Hey Fellow Globetrotters!
I’m Tammi, a brown belt currently training and coaching in the UK but itching to travel again after a lucky almost half a century of travel and experiences around the world.
The Impact of a Book
I started training at Carlson Gracie London back in 2012 when I was 36, but had to stop temporarily while I had surgery for a condition called Hip Dysplasia. While recovering I was travelling in South East Asia and read Christian’s book. I was so inspired and I realised I didn’t have to go home to get back to training, I could train anywhere with mats and other willing bodies.
So I moved to Myanmar where there were absolutely no Jiu Jitsu gyms and no mats either!
There were however, a handful of guys who also wanted to train and we had use of a hard studio floor in a local fitness gym at weekends. It was tough on that hard floor but we were all dedicated and trained there for months before I managed to ship some judo mats over.
You can read a Jiu Jitsu Times article here about how I turned my apartment there into a gym and how Christian helped us get coaches from all over the world to visit and coach in return for hospitality.
If it hadn’t been for Christian’s community of people who loved adventure as much as Jiu Jitsu, I don’t think I would have lasted there as long as I did.
After a few years there and many excellent visiting coaches, I decided to move to Bangkok Thailand and join Morgan Perkins and his team at Bangkok Fight Lab. BFL was an established gym with a full daily class schedule and 20-30 regular students on the mats. Even a few girls!
I had many happy years in Bangkok. Morgan and his then partners allowed me to build a cafe inside their new gym and it was finally starting to take off when the pandemic started.
Unfortunately the last lockdown forced me to eventually close that business and move back to the UK in late 2021 to live with my Dad in the countryside. My sister and her husband live next door and she was pregnant with their first baby when I returned, so the timing was as good as it could be.
However, dealing with that first winter after 8 years abroad in the constant heat of Asia, was a massive shock to my system and I had to make sure I could somehow spend future winters in warmer countries.
I wanted to convert a vehicle into a home and travel to gyms across Europe, inspired by other BJJ Globetrotters.
I found a local job and soon had enough money to buy an old Mercedes Vario ex-school bus. I drove it back to my Dad’s and with help from a friend we stripped it and got to work dealing with the rusty chassis and replacing engine parts.
I knew to make my dream of travel across Europe work that I would need to earn money while travelling and travel vloggers were starting to earn a decent living from their content so I signed up to a course and spent several months learning how to make videos for YouTube.
I’m still learning and always will be but I really enjoy the creative process and I’m determined to keep improving my videos and growing my channel. I feel like a white belt again, entering a new realm, learning new skills, looking for mentors and inspiration, trying hard to innovate, progress and grow.
You can see how the bus is coming along and also enjoy some purely Jiu Jitsu content there too. At some point it’s where you’ll also find…
The Grapple Travel Show
I have an idea for a YouTube show to help promote friendly gyms and the idea of training while travelling or on holiday. I hope to start releasing episodes on my channel soon, even before the bus is finished (which could be another year or more). The pilot episode will be on the gym I currently train and teach at, VT Jiu Jitsu in Wiltshire UK.
Some of you might already know Sabine from Grappletoons and the BJJ Open Mat card game she made with Christian’s assistant Vara. I’ve known Vara for years as we both lived and trained in Bangkok and I met Sabine when she visited Bangkok Fight Lab.
I asked Sabine to make me a logo for the show recently and I’m really happy with the result. If you haven’t already made yourself an avatar at Grappletoons then get yourself over there, or make one for your favourite training partner or coach 😃
Relying solely on YouTube for income would be dumb, so I’m trying to do various other projects too, in the hopes one of them takes off, or perhaps they all just help contribute a little.
I write a free weekly newsletter on Substack all about my attempts to be a solopreneur.
This is the first of my blogs here but I’ll write more as the bus and The Grapple Travel Show progress. If you’re reading this then you probably love Jiu Jitsu and travel too, so hopefully you’ll be interested in the show.
I’m very open to any ideas other people might have for the show and I hope in time I can get other people to present their own show using the format too, so we can go global and encourage more gyms to give visitors a good experience, help them promote their gym, give travellers a good idea of what to expect from the gyms they’ll visit and show people new to the sport that they have ready made friends all over the world, just waiting for them to drop by for some rolls and share with them the best things to do and see in the local area.
I hope to connect with you on your preferred platform for now (see links below) but hopefully soon I’ll be asking for recommendations for gyms with space or a nearby spot for the bus for a few weeks and if I visit your gym I hope to connect with you IRL on your mats 😃
Thanks for reading,