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

Darkness & gloom

I’d like to say that despite my inability to train, I remained focused and determined. Afraid it just isn’t so. From the very day I left England, I began sliding on slope lubricated by alcohol and mischief. As injuries plagued my campaign to become a sweet, real life ninja, I continued to slide. Inch by inch. Meter by meter. I left Phuket with a motive to sit tight and gather my thoughts. This also did not go to plan, I found myself swept up in a inexplicably frenetic rush. I flew from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur, flew from KL to Bangkok, flew from Bangkok to Phuket, bused from Phuket to Bangkok, bused from Bangkok to Pattaya, Pattaya to Bangkok….and now here I am panting in semi-exhaustion and severe confusion. There is so little sense in the above travel routes that it makes my face hurt. Especially Pattaya. Never will you find a more wretched hive of scum & villainy.

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So it turns out that Pattaya is the sex capitol of Thailand and home to a thousand old white guys and a numberless horde of young Thai girls. My brief time there was a fascinating insight into the stranger side of humanity. I (perhaps foolishly) went for a massage & in the space of an hour I had two different guys have sex on the mattress next to me. My masseuse was genuinely confused by my lack of sexual intentions & greatly amused by my reactions to the comings & goings of the establishment. Even though I don’t like Pattaya, I don’t want my opinions to seem high & mighty. I have seen and done many strange things in my time, and no doubt have many more wacky and unpredictable adventures ahead of me. Being human is an ugly business. It isn’t neat or pretty all the time. Even simple matters like eating & mating for us inevitably are messy and often embarrassing affairs. These squishy meat-puppets endowed with consciousness are imperfect things. And fascinatingly so. I’m glad I went to Pattaya, even if I never intend to return.

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One of the best parts of the past few crazy weeks was (against all odds) my return to Phuket. It was brief and very expensive, but it allowed me to watch 2 friends hop into the ring & flail their enemies with Muay Thai. It was amazing to watch my Thai trainer/ drinking partner (weirdest combo ever right?) absolutely decimate his opponent in the first right using a vicious combination of angry right hooks and horrifying elbow strikes. I had drank and smoked so much with the man that I was secretly doubting his combative abilities. How wrong I was.
I also had the pleasure of watching a Swedish training partner jump into the ring & fight like crazy for 5 rounds. I love to watch fighting, in all it’s forms, but the experience is enhanced so very much when someone you really know is in that ring. I cheered and screamed like crazy, I was spouting absolute innate drivel by the end of the fight. I think I actually proposed to her from the stands at the end of round three. Sadly sporadic marriage offer was lost in the din and roar of the crowd, but we did laugh about it in the post fight drinking.

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Ahhh drinking. Too much drinking. Be warned if you ever come to Bangkok, this is a dangerous place for thirsty folk. Fun, but your wallet will take a savage beating. I know mine has. So much so that, I must change my initial plans and take the slow road back to paid employment. A heartbreaking notion, but I think that’s where things stand. I have not wanted to admit it, planning has been slow and reluctant. Perhaps that is why I have been so sluggish in typing this blog. It all stings, right in the pride.
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From the shadows amongst broken dreams, with a great weariness & much failure.

Peace, Love & a hope of one day seeing Triangles again…

Scotty

Time Distortion in Copenhagen

Let me just start by saying that this has been a rather strange week. Coming from the schedualed and somewhat socially isolated lifestyle of being a Live-in-Carer, to find myself loosed upon the streets of Copenhagen amidst the organised chaos of Distortion…it’s been an adjustment. Whilst originally intending to be busy rolling around with the BJJ Globetrotters, sadly I have remained ridden with Ringworm for the entire whole week.

So what was planned to be a week of this…

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(See how much fun choking each other is?)

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Turned into a week of this….

 

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Distorted Sunset

Scandinavian sunsets truly are a wonder to behold. This week I have managed to catch more sunrises that sunsets so far. In truth, these days of partying have done my body no favours for the impending month at Tiger Muay Thai. But you know, to be happiest in life, we must be willing to adapt. To play the cards that we are given and to make our own fun. So, unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to try and choke anybody this week. But I did have all manner of unpredictable and wacky adventures. Including but not limited to:
I used my (terrible!) Russian language skills to meet new friends.
I wove my way through the thronging mass-human street partys of Distortion, hugging strangers and sharing sweat/drinks/laughter in the streets of Copenhagen.
I got myself lost and overwhelmed by the Danish public transport system, so much so that I had to be rescued by a lovely Viking lady after visiting the free city of Christiania.
I danced my way through pubs, clubs, streets, festivals, islands, tunnels, bridges, buses, tents and shipping containers.
I meet celebrity tattoo artists and watched a Danish cage-fighter DJ in a neon chicken suit.I meditated in the sunshine amongst Copenhagens beautiful greenery .

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I raved all night and slept all day, waking up in time for hostel ‘happy hour’  (chocolates courtesy of my Irish bunkmates).

I met Hungarians, Russians, Estonians, French, Canadians, Finns, Dutch, Danish, Swedes, Irish, Scottish, Americans, Polish, Kiwis, English and of course; bloody Australians. In doing so, I gained drunken glimpses into different cultures and many different peoples. Explored dreams, learnt some history and discussed desires for the future. I became part of a drunken Danish belly wrestling group, losing woefully. I caved to inexplicable social pressure and licked a strange man’s nipples. I was accosted by Danish students who insisted I was blessed by Unicorns and reverantly garbed me in flowers. I had a beautician/scientist inexplicably yet forcefully wash my hair at 5am, for no reason at all. I even won a game of pool, that’s been awhile! I drank, I danced, I made my ancestors proud.

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The entire week has been a blur of madness and misadventures of a social, solo-traveling drunk white guy. As I type this however, the BJJ Globetrotters will be involved in a friendly Jiu Jitsu tournament to wrap up the party camp, which I have been eagerly anticipating for months. If I could choose, I would much rather be there than here typing of my drunken antics on a keyboard. But sadly, we don’t always get to choose in life. And since I am here, in this situation, I am going to do my best to enjoy it. And you know what? Lying here in the hostel common room, with my Danish beer and my tasty Danish pastry….things aren’t so bad. Not my first choice, but fuck it, today is still a really good day to be alive.
Tomorrow I fly for Thailand, with a brief yet exciting stop-over in Moscow airport (time for more shamefully bad Russian practice). Stay tuned for more stangeness and bad grammar.

Peace. Love. Triangles. (And drunk hugs)

Scotty

First step stumble

Today, is my last weekend of paid work before setting off on my global combative adventures. Exciting times. I have worked the past 6 months solidly as a Live-in-Carer to finance my venture. All the while eagerly anticipating my emancipation. So eagerly in fact, that I planned ahead much more thoroughly than usual. I booked a week in Copenhagen, Denmark on the way to SE Asia. This Danish week was plotted to be my week of glory. Joining the BJJ Globetrotters for a 6 day camp of martial arts and awesome. I have been eagerly anticipating this week for months now. Ticking another day off my calendar every night, watching the slow yet steady march of time bringing me closer to my objective.
Training as much as possible to hone my limited skills to be ready for the camp. Carefully monitoring my diet; even eating as a Vegetarian & Vegan for a month each of the year. Vegan was bloody challenging. Daily stretching to increase my flexibility. It became my mission every day to prepare myself.

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But, life does not always go to plan. Today I sent an email in which I regretfully announced I could not participate in the camp. Due to Ringworm. Gross and debilitating, Ringworm.

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I picked it up from a sparring partner & had been desperately hopeful of healing in time for Denmark. But it was not so. The first step in my traveling martial arts odyssey has been a stumble. Not only was I unable to train for the whole month of May, but now am unable to attend the BJJ Globetrotters event. My Thailand camp might even be in jeopardy. It is not ideal. It’s not great. My carefully laid plans gone askew by circumstances outside my control.
And that’s life right? The story we have in our head about how things will go, is often just that. A story we tell ourselves. Just thoughts.
Being involved in another person’s life these past months, I have glimpsed a entirely different way of living. I have been entwined in the life of a person, who due to circumstances outside their control, simply has less options than most people. A hell of a lot less. He doesn’t have the option of scratching his own nose. It’s just not in the cards. And yet somehow this man still remains a decent and thoughtful human being. The whole thing is mind-boggling. How often have we heard the saying ‘ at least you have your health’? I can remember thinking that to be one of the most unhelpful statements ever. I understand it a little better now. The ability to use my fingers to type this (somewhat whiny) post, is a great and fantastic thing. Being able to scratch your own nose, is a greatly underrated ability.
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I am not happy to have Ringworm. It’s itchy and unsightly. I feel like something of a modern day leper, not my sexiest moment. But it will pass. It is temporary. Just like everything else.
Life is dynamic, it’s constantly changing. And even though that fact is biting me in the ass right now, I love it. The unpredictable nature of the human experience is one of the most fascinating parts. And trying to live a peaceful, meaningful life within that swirling, unknowable chaos is all part of the fun.
So enjoy the moments as they pass. Focus on the good bits. Grow the things you love, don’t sweat the other stuff. Life is grand boys & girls.
Hope your today is a glorious one, full of nose scratching and other fun stuff.

Peace.Love.Triangles (& ringworm)
Scotty