Featured Traveller: Lea-Marie Stock – BJJ Globetrotters

Lea-Marie Stock – BJJ Globetrotters

Age: I am 26 years old

Belt: A freshly promoted purple belt (dyed my hair purple the week after!)

Profession: I am currently working on finishing my Masters degree in psychology to work as a forensic psychologist. I also work as a bouncer from time to time.

How many years in BJJ: I’ve trained BJJ for 4 ½ years now. It feels like ages and that the time just flew by at the same time.

Other martial arts: I never did anything sporty before I started Jiu Jitsu. I was a nerd in school and I used to prefer to write (mediocre to be fair) homework about muscles rather than performing step aerobics in front of the class, and so my teacher told me that I am probably “just not a sport person”. Definitely proved her wrong by now. I also tried MMA and Muay Thai a couple of times in the past years, but I didn’t like it. I sometimes do Combat Jiu Jitsu though!

Where do you live: I live in Duisburg, Germany. Duisburg is known to be the ugliest city ever, and if you ever end up at the train station (I hope you never do) then you will know why. In the first week of living in Duisburg I witnessed a robbery in front of my door, involving a wrestling belt. After having lived there for a year now, it makes sense from a retro perspective. (If you ever catch me at camp, ask me for that story, it’s a good one). In the future I would like to live somewhere nice and maybe even abroad.

Where are you from: A German city close to Duisburg. I downgraded myself to be closer to my Jiu Jitsu gym in Düsseldorf.

Other fun or curious information you would like to share: Three years ago I decided to build my own (chromatic, google it!) harp, ignoring the fact that I had never played a harp before. I am now the worst harp player known but I can tell you everything about the history of different kinds of harps and other totally useless knowledge.

Lea-Marie Stock – BJJ Globetrotters

Tell us what inspired you to travel and train?
Originally when I started doing Jiu Jitsu (I was introduced by my current boyfriend at that time) I would never have imagined how far this would go. Jiu Jitsu was appealing to me because it seemed so nerdy and playful, and I was pretty much hooked after a few classes. And then it found more and more place in my daily life. I think that signing up for camps and competing helped me to start traveling. Of course, I always had some sort of travel plans, but they were pretty much always vague and “someday…”.
But with having concrete dates it was easy to realize it. I know the competition is on the 14th of something, so I know I have to be there on the 13th and so on. And once I started traveling it was much easier to continue. I feel like once you experience how easy it is (as a European) to go somewhere else for a weekend and you get confident in not getting lost somewhere, there’s not much that stops you anymore.

Tell us about your most recent travel and your upcoming travel – where have you been and where are you going?
So just two weeks ago I flew to Rome to drink Aperol Spritz (I drank plenty) and I also competed at the IBJJF No-Gi Europeans where I took gold and bronze. Three weeks before that I was in Latvia (shooting and learning something about history) and Spain (competing for the German national team).

So my next trip will probably be the BJJ Globetrotters camp in Austria (I will function as Christian’s helpful elf). Afterwards I’ll go to Paris and compete at the IBJJF Europeans and then I’ll go to Bucharest in Romania. I think I have too many places I want to see next year. I want to go to Estonia, Sweden, Norway, Iceland (again!), …

Lea-Marie Stock – BJJ Globetrotters

What are the things you enjoy about travelling?
I just like seeing different places. I mostly like city trips, wandering around in a nice-looking city (Riga for example was sooo pretty!) and getting to know a little bit about the history of the country and do some sightseeing. I also enjoy meeting new people and making friends everywhere.

Can you give us some examples of experiences you had that makes it worth traveling and training?
Before Jiu Jitsu I used to be extremely shy and not talk to people (in the first six months of going to class I couldn’t even say hello to my teammates) and if you meet me now it’s the complete opposite. Having the experience of being in a group of people who try to help each other out really helped me to grow into a confident person and that makes it worth it 100%.

And I think especially the combination of training and traveling is great. When you meet people at Globetrotters camps from all around the world it makes it easier for you to visit different places, because you already know someone who can give you a couch and good recommendations. You always get a better experience when you go with the local people. When I did the Iceland Camp in 2020, one of the women who worked at Mjölnir MMA and trained with us during the week took us for a hike the day after camp. After hiking for 1.5 hrs in the beautiful nature of Iceland (we had been told it was 30 minutes, but nevermind) we sat down in the hot springs in the mountains, and I think I will never forget how stunning that was. I would have never found that place without having someone local with me.

What has so far been the most surprising experience for you when traveling?
That it’s incredibly easy to get recognized as a German as soon as I stop at a traffic light.

Lea-Marie Stock – BJJ Competition

Are you a budget traveller – and if so how do you plan for a cheap trip?
I am a budget traveller. For my last competition in Rome, I depended on people donating money so I could afford to go. I just try to book smart and find the best airplane prices and prefer Airbnb before hotel. But I also love having kitschy rooms when I can afford it.

If you were to pass on travel advice to your fellow Globetrotters, what would it be?
Just go. Jump in and enjoy it! You will be overwhelmed by how welcoming everyone will be.

Lea-Marie Stock - BJJ Globetrotters

Thank you to Lea-Marie Stock – BJJ Globetrotters for making this interview!