Greetings From Around the World Part 3!
Here’s the last article covering the BJJ Globetrotters Camps I attended over the summer. I’ll be back to sharing all my stories and adventures while traveling around the world shortly. I last left off telling you all about the BJJ Globetrotters camps in Greenland and Iceland and before that the first part to this trilogy covered the USA Camp and visiting Toronto. Now I bring you the final part, BJJ Globetrotters Camps Part 3: Return to Heidelberg Germany!
BJJ Globetrotters Fall Camp (Heidelberg Germany 13-18 August 2018)
Heidelberg was my first camp last year, to return to it for my 5th camp and my last stop outside of Canada was a roller coaster of emotions. I was going back one of my favourite places to see all sorts of friends I’ve made along the way but at the same time it also meant the Odyssey was over and there would be no more traveling outside of Canada any time soon. I wish more friends could have been there for me to see one last time at this final camp but a group of them choose the Leuven party camp instead, and if I still drank I would totally have been there with them. There was still a large number of friends I’d made along the way attending the camp, with lots of new people to meet and make friends with as well. This time around I was now a veteran camper and knew what to bring, what to expect and how to pace myself for the week, this was going to be a good last stop.
Last year I planned my arrival with the start of the camp but left no room for error and was in a rush, showing up a bit late and tired for the starting classes. This year I tried to correct that and planned on arriving in the morning. The event of the Frankfurt airport taking over 90 minutes to unload luggage and having only 5 minutes to rush for the bus to Heidelberg aside, I showed up on time but completely exhausted. The flight over to Germany from Canada was an overnight flight, and while I usually deal OK with those and can get some rest I got no sleep this time around. There was a woman and her teenage daughter sitting next to me, I had the aisle seat, and the teenage girl seating the middle decided she would not only lean on me at times while sitting sideways but also constantly restlessly move around back and forth. Any time I was about to find some rest I’d get a nudge waking me up, so instead of showing up to the camp, on time and rested and ready to start off on the right foot I ended up showing up completely exhausted and jet jagged and unable to partake in anything that first day. I was in worse condition than last year, once rooms were available I had a hot shower and a nap before the evenings celebrations.
One thing I really like about this camp is that it’s at the University sports arena where, if we buy the full ticket, we have a room and meal plan all taken care off. Actually, of all the camps I’ve been to the Iceland camp was the only one where dealing with lodgings and meals was separate. I much prefer the full package, not just because I’m lazy and don’t want to deal with cooking or finding a decent hostel or that the meal plan is a more responsible diet than what I’d be eating my own but we hang out and socialize and bond more having our meals and rooming together. The convenience factor of being at the sports hall and not having to deal with transit to and from each day is also a big bonus. Some people stayed at the nearby hostel and I’m sure that went by great with so many of the campers staying in the same spot and it only being a 10 minute walk away, but others ended up in places on the other side of town either dealing traffic driving to the sports place and back or walking 45 minutes each way. I did that in Iceland and would much prefer skipping that adventure again if I could.
For this camp the schedule was changed slightly, there were only 2 or 3 classes together then a 1 hour open mat as opposed to past camps where there would be 4 classes together and a 2 hour open mat. I found that small change made the day of training and rolling easier and I’m sure others found that too. The new schedule keep a more active flow, not as much down time if you were skipping the open mat for the classes, or classes for the open mat sessions. Throughout the camp I would focus on 1 or 2 classes a day and spend another 2 hours or so rolling, making sure to train with people I haven’t trained with before both to make new friends and continue training with different body types and rolling styles. Of course I also made time to roll with old friends and catch up with them, or more like get choked out by them again.
Training and hitting as many classes as I could was a blast, I had a real problem picking and choosing classes so I didn’t burn myself out. One day I was tired and looking to watch the afternoon classes, Charles Harriott came up to me and asked to use me for his class on darces and neckties to show ‘what to do against big guys’. Then after his class David Morcegao, showing off some big guy techniques from the scarf, used me for a demo as well. I just wanted to watch, maybe drill a little and roll later, ends up I would be fighting for my life defending from those techniques the rest of the day, and week. Really though it was awesome getting those diamond details from both those guys, it really brought my game up. Another day I had the pleasure of rolling with Daniel Bertina and feeling first hand his top pressure class he taught after the open mat and then watched Heather Raftery teach a crucifix class. Some many great instructors, from Jack’s morning yoga classes to Christian’s ‘super string theory of Jiu-Jitsu’, another amazing experience and great knowledge gained at a BJJ Globetrotters camp.
The first night in Heidelberg we held the pub crawl as usual, it’s a great way to socialize and get all the party energy out of our system so we can focus on training during the week. This year there was an added bonus to it, a couple were getting married at camp, that’s right BJJ Globetrotters very first Jiu-Jitsu wedding, and the pub crawl was their stag and doe party. Last year the pub crawl was about 30 or so people and was a blast dressing up and hanging out at the different pubs while getting to know the other campers. The crawl through the city also showed me where some of the good parts of town for food and drink were, if you could remember where you were after that night. This year however it seemed more like only 30 people didn’t show up for the crawl. We flooded the streets and the bars where ever we went, trying not to be too loud and failing miserably. At one point an old woman opened her window to see what the commotion was, only to instantly gasp, cross her heart and quickly shutter her window and lock it. Apparently our crawl was intimidating to some of the locals.
One thing I didn’t get around to doing last time I was in Heidelberg was visit the Heidelberg Castle, this time I wasn’t going to miss it. The view from the castle over looking the city and the Neckar River is quite breath taking. Here’s some of the pictures taken from our walk around the castle and area as well as around the camp in general. You can see more of my pictures from this and all my other articles other on my Flickr Account.
Throughout the week groups of campers would return to some of the pubs we visited on this crawl, most notably ‘The 4 Euro Bar’. That’s not really the name of the pub, we dubbed it that name last year when we found it during the pub crawl. The pub, actually named Bob’s Burger Bar, is the favourite spot for the Globetrotters, just like the Lebowski Bar in Reykjavik I mentioned in the last article we pretty much took it over for the duration of the camp. In fact the Globetrotters tend to have a favourite bar at every camp, I like to think having us in town is good for business. This year the bar had an impressive menu of pub food that was missing last year. Lots of us dropped by at night to socialize and grab some food and the camp end party was held there. They even let us hold the crazy event of ‘body building posing’ there, I’m sure we’ll be back to take the 4 Euro Bar over again next year.
One event of the camp everyone was waiting for was the Jiu-Jitsu wedding. This was a first for the Globetrotters camps and only started to be planned since the Iceland camp two week prior. I remember sitting at the kebab place with Christian, Giles and Cristiana, scrolling through Facebook as they brainstormed making a last minute t-shirt for the Germany camp when I saw the announcement. Alex had just proposed to Katya and they had only just posted it maybe 10 minutes before I saw it and showed the table. Instantly Cristiana was telling Christian he should get ordained and they could plan the wedding for Germany. A lot of work must have been put in within that short busy time because it ran without a hitch. It was amazing to see everyone come together and help out and share in Alex and Katya’s joy. I had the honour of being the one to give Katya away, which was completely unexpected when she asked me but I was more than happy to do. Although it was lovely watching two friends get married in the first ever BJJ Globetrotters Jiu-Jitsu wedding, Christian’s opening speech was amazing and I wish it was recorded (see everyone at camp 100 on the Moon!). Afterwards we watched them have their first roll as the newly married couple, and with Katya’s newly awarded blue belt, as everyone had cake and drinks and began the camp end open mat. It was truly the perfect happy ending to the camp.
With the end of the camp came the end of my travels, for now anyways. It was great to see everyone, to make all the new friends I made and be apart of the first ever Jiu-Jitsu wedding, as well as all the awesome training of course. Attending all the camps was the perfect way to spend the summer and this camp was the best bittersweet ending. Even if this was my last stop outside of Canada all the great memories I was bringing home washed away any regrets or sadness. After a little confusion on where to catch the Sunday bus I was on my way to Frankfurt to catch my plane back to Canada. This wraps up my summer adventures of attending the BJJ Globetrotters camps, I’ll be back writing about the Odyssey next time picking up back in Australia.
Until next time,
see you on the mats!
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