In memory of


02/20/1981 – 09/17/2021

In memory of Mike Katz

If you would like to add any text or photos to this page, please send it to [email protected] with the subject “Mike”.

I’ve tried hard these last couple days to wrap my head around Mike’s passing.

He’s someone that I cared for a lot, shared many hours of jiu jitsu with, and sat across from in conversation dozens of times these last years. It’s hard to know that we won’t share the mats again, or meet up in some corner of the world this year over a beer or some tacos.

He was quiet, down to earth, and easy to talk to… smiling, even when not saying too much.
Rest easy my friend.  I’m really happy I had so many adventures with you.
– Brad Wolfson
He was always kind, anyways helpful, on and off the mat. Always had a smile for you. Great Teacher, great training partner, really good friend. Glad I got to spend so many camps and fun times together. You’ll be dearly missed Brother.
– Stefan Riegel
Any one who decides to attend a Globetrotters Camp does so because of wanting to partake in the incredible amount of Jiu-Jitsu available. Every subsequent camp after that, it is because people want to see their friends.

There are few people who, the second you see them at the meet and greet, they instantly set you at ease. You know just by their mere presence, that this will be a good camp.
They have no malice. No ulterior motives. They will say hello and befriend every one, regardless of rank or previous attendance. They will roll and play with everyone that passes their way. And they’ll sit down for a drink with you at the end of the night.
Mike embodied all of these things. He was a true Globetrotter. He was a face I loved to see every camp we shared. Every roll and every pub table.
It’s cliche to say, but for all of us who knew him, we’ll feel his empty chair on the nights going forwards.
Knock off and make up, Mike.
– Chris Paines
Rest in peace my friend.
You will always be in my memories as a great person on and off the mat!
– Rene Becker
I remember the first time I met Mike at one of my early BJJ Globetrotters camps. I think I was a blue belt then. I paired with him for a no-gi class and had no idea who he was. We drilled the moves, he was working very patiently with me, and I corrected him on a couple details I believed the instructor showed a little different. Cue to next class and I’m astounded to see him wearing a black belt with his gi. Not because he lacked skill (quite the opposite, as I would soon learn) but because of the maturity and humility with which he handled our earlier training session. Not a hint of annoyance or smirkiness about it, just genuine friendliness and collaboration, although I’m sure he was well aware of me being much less experienced than him. I immediately thought: “I hope to be that cool and down to earth when I am a black belt”. And he kept reinforcing this opinion about him in all our subsequent encounters. Rest easy, Mike.
– Tatu Piispane
It is with great sadness and shock I have today learned that a much beloved member of the BJJ Globetrotters community through many years, has passed away. Mike Katz has been coming to over 20 camps since the very first ones back in Copenhagen and recently started teaching at a few of them. He was a good friend and strong sparring partner to hundreds of Globetrotters and always represented the values of our community with excellence in his roles as both instructor and participant.
He was attending the camp in Estonia last week but left already after a few days. I will never forget the last time I saw him. It was less than one week ago on the mats in Tallinn, in his gi with a big smile, shaking my hand after our—forever—final roll.
Traveling the world, as he loved to do.
– Christian Graugart
I’m devastated to hear about Mike’s passing. Mike was always one of my favourite people to spend time with and roll with at a camp. His relaxed attitude and supportive nature – both on and off the mats – made him a great guy to be around and a kind and thoughtful friend. I couldn’t wait to catch up in Poland again next month. I will always cherish the memories of the many open mats and adventures shared together. Forever an honorary member of the flamingo pack🦩, rest easy Mike.
– Cristiana Theodoli
I had met Mike at a few camps, and found myself struck by how sincere he was, not to mention easy-going – he had an easy smile and a kindness about him, which made him a good person to be around both on and off the mats. I was looking forward to seeing him at a camp again this year, but it was not to be. It hasn’t sunk in yet; that we’ve lost a good man.
– Giles Garcia
Mike and I first met as roommates in St Barths Camp 2016. It was my first camp, and I was definitely a little nervous. I immediately felt comfortable with him partly because he was a fellow New Yorker, FDNY (and I knew many), but mostly it was his authentic kind, and humble nature. He helped me tremendously on the mat during the camp and we also just had a blast partying and late-night talks. I needed help finding a new academy to train at and since he was local I asked him to help me. That is exactly what he did. He took me step by step through the process of leaving one academy trying others out giving feedback until we found the right one for me.  He went the extra mile to make sure I was happy. That new academy turned into a career and a whole new chapter of my life. We always stayed in touch. He was always one of the first people to congratulate me on anything I did. Always a personal message. Always positive. Always there. I will miss him tremendously. Below is a picture from the blue basement of Renzos in NYC.
– Tara Wolf
Mike was a friend to everyone he met, always smiling, ready to help and have a chat. We’ve been at so many different camps together over the years, and it’s hard to think about him not being there at the next one. You’ll be dearly missed Mike, hope you’ve found peace.
– Katla Björnsdóttir
This is the first time I met Mike Katz.  We happened to meet at the craziest globetrotters camp that I have ever been to…..the heralded distortion camp.    Since that day we have trained together in many places in different countries and shared stories and food and adult beverages…..yesss even Mike Katz would have one.  That’s when you knew camp had hit its zenith.  It would never get better than seeing Mike with that smile holding a beer.  Life is good was the vibe you got seeing him living the dream. That is how I will always remember Mike.  I would always ask other folks going to the same camp, hey is Mike Katz going?  Most likely it was yes and inside I knew it would be a better camp with him there.  I am sure you all can relate.  Mike I want you to know and your family that close to 25,000 people and more loved you and will, always.  You gave of yourself as a New York City Fireman and eventually as a blackbelt instructor for the globetrotters sharing your bjj knowledge with the rest of us.  Thank you.  I will always love you brother and know all of my rolls from here on out are for you.  R.I.P. Mike Katz
– Joey Carta
Some of my best memories over the last few years have been from traveling with Mike Katz. I first met Mike at the Caribbean Island Camp in November 2017. He had a very easygoing demeanor and was very kind and easy to talk to. Mike was always very helpful on the mats to anyone he trained with and was very humble about his own expertise. Mike was an adventurer at heart and was always up for planning extra excursions around camps to explore. We got to visit Rome after Castle Camp; seeking out the best Italian desserts and touring the Colosseum in the rain. We got to see Iceland and Portugal, taking an extra trip to the Azores, which holds a place in my heart as one of my favorite trips ever. With Mike, you could leave for the day to explore a city, have no plan whatsoever, and end up having an awesome day. He was always a rock if something didn’t work out and never lost his cool. He was the reluctant photographer for many Instagram posts for myself and our fellow travelers, but I think even he would admit he learned a few things about angles and lighting through our adventures. It saddens me deeply that I will not get to see Mike on the mats at a camp again, explore a new city or just sit and talk with him. The Globetrotter community has truly lost a good one. Rest In Peace my friend❤️
– Danielle Donaldson
I met Mike at the November 2017 St Bart’s camp. I was a total newbie and one of the few white belts there, but he was still willing to roll with me. He was so kind, patient, and encouraging on the mat, and fun and friendly during outings and activities. He let me ride with him several times (see attached picture). We kept in contact after the camp and actually met up while I was in NYC. We met up for breakfast and a stroll, even after he had pulled an all night shift with little sleep. I am truly fortunate to have met this wonderful person and my heart breaks at this loss.
Here’s a picture of Mike and me on the 4 wheeler. The other camp photos are from the St Bart’s camp 2017- I’m not sure who had posted them originally, but I didn’t take them. Someone posted them to the FB group forever ago. The other is a photo of me and Mike in NYC- it was a gross, rainy day, but he still met up to catch up and show me around the city.
– Bailey Warstler

Mike was the one of the first globetrotters I had met, talking with him before even making it into camp and then again during the meet and greet. He had a warm smile and was easy to talk to, making it seem like we had known each other for years. He was an integral part on why my trip to the Caribbean has always been the benchmark that any traveling is measured against.

With Mike, that warmness didn’t change each time you met him, but instead it would pick up like no time had really passed between the last meeting and now.
He was one of the last people I talked to and grappled with last Maine camp and we left our  conversation as we always had, open and waiting for the next time we met.
It’s taken me awhile to write this because part of me didn’t want it to be final. Part of me wants to believe that at the next camp or the one after I’ll see him on the mat, waiting to pick up where we left off. None of me wants to accept the empty spot that will be present during all my future travels.
Mike, when I see you again we will have a lot of adventures to talk about.
– Ben Westrich

Mike Katz – an amazingly warm human that offered nothing but a calm kindness about him. A firefighter that truly risked his life to provide a better life for others. His smile made you feel good inside. He loved his Jiu Jitsu and the people he shared it with. That was obvious. I had the pleasure to share some of my most fond and memorable moments through life with this great man. I cherish every one of them and I appreciate his friendship throughout those experiences. He is loved and remembered always as the amazing human he is.

– Nathan Adamson