Hello all my Panda-maniacs!
Yes, if you follow me and are a fan of my blog, my videos or you just like me you are a Panda-maniac. Be proud of this nickname as I’m proud of all of you, you have all helped me along this way. Even if all you did was quickly check out my latest post, read a few lines and look at the photos and then pass on to the next thing in your life. Just seeing the view counts on my blog posts give me inspiration to keep writing. All the small comments on my social media accounts, the messages send to me saying ‘good job!’ or asking me where I am or how I’m doing, all those seemingly inconsequential interactions keep me going, pick me up on a bad day and drive me to continue the Odyssey. I have a new article ready to publish but first I figured I would fast forward to more recent days when I made some rather significant milestones. So before I pick back up about my adventures in Germany, where I last left off, I first want to tell you about hitting my 100th club and making it to one full year of traveling and training around the world.
100th Jiu-Jitsu Club!!
I originally had set for my 100th club to be in Bangkok. I was in Koh Tao, Thailand at the 10th Planet club at Monsoon Gym and they were club number 99, but then I got a bug bite. I went hiking up the island’s one mountain to get some awesome photos of the sun setting from View Point, the ultimate lookout point on top of the mountain. Then next day I felt an itch and at first figured it was a pimple on my leg from all the sweating I was doing while there, and man I was doing a lot of sweating, but soon realized it was in fact a bite that was now infected. I was off to Bangkok the next day and the first thing I did was go to a pharmacy and get some ointment and antibiotic pills to sort it out but the damage was already done. I had a staph infection. There would be no training in Bangkok, but I could take the time to get better and ready for my San Diego trip with the Free Rollers group from Australia. At this point my thought was that I was going to make my 100th gym the first class with the Free Roller guys at University of Jiu-Jitsu. I was excited for it, not just to meet the guys and train at Uni JJ but also to make our first class together some a big milestone. But then I checked my flight itinerary update.
I had a series of connections going from Bangkok to San Diego and one of them was stopping off in San Francisco. At first I was scheduled to get in at midnight and not fly out until noon the next day, then that changed to flying to San Diego on the first morning flight then changed again to make the last flight out the night I got in. I lost track of which itinerary was the newest one so I messaged the flight centre to figure it out. As it happens I was on that last flight of the night, meaning I would be getting into San Diego around 1am and would then have to wait until the guys showed up in the afternoon, giving me the full day to figure out what to do. I ended up making plans with a fellow Globetrotter I met at the Fall Camp in Germany, Trevon. The plan was I would meet up with Trevon in the morning and make the morning class at his gym, making that my 100th club now. We kept in contact and Trevon had everything planned out for me. But then there was a delay in my flight.
While I was in Manila waiting for my flight something happened that required a 90 minute delay before we could board. My layover in San Francisco was scheduled to be a short one, 90 minutes to be exact. By the time the plane landed in San Francisco the last flight to San Diego was already boarding, and by the time I got through customs, picked up my carry on that the airline made me check, and made it to the front desk to get my ticket it was too late. It was late, the last flight of the night was already boarded and I was really tired. I wasn’t upset, this was all comical, I was actually joking about this with my friend Luke, who organized the San Diego camp, before ever catching my flights. As I talked to the front desk about re-booking my flight to San Diego and looking for a room for the night I also got onto the internet and checked morning class times for a certain academy in town. The flight attendant asked “Do you want the first flight out or do you want to have a good night’s rest and leave later in the day? We have flights going there hourly.” Quickly checking Google maps to see how long it would be to get from the club to the airport after class to make sure I had more than enough time for the forming plans I then asked “How about around noon time? So I don’t have to rush in the morning” and like that it was set. I would take a short nap at a far too expensive hotel then set out for the morning class for my 100th club, a class with none other than Kurt Osiander.
I would like to mention here that by this time that I had been on antibiotics pills and ointment for 8 or 9 days and the staph infection was no longer an infection now but rather just a small wound of dead skin, a deep one that would take a while to fully heal but also no longer a contagious zombie disease that would prevent me from training.
So I get into the hotel, order some awesome pizza, pass out on a pizza coma and wake up 4 hrs later to take off into San Francisco for the morning class. I make to the Ralph Gracie Academy a bit early to find the lights out and a car parked out front with someone waiting in the car. I walked up to the gym door to look inside and I saw someone behind the desk, figuring they were just getting the club ready I waited for the club to open. The person behind the desk saw me so I waved, they in then turned on the lights to see me better. Who do I see but Kurt Osiander himself standing in his underwear brushing his teeth looking at me like ‘what the fuck do you want?’ before opening the door and letting me and the person inside.
‘Either you two are really early or I’m really slow this morning’
‘No sir, we’re early, sorry for interrupting you’
After a brief conversation of me telling him I was dropping by on my layover and us talking about the last time I saw him, which was at the Black Belts for Butterflies fundraising seminar in Seattle at Professor James Foster’s gym, he showed me the change room and let me dress and stretch out while he got ready himself. The gym is a big square space with an open mat area on one side and a gym area on the other, It’s a nice big gym that I was happy to finally visit and have as my 100th gym.
As I slowly stretched out and got ready for class more and more people showed up and we ended up had a full class of 20 or more. The other person who showed up early as I did was a seasoned blue belt and Kurt had him lead the warm up. They must do this same warm up all the time as everyone seemed to know exactly what he was going to call and were a step ahead of me for switching to each new movement. It was good thorough warm up, and with the jet-lag from being in airports for almost 2 days I was drained before class even started, but I got my wind back quick enough. We worked a sweep from open guard, working shin on shin guard to side control to a choke. Little things got changed or added as we worked it out, Kurt was great at describing exactly how to move yourself and the opponent to make everything work. Counting the seminar this is twice now I’ve trained with Kurt and although he has an entertaining rock star persona, Kurt is always dropping some great knowledge on the mats and if you get all caught up in his hair and swearing instead of listening you’ll miss it.
After class, as some were still rolling and others drilling I talked more with Kurt and told him of the Odyssey and him being the 100th club since beginning the journey. He thought the whole thing was cool and asked where I’d been, usually adding ‘I’m going there later this year’ or ‘I want to go there next year’ it seems Kurt’s always working on new seminars and traveling. As I was talking to Kurt and some of his students about traveling and training Kurt mentioned that there was another class in an hour that I could stay for. I had to look at the times for making back to the airport for my flight and as much as I’d like to stay and have another class with Kurt Osiander that would be cutting it way too close to make my flight. I will say though it was awesome making it out and meeting the great group at Ralph Gracie’s in San Francisco, thank you Kurt!
One Year of Traveling the World!
Earlier this week I hit the one year mark of traveling and training around the world. I was in Melbourne, training at a bunch of gyms that were all places I was referred to by other Globetrotters, making new friends and generally just loving life. I didn’t do anything big for that day, like jump in a shark tank or train a bunch, I was actually pretty tired from all the training lately so I had a quiet night and went to the movies. The days leading up to the milestone I was thinking of it a lot, typing out a master list of countries, cities and clubs, talking about it to the people I was staying and training with in Geelong, before Melbourne. Just letting it sit in that I’ve been traveling and training around the world for one full year.
Here are the numbers I have for traveling for one year:
and countless friends made along the way.
There are so many people I owe to the Odyssey being able to work, too many to name individually, but know that if you are reading this you are one of them. One person I must give a big shout out is Christian Graugart, the head guy how created BJJ Globetrotters after his own traveling around the world and training. Without Christian putting together the community as he traveled and using social media to bring us all together I would never have found most of the places I’ve trained at and most likely never have met any of the people who have hosted me on this journey. Thank you so much Christian for creating BJJ Globetrotters and thank you to the BJJ Globetrotter community for all the help you’ve given me and wonderful hospitality you’ve shown me.
I have plans to travel for another 6 months, if I can mange the finances to cover it, before heading back to Canada and going back to the ‘normal life’. It will be hard to re-adjust I’m sure but once I’m settled I’ll be sure to have my door open and repaying all the good karma I’ve had sent my way.
Until next time,
see you on the mats!
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