Greetings From Zurich Switzerland!
After a smooth uneventful flight up from Rome I met my host for the visit, Hristo, at the airport. Hristo is a friend of fellow Globetrotter I was talking to, Martina, but I’ll cover that later. While we made our way back to his place he told me about the trains and streetcars (or trams) and how to get around and see the city. We stopped off to show me the club he trains at, 360 Martial Arts, so I would know how to get here as Hristo would be busy working the next few days. Even though classes were done for the night we were in luck and caught up with the BJJ coach, Ivan Musardo, who is a very accomplished MMA fighter. Together we caught the train across town and talked about traveling and training, and all the places Ivan had fought at before. Talking to him Ivan was really quiet and relaxed, definitely not the ‘Ivan the Terrible’ ring-name you would picture. As it happens I was never able to attend one of his classes, which was disappointing, I would have liked seeing how his classes were run. We parted ways and we got to his neighborhood Hristo pointed out the necessary stores, like the local market and where was good to eat. I settled in as we talked about all sorts of things, like Hristo’s training and martial arts background and my traveling adventures, until we finally called it a night, the next day Hristo would be up and gone really early and I would have the day to explore the city.
The Beauty of Switzerland!
I spent a lot of my time wondering around Zurich, especially down by the lake, and took a lot of pictures of the beauty of the city. There are all kinds of old buildings around the city and some great view points. The lake is so beautiful and walking around it, you see the still water surrounded by the city and parks on a hot sunny day, all set with the snow topped mountains in the background. truly amazing to see. Here are some of my pictures from my exploring.
I also happened to find an old vintage toy museum that was full of cool old toys like train sets and tin soldiers and of course lots of creepy dolls.
While on my way to Switzerland I got several requests for chocolate mailed to them. I sent a box of chocolates to my mom, keep a few chocolate bars for Ana in Hamburg as that would be my payment for staying there and also stocked up on chocolate for myself. Sadly, I have no pictures of all the chocolate I bought, I must have destroyed the evidence while feeling guilty, but believe there was a lot of chocolate bought.
Of course you can see more pictures of my adventures in Zurich over on my Flickr Account, especially the panoramic pictures of the lake and town that I can’t post here.
Staying with a Friend of a Friend
I only met Hristo online a few weeks before showing up. He’s a friend of another Globetrotter I had been talking to for a while, Martina. It was understood that Martina might be busy dealing with her family when I visited so staying at her place wasn’t a guarantee, and as it happened she ended up really busy with her children that week. I was almost about the resort to booking an expensive hotel room downtown (Zurich is very expensive as it is and there wasn’t any options for hostels or cheap Airbnb for my visit) when she told me she had a friend who was up for hosting me. Martina connected Hristo and I on Facebook and at first he was shy to talk, as his English isn’t very strong, but opened up once we met at the airport. In fact Once we met Hristo loved talking, asking me all sorts of things to do with Jiu-Jitsu.
Without knowing me Hristo opened up his place to me and although he didn’t have a spare room or couch he did find a spare fold up cot for me to sleep on, which was fine. I was very grateful for him to let me stay at his place and set me up to train at his gym, it saved me a lot money and I made more friends this way. This is the generosity of the community that I love, that I’ve set out to meet and that I will forever be paying back fro the rest of my life. Thank you Hristo for all your help hosting me and a big thank you to Martina for connecting us and helping me with all my questions about Zurich.
360 Martial Arts
I first made it out to the club that Hristo trains at, although he was away working and unable to join me. 360 Martial Arts seems to be more MMA oriented but has a lot of Jiu-Jitsu classes as well. The gym is in a business building and has a lot of space, all matted in blue and white. The class I made it to I thought was a open mat but ended up being more a individual drilling class. The members were all nice and welcoming, I spoke with a few briefly of my visit to Zurich but there wasn’t much time spent chatting. The drilling class was run by a purple belt and broke into segments. First we had some partnered warm up exercises we did then we had 5 minute rounds of one person drilling a technique they wanted to work on over and over until the buzzer and then switch.
I can’t quite remember what my partner worked on but I do remember we worked some guard passes and I also worked on the kimura sweep from bottom side. My partner was a white belt but a very knowledgeable and good to drill with, we would play with different resistances to see how the techniques would work. It was a good drilling class and I felt like I solved a few issues but it would have been nice to switch around with other teammates, I only worked with the one guy and never got to meet the others, other than in the change room for a few minutes. I would have liked to meet more of the club as there were only a few out for this class, but I ended up injured during this visit and this would be my only class. Oh well, I guess I have a reason come back and train and visit again. Thanks for the fun class guys!
The second gym I visited is where Martina trains, although she couldn’t make it out for class, and it was actually closer to Hristo’s than the club he goes to. BJJ Lab is in an old warehouse that is split into a multitude of small business shops. It was actually hard to find as there wasn’t a sign for which door to enter or where to go. The club is on the top floor in the back, shared with a Karate club and is actually a nice spot. During warm up the club was talking about moving to a more easily found spot and nicer area, I’m looking forward to seeing what their new club looks like. After circling the building looking for the gym I met another student who brought me up to the proper area where I met more of the class. I showed up for a no-gi night and the head coach, JB, was happy to have me and introduced me to the group. Martina had let JB know of me coming to visit so I didn’t have to explain too much, and JB is a really chill guy, he just seemed happy to have a visitor. The club in general was very relaxed and friendly, I felt very comfortable training and chatting with the guys there, it was a good club atmosphere.
After a good warm up we got into drilling the techniques for the evening and then into rolling. I had a lot of fun drilling and rolling and chatting with everyone, JB and other senior students were very helpful if I had a question and rolling with everyone was relaxed and fun, I even able to try new things without getting crushed too badly. I wish I could have returned, preferably to a class with Martina so I could finally meet her, but I would be out of rolling or training for almost week after that class. Thanks again Martina for connecting with your awesome club and thanks JB and the club for having me and making me feel welcome! Until next time guys!
That night I woke up in the middle of the night with my left hand throbbing in pain. I was unable to close my hand and make a fist for a few days, the pain was so bad, but there was no swelling or visible bruising. I don’t know what happened, some days I felt like I may have broke or cracked a bone, others it felt like a pitched nerve, either way it was a pain and a problem that put me on the sidelines for the next few days, and sometimes it still comes back a little bit here and there, so all I could do was sight see and relax.
After a short visit Hristo brought me to the bus station to catch my bus to Germany and we said our good-byes, I wish I could have stayed longer and got some more training in and met more people but at the same time I was excited to start my month long visit across Germany. With one last overly expensive latte from Starbucks I was off, first stop Friedrichshafen!
Until next time,
see you on the mats!
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