Greetings From Paris France!
I had a quiet morning train to the airport and flight over to Paris. Getting to the hostel was a different matter. I had no problem using the trains in Paris and no problem navigating around the streets, but first I had to get a ticket for the trains before anything. At the train station there was a line up to get a one way ticket from a machine. There were 2 machines and just before I got to the use either one they both seemed to break, only one of them would even take change. I had credit cards and Euro notes but no change, so I switched lines for the customer service desk. After getting to the front of the line and asking for the week pass now, since I spotted that they had one, I was told I would have to now go get a photo, attach it to the pass, and sign the back. The photo booth was on the other side of the station and had a line up of other tourists doing the same thing. I stood back and I read the side of the booth for instructions and watched everyone trying to figure out how to use the photo booth and pick the right option for the proper picture. Once I got into the booth it was easy enough to figure out to pick out the right option. The thing is you get a sheet of small pictures and you need to cut one out for the train pass. Luckily I came prepared and had a pair of scissors, and a pen to sign the back too.
There was a girl from Canada in front of me who wasn’t prepared for this, she had to ask for change to break the Euro notes she had, and borrowed both my scissors and pen and even needed me to help her figure out how to get the right picture option. I figured she was totally lost and had no clue or anything planned for her visit but after talking to her she seemed to have a whole trip planned out, at least for the bigger picture. She was visiting a few places across Europe and had all her places booked and plane tickets bought and a list of the sights she wanted to see, she just didn’t think of the small details like city transit. I hope her trip went better than getting her train pass went, but learning the train system may have caused her some problems. By now I’ve found I can figure out pretty much any transit system pretty easily. After visiting so many cities and finding my way around, especially after my week in Tokyo a few years ago and more recently London, transit maps are easy enough to read, even if they’re not in English. The Paris trains take a few minutes to figure out but it was easy enough to my hostel and settle in.
As soon as I settled into the hostel I had a few things to pick up, like a new hair trimmer, my old one died in London (I blame the adapter) and more importantly, a pair of shorts. I had been wearing a pair of pants all this time and that was ok when traveling through Canada during the winter and not a big deal when traveling through the UK in the spring but now I was getting into warmer places and a warmer season. It’s only going to get warmer as I travel on, so I was going to need shorts. I have brought with me my no gi training shorts but they don’t have pockets and I need my pockets! With a run to downtown and an adventure looking for a hair trimmer I was good to focus my time on sight seeing, making friends and of course training.
Making Friends and Seeing Sights
Seeing the sights, or some of them anyways, was definitely on the list, after all how could I pass up the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe or Versailles? In total it was 2 full days of walking around to see the sights in Paris that I did see and I have many, many photos of them. I’ve picked some of the best ones and posted them here, for the full photo stream you’ll have to head over to my Flickr account to see them all.
I went by the Louvre as well, but I didn’t go inside, I was just too tired from the past two days of sight seeing. Next time I go back I will definitely spend a day going through the museum. For now here’s some photos of the beautiful outside of the Louvre and the surrounding area like the gardens.
I also made some friends while hanging out at the hostel, one was a fellow Canadian who after talking we realized we both grew up in some of the same ares and really should have crossed paths as some point before. He was making his way to the UK having come from Italy, almost the exact opposite direction of me. Another was a woman who was staying in my room who was in Paris for a marathon on the weekend, she travels around the world doing marathons at least once a year outside of Peru. We would talk about traveling, places we’ve each been to and places we each still wanted to go see, just about every evening and even went out to explore the neighborhood one evening and found a cool looking giant metal orb, the Geo-Sphere, and there was a submarine on display beside it too. There were others I met in passing, another Canadian who had gone to Versailles in the same group as me who was from Edmonton, some guys from Brazil there on business. It was pretty cool hanging out at the hostel and meeting people in the evening, it’s been something reliable to look forward to when checking into the hostel, meeting people with cool stories.
Meeting Arthur and Paul
When I planned out my visit to Paris I had been talking to Arthur from the start, getting all sort of tips from him. Arthur is actually in Christian’s Book, The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Globetrotter, as one of the first guys Christian meets up with, so he’s been helping fellow Globetrotters visit Paris for some time. Paul is from the UK and just so happens he and I were visiting Paris at the same time, as well as Barcelona afterwards. This gave us the opportunity for all three to meet and hang out together and train at Arthur’s gym. We first all met at a cafe one evening. It was in the same neighborhood as Arthur’s and the gym, and also the hostel I was staying at. After a quick coffee and introductions Arthur showed us around the area, there was a cool park that had a man made pond and island hill with a lookout point out and memorial on top. There was a cave area where they used to cut stone from, which is what this whole area was carved out for, a stone quarry. It was cool to see and I would have totally missed it had Arthur not brought us out to the place.
The next times I returned was Paul and Arthur and it was for class, we actually hit up 2 classes that day, both the noon time and evening class. By the end of the day we were tired and sore but it felt good nonetheless. The classes were with great people, Arthur’s club has some really nice teammates, they all welcomed us to their mats and were friendly and helpful. Those who killed us in the mats were also killing their own teammates so it wasn’t like they just wanted to take it to the new guys, seriously though the range of styles was so wide each roll was so different I felt the fact most of them have other styles they train in or came from really showed. It was a great time training with everyone, thanks again Arthur for helping me out with my Paris visit and bringing me to your gym!We hung out a few times while we all were in town. Grabbing drinks and burgers at bar in my hostel after class and talking Jiu-Jitsu until midnight one night. Relaxing another night at Arthur’s talking away about our own travel and training experiences while his tiny puppy constantly attacked my toes, having a hatred for my socks for some reason. It quickly became like we were long time friends, meeting up and hanging out was very natural from the start. When you have a lot of common interests like traveling and training Jiu-Jitsu it’s pretty easy to build on it and become good friends quickly. As the usual theme of this journey goes I wish we had more time to hang out, in fact I was having such a blast I didn’t think of setting up a video of the three of us until afterwards. I having some our conversations of the different ways and reasons we started BJJ or thoughts of different game styles and experiences traveling would have been a great interview. Ah well, there’s always next time I guess.
Training at RNK Paris
Arthur Trains, and teaches some classes, at RNK Paris which has two different locations but for my time in Paris I just trained at the one near Arthur’s place and my hostel. I had originally hoped to also look up the French boxing art of Savate but the schedule never worked out with my sight seeing hang out with the guys. RNK Paris from what I can tell is part of a bigger community of different martial arts styles under the same roof. From the pictures on the walls I could see there were also Aikido and Judo classes at the the location I was training at and at one point as BJJ class was ending a Jeek Kune Do class was starting. The first time I made it out Arthur was busy and Paul was just getting into Paris so I was on my own to meet the club. It was an open mat and I think it went on for 3 hours, with people slowly filing in as time went one, but I didn’t stay the entire time. The black belt who open the gym, Prof. Akio Long, is a very chill guy and welcomed me in and introduced me to everyone. As the class went on I was a feeling aches and pains all over from traveling so much and he would always stop and make sure I was ok and didn’t need any help. I rolled with him at one point and was utterly lost as he wrapped me up over and over again. As Arthur pointed out he has a very different style and tends to destroy everyone there, I which I had more time with him to figure out how he moves and sets up the things he was doing, it was such an intriguing style he had.
Game of Rolls
While we were hanging out Paul pulled out a deck of cards to show us, it wasn’t some magic set that he was going to do tricks with or a deck of Playboy cards with naked girls, no it was a BJJ deck of cards that while being designed into a very cool looking traditional deck of cards it’s also a Jiu-Jitsu game called Game of Rolls. The idea is you have timed matches, the 2 opponents draw 3 cards each, keeping them to themselves, or only showing a judge if there happens to be one. each card is designed to either be a position card (mount, side control, honey hole etc.) or a trick card (blindfolded, hand armed, hand tied etc.) the idea is if you have a trick card you show it to your opponent and they have to play with that handicap on them, while the position cards to keep to yourself and look to get a submission within the match time from one of the positions you drew. The whole thing is a very creative way to get fun competition matches going on within the club. I think having a full tournament in this style would be a lot of fun to not only part take in but also watch as a spectator, and with the game designed as a deck of cards it’s always good to have one on hand to play card with as well. Paul gave Arthur and myself each a pack and I’ve had it in my bag this entire time, pulling it out once a while while traveling. One day I will bring it along to a class and see if anyone is interested in playing during open mat. I hope this game catches on! Here’s a video on how to play.
Until next time,
see you on the mats!
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