Dakar doesn’t sleep.
At least that’s what I’m told as I pull my first all nighter of training after jumping off the plane in Dakar, Senegal. After arriving on my short 8 hour flight from N’Djamena I quickly meet AK and D’juan Owens who have spent the last 4 days teaching MMA seminars, preparing for the Unity in Dakar ’17 project, and going full throttle on the nightlife. In a couple short hours we’re in a sandy park area meeting the Laamb wrestlers of the Senegalese national sport. I’m pretty shocked to hear that a form of wrestling is bigger than futbol here. Laamb is a pretty wild sport which is done on sand and is won when one man’s back or front lands flat. Even crazier is that closed fist striking is allowed and there’s no weight classes. Really wild stuff. D’juan with his extensive background in MMA isn’t shy to jump in and start introducing the Laamb team to new techniques. Within a couple minutes this energetic foreigner is absolutely surrounded by Senegalese debating the effectiveness of what he’s teaching as the translator/cameraman tries to keep up. The scene is an absolute commotion and finally ends as a few grasp the technique and we’re running behind on schedule.
Next stop is the KOA house. Man oh man. We will definitely not be roughing it this trip. This massive brick mansion is 3 stories and 6 bedrooms complete with a pool. There’s a small glassed in bird tunnel in the middle of the building running from the roof to the first floor. I didn’t even know that existed. KOA Team is scheduled to arrive the next morning from Virginia so I’ll be moving into the bird tunnel mansion when they arrive.
Let’s get to some training! I’m really just going along to assist D’juan in his MMA seminar now. We arrive at a surprisingly nice facility called Olympic training center, There’s a huge turnout and I’m quickly realizing how large this project is going to be this week that I’m in Dakar. D’juan teaches some grappling for MMA. Simple but effective BJJ techniques that work when strikes are involved. The tripod sweep goes over well and everyone picks it up very fast. We arrived at for the seminar at about 8 (5 hours after I get off the plane) and it goes until after 11! People are just so excited to learn here in Africa that if you never stopped teaching they would roll all night. It’s Amazing.