Featured Traveller: Sarah Prescimone – BJJ Globetrotters

Sarah Prescimone - BJJ Globetrotters

Name: Sarah Prescimone – BJJ Globetrotters

Age: 31 (even though many people guess way less)

Belt: White with four stripes

Profession: Choreographer / Dancer / Performer / Model

How many years in BJJ: 3 years

Other martial arts: Had a few encounters involving shinais and gloves

Where do you live: Tilburg, the Netherlands

Where are you from: Sicily, Italy

Other fun or curious information you would like to share: When I was a student at the dance academy, my most inspirational teacher proposed an exercise: take one single step up on a bench! The duration of this one step should be 10 minutes, and throughout those 10 minutes you have to try to control every muscle in your body while gradually moving vertically up. Try to control and coordinate the step with your blinking. This exercise was bound to a Japanese practice called “Butoh”, the literal translation of which is “to step inwards or to step through”. It’s also called “the dance of utter darkness”, based on the transformational characteristics of Mind and Body.

While being in this highly concentrated condition, trying to embody the concept of “ma”, a diverse set of qualias (sensations/memories) can infiltrate you. As Rumi said, this being human is a guest house! Invite them in! While being in this transformational state, whether it be somewhere in the Arava desert in Israel or the volcanic beaches of Stromboli, I noticed how animals are particularly triggered. Dogs always start to bark or howl when a strange little creature appears…

Sarah Prescimone – BJJ Globetrotters

Tell us what inspired you to travel and train?
I’ve been travelling and training dance since 2014. My first dance-related trip was near Barcelona, at Deltebre Dansa. There I found different movement methods which had a close affinity with martial arts. One of them was the practice of the “Fighting Monkey”. This practice amplified my view on manipulation, restoration, and dynamic changes of the physical body. It was a personal invitation to explore the realm of martial arts in more detail.

Since then, my curiosity towards functionality of movement through a set of playful exercises started. The possibility to discover the unknown, the irregular, and the uncomfortable expanded in both the appreciation and adaptation to a new location and its cultural patterns. In 2018, during a summer dance intensive in Portugal, I got introduced to the functional intelligence of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. After the class, I noticed a sense of bliss – as if puzzle pieces were presented to me in order to connect them within my craft of choreographing. This new and vibrant investigation began, and I decided to follow Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes at Brasa team Holland in Tilburg.

After a few months of training, I noticed a colourful sticker of a van on the window. My curious mind and vagabond spirit was drawn towards it. Shortly afterwards I booked my first BJJ Globetrotters camp in Iceland 2020. There I was, in the land of fire and ice, experiencing a new landscape. From a choreographic perspective I noticed similarities bound by cultural identity and patterns of movement. Questions arose: What can I learn from my immediate surroundings? What question can be answered while moving on an irregular surface? Is rolling with an unknown person the equivalent of visiting an unknown country? What information is being shared within these interactions? This transfer of physical and cultural knowledge became addicting!

Tell us about your most recent travel and your upcoming travel – where have you been and where are you going?
At this moment in time, I’m still recovering from the wonderful Spring camp in Estonia. After losing my voice from karaoke, and the overwhelming and inspiring BJJ classes – which I hopefully captured in my notebook – I’ ve been persuaded by friends I met at the camp to join Pärnu Beach Camp and Heidelberg. I believe I need to buy a new notebook and start singing classes.

Sarah Prescimone – BJJ Globetrotters Summer Camp in Heidelberg

What are the things you enjoy about travelling?
Exploring new territories, learning about the art and culture of the location, trying to pronounce very difficult words in the foreign language, food, the kindness of humanity.

Can you give us some examples of experiences you had that makes it worth traveling and training?
A recurring word of my travelling and training so far would be: connection.

It is wonderful to connect with like-minded people that practice the Gentle Art. With each and every meeting and roll, I found a mirror. I’ve learned so much in trying to pass guards, and trying to defend myself from being choked or tossed around the room. Each roll is a dialogue. I’ve noticed how the person thinks and moves through life. Reflecting and shining light on my own blind spots. The connection or disconnection which is then established on the mats, resonates further – finding similarities in interests and affinity of movement practices and life paths. Immediate bonds are created; friendships that last the test of time and distance.

A memory which just now entered my mind is an enriching experience that I had during Zen Camp in 2020. During the rush to find mushrooms in the forest next to Dojo Stara Wieś, silence and patient hit me. Instead of actively searching, I decided to step back and receive. Descending from the forest, I got some insights and created a connection. This led to me harvesting the seed for an Acro-Yoga workshop which took place at the Heidelberg camp in 2021. Unfortunately, I only found 1.5 mushrooms that day…

What has so far been the most surprising experience for you when traveling?
Picture this: you’re in another country to attend a BJJ Globetrotters event. What to do in the meantime? (*Dancing brain activates*) Let’s go find a Techno Party!

After a long while waiting in the queue outside in the cold, your teeth start to chatter. Perhaps it’s a sign that I need to talk to someone…

Heyy security guard! How is the party inside? They play good music? Great! (Conversation fast forwards ->) Security guard: I am a BJJ blackbelt teaching in 5 gyms here! You are very welcome to attend a class!

Sarah Prescimone – BJJ Globetrotters Zen Camp in Poland

Are you a budget traveller – and if so how do you plan for a cheap trip?
For my next trip, I’m already planning on printing a shirt that says: ‘’DON’T TRUST GOOGLE MAPS’’. It’s such a pity to be constantly looking down at your phone in order to find the way, missing out the wonderful architecture and street art which is bound to the particular location.

Instead of following the Google Maps maze and walking in circles, I prefer wandering around a city and asking locals for directions to hidden gems. Many times there are language boundaries, but with non-verbal communication and with the knowledge of a few universal gestures, you will either come a long way or get lost. I don’t mind either! There’s always something new to discover.

A cliche which I live by: focus on the journey, not the destination!

Thank you to Sarah Prescimone – BJJ Globetrotters for making this interview!