Greetings From Adelaide and Geelong Australia (Oct 28 – Nov 8 2017)!
I left Perth and flew to Adelaide quite uneventfully. The directions I had to get to where I was staying in Adelaide were quite concise and easy to follow. I was on my own in Adelaide, having picked up a room with AirBnB. I had credit to use up that I had been saving ever since the problem in Heidelberg/Mannheim where AirBnB froze my account inexplicably and took their time to unfreeze it, causing me to miss out on the perfect place and costing me a lot more for the visit. I had been holding on to it for Australia, I heard places aren’t cheap so having credit for a free stay I might as well use it here. I rented a room from a quiet Asian couple who were very kind but with our different schedules we didn’t see much of each other. The place was in a quiet neighborhood away from downtown but close enough to make it easy to get around, finally having my own room in a quiet setting was bliss and I managed to finally catch up on some much needed rest from the past crazy weeks.
Geelong was a different story. The flight into Melbourne and bus out to Geelong was easy enough, well actually getting to Geelong was a bit tricky but luckily I had help. Instead of a hostel or AirBnB this time around I was staying with Globetrotters who were fans of my stories, Jeremy and Annie. I although I had some time to myself to wander and see the city I was mostly just following Jeremy on his plans to visit different nearby gyms with me. It was an awesome time being taken care of so well by them and having a blast sharing stories and training together. While I was visiting Geelong Jeremy and I and a bunch of guys from another gym all piled into a van and heading into Melbourne for a seminar at Absolute MMA, but I’ll get into that story later.
The Sights & The Gardens
One thing that I noticed most all the cities in Australia has is a botanical garden, which kind of stand out given the beach setting on the coast or desert like scenery outside the city. In places like Adelaide and Geelong where there’s not a lot of tourism set up in terms of tours or attractions spending my time walking around these gardens seemed the best way to get out and relax. I guess you could say these stops really put the use the whole warrior and gardener mindset into action. I had some great meditative days. In a park in Adelaide there was a Japanese Zen garden, The Himeji Gardens, that was gifted by Adelaide’s sister city Himeji. I spent the afternoon slowly walking around this place enjoying the pond and different plant arrangements and the perfectly raked rock gardens.
Geelong’s larger Botanical Gardens in Eastern Park was quite the walk with all sorts of trees, plants and flowers displayed from from all over the world. One minute you’re walking through a miniature desert looking at cacti and the next you’re in a flower bed of roses and other exotic colourful flowers. It’s one of the oldest botanical gardens in Australia and is really interesting to walk around, I’m glad I made it out.
As I said earlier I was enjoying the rest at my nice and quiet AirBnB in Adelaide and actually end up skipping a few training sessions. One place I did make it out to though was Trinity MMA to finally meet up with Dan Dwyer. I met Dan in the Globetrotters group, connected by my good man Luke, and we kept in contact while I planned out my visit, helping me look for a place to stay and figuring out the gym schedules. Making my way out for the open mat to meet a few of the gym members and finally meet Dan was a great time, if a short lived one. Looking back I wish I was able to make it out to a full class or visit the other gyms Dan gave me information on but having some down time to rest was probably the better decision in the long run. Anyways, I took the Adelaide city buses across town to where Trinity MMA is set up, the gym space was upstairs, an all matted floor with an MMA cage off to the side.
There were a few people already around training, being ‘a friend of Dan’s’ was good enough for them and I started to get changed and warm up. Dan hadn’t shown up yet so I made friends with the guys while waiting. Amongst the cool people I met there was Brodie, who at the time was a keen white belt, now a blue belt, who also liked to travel. Brodie gave me some great tips for Japan and it’s been fun watching his updates on competing this past year. It’s too bad we couldn’t meet up in Japan but we had fun training and chatting when I visited. Dan finally showed up on the mats and we had some good rolls, he helped introduce me to everyone I hadn’t meet yet and tell them about my travels. The group were very welcoming, every Australian I’ve met loves to travel so sharing stories of backpacking is was a good time and the easy going attitude of Australia makes you feel at home both on and off the mats. Training with the gym was a good time, we had some good hard rolls and some great knowledge shared on the mats as well. Like I said, I wish I was able to come out to a full class another night to meet more of the gym. Thanks Dan for inviting me out!
In Geelong Jeremy brought me out to the gym he trains at, DC Jiu-Jitsu where I met Prof. Dan Cherubin, a big guy who has been training in BJJ for a long time, one of the first Black Belts in Australia and the highest ranked Australian under Master Ricardo De La Riva. It was a blast talking to him and hearing all the knowledge and history of the art. Training there for one day wasn’t enough but it was unfortunately all we could fit in with the seminar and visiting other gyms in my short stay. The gym is a big square space with the mat space in the middle and there being a low wall around it. Change rooms were in the the back and there was another small space for warming up or other classes back there too.
The class was big and I didn’t have much time introducing myself to them, talking a lot with Prof. Dan and Jeremy. The few I did talk to while training were nice enough to me visiting and I had a good time training and rolling. There was a portion of the class where we fought from positions, getting out of side control, that my partner and I probably were rolling a little more stiff than we were supposed to, but all in good fun, beating each other up is how you make friends. Prof. Dan taught a class that was all about the crucifix and all the small details for keeping control from each option the opponent has for defense. I never knew how technical the crucifix actually was, I mean I knew how deadly a position it is especially for MMA but all the fine details for controlling your opponent, particularly the arm you catch with your legs, was eye opening. I’ve forgotten a lot of the details Prof. Dan taught that night but any time I’m in a potential crucifix position, like from turtle, I always have a few of the things he taught that day flash through my head. I’d like to think it’s helped with defending being in a crucifix but that would be a lie, it would be better described as knowing exactly what I’m caught in and when to tap.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it back to Dc Jiu-Jitsu for another class, I had hoped to do an video with Prof. Dan but with all the over things going on and places to see it never happened. I did thoroughly enjoy myself training there however and hope to make it back one day, thank you Prof. Dan for having me!
Jeremy also brought me out to Sub MMA, a gym that was working on their new space when I visited them. There was no sign up yet and the front still under renovations but the mats were all down and on the walls so the important part was ready. I met Jamie there, the gym owner and coach, hes’ a great guy and very friendly, just a few words to tell him who I am and next I knew I was family. The training area was a square space with blue and black mats with the walls matted as well, the guys were already training in there when we got there, doing kickboxing or MMA, so the place was already hot and sweaty. Warm up and training only make it worse, these guys really put in the work. The gym is entirely no gi, more set up for MMA or submission wrestling, I imagine with all the news Craig Jones was making at the time no gi was getting incredibly popular across Australia. We had some good training with lots of drilling, I can’t remember the exact details of what we were drilling but I do remember having a lot of trouble shooting to try and catch up to them. I also had some good matches with a few of the guys, even got to roll with Jeremy one last time, there were some killers that could easily run circles around me and a their leg lock game was definitely more extensive. I’d like to think I did well defending.
While training at the gym we went over a little of what was covered at the seminar a few of use were lucky enough to attend in Melbourne on the weekend before. This is how I first met with Jamie and few guys from his gym. One morning Jeremy and I drove out to Jamie’s and piled into a van with everyone to head to St Kilda on the far side of Melbourne. The Absolute MMA HQ was holding a seminar to collect money for Craig Jones’ brother who had just injured himself. The whole day was an awesome experience, hanging out with fun people, having a road trip to Melbourne, and meeting the likes of Craig Jones, Kit Dale, Lachlan Giles and Livia Guchowska, not to mention learning awesome Jiu-Jitsu, all in one day. We left Geelong pretty early so we would be sure to have time for finding parking and get to the gym without missing anything. I think maybe we gave ourselves too much time as the gym wasn’t even open when we shown up, people were waiting actually outside.
We were one of the first few people inside once the gym opened but it got busy quickly and in no time we were sitting along the wall stretching watching the instructors hang out in the middle of the mats. I have followed Kit Dale for a long time now and I’ve been a fan of Craig Jones since I first saw his highlights, and I had talked to Lachlan and Liv a bit online when Luke connected me to them for my visit, to meet them all in person at the same time was awesome. The seminar had six instructors each teach a short session and I loved everything they taught, even Craig Jones’ crazy Z-guard to heel hook that a lot of us couldn’t get. One thing I noticed about the seminar was the open camaraderie among everyone there, I know a lot of them were Absolute teammates but there was a lot of joking going on and no one there seemed too serious. It was a great first impression and I looked forward to returning during my visit to Melbourne.
Once the seminar was over we all piled back into the van and headed home, not before stopping for some KFC which is like 1000x better in Australia then back home, and all we talked about the entire time was the awesome seminar we were just a part of. Even during class a few days later we couldn’t stop bringing it up. That’s what going to a good seminar feels like, it’s the Jiu-Jitsu equivalent of being the first in your bunch of friends that sees the newest blockbuster movie out. If there’s one way to describe the guys at Sub MMA other than a friendly bunch is passionate, Jamie and his gym loves training and learning, thanks for having me guys!
Thanks again Jeremy and Annie, it was a blast hanging out with you and I’m grateful you let me come crash at your place with nothing more than a few lines in Facebook, the power of the internet and Jiu-Jitsu bringing people together. And after an all too short and busy stop meeting and making all sorts of cool friends I was off for my next adventures in Melbourne.
Until next time,
see you on the mats!
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