Tonight’s my last night in Cambodia. I’ve been in this country for a month but in the morning, I’m boarding a flight to Bangkok, where I’ll be for all of May. Before I leave, I want to write down some memories about my time training here.
Training with H/Art
After taking almost a month off due to illness, I was stoked to get back into the gym in Cambodia. After a little research, I could only find two options in Phnom Penh. One was a huge facility that had classes for everything, but BJJ was just a side note in the MMA section. The other gym, H/Art, was completely dedicated to Jiu Jitsu. I knew that was the right choice if I wanted to find a tight knit community to join for the month.
The first day wasn’t a strong start after I showed up, not know what day it really was, for conditioning class with nothing but my gi and flipflops as they were about to go for a run. After looking like an idiot on my first impression, I was surprised by how welcoming everyone was when I showed the next day. Everyone was friendly and excited to get a few rolls in.
Not training for a month, combined with the draining 36C heat, made the first few classes brutal. I couldn’t remember any technique and I had no strength to execute what I did know. I felt like the past eight years of training were washed away as white belts kept slapped straight ankle locks on me like it was nothing. But, after coming to more classes and working on my conditioning in and outside the gym, I slowly became more comfortable. By the last day, I was actually trying some offense, instead of just surviving like I did for the rest of month.
A lot of the guys at the gym were also training for the IBJJF Copa de Bangkok tournament while I was there. Check out my last post for more info on that.
The owner, Vi, told me that the gym had been around for less than a year and he started it because there wasn’t any other place in the city that really felt like home to dedicated BJJ practitioners. In the short time H/Art has been open, Vi has fostered an amazing team of extremely tough members and skilled instructors. The level of skill in that gym was truly impressive. I got a few pointers about an acrobatic north/south escapes from a Polish gymnast and learned a cool trick for a side-control bent armbar from Vi, that I promised not to give away.
I loved being able to step into the community at H/Art and see how this sport brought so many amazing people together. I’m excited to come back to Cambodia and see how much this gym has developed if it is already this amazing after just a few months.