This is my second last Canadian post. A lot went on and there’s a lot of pictures and a few videos in this post, so it might long.
Greetings From Halifax and Sydney Nova Scotia Canada!
Wow, what a whirlwind of a week that was! After dealing with the snow in Fredericton and Moncton things really picked up in Halifax and Sydney. The post is going to be a bit long but putting these two cities together was the best way to do it. My bus trips to both Halifax and Sydney went off without any problems, although there’s not much to see between the cities this time of year but snow.
I know I said this last time I this pic reminds me of Empire Strikes Back. But when I first took it the view was more mist of fog like and reminded me of Stranger Things…I watch too much sci-fi.
Halifax Chilling With a Good Friend
During my way too short stay in Halifax I crashed at my friend Mike and his girlfriend Amanda’s place, thanks again guys for letting me stay! Mike and I met 6 years ago when we both went to the Marine Institute for different programs for the Canadian Navy and we quickly become good friends. It was actually Mike’s friendship, and all the good times we had partying, that got me through being there. We hadn’t seen each other since my graduation, I graduated first and was sent to the west coast of Canada and Mike stayed on the East. This visit was a great reason to catch up with him and hang out like old times, well, without the obscene drunkenness and dancing to folk songs with random ladies..I’ve said too much..
It was good to see Michael again, we caught up on the last 4 or so years since we last hung out, and one night, with the snow and slush making it a particularly taxing day to be traveling, I decided to skip training and hang out with him and Amanda. We didn’t do anything special, played some video games and broke out the Magic the Gathering (MtG) cards and got my butt kicked, but it was a good day of relaxing and hanging out with friends. I wasn’t in town for long and I hadn’t them in a while, and although I would love to get out and train with and meet as many clubs as I can across the world, there are days you need to rest, and more so, you can’t ignore your friends. Who knows when we’ll see each other next so I’m glad I made that decision, the club will be there another day. Thanks Micheal and Amanda for having me, it was great to catch up and hang out. Until next time my friends!
Good times with my brother from another mother Michael McCoag.
Bushido-Kai Martial Art Academy
When I was first planning out visiting Halifax I had only know of one club in the area, Titan’s MMA. I had friends who had trained there and I was looking forward to going. Closer to arriving to Halifax I did an search to see what other clubs were about and found Bushido-Kai Martial Arts Academy, and even heard some words about them when training in Fredericton (I was told both them and Titan’s were great choices) So when I got into Halifax and looked at the schedules and locations of the two, Bushido-Kai would be one day and Titan’s the next, however I ended up staying in visiting my friend and Bushido-Kai ended up being my only stop in Halifax. But man was it a good one!
Pretty full class for snow day!
I knew really nothing of Bushido-Kai before showing up, I contacted them on Facebook and asked to come by and that’s about it. But that’s all you need to go on an adventure. I showed up to the club, which didn’t look like much from outside, I actually thought it was a community center at first. Once inside I saw how wrong I was, with posters and articles and the big open mat space with a mirrored wall one side having different flags (the provincial flag of Nova Scotia, the Canadian, Brazilian and Japanese flags to represent the home country of each art they train as well as national pride) on the wall as well a suit of Samurai armor. At first only a few of us showed up and I thought it would be a small class, but as I stretched out on the mats more and more people slowly poured in, with some late for class, on account of the roads and weather, in the end there must have been over 30 people on the mats.
Repping and rolling.
Class was fun, we drilled a lot of sweeps and there was a few movements using grips that were a bit new to me so I was having a hard time wrapping my head around it, but Courtney, a brown belt who was teaching the class, and my training partner were really helpful in troubleshooting it. Everyone was helpful and welcoming and really interested in my journey, it was a great atmosphere training with them. After class was time for rolling and decided to try out my arm, being that elbow was feeling better with the time I had off lately. The class had some really diverse body sizes, ranging from small, quick little guys to giants and dwarfed me in size, and the experience level matched it, from white belts up to competition level purple and brown belts. I only was able to roll with a few people but it was a lot of fun, no one seemed out to smash the new guy or be the ‘gym champ’ it was even fun watching everyone roll when I was on the sidelines, the group really seemed to be a tight knit and friendly club. After class I chatted with a bunch of them, about my journey and plans and experiences so far, they asked how many clubs I had been too and after a quick count, they were my 40th club I’ve visited across Canada while on the Odyssey! Thanks guys for the great class!
Thanks for the good class!
The Submission Series Pro and The Finishers Ball
As the Canadian Odyssey was underway I realized that there was a big weekend going in Nova Scotia when I would be there. Not only was there a UFC event taking place in Halifax that featured the first ever signed Newfoundlander, Gavin Tucker, but also Cat Clark, a promoter and event coordinator, was putting on a weekend open competition under his promotions brand, Submission Series Pro, and and evening 16 man tournament called The Finishers Ball. I realized this would all be going on as I was in the area, or rather the same weekend I was leaving Halifax and going up to Sydney, which would mean missing the Halifax UFC and making it difficult to make it to the tournaments. I was perfectly OK with missing the events as I was focusing on training with local gyms and not hitting up competitions and the UFC event was way out of my budget. Then I started talking to Cat, who had invited to his event to watch, and even jump into the open tournament if I wanted to. As it happens, ZombieProof BJJ, my next stop, would be closed that weekend for the tournaments anyways, and Kent Peters was driving down with his team and would be refereeing the evening tournament. After talking to Cat about it I sent Kent a message and it was settled, I would spent the day making it to Sydney up from Halifax one day and then get up really early to spend the next morning making it half way back down to Truro for the competitions. It was totally worth it.
Meeting with Kent at the crack of dawn for a 4 hour car drive back the way I came the day before was an usual way to meet but it was also a perfect way to have that introductory conversation, since we literally had 4 hours to kill. Once we got to the tournament the group basically spit up, the teammates off to warm up, Kent off to coach his students whole competing, the children’s divisions were already starting, and me off to take pics and watch the event. It was cool walking around and running into every club I had been in to in the past few weeks, it was basically an East Coast Jiu-Jitsu re-union for me, and it was cool to see them all in action competing in the tournament. The East Coast Jiu-Jitsu community is a very close knit, as I saw at this event, and they all seemed to understand that it’s the community that’s more important than any one club, and Cat Clark’s event showed this. Sure Cat puts on the event, and does an amazing job of planing it all out, but it’s all the clubs helping him out and participating, like Dana Dickeson and his club Synergy BJJ making it all the way from Fredericton, and Kent coming from Sydney, each driving 4 hours one way, that make it a success. As I walked around, taking pictures of the matches and talking to everyone I realized how much they’re all friends working together for the sport, and who cool it was to be a part of that atmosphere. I had the idea of taking short 2 minute interviews with people from different perspectives and put them together for a introspective of the tournament, but there was so much going on that I quickly realized how hard that would be to get done. So I just sat back and took it all in instead.
Caught up with Dana from Fredericton, Synergy BJJ.
Found Melyssa as well!
After the first day of the Submission Series Pro, Saturday was no gi divisions and Sunday was gi, but we weren’t around for Sunday, there was a quick break before the evening’s event, The Finishers Ball, a 16 man tournament that is streamed live online in front of an audience of most the people from the day’s event. The competitors ranged from purple belts to black belts, with local competitors as well as competitors from as far as Toronto and even one from the USA somewhere. In between each round of the tournament (preliminary, quarter-final, semi-final) there were super fights between local talent. All the matches are 10 minutes long, anything goes, submission only, with the judge deciding if the match goes the limit. The talent pool for this event was tremendous and only a few came down to a judges decision. I will say Kent Peters did his job quite well and the crowd seemed to agree with his decision making.
I liked that there’s a screen that showed promos between rounds. And this logo is pretty cool too.
The mats for the night’s event.
In between matches Cat Clarke came up to me and asked if I were open to doing an impromptu interview after the next match, I was totally surprised and honoured by the invitation and accepted. After the next match was over I was called up to talk about Panda’s Odyssey in the biggest Panda Sighting so far! I think it went well and am deeply honoured for Cat to give me this chance to boost the Odyssey. Below is the video, check it out!
If the video doesn’t load you can watch it here on the Panda’s Odyssey Youtube Channel.
After the event was done and everyone was finished talking about how good both events were, which really could have gone on all night, given the techniques that were displayed that night, it was time to head back up to Sydney. We didn’t make it make until almost 2am I believe, given how early we left in the morning that was almost a full 24 hrs of Jiu-Jitsu that day. It was worth it. such a great time, seeing all the clubs come together and complete like that as well help Cat put on such an amazing feature. Thank you East Coast Jiu-Jitsu community for an awesome day and thank you Cat Clarke for put it all on and getting me out to see it!
Kent getting videos of cool techniques he saw while referring for his YouTube channel.
The host for the night’s event, coach at Titan’s MMA and snazzy dresser, Craig Ferguson.
The man himself who pout it all together, Cat Clarke. Thanks for everything Cat!
The Zombie proof mats.
After recovering from the weekend it was time to finally train at ZombieProof BJJ. Ever since my friend Mike Bramwell had introduce me to Kent online I have been a fan of his videos and after hanging out all Saturday I was really looking forward to class, not only to meet his club and see how it’s ran but also to see what cool techniques he had picked from the tournament to go over in the class. I got to say I really love the club, Kent has spent all his time making the club a home, with the full feel of place that deserves the name ZombieProof. Every wall is covered in posters and Halloween decorations and graffiti, there’s a atmosphere that rides the fine cheesy but also cool, and it totally works. It’s fun without being too cheesy to not be taken seriously but also not too serious to not be fun. I might not make sense reading this, but once you meet Kent and see the club you understand completely, ever inch of every wall has his attitude displayed.
So much personality.
Kent himself is a funny guy that likes to kid around but is also serious when it comes to training. The club has a lot of younger members, and Kent keeps them all enticed and involved by being really interactive with them. If you were to walk in without knowing anyone you might as first glance mistake Kent’s rapport with his students as bullying, picking on them and name calling, but in actual fact it’s show of camaraderie and caring, playing to their young ego’s and guilt them to be better, not to sit out and chat or skip class and get caught up with all the distractions that younger students seem to always have. It’s actually the same kind of relationship I have with my favourite training partner, Geoff, who constantly trash talks and pokes me into going that extra step to get to class and drill and try harder, (because I want to destroy him! hahah). to me is shows a close club with a coach to really cares about his students.
Wrestling class for takedowns.
Interview with Kent Peters
After my last class with Kent and ZombieProof we sat down and have an interview. We talked about running the club, what ZombieProof is to him and it’s aim and goals for his students, and all the online antics of posting his videos. It was a great end to my visit with Kent and his club, enjoy!
If the video doesn’t load you can view it here at Panda’s Odyssey YouTube Channel. Make sure and show some love, like, comment and share away, and maybe even subscribe to my channel too!
And with Sydney done I had one more stop for Canada, back to where I first started training when I got back into martial arts, St. John’s Newfoundland at Mike Samson’s club, St John’s Judo and BJJ!
Until next time, see you on the mats!
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