Featured traveller: Nathan Featherstone – BJJ Globetrotters

Nathan Featherstone - BJJ Globetrotters

Age: 33

Belt: Purple

Profession: Martial arts and fitness coach

How many years in BJJ: 12 (with time off due to injuries and lockdowns)

Other martial arts: Irish stick fighting (Doyle and Antrim style), Dog Brothers martial arts, Collar and Elbow wrestling.
Previously karate, boxing, muay thai, MMA, Judo, HEMA, and capoeira.

Where do you live: Dublin, Ireland

Where are you from: Wicklow, Ireland

Other fun or curious information you would like to share:

  • I teach both BJJ and stick fighting in my gym. With my stick fighting I teach two styles of Irish stick fighting, which is a martial art indigenous to the island and very unknown to many. With my background in combat arts I wanted to test this material out and make sure it worked, which led me to the Dog Brothers who do full contact sparring bouts with sticks and various other weapons. Picture MMA with sticks and a fencing mask. This has also made me work really heavily on stick grappling, which is a really interesting way to look at BJJ and grappling.
  • I run a Youtube channel all about Irish history and martial arts called the Rambling Kern. I have done all sorts of historical recreations since my teens. which led me to combine all of my various obscure hobbies into one place.
  • I am a pretty big nerd and like to take on a new pursuit every year or two. Growing up in a rural area I don’t want to miss out on things now I’m all grown up and able to do things. As a result I’ve trained in a lot of martial arts and recently got heavily into learning knife throwing, which has been way more complex than I ever thought. I had a friend pass away during Covid who used to play Dungeons and Dragons, and I started playing with some of his old group at first as a way to remember him. Ever since I’ve gotten hooked and am big into playing on my time off.

Nathan Featherstone – BJJ Globetrotters


Tell us what inspired you to travel and train?
From a very young age I always wanted to grow old and be like Master Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Seeing a documentary about Helio Gracie and seeing him rolling at such an old age made me want to take up BJJ. From there I wanted to travel and learn BJJ. With Ireland being such a small island, early on that was the best way to learn, but now we have some of the best instructors around. This curiosity also made me want to discover if Ireland had its own martial arts, and I found that out it did. This really pushed me to want to visit other places and learn about their past and travel and train with those I could.

Tell us about your most recent travel and your upcoming travel – where have you been and where are you going?
I’ve just gotten back from teaching Irish stick fighting and Collar and Elbow wrestling in Florida. As part of the trip I got to teach at a yearly Escrima meet up, which was amazing getting to learn so many unique martial arts in one place. Next month I’ll be going to Holland for my first actual break in a few years, and I’ll hopefully get in some training while there.

Nathan Featherstone – BJJ Globetrotters

What are the things you enjoy about travelling?
I love to learn about a country’s past. Not just the old buildings, but the land, wildlife, foods, and cultures. It’s a real bonus for me to learn about their martial past as I love that stuff. Things like local martial arts styles, wrestling, or fencing are all really fascinating to me. Getting to train with local people often opens up some really fun chances to see and experience parts of a country only a few people get to see.

Can you give us some examples of experiences you had that makes it worth traveling and training?
It’s hard to pick out any single moment due to all of the weird martial arts I have had the chance to train in old fortresses and castles, on top of mountains, in swamps, and just experience some amazing parts of the world with really cool people. On my last trip alone I got the chance to swim with dolphins and manatees, which was incredible.

What has so far been the most surprising experience for you when traveling?
I’ve found for me it’s coming across people in really far-flung parts of the world who know all about some obscure town in Ireland. Or, even more surprisingly, knowing someone you know, which I have had happen.

Nathan Featherstone – BJJ Globetrotters

Are you a budget traveller – and if so how do you plan for a cheap trip?
Yes, I tend to travel on a budget. Travelling light and staying somewhere I can cook at least a few meals often saves me a lot of money and allows me to spend more on worthwhile things like training and experiences.

If you were to pass on travel advice to your fellow Globetrotters, what would it be?
Look up. Often there are some really interesting things above us in cities that can be hard to spot if you’re focused on the streets below.

Thank you to Nathan Featherstone – BJJ Globetrotters for making this interview!