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

Greenland BJJ Globetrotters Karma Camp

Greenland BJJ Globetrotters ‘Karma’ Camp
13173884_10153405534736876_5175006261990188243_nFor the past week or so I have lived in Nuuk, the Capital of Greenland. I am being (very kindly) hosted by a local family and experiencing life here first-hand, amongst real people. I say ‘real’ people because the experience of befriending and interacting with locals is much different to navigating hotels & tourist traps. No one here is interested in me because of money or to be a dutiful employee. I am not handing over cash to a stranger with the expectation of gaining a certain experience. There is a time & place for touristic pleasures, but generally I strongly prefer to mix in with the locals (like this babe & her sweet pet Polar bear).

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In this case, I was invited to do so; which is pretty unusual. It’s not everyday you get a message from someone inviting you to Greenland. Let alone inviting you to Greenland to train BJJ, (in what would turn out to be the country’s first gathering of international BJJ artists) with hosts providing you lodgings. The invitation was completely unexpected, and it found me sitting idly in a small coastal town in Australia. About as far away as one could possibly get from Greenland. I would love to tell you that I seized this opportunity immediately without fear, the way every motivation speech ever suggests you should. I’d love to say that. To tell you that life is filled with opportunities, for those bold enough to take them. Opportunities & ice-cream. Or something.

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But to be honest, the first thing I did upon reading this invitation in disbelief, was absolutely shit myself. Some quick researched showed me flights to Greenland are spectacularly expensive. In my case, I would also require a flight from Australia to Copenhagen. Not cheap either. And totalling over 30hrs in travel just to arrive. Closer to 40 including stopovers in airports. I knew nothing of the culture or language. The other people going were strangers & much, much better at BJJ than me. I didn’t know why I was even invited, if I could really afford it or what I could possibly contribute on such a voyage ( which included 4 international BJJ Black belts, gym owners, hell… even people taller and more Australian than me!). So it certainly was not a comfortable decision. But it was a tremendously exciting one. And one of my best to date. Whilst here I have made friends with Greenlanders & fellow martial artists from all over the world. Invitations to visit other exotic locations/gyms were made, and are now potential adventurous chapters to be lived. Just like every other BJJ Globetrotters camp; the networking and socialising aspect has been absolutely ridiculous.
13147312_234130513630108_6038778317640854995_oI was lucky enough to witness the very first Greenlandic BJJ belt promotion; and then be the first person to roll with him as a blue belt. We even ‘braved’ (I use the term lightly, some of us screamed more than others) the cold & swam in the freezing waters off Nuuk on a windy -0.6 degree day. Together we explored  local Fjords & saw a whale off the coast of Nuuk. I even got myself a free haircut from my kindly host’s daughter, who works in a local salon. I will go into all the glorious details in another post.
(sneak peak)
13220691_1094768060566437_2092536965103067661_oBut the point I wanted to make today was that none of this would have happened if not for the one decision a few months ago, alone with my computer on the other side of the planet. That moment was the catalyst that allowed all of this awesomeness to unfold. And it would have been so easy not to do it. I had a thousand reasons not to go. It was not the safe route. Or the practical choice. The responsible decision. And if am totally honest, a part of me was afraid to go because of so many unknown variables. That’s coming from someone who delights in the unknown. But the more I pondered the choice, the more I felt my initial gut reaction being reinforced; not the fear part. But the adventurous spirit underneath that was screaming ‘fuck yes!’ Sometimes that scream is so covered by nonsense it might just be a whisper. But I think whenever we have an option that resonates with our deepest desires, some part of us always sings. Even if it’s softly.
So for you, maybe it isn’t an invitation to Greenland. Maybe it’s starting a up a new Cafe. Or accepting a promotion in a new town. Or quitting a job which grinds your soul. Or telling that attractive human about your messy human feelings. Or deciding to start showing people your creative work. Whatever choices lay before, just do me & yourself one favour. Be honest. And be brave, even if you shit yourself in the process. I guess that’s two things…but hopefully you catch my meaning. Go out there & shit yourselves in the interest of living a life in accordance with your inner mojo. Shit yourself in service to becoming a better version of yourself. And on that strange note, I shall leave you.

Until next time,

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

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