Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fought MMA with no training, arranged crazy training camp and threw the party of my life (so far).

I feel guilty on a daily basis, that I haven't had time to write on this blog, but so much stuff has been going on recently, it is crazy.

First of all, I spent a LOT of time organizing and planning the first / BJJ Globetrotters summercamp. It turned out to be a great success with tons of people coming in from all over the world basically to attend a week of training. It was more rolling, teaching, training and socializing than I could possible do with only 24 hours in a day, but I tried my best :) We had invited some instructors to come in from abroad and with names such as Clark Gracie, Gianni Grippo and Oli Geddes all on the mat, the line up was pretty epic.

On the last day, we had a little belt promotion ceremony, and I gave out more than 50 belts, both to people from my own gym and also some of the ones visiting for the camp. Every single one of them means a lot to me, so it would feel wrong to try and single any out.

I made so many new friends at that camp, and I can't wait to do another one next year :)

The camp ended with a party. It was the 10 year anniversary for my gym and basically, we had decided, that if there is one time in our lives we are going to throw the craziest party we could ever think of, this was it. So we had chefs barbecue outdoor in the daytime, MMA fights in a full size cage all afternoon, limousines, red carpets, professional photographers, more fights in the evening and party all night + all morning.

Since I did want to make this the best party ever and I had rented a cage, there was no way around not fighting in it myself. I had originally thought of a "real" fight, but unfortunately, I tore off my cornea just two months earlier, which made it impossible for me to do any wrestling or boxing training for the preparations. Basically, I haven't trained anything but BJJ for the last 4-5 years, and with no preparations, I didn't exactly feel ready for a top trained opponent. Fortunately, one of my old friends and longest running training partners stepped up, and with pretty much zero preparations (cardio training included here! :D), we decided to go at it for two rounds of three minutes.

If you have read my book, you may remember me saying, that I would never fight MMA again, after that one fight I had ten years ago. Well, for some reason, writing that chapter, made me think about if I really meant that. I have put a lot of thoughts into how competition improves my life and makes me healthier, even though I don't really enjoy doing it. MMA is another tool like this, that can take me to the edge of my mental existence, and I find that extremely interesting. So I did it, and - apart from having crap cardio, especially after that whole week of training - it was actually a lot of fun. When other projects are out of the way, I will be honest and say that I might very well step into the cage again at some point. Just for the fun of it :)

Here is the video of the fight. For some reason, I forgot all about grappling and just decided to strike, only because I found that more entertaining :D Christian, the guy I am fighting, is an absolute beast on the mat and we have rolled together for 14 years, so we know each others games pretty well. Made it for an exciting match up and afterwards, I gave him a very well deserved brown belt. How is that for a BJJ belt test?!?! :D

With the anniversary theme and our usual way of doing things a little differently, we also had some other entertaining matches in the cage. A grappling match in suits and an MMA match between one of the talented kids from my BJJ team and our heavyweight professional fighter. I'll let the videos speak for themselves:

My BJJ kids have grown!

What an absolutely, fantastic camp and party that was. I have no words for how much fun I had, and the real downside to this is, that I know, how hard it will be to top it ever again. Gonna have to try, though! :) 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The BJJ world lost a friend today

Jiu Jitsu is such a fantastic engine to live life, travel and meet great people. Everywhere I have gone in the world, I have made great friends, that I hope to keep for the rest of my time. Unfortunately, today I lost one of them, long before I had hoped, I would.

When I first came to Moldova, I met this young, enthusiastic guy who was always wearing a big smile and a camera pointed towards me whenever I was teaching. It was obvious, that he immediately had found a strong passion for learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and he sucked in every drop of information, he could get about it. Hard working, dedicated and most important of all, he was always laughing and having fun at every single training session.

Him and his wife came to visit Denmark last winter, where he trained with us every day and he even competed at a local tournament. Every time I have been in Moldova, we had tough rolls and I could see in his eyes, how he constantly puzzled his mind, trying to figure out how to beat me with technique. I was very sad to hear, that he couldn't make it to this year's summercamp, since I had been looking forward to have the honour of promoting him to his well deserved blue belt. Something I know would mean the world to him.

He never made it there, since he was killed in a terrible car crash this morning while driving home from a no-gi competition in Ukraine with a hard earned silver medal in his pocket.

Igor will be yet another a reminder to me about, how any person out there in the world could impact me, no matter how short time we have together. How any stranger I pass by on the street, could change my life. How we are indeed all one.

I had hoped to know this guy and his smile for ages, but will have to do with the memories for this one. Life can change any second. His, your's and mine. Make the best out of it.

(I am rolling with Igor from 4:08)