Greetings From Malaga Spain!
I had a quick flight into to Malaga Spain from Lisbon Portugal and found the hostel easy enough. I had arrived pretty early so I took off to walk around the city and get some photos of the sights. Malaga is one beautiful place, to all my friends who love going to Mexico to sit on the beach and drink all day, switch it up and go to the Costa Del Sol for a vacation!
The Costa Del Sol!
While staying in Malaga I walked around to see the place a few times but the most sight seeing I got in was when I first arrived. I saw a big castle on a mountain and headed towards it. It’s actually two places I saw, there’s the Alcazaba, which a sprawling estate, at the base of the hill in with the city and the Castillo Gibralfaro higher up on top the of the hill that overlooks the city. I spent quite the time walking around them.
I also walked around the beach, Playa La Malagueta, and relaxed in the hot sand and cool sea breeze. In Spain it’s perfectly OK for women to go topless at the beach, and many of them were more than happy to sun tan without worrying about getting tanlines, so I didn’t get too many shots of the beach for fear of being thought some pervert so something. I did get some panoramic views from the point though. (The panoramics won’t load on here so you’ll have to go to Flickr to see them)
Of course if you’d like to see the rest of my photos from Malaga head over to Flickr and view them there, thanks!
The Friends You Make In Hostels
When I got in to the hostel they still had to make my bed so all I could do was drop off my bags, charge my phone and take off to wonder the city. When I got back someone had taken my bed, I guess when the staff made the bed my stuff was moved away from the bed I had claimed so when the next person came in it looked open. It was no problem and everything was sorted easy enough but there was a couple hours of waiting for the the guy to come back that I was fearing I’d have the unfortunate luck of having an asshole in the room with me who would want to argue over it. Instead of that happening he ended up being pretty cool, a young kid named Oliver who had decided to move to Malaga from Denmark. He and I and another guy in our room who was an Australian who lives in Germany all went out looking for some food.
As it happens it was Sunday, and Monday was a holiday, so not much was open and the only thing we could find was a restaurant that was a bit more expensive than I’d like. That night we talked about all sorts of things, our different experiences traveling, our own stories of doing stupid shit or whatever. As it ends up even though we were three different people, an Australian chiropractor from Germany, a Danish kid (Oliver is 21 but I called him a kid hahah) who was moving to Spain for a charity telemarketing business, and myself, we all had great stories we could relate to and became pretty good friends. Oliver stayed the whole time I was in Malaga, as he was looking for a place to move into, but the Australian, who’s name I forget, left the next day to head back to Germany. In his place Jasse came in and joined our room.
Meeting Jasse Junkkari
Jasse is another friend I was connected with through Nathan Hatton while on this journey. He’s from Finland and known Nathan for some time now, talking a lot online about their shared passion of martial arts history. Jasse is a Demian Maia black belt as well as a practitioner of other styles so it was a lot of fun to talk martial arts philosophy with him. He and I were in contact for a week or two before I made it to Malaga and we worked it out to both get a bed at the same hostel and even in the same room. Most the time there it was actually just Oliver, Jasse and myself in the room so it was a pretty cool stay. One day after hanging out and training together we finally decided to sit down and do an interview at the hostel, we talked about all sorts of Jiu-Jitsu and martial arts topics. Since I can’t load videos here you can head over to the Panda’s Odyssey YouTube Channel and watch it there, and show some love, comment, like, share or even subscribe, thanks!
With it being a weekend and the holiday training was limited so I didn’t get to visit some of the clubs I wanted to but I go out to a club I knew nothing about. SurUnion is a club that I totally missed in my search but Jasse is good friends with and since I wanted to train with him I decided to join him in visiting this club for a class.
The gym is out outside the Malaga city center, closer to the airport. We took a train out and walk a bit to get there, it’s down a side in an industrial area so without having the address saved to your phone you will be hard pressed to come upon the place by chance. Once inside it was a big open area with big mat space of old, well used tatami. I met Luis Quiñones, black belt co-founder of SurUnion and the current head instructor there. He was a really nice guy happy to have me there as a guest while he saw his old friend Jasse. SurUnion is a Yan Cabral affiliate so I mentioned I had been by Templum BCN during my travels and Luis told me of the seminars they have with Yan all the time, it sounded like a really good seminar, making me wish I could’ve caught Yan’s class back when I visited Barcelona.
It wasn’t a big class, but that was OK, we still had fun training together, going over different sweeps and from a guard pull. Of course it was a hot day and I was dying, drinking water in between each technique instruction and after each roll. I had fun training with everyone, we were a bit relaxed with time to work out the techniques and adjust them to make it work for you, or try a different pass from the sweep etc. but when it came to rolling they were all business and I was on the defense. It was still fun though, just a different kind of fun. I managed to survive alright but I was dead tired by the end. I needed water, lots of water!
Jasse, Luis and myself went out for food after training, to a restaurant not far from the gym, a popular hangout with the guys after class. There we talked more about training and mart arts philosophy and of course traveling to different clubs. It was cool post class hangout and Jasse told me of some times the restaurant would be half full of just people from the club, like it was there own clubhouse. That’s pretty cool. It’s something I’ve brought up quite a few times in my travels, the importance of extra curricular activities, getting the club to hang out together after training to grab some food or drinks, or on the weekend to watch fights, hit the beach, do whatever really. It grows the bond of the clubs and gets them more involved in helping each other train harder. I think group activities outside normal class times are essential in building a strong club.
And with only a little training done but a lot of friend making on this visit, it was time to head on down to Africa. Morocco. Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech to be more precise. Lots of adventures, and friends to be made, awaited me while plans I had went out the window.
Until next time,
see you on the mats!
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