I was navigating some serious waves at the Caribbean Island Camp here in Saint Barth last week. To say it was an intense camp for me would be quite an understatement. It was my 24th BJJ Globetrotters camp and I probably don’t remember many others that’s been as hectic as this one. Ok, I almost had a heart attack at the Winter Camp in Austria once from partying, snowboarding and not sleeping three days in a row. But I was young and wild back then in 2015. Ok, also in 2016 at the Party Camp in Copenhagen. I almost died on the mats there, too. But this is 2017, let’s not hang on to the past.
As always, I put a lot (!) of time into preparing for every single little detail of a camp. My standard check list for planning and executing a camp has more than 300 check points. I evaluate all camps and add more things to the check list, but still, unforeseen things always happen and my primary task behind the scenes during the camp is to manage just this.
This camp last week felt a bit like a tsunami of unexpected things. It never rains here in May, but it did. Two days of straight up Jurassic Park opening day rain storm. It was so heavy that we couldn’t hear anything in the gym from the rain hitting the roof. One of our rental cars had a minor accident (that took a lot of time and energy for paperwork, insurance etc.). I had booked a different restaurant every night and they all screwed up the bookings. Boat trip looked like it would be cancelled because of the weather. Two days without waves for the surf lessons and the list goes on.
In many ways, organizing a camp reminds me a lot about Jiu Jitsu. It is very much about staying calm and controlling a chaotic situation while under a lot of pressure. Maybe that’s why I enjoy torturing myself with hosting 1000s of people every year at camps around the world. In a strange way, it’s an enjoyable thing for me. Like the pain and nervousness of competing. Once you’re in it, you kind of just ride the storm. When it’s over, you’ve come out stronger on the other side.
I’ve recently come to realize that my primary job function with BJJ Globetrotters really is damage control. Yes, I teach classes, I research, plan and execute camps, I design the products, run the webshop and answer one million emails. But the vast majority of my work time, I spend on fixing things that didn’t go as planned. Outside of the camps, there is always something with the factories, warehouse or customers. Always something I couldn’t control. A while back, this annoyed me tremendously. I always wish I could just participate in the camps, join the classes and relax instead of running around and fixing things. But I’ve come to embrace it. Like Jiu Jitsu, surfing and Storm Chasers (fucking Storm Chasers, I wanna be them) it is really in the process of trying to stay calm in chaos that I enjoy. Especially because it always works out and the participants of the camp never really notice how stressed I’ve been behind the scenes :-)
The camp last week was a tremendous success and I enjoyed it so much. A lot of things has been added to the check list for next camp here in November. Now I’m taking a few days in the hammock to rest and then going all in on getting ready for the next one in Maine, USA in 12 days. Whatever that camp throws at me, I’m ready for it.