Hi to whoever’s reading! It’s been awhile. I just got back from a short stint in Ireland. Can’t shut up about the weather.
There were many firsts on this trip!
1) It was the first time I’ve posted on the members Facebook group and received so many helpful recommendations and replies. I wasn’t able to drop in to every single gym recommended, but I was able to do one of them.
2) It was my first time officially (and successfully) mat-surfing!
3) It was the first time I reunited with someone whom I met prior thanks to a previous globetrotting-involved trip.
4) It was my first time dropping into gyms as a BLUE BELT! I finally got my blue belt after 2 years of BJJ this June, it feels really good !
I’ve been increasingly curious about Ireland because I’ve heard about the abundance of gyms in the country.
I was chatting with my friend Moritz, whom I met last year while dropping into gyms around the Balkans area (in this case, Sofia, Bulgaria). At the time, he moved to Ireland for college and had started training at East Coast Jiu Jitsu Academy. I continued throwing around the idea of visiting for about 7 months and then finally put forth a plan.
During this trip, I visited:
Point Blank Submissions – Galway
I emailed about dropping in and the head coach, Tim, replied very quickly. By then, I had a feeling this would be a great gym (aside from all the glowing recommendations from the members Facebook group). The gym is located north east of the Galway city centre (about a half an hour bus ride for me, assuming the buses came on time). I was lucky enough to drop in twice for their advance classes. I was greeted with lots of friendly faces and an abundance of good rolls. We were working back takes that week- always good to brush up on the fundamentals.
Jorge Santos Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – Dublin
I mat-surfed with Denis, one of the blue belts from JSBJJ. First of all, super hyped that it worked out. For those of you going to Dublin, Denis is your guy! The gym is located conveniently in the city centre and I got to attend one of their Thursday evening advanced classes and the rolls here were definitely challenging. We practiced some lapel techniques from half guard before heading straight into the rolls. Unfortunately, my short trip itinerary only allowed me to drop in for one class- I would’ve loved to train more.
East Coast Jiu Jitsu Academy – Dún Laoghaire
I ended up here for an open mat session on the Friday before Polaris and NAGA Ireland, meaning Ffion Davies wasn’t there (my heart …broke). There was a good handful of people at the gym though, and I was able to get some gi and no-gi practice in. People here seemed to love their berimbolos and lapel guards. I think I spent most of my time trying to untangle myself from pretzel-like positions. More importantly, I got to roll with Moritz again! I’ve never really considered the possibility of reuniting with people I’ve met while traveling- the notion seems more unlikely than likely, in my head at least.
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, give yourself a pat on the back. I don’t expect people to read my word vomit.
Tl;dr-I’m very grateful for the warm welcome I’ve received in Ireland and the opportunity to meet more people :-)