I recently had laser eye surgery, so I couldn't do much, but I managed to go a few rounds with some really good guys and some really good kids.

I know I haven't been updating this blog for a while, but nothing has really been happening. I have been off the mat because of my back problems and the eye surgery, but have just started rolling this week and is aiming towards competing in London next month.

I've had an MRI scan, that I will get the results from tomorrow and the laser eye surgery should be a nice improvement for looking at scoreboards at the competitions.

Tune in shortly for results on the MRI and preparations for the London competition!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Petition to stop petitions about BJJ in the Olympic Games

Are you also tired about petitions, facebook status updates and forum posts about how Brazilian Jiu Jitsu should be in the 2016 Olympic Games, when you know, there is not a chance on earth that it is going to happen?

BJJ is galaxies away from being recognised by the Olympic comite, not to mention that the deadline for new sports in the 2016 games was three years ago.

Sign this petition and let's stop the madness together!

Thank you

Christian Graugart

Thursday, August 9, 2012

While I wait...

While I wait for my back to get better, I have decided to let science have it's go at improving my body. I love science, and will do my best to be half man, half machine, when I finally return to the mats full force.

Yesterday, I got an x-ray of my back and will have answer soon whether they can see something there or not. Next step is most likely an MRI to determine exactly how bad things look down there.

Today, I had an ultrasound scan and second shot of adrenal cortex hormone in my shoulder in an attempt to kill the inflammation that has kept me away from weight lifting for a year now.

Next step is laser eye surgery. I might just as well have it done now, while I have nothing else to do. I am tired of bringing glasses for competitions anyway, so appointment made for next week!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Open training camp in my gym, November 5-11 :)

For anyone interested, we are doing a training camp in my gym in Copenhagen, Denmark on November 5-11. Everyone is welcome, regardless of affiliation, team, nationality, gender or experience. I met so much hospitality out in the world on my round the world trip, so now it is time to pay some of it back :)

I think we have a pretty good line up with instructors and it will be one hell of an action packed week for everyone.

Check out for more information or sign up on the Facebook event.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Shaolin-style test of patience

Apart from a one-year break in my teens after I stopped Taekwondo, right now is the longest period away from training I have ever had since I was seven years old. It is a real test of my patience, and I feel like I am in some Shaolin temple and a munk has told me to sit still for months and watch a thousand trainings to train my mind. E.g. it fucking sucks.

 Things are moving forward a bit though, I believe. I am getting an x-ray of my back soon and I have started to test my back a little, by doing very little and very limited sparring to see how it reacts. So far, the results have been mixed. I feel something in my leg (a bad sign), but it is not as much as it could have been (a good sign).

In the weekend, I went to Bornholm, a small Danish island, to do a seminar. There is a little group there of 6-7 people who are trying to start up a gym. It is hard work in such a small island, where most of the youth leaves for the mainland when they are in their late teens, but I think they are doing a great job, and there is a lot of potential for them. Since we were training no-gi, which exposes me to less jerking and fighting for posture and thereby is not as bad for my back, I was tempted to roll a few rounds with the guys.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Video from seminar in Riga

The guys from Riga in Latvia has put together a little video from the seminar I did there:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rolling with kids (+ injury status and 2x seminars)

Aha! At last I see the light at the end of the tunnel for my back problems, I think! :) I've been really consistent with the rehab program, stretching for two hours a day and doing all my exercises as planned (Bonus: Getting crazy flexible!).

The pain in my leg and lower back has really gotten better and today, I did my first test of actual training, when I rolled two rounds with the lightest members of my gym. I think it went well, and the injury feels really good. Now it is back to next level of back training (a lot of core muscle training), then slowly build up the intensity of sparring over a longer period. I'll stick to rolling with the kids for the next few weeks at least. It is such a privilege to have talented, enthusiastic and cool boys like this to train with and I get a lot out of the sparring, even though they are 40 kilos lighter than me. Even with just four kids in a quiet summer class, I still enjoy it so much and is always having a good times with these boys on my team, who are like little brothers to me.

Apart from all the boring rehab training, I also did two seminars recently - one in Odense here in Denmark and one in Riga, Latvia. I enjoy teaching, but I hate to do it without being able to roll with people :(

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Die, shoulder injury!

I know this blog is pretty fucking boring at the moment, since I am still injured and doesn't train at all. I'll still do a few posts for my own record, so I can keep track of my injury periods along the years.

I have been staying really strict with my disc injury rehab training, and I think it is starting to pay off. I am upping the intensity of the exercises and don't really feel any pain down my leg, so I guess that is a good sign.

My shoulder injury is still bugging me, and I was hoping for it to improve during this rest period rehabbing my back. Nothing has really happened, so today I got an ultrasound scan, revealing a "quite substantial inflammation", as the doctor said. No wonder, it has been hurting for ten months now (I wrote this post about taking care of my shoulder in FEBRUARY). Guess I'll remember to warm up before a hard surfing session next time. Anyways, I got a adrenal cortex hormone shot right into the shoulder, and that should hopefully fix it. It would be quite a luxury to be able to lift weights again soon, hasn't really been able to do it since before I left on my trip in February 2011 :(

Through out my career of training, many people have told me, that the injuries usually starts to show themselves when you pass 30. I turned 30 two months ago, and I actually haven't really trained since! I know injuries are a part of training for a living, but they never seem to be convenient, when they finally come around. 

It is really frustrating to just sit around on the mat everyday and watch the training without being able to join in. I have big plans of trying my luck against black belts in competition in the fall, and would like to start getting somehow in shape for that.

Good thing is, that I am spending every free minute of my day, doing the last editing on my book. It should be ready preeeetty soon :)


Monday, May 28, 2012

Photo reportage from intense seminar weekend in Russia

I just returned from a crazy weekend in Russia consisting of four days with non-stop seminars, traveling, eating and being beaten naked with sticks in a sauna.

Friday evening, I went straight from the airport to teach a seminar in Moscow city, then drive all night to Kovrov, about 4-5 hours away and in the middle of absolute nowhere. I did a seminar there both Saturday and Sunday, with a trip in between to a 1000-year old city, where I stayed in a hotel with a man-cave in the basement unlike any other, ever seen before. This is where naked, Russian guys beat me with sticks in a boiling hot sauna, then fed me with beer and shrimps.

The Jiu Jitsu scene in Russia is growing strong, thanks to a handful of really enthusiastic guys. One of them, Nicolay—who invited me over for the seminar—is working hard to teach and study the art. His inverted guard is also virtually unpassable, and being one of the toughest blue belts, I had come across all over the world (literally), I only found it fair to hand him over a new belt with the pimpest of all the colors, purple.

Needless to say, it was a happening trip, and I am pretty tired right now, just having returned back home to Copenhagen. As I mentioned in my previous post, my GoPro camera died on my longboard last week, but I tried to do a little photo reportage instead.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Going back to Russia tomorrow

Tomorrow, I am once again headed to Russia to teach a couple of seminars. I'll be going both to Moscow and also Korkov (or something like that), an approximately four hour drive away from the capital. It should be a bit warmer this time, compared to last time I was there, when it was basically like a new ice-age.

As always, I have zero idea of what to expect there, which is exactly what I love about traveling. My GoPro camera died on my skateboard the other day, so there will be no video this time. Instead, I'll go back to bringing my photo camera and see if I can do a little photo series of my trip instead.

Enjoy your weekend! :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Injury status and competition results

So, I took a big group of guys to a competition this weekend, and I think it went pretty well. We took home 15 medals, five of each kind. Everyone did a really good job, and win or lose, they all got something out of it. Now, it is back to the lab, fix the holes and then try again. Competition is not a goal, it is a long grind of constant refining and testing. It was nice to coach all the guys over the weekend, but it was hard not to notice, how much I wanted to be on that mat again. I really miss my great competition streak from last fall, and can't wait to have a go at it again.

The kids team did a great job as usual and won most divisions, they entered. One of them have trained consistently with me for over three years now, and won 16 gold medals in that period. I thought it was time for him to finally get his green belt, the highest possible for under 16 years, and I promoted him on the podium when he took gold in the weekend. Green is considered the same level as a blue belt, and despite being 13 years and just around 45 kilos, he can technically hang with any of the adult blue belts I know. Really impressive, and a great inspiration for all the other kids.

For myself, I am still just sidelined, looking at the training every day, desperate for a roll. I have a visitor from Scotland this week, and did five minutes with him, before I had to slap myself over the hand and remind me that I shouldn't. I would like to thank all the people who have written to me with encouraging words and tips for my back. One guy suggested invertion therapy, and today I gave it a shot, tried to hang upside down for five minutes in our gymnastics rings :) I'll keep you updated on how it goes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Comeback fail :-/

So, I slowly started to train again, and things went pretty well, until two days ago, when I got a bit too eager, forgot to be careful and had a training, that was a bit too hard. Since yesterday, I have had some really bad tingling in my leg, almost reaching the level of being painful.

Unfortunately, it looks like I am sidetracked again for a while. It could be weeks or months, I have no idea and it really fucking sucks.

Not much to write on on the blog at the moment, since nothing is really happening. I am just waiting to get better. I (obviously) finally decided to skip the competition this weekend, and is instead aiming for my black belt debut sometime in the fall.

Only things of interest lately is, that my kids team won basically everything in a small competition last weekend, and I promoted a girl to blue belt :)

Anyways, I'll be posting about this upcoming tournament in the weekend, where I am bringing a team of 40 people to compete :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Back in business(?)

Last night, I was back in sparring for the first time in three weeks (despite rolling a little bit in Norway). I went super slow and avoided any heavy guys, and I think it went really well. The tingling feeling in my leg from the back injury is minimal today, so I am pretty optimistic!

There is a competition in 11 days, that I had really wanted to join, but I think the best idea would probably be to skip it, since I am barely starting up training right now. Such a shame, but I guess my demolition by black belts will have to wait a bit longer :)