2015 BJJ Globetrotters Summer Camp Review

BJJ Globetrotters Leuven Summer Camp

6 days of training, over 200 grapplers from all around the planet & a wide selection of Belgian beers. It certainly was one hell of a week. For me, getting to finally meet and greet the BJJ Globetrotters was a victory in itself after my earlier failure to do so in Copenhagen. Naturally, with all the dramatic build up, I had pretty high expectations. I had read the book, followed along on social media & was more than a little bit excited. I was not to be disappointed. Over the course of the week, I was choked out by people of different sizes, ages and personalities from all over the world. The variety of experience and styles was incredible. I rolled with belts of every color, Division One wrestlers, Lutra Livre specialists, UFC fighters, I even met a teenager who was having his very first day of BJJ (that’s parenting done right!). I spent a lot of time on the bottom…
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For me it was a combination of many of my passions; getting to share that & see it mirrored in such a huge group of (initially) complete strangers was incredible. I mean, I am a people person; for me interacting with new and unexpected humanoids is one of the best parts about traveling. And ordinarily, when by some twist of fate you happen to meet a new person & they also do BJJ, there’s always this kind of mini-celebration. You don’t have to awkwardly explain that you enjoy rolling around on the floor with people in strange positions trying to strangle each other. At this camp, everyone was there for the love of BJJ. Upon check in, we were given a camp shirt, which became the visual signal throughout the town for meeting a new friend. I met so many interesting and combatively terrifying people in such a short space of time, my head nearly exploded from all the awesomeness.

tinypeacesignsglobeThe only other times I have seen such a large gathering of BJJ folk is during competition; and as much as I have had great experiences and made new friends at comps, the vibe in the air is totally different. People are always tense before their matches & constantly searching for people of similar size. This was nothing like that.
Free hugs for everybody! And enjoy my example of how not to do side control defence.

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Everyone was just here to roll, learn things & make friends. The instructors included. Spending time with the higher belts, on & off the mats, realizing that even the Godlike Black Belts are people too…I learned a lot at this camp. Seeing people living the kind of life I long for, having BJJ as a intrinsic part of their lifestyle, & getting to know them as real people. Not some kind of genetic superheroes or rich playboys. But just normal people doing really cool shit with their lives. Attending the camp would have been worth it just for the social aspect alone…which is a pretty crazy thing to say about a sporting event.
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Training several hours everyday, trying to memorize dozens of names, a head full of crazy new techniques, and then nights of socialising on top was utterly exhausting. Classes ran from 10am to 7pm most days, even training mainly with no-gi, I was overwhelmed. So many interesting classes and instructors, that getting to do them all was just physically impossible. Especially with the effects of last nights tasty Belgian beers. My muscles and internal organs took an absolute beating that week. But it was so, so worth it. I was on such a euphoric high for those 6 days that I actually fell into a little depression post camp. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. It seems like such a short period of time, but there was so much incredible shit crammed in. My own personal highlight reel of BJJ & life brilliance. I want my life to be more like those 6 days. More training, more human interaction, more love. Maybe less beer? There was an awful lot of beer, seriously, one night I only drank varieties of beer exclusively brewed by monks…
globecowboyIn short, if you ever get a chance to attend a BJJ Globetrotter camp, do it. Don’t hesitate. Don’t panic. Don’t rush. Just crush. I’ll explain that some other time, my point is; Just fucking do it. I will be going again the very next chance I get, doesn’t matter where it is, I’m going. My expectations were unreasonably high coming in and they were exceeded by everything that happened at the camp. Hopefully you take my advice & we can choke each other in some exotic place somewhere in the near future.

Until then, stay awesome boys & girls.

Peace, Love & Triangles.

Scotty

BJJ Globetrotters Summer Camp Leuven 2015, Day 1

So after a brief stint of Workaway volunteering in Verviers, I have arrived in the city of Leuven, Belgium. I am probably totally under-prepared for this week, my partying skills are much sharper than my grappling at this minute. But I don’t care. I’m finally getting to meet the BJJ Globetrotters.
It’s about damn time.

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Leuven Summer camp Day One

Pace yourself they said. List to your body they said. It’ll be fun they said. And they were so, so right. In typical fashion I turned up to the first class of camp: early, enthusiastic, & somewhat hung-over. Not the most intelligent start, to be sure. An excited exploration of the town upon arrival turned more drunken than expected as I failed to take into account the strength & tastiness of Belgian beers; some being in the 12% range & all being super flavoursome. Under these circumstances, I waded into the fray with about 200 other grapplers from all over the world.

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First round: introduction & speed dating. This went well. After a brief welcome speech from Christian, things went ‘full-retard’. A free for all social introduction amongst 200 BJJ enthusiasts, broken down into 1 minute rounds. Hilarious, absolutely hilarious. I’ve never done speed-dating before, I certainly didn’t expect to be doing with a group of 90% men, most of whom wore tights & could pull my arms out of their sockets. Fantastic. Really really fantastic.

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Next was ‘G-Spot’ guard passing & with the step into physical exertion, my hangover really began to shine. I flailed like a small child out there, my sweat smelling of rum as my hazy mind struggled to focus on the techniques. It wasn’t pretty. But it was pretty amusing.
As the day wore on, I slowly powered out of my malaize. I had the pleasure of being ‘Twistered’ by Nick Dalby. I joined an open matt with over a hundred other grapplers. I was submitted by white belts & blue belts. I met a 15 year old attending his very first BJJ lesson. I laughed, I tapped, I rolled. And all was well in the world again.
That post training feeling, ahhhh nothing like it. I feel more like my true self somehow, like I’m spending my time the way I should be. Acting like the man I want to be. I stumbled out of the stadium sweaty, exhausted & grinning from ear to ear.
(This is what a Twister looks like btw. Go the Korean Zombie!)
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Being connected with your passion, it’s truly beautiful. Do what you love kids, even if you suck at it. Aligning hard work with the things you love, I think that’s how you win in life.

Hopefully tomorrow, I can actually move, because I’m kinda sore right now. My new grappling friends are heading out drinking tonight. The voice of reason in my tells me to stay home.

Whatever will I do?

Peace. Love. And Triangles, finally! Finally Triangles!

Scotty

A new hope…

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Bonjour from Belgium! Plot twist!
So, I AM indeed taking the slow road back to employment; I intend to return to my old post as a Live in Carer & regain my functional rhythm whilst earning gold coins. Not as exciting as riding about SE Asia…but should set me in good stead for 2016. Fortunately, I liked my job, which is a great thing to be able to say. I will have had nice break from the grind, so I think I will be ready when the time comes. But, before then, there is much adventure to be had. Firstly in Belgium, of course! The land of Beer, waffles, fries & chocolate. Seriously, that’s what this place specializes in, I mean….well done Belgium. Getting here on short notice was a bit of a challenge, involving planes, trains, buses & getting totally lost in a field in Germany as I took the cheapest possible route via Frankfurt. A sleep deprived adventure from which I have not regrets. And now, I am once again Volunteering, this time living with a Belgian family & renovating a home in the countryside that will eventually become a Bed & Breakfast. A much needed break from the chaos & grime of Bangkok, a slower pace, with hopefully much less madness.
NmadnessLet’s hope Friedrich, let’s hope.
But what of the martial arts? What about trying to make friends with people who choke you & being turned into a human pretzel? I’m glad you asked, for I have a plan.
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A plan to shake free of the mental funk & physical flabbiness I have found myself shrouded in. First step, dramatic change. Hence flying from Bangkok to Frankfurt, then night busing to Aachen & catching a train to Liege, then a second train to finally arrive with my host in Belgium. Dramatic.
Second step:

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That’s right, back to where it all began; The BJJ Globetrotters. Rolling with these guys was to be the first port of call on my (somewhat ill fated) trip. Now, it is the spark of hope that has led me halfway across the planet. I was crushed with disappointment after missing the camp in Copenhagen. And that is the point in time where my lifestyle began to turn from athletic pursuits to partying as I consoled myself with mischief. And now, a flabbier, combatively rustier version of myself get’s to try & right that wrong. From the 10-15th August, in the Belgian town of Leuven, I will join in with these badasses from across the world. And remember what it’s like to be a martial artist. I am unspeakably excited. The chance to snatch the prize which slipped through my fingers is ever so tantalizing. Rolling with BJJ enthusiasts from all over the world, seeing a host of different techniques….and actually getting to do BJJ again. Ahhhh, it’s fantastic. I have 9 or so days in which to prepare myself for what will be an absolute assault on my body & a huge stretching of my limited combative abilities. I don’t hold any illusions about what I can accomplish in that time, I know I (sadly) won’t walk into the camp a chiseled modern day ninja. But I will use the time wisely, something I haven’t done in far too long. There’s a time and a place to be frivolous. A time to party, a time to rest. I have certainly enjoyed both lately, probably too much so. Now, for me, it’s time to work. Work towards making a stronger version of myself. I must attempt to regain my momentum & restore the mental fortitude I once held.
Wish me luck eh?

With great optimism & strange Belgian cheek kisses, because that’s a thing here.
Peace, Love & Triangles
Scotty