Lichtenfels, Germany — Prior to starting to work in Frankfurt, my German road trip had one more stop. Via my friend’s recommendation, I discovered Bamberg, Germany, which is one of those beautiful German settlements with a rich history but are often overlooked by the average tourists in favor of more famous cities such as Munich or Dresden. Through Matsurfing, I got in touch with Chrissi, who connected me with Martin, the head instructor at High Rollers Jiu-Jitsu in Lichenfels.
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Lichtenfels is a town in northern Bavaria located about 30 km (19 miles) north of Bamberg. It is a small Bavarian town with a population of approximately 20,000. The city is known for its basket-making and has the only college that teaches the old craft skills.
The closest city with a well-known tourist attraction is Bamberg. Divided in half by the Regnitz River, Bamberg is a rare German city that escaped Allied bombing during World War II. While other cities have been rebuilt or redesigned, Bamberg retains much of its original infrastructure and charm. Untouched by the countless wars, its preserved historical relics are arguably the reason to visit this small town in Germany.
Established in 2016, High Rollers Jiu-Jitsu was founded by Martin Page who is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt under Luiz Palhares. Unlike other German cities, a small town like Lichtenfels has rather limited resources for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. However, that did not stop Martin from starting his own BJJ school, and he went above and beyond to get the relevant experience required. Initially, a few people gathered to train without having a higher belt’s instruction. Then, the academy started its affiliation with Luiz Palhares who is a coral belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In 2018, High Rollers BJJ officially decided to switch affiliation to train under Mario Stapel, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt and one of the BJJ pioneers in Europe. The academy’s effort does not end there. Martin and Chrissi, instructors at High Rollers BJJ, are relentlessly on the road to either compete or attend seminars to expand their grappling knowledge and hone their skills.
With a caption on the website — “We open our mats to visitors from all over the world. Don’t speak German? No problem. Just visiting? No problem. Give us a call and let us know you’re coming — we’d love to roll with you! No drop-in fees EVER!”, High Rollers BJJ had the BJJ Globetrotters affiliation since inception and has successfully hosted travelers from all over the world to join the training sessions. From getting picked up from the train station to staying at Martin’s house for a night, my Matsurfing experience with High Rollers BJJ was superb. I cannot thank Martin and Chrissi enough for their hospitality.
High Rollers Jiu-Jitsu started with a few students but has now grown to about 20 adult members and 15 kids. Being in a town with a population of 20,000, High Rollers BJJ has had tremendous success. If you are reading this and planning on going to Germany, try to drop by High Rollers BJJ. The academy welcomes everyone to train with them and strongly encourages the exchange of knowledge and diverse experience. I believe that High Rollers BJJ is a notable example of what the BJJ Community should follow. If you are near Lichtenfels, I would highly recommend reaching out to Martin or Chrissi and enjoy an experience at their academy. Thank you, Martin and Chrissi. I will be back!
Location & Facility
High Rollers BJJ is located in Lichtenfels and the facility itself is located within a sports club. The academy has a spacious gray mat with basic training equipment on the side. (Google Map: Link)
High Rollers BJJ offers 3 adult classes and 2 kids classes per week with a women’s self-defense class offered once a week. The academy’s most recent schedule is posted below:
High Rollers BJJ is one of the BJJ Globetrotters affiliated academies, and there is no charge for visitors. However, it is always courteous to reach out to the gym before your visit.
— High Rollers BJJ’s Website
Things to do
- Old Town Hall — There is no better place to begin a tour of Bamberg than Obere Brücke, the pedestrian bridge. In the middle of this beautiful bridge, the view of the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) will grab every tourist’s attention. Built in 1386, the stunning piece of architecture with beautifully painted exterior walls that have survived centuries will greet every visitor into the city.
- Bamberg Cathedral — Escaping the catastrophic damages like Nürnberg and Dresden, Bamberg features some of the oldest structures in all of Germany, and one of them is the Bamberg Cathedral (Bamberger Dom). The cathedral boasts numerous architectural features that date back to the early 13th century.
- Altenburg Castle — Standing high atop Bamberg’s tallest hill, Altenburg Castle (Schloss Altenburg) is one of the town’s most popular tourist destinations. Dating back to the early 12th century, it served as the home of Bamberg’s bishops. The highlights of this castle would be the spectacular views of the Old Town and the surrounding area.