CSA, Christiania, & nibbling Glaciers

Sitting in a hostel in downtown Copenhagen, the past few weeks are somewhat surreal. Whirling from Australia to Greenland to Europe in a few short weeks. Exhausting. Exhilarating. Expensive. And only possible due to the wondrous technology of the 21st century, which I so often take for granted and even ridicule. Probably because I’m basically a glorified talking monkey going about this complex world in a near-constant state of confusion. I often find myself longing for simpler times, where my caveman-like brain could concern itself fully with simple matters: like what to eat, or who to hang out with; instead of trying to understand how my keyboard works or why we do the things we do…
13140857_10154815750336040_1748455793_nFor me, those ‘things’ have been whirling through Greenland, exploring, and practicing martial arts with strangers all over the world. And then swimming with them in the North Atlantic Ocean.
13123112_10100826902792239_7734045004184250874_oOr spending 8hrs hiking to a glacier….
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….just so we could eat some of it. Huzzah.
13220928_10156896180740641_3661198531338469421_nBut the story goes on, on to the glorious Copenhagen! Capital of Denmark. City of Vikings. Home to a whole bunch of fantastic, warm, smoking-hot Danish people. Ohhhh boy…. I do love Scandinavia. Copenhagen has been a fantastic place to spend a week, continuing my exploration of self & humans, on & off the mats.
13221329_1180650255302986_4898798352251090558_oOn the mats found me heading to CSA , the original birthplace of the BJJ Globetrotters, which seemed a fitting place to drop into and roll. For anyone looking for a place to train in Copenhagen, either short or long term; I could not recommend this place more highly. I turned up with a friend who trained Muay Thai, & both of us were given ONE WEEK of free training. One fucking week?! I’ve been to gyms in London who wanted 30£ for a trial lesson. Crazy. But at CSA the mat space is amazing, the people were incredibly welcoming (making the effort to be kind to the new guy, & speak his language) and very well trained. I got my ass kicked & made a whole bunch of new friends. Just the way it should be.
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In less than a month I have met people/rolled with people from Greenland, Denmark, America, Canada, Latvia, Australia, Iceland, Sweden, Ireland, Scotland, Germany & probably a whole bunch of other places. They all had lots of things in common. Probably much more than any of us really think about on a regular basis. But one of my favourite common points is a curiosity & love for other human beings. I know ‘love’ is a big word to throw about for some, but it’s fitting. That desire to see the people around us energized and happy; I think everyone possess that. We might express it in a whole gamut of different ways, or even be nervous about putting it out there sometimes, but I truly believe it’s in all of us. In some form or another.
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And lately I have been fortunate to experience the excitement & enthusiasm of being alive through a host of different muses, heroes, heroines, & apertures through which the wonders of human experience have flowed. A little too hippy? Well, maybe. But give me a break, I have been spending a lot of time in Christiania recently…mostly giggling happily in the sunshine.
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But today I fly for Frankfurt to re-unite with friends & investigate the open mats of ze Germans. Stay tuned for more ponderings & poorly formed sentences.

Until next time

With happy, floaty thoughts & mental images of rainbows & pretty butterflies…

Peace. Love & Triangles

Scotty

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

Week 3 Tiger Muay Thai

Week 3! Big week. Big, big week.

Well, The good news is…

After a visit to the hospital and having my skin checked by biopsy, I have been cleared of fungus and received the Dr’s green light for grappling, punching stuff and other super awesome activities! So naturally I was pretty pleased to be making a return to the mats.

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Yeah, check out my post training peace sign/ thumbs up combo.
I had the pleasure of meeting UFC veteran Roger Huerta during a BJJ class and to discuss the progress of my former training partner, rising star Alex Volkanovski. I am not ashamed to say, I was a little overwhelmed by being in the same place as one of the fighters who inspired my explorations into MMA. It was a bit of a fanboy moment for me & I regret nothing. This week I have been privileged to watch some epic local Muay Thai. Including Tiger’s BJJ Coach Alex Schild spectacular knock-out victory, which was a pleasure to watch. If you ever get the chance to see Muay Thai matches live in Thailand, I highly recommend the experience. Each night usually hosts about 10 or so fights, usually with varying skill levels through the night. It is common to see matches with foreigners or young children competing. Whilst savage at first glance, the sport is highly technical, with success often requiring a strong fit body and a cunning mind.AlexSchildpostfight

Tiger BJJ Coach Alex Schild post fight.
This week also saw the 86th Tiger Muay Thai BBQ beatdown, a monthly party in which guests BBQ, drink & socialise. Most people train pretty hard, so the night off & social atmosphere is a welcome change. Several guest provide entertainment in the form of Amateur Muay Thai or MMA matches, then followed by standard drunk dancing. This gave me the perfect opportunity to unleash my questionable dancing skills and cheer at my fellows beating each other senseless. UFC and Pride Legend Mark Hunt was the guest of the night, who provided me with even for fanboy excitement. This reached a climax when I literally bumped into him at the bar and immediately panicked, fleeing like a small child.

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Because, you know….Mark Hunt is kinda scary.
The bad news is, in classic ‘returning from a training layoff’ style, I have managed to acquire a minor injury during training. Last night, whilst my bear-like brother attempted to pass my guard I managed to strain some muscles in my core. A quick Dr visit confirmed no bone damage to the rib, estimated 2- 4 week recovery time. So training will be rather limited again for the near future. Which sucks of course, but could be much much worse. The rest of my time here at time is probably a training write off, so between all my medical disasters, I will only manage around 5 training sessions in a one month period. Abysmal, but better than none. This month has not gone to plan, but things rarely do. The way we deal with this, and every other problem we encounter, this is the true display of one’s character. Or for all you Sci-fi nerds, to put it a different way:

‘The success or failure of your deeds, does not add up to the sum of your life. Your spirit cannot be weighed. Judge yourself by the intentions of your actions and the strength with which you faced the challenges that have stood your way. The Universe is vast and we are small. There is only one thing we can truly ever control, whether we are good or evil.’

Oma Desala
Now, the terms ‘Good’ & ‘Evil’ are highly subjective, but nevertheless I love the spirit of this quote. So much of life truly is outside our control & this isn’t such a bad thing. It’s natural to wish to control everything, it happens to all of us, but in truth, we have so very little control over anything in life. People and circumstances will surprise us. Our bodies inevitably betray us. Our own thoughts wriggle and squirm through dark places we would rather not go. Don’t panic. Just do your best boys and girls. Do your best to be good. Love what you love, it is a much better use of your time than hating what you hate.

Peace. Love. Triangles.

Scotty

Arrival at Tiger Muay Thai, Thailand

Denmark’s Distortion  festival tried it’s best to kill me, yet somehow I survived and limped onto a plane, dishevelled and hung-over. My flight took me first to Russia, for a brief layover in Moscow, where I was ridiculed by several Russians for not actually staying in there country.

Horrific proof that America did indeed win the Cold War

As one of the biggest items on my bucket list, the comments stung. However, I am adamant about having a good grasp of the Russian language & decent finances before I take on the Russians. So for now, Russia will have to wait, I have another target in my crosshairs.

Phuket, Thailand!
It’s hot, sweaty, full of tourists and for the next month will be my home. More specifically Tiger Muay Thai will be my home.

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A giant sprawling gym filled with fighters and martial arts enthusiasts of all levels. I have the pleasure of living on-site in a spartan dorm room and awaking everyday to the sounds of training and the unmitigated heat of Thailand.

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It’s a pretty cool place to be, however, sadly, I am still shaking off the effects of Ringworm and am unable to participate in training. Hopefully next week I will actually be able to begin the TRAINING part of my traveling/training adventure. Sadly Denmark cost me more than currency, a week of hard drinking & poor diet have left me a little worse for wear. My solo exercising outside of the gym has shown me just have far I have to go in the fitness world. Adjusting to the heat & shaking off the partying has not been as smooth as I would hope, thanks a lot Past-Scotty. But every day I improve & am eagerly counting the days until I can grapple, punch & kick my way to exhaustion and beyond. The atmosphere of the camp is brilliant. Even though I have yet to participate in the camaraderie, it is obviously riddled throughout the camp. Everywhere you look people are pushing themselves, sweating & beating the crap out of each other or pads. Thai trainers shouts & the clack of shins hitting pads fill the air through all hours of the day. I will show you around the gym properly once I am taking part in it, for now the idea of snapping photos of places I can’t train in is a bit too much. But soon. Soon I will be another sweaty beginner, flailing about in a overtired mess, struggling to keep up with the class. I for one, cannot wait!
Adorably, my family who have not seen me for over a year, came out to Thailand to visit.  My brother is even spending the month training here at Tiger with me! How fucking cool is that? Seeing them has been brilliant and a reminder of just how long I have been away from ‘home’. I use the term home tentatively, as I am not certain that the area I grew up in truly holds that place in my heart anymore. It will always be sacred to me, no doubt, but is it truly home? I am not so sure. Perhaps I will find a new home on my travels? Or a hundred new homes? Only time will tell.
For now, this is a nice place to be. And for today, that’s enough.

Peace. Love. Triangles.

From a sunburnt and sweaty,
Scotty

Helpful resources

It’s good to have friends. I am (so!) proud to have friends in different countries all over the world. Meeting people is one of the best things about travelling and I am incredibly eager to discover new humans as my adventures continue.
It’s also good to have options and ideas.
In this post I wanted to create a list of some of the people and resources that have helped me in my attempts to explore myself and the planet. Some of these are people I have met on my travels, others are just great sites. But they have all helped me along the way, one way or another. Many have paid options but most are free and all have at least some free content.

Travellers
If exploring the world is your cup of tea, you might be interested in checking out these gentlemen. Both have shiny websites loaded with great content about travel and life.

greatbigscaryworld
This fantastic character I met in Norway whilst volunteering. His incredible adventures and insightful thoughts are well documented, focusing on dealing with fear and inexperience whilst living a kick-ass life. Awesome guy, awesome site.

giveliveexplore
One of the first travel blogs I ever read, I stumbled across Matt whilst spinning my wheels financially and day-dreaming about exploring the world. I emailed him after reading a particularly inspiring post and was happily shocked one random day when he mailed me a postcard from Iceland. Although I have never met him, he has nonetheless helped me on my journey.

Exploring self
Changing the world starts with changing yourself, right? If you agree or even if you don’t, these sites kick serious ass.

 

artofmanliness
One of my all time favourite websites, it has inspired my countless times. Focuses on how to be a better man, without being a douche-bag about it. Worthy cause.

Liveyourlegend
A site focused upon finding meaningful work and doing a job you love. A idea I think is pretty awesome. Good resources and thought provoking content.

Escapethecity
Another of my early inspiration sites, this caters more to providing skilled professionals with alternate career opportunities. Although I largely didn’t posses the skills required, I still really enjoyed the spirit of the site and found links to other projects through it.

nerdfitness
As a nerd at heart, this fitness oriented site appeals to me greatly. Lots of free content conveyed in a fun and genuine fashion.

TedX
Ideas worth spreading indeed. TedX also has a channel on Youtube, great ideas over countless different topics. If you are going to procrastinate, use this instead of pictures of cats.

BJJ
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, ‘the gentle art’ of grown men rolling around on the ground for fun. Do you love pyjama parties? Are you into choking people? Want to become better at being a human? Then this sport might be your next favourite activity. Below are links to highly passionate practitioners with awesome style at living.

 

Bjjglobetrotters
Home to mat-surfing: an ingenious blend of couch-surfing style hosting with training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the perfect resource for the BJJ traveller.

grapplearts
Stephan is both hilarious and highly informative. His articles cover all things BJJ ,(and I do mean ALL things; everything from Ringworm treatment to BJJ techniques for the zombie apocalypse) are extremely useful and written with a genuine and well communicated style. He also has dozens of videos on Youtube and tonnes of free content.

Languages
Ever wanted to learn another tongue? Even just a few words can go along way in connecting with people in a foreign country.

 

Duolingo
The most user friendly  FREE site/app for languages I have found yet, I am super excited for the Russian for English speakers due in August.

Memrise

Another good FREE languages site/ app, I found it particularly helpful for learning Cyrillic script in Russian, also available as a free app.

 

Travel resources
It can be pretty overwhelming out there in a unknown land. Having a few ‘go-to’ sites is rather handy, here are some of mine.

(getting around)

Wiki-hitch
Hitch-hiking is a incredibly fun and cost efficient way of getting around. This wiki is great for tips, general information and specific hitching locations.

Rio2rome
Helpful for planning how to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’ in strange places all over the world. The estimated journey costs are not always 100% accurate but are great for a general guide.

Couchsurfing
Not only an alternate means of accommodation, but also a great way to meet fellow travellers and locals. Couchsurfing hosts many events all over the world, which you can attend to network, even if you don’t sleep on anyone’s couch.

Tinder
Wait, what now? A dating app? I will not pretend to be a huge fan of online dating, but travelling often means being versatile and open-minded. Tinder doesn’t have to be sleazy or overtly sexual Like everything else in life, the experience you have will be largely influenced by YOU. It CAN be a great tool for meeting fellow travellers or getting to know locals. Or it can be a medium to convey pictures of your genitals to complete strangers. Your call, no judgement here.

(Volunteering)

Workaway
I am a huge, huge fan. Absolutely life-changing website. Volunteer and cultural exchange all around the world, with a incredible verity of projects. The site does charge a fee to sign up (approx. 30£ for 2 years, some of the best money I have ever spent) but is free to browse, I highly recommend that you do.

HelpX
Very similar idea to Workaway, hosts all over the world looking to exchange food/lodgings in return for unpaid work. Also free to browse but requires sign up to contact hosts, similar cost to Workaway. Many hosts will appear on both sites as it is free to be a host. I personally enjoy the Workaway site more, but this is mainly aesthetic.

 

It sounds basic and obvious, but don’t forget when faced with a random problem or when in doubt; ‘Google-that-shit’. The internet is your friend, between Youtube and Google, there are countless strangers waiting to help you solve your problem. Don’t panic, just type in the problem and let the world help.

I should point out, that none of these sites or people pay me to put them here. These are simply all people and resources I have found helpful. I hope you do too.

Peace. Love. Triangles.
Scotty