Featured traveller: Anna Fischer – BJJ Globetrotters

Anna Fischer - BJJ Globetrotters

Age: 28

Belt: Blue

Profession: I’m studying Plant Sciences at the University of Helsinki.

How many years in BJJ: 5

Other martial arts: I’ve trained Krav Maga for 3 years.

Where do you live: Helsinki, Finland

Where are you from: A small village in the south of Germany

Other fun or curious information you would like to share: I’m really into plants. I’m a trained gardener. Cacti are my favourite plants – they’re really fascinating and have the big advantage that they can survive without water or any care for several weeks while I’m traveling.

I also really like to learn languages. So if you see me at some camp and want to practice some fancy language, I’m in! Besides German and English I can offer a bit of French, Finnish, Portuguese, and Spanish (in that order) and if I should ever have time I want to learn Swedish and Dutch. And some of the Cyrillic alphabet. The problem is I don’t have time.

Anna Fischer – BJJ Globetrotters

Tell us what inspired you to travel and train?
I’ve always liked traveling. Before I even knew what Jiu Jitsu was, I did some solo trips to the German and Austrian mountains and to Portugal. Then I figured out that Jiu Jitsu exists and stopped taking longer trips because I didn’t want to miss training. I was in a dilemma. I didn’t know back then how open and visitor friendly the Jiu Jitsu community is. Then I was randomly talking about single leg takedowns with a guy from my gym and afterwards he sent me a link to a BJJ Globetrotters video that covered that topic. That’s how I first heard about the Globetrotters. Learning that I can go to a Jiu Jitsu camp for a whole week and train as much as I want and at the same time explore a new city or country was amazing. I signed up for my first camp and knew immediately that this is how I will spend my holidays from now on.

Tell us about your most recent travel and your upcoming travel – where have you been and where are you going?
My most recent trip was to Rome to participate in the Rome Open and the European Nogi championships in October together with my partner. Well, let me put it like this: I should work on my armbar defence. My partner did better and brought home gold. It was nice to catch some sun before the Finnish winter.

I’ve planned two more trips for this year: one weekend trip to Berlin to participate in a Grappling Industries tournament, and then I will visit my family in Germany over Christmas. There’s a small gym nearby which I’ve already visited a few times, so I’m looking forward to meeting the group again. And then I want to visit the two gyms where I trained before I moved. It’s been almost a year since I was there last time. I hope somebody trains there at that time of the year. But I’m sure I can organize the key and some motivated old training partners.

Anna Fischer – BJJ Globetrotters

What are the things you enjoy about travelling?
I like to get to know new countries and their culture, cities, people, and nature. Traveling is always a little adventure and a break from whatever might be stressful in life. And traveling also teaches me a lot about myself. Not everything goes as planned and difficulties can pop up everywhere. Finding solutions for all kind of problems makes you grow a lot as a person.

I’m a very introverted person and always had problems with socializing and talking to strangers. When traveling within the Jiu Jitsu community, things are a bit easier because there are so many like-minded people. From these travels, I’ve learned that it’s worth pushing myself out of my comfort zone for a while, and nowadays I enjoy meeting new Jiu Jitsu people from all around the globe.

Can you give us some examples of experiences you had that makes it worth traveling and training?
I stayed in a Japanese village in the middle of the Polish nowhere and trained on the hugest matspace ever. I wrestled with a Viking and hiked in a country where hot water shoots out of the ground. I had a wrestling match in an Estonian bog. I rolled at an open mat from midnight till 3 in the morning until I almost fell asleep while trying to choke people. There are so many great memories. But one memory sticks with me particularly…

When I started training Jiu Jitsu, I used to train in two very small gyms in southern Germany – the only ones in the whole area. In the beginning it was only me and a handful of big, skilled guys most of the time. I didn’t mind that and really enjoyed training, but I had serious doubts that I will ever reach a somewhat reasonable level, or even get a blue belt. Then I went to my first Globetrotters camp and there were so many women, mostly blue and purple belts. I had never seen a woman with a colored belt before. I was quite intimidated, but they were all so nice and trained with me and gave me tips. I was really looking up to them.

Years later, I eventually made it to blue and was asked to teach classes in one of my old gyms and also in two other small gyms in Germany I have visited. There were these white belt women everywhere and at some point I realized that they are just like I was back then, but the roles have switched. Now I can pass on the inspiration I once received. In these moments I always have to think back to that overwhelming experience at my first camp and I’m so grateful for the Globetrotters community.

What has so far been the most surprising experience for you when traveling?
The most surprising thing so far happened at the Globetrotters Fall Camp in Tallinn in 2021. It was my second camp, and my first time in Estonia. I had signed up for a group dinner and was curious to meet new people, but at the same time I was also a bit nervous because I’m not very good at talking with strangers and often end up saying no more than a few words. And then there was this guy at my table, wearing a t-shirt with an “Introverted, but willing to discuss Jiu Jitsu” print. So I talked with him. Over the next few days he kept asking me out for dinner, and we trained and rolled together quite a few times. And well, now I’m writing this text from Helsinki because I moved in with this guy. I ended up living in a country I probably wouldn’t have been able to point out on a map before the Tallinn camp, and coming here has been one of the best decisions in my life so far.

Anna Fischer – BJJ Globetrotters

Are you a budget traveller – and if so how do you plan for a cheap trip?
Kind of. Travelling and training is where I’m willing to spend my money, but since the university doesn’t pay me to study plants, I try to look for cheaper options when there are alternatives. Booking flights and train tickets well in advance can save a lot of money. I’ve also slept on some airport benches because the options with an overnight layover were much cheaper. Not sure if I can recommend that though – they were not the most comfortable nights. The airport in Helsinki was really okay, but Riga and Munich were not so much fun. I also try to travel light. Often hand luggage is enough and much cheaper when flying.

If you were to pass on travel advice to your fellow Globetrotters, what would it be?
Go out and discover the world. Just do it. There is so much waiting for you out there. The destination doesn’t have to be the other end of the globe. Sometimes amazing experiences are waiting in the next town just a few minutes away.

Try to train with many different people from many different gyms. That has helped me a lot to improve my Jiu Jitsu and it’s fun.

Don’t blindly trust everyone. Often I watch people train or roll first before I pair up with them, especially when there’s a big weight difference.

Always bring enough tape. It can fix everything. Your body, shoes, tent, phone… everything.

Thank you to Anna Fischer – BJJ Globetrotters for making this interview!