I haven’t posted in ages, but I see neither have many others (for those reading in the far future, note: COVID-19). Many gyms around the world have closed temporarily, but I’m sure there are fight club arrangements going on somewhere.
Just going to get to the point real quick. I’ve been back home in Toronto, Canada since mid-March. Over here, we’ve been in a state of emergency ever since. We’re supposed to ease restrictions mid-June if they don’t push it again. Yes, as the country slowly opens back up again (keyword: slowly), what have YOU learned over the last few months?
Because this was what I learned.
- BJJ Deprivation is a real thing. I’ve been dreaming a lot about going to any gym, putting my gi on, squatting on the balls of my feet and grabbing thick cotton. Alas, just a dream. I’ve even worn my gi at the dinner table one evening.
- Don’t suppress. Release in another way. Okay, so it’s obvious that I’m going insane. Raise your hand if you are, too. I’ve begun doing yoga, attending live HIIT workouts on Zoom, joining stretching classes… find another way to release your stress that you’d usually release with a chokehold.
- …It’s okay to not porrada everyday. 2020 has been… it is the year no one wanted but perhaps, something everyone needed. I feel like as the years passed, people became busier and busier. But enter 2020, they just threw down a large sign that said, “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE STOP FOR ONE MINUTE.” Society teaches us to ‘go hard’ in all aspects of our lives – at school, at work, do your best, or don’t even try at all, ‘go hard or go home’. Getting out of the mindset of having to porrada in every aspect of my life has been one of the most difficult things, but frankly, I think it is worth the effort discarding.
- You are not alone. It’s not like you’re the only one who’s held up at work for many evenings, preventing you from going to training. No, a majority of people are in the exact same boat. Unless you live in a BJJ family. Then maybe you can train together and actually dominate the gyms when they re-open.
So, I’ve been meaning to document my last few BJJGlobetrotter adventures – I remember my last day of any BJJ was March 10th in Stuttgart, Germany. Long story short, I had a job where I got to travel to create content. My first leg of travels started in Europe. As a result, I ended up dropping into numerous gyms, meeting so many new training partners and friends. Here’s a quick glimpse into my list:
First stop, Ireland! I started there in January. But I had visited not too long prior, back in August 2019. I knew which ones I wanted to drop into (hint: read this).
My next stop was Portugal, and I dropped into Five Elements JJ – Rato. What stood out to me was their inclusion of self-defense in their training sessions. It taught me that if I were ever equipped with a stick-like weapon in my hand, I would probably still lose any battle seeing that I don’t actually know how to strike properly.
It’s been a dream of mine to roll in London. I know there’s a bunch of great schools, and thankfully I was staying quite close to London Fight Factory, so I got to try out a couple of classes there. I couldn’t travel with my gi, only borrowing/renting as I went along and praying that no-gi classes would fit my schedule.
Team Agua in Rotterdam was super welcoming, and also the first place I’ve been where it was a shared gym space where they were laying and packing up mats every class. I had good conversations with a few people who were about to compete in their first tournaments. Speaking of which, I wonder if they ever got to do that, or if timing was too tight and COVID canceled everything.
So the paid Google ads are working really well for Groundfighter Linz. They pop up on top when you google “BJJ in Linz.” I don’t think it was hard to rank for top keywords, since there’s not too many gyms in the area. But it was great to see so many people come out and train!
Of course, WOM (word of mouth) works. That’s how the BJJGlobetrotters community continues to thrive. The guys up top ^ told me to check out Science of Jiu-Jitsu. When I visited, it was their grand opening week!
Falcões-Top-Team gi and no-gi was my final drop-in. They also share gym space like Team Agua in Rotterdam, but the mats are permanently put in place. Of course, little did I know that when we took these photos that this would be one of the last BJJ photos I’d be taking for the time being. Thank you for being so welcoming, everyone!
Anyways, til next time. I’m excited to write future post-COVID-19 BJJ blog reflections. How will our new normal look like?