I’ve been training in Gothenburg, Sweden for the last few weeks and I have to say that it is one of the best decisions that I have ever made.
I’ve traveled before to other countries but this was my first sponsored trip as a professional athlete.
Traveling and being able to train is one of the coolest things about bjj. You can literally go anywhere in the world and there will be an open mat and willing partners ready to roll.
When I first traveled and trained I really didn’t know what to expect. Would the training be hard or would they expect me to teach because I was a higher belt from a big team. I remember thinking that my Jiu Jitsu wouldn’t be as effective overseas for some weird reason.
Despite my thoughts, my Jiu Jitsu skills were intact and the people were super friendly just like my crew back home.
It’s really exciting!
Not only are you training with new training partners but you also open yourself up to new experiences.
New teaching methods
While I was in Sweden, I spent most of my time teaching and training between two schools. One in Stenungsunds. The other in Gothenburg (Valhalla Jiu Jitsu).
Training and teaching twice a day. We would focus on one position for a week or two. Showing a few of our favorite moves from the main position. Then letting the students spar from those positions.
This was the best training ever.
Not only did it force me to take an in depth look at a lot of my favorite and least favorite positions.
But it made me more confident too!
The concept of positional sparring isn’t new, but the process of breaking down an entire match into smaller parts is one that I never considered before.
There’s a lot that happens during a match. A lot of transitions, re-positioning, etc.
But if you can work most of the common positions that you might run across in training. Imagine just how prepared you will be for the competition.
For example we worked De La Riva guard and single leg guard for two weeks.
Two weeks straight we only worked moves from those positions. Then we would spar from De La Riva.
Whenever someone got swept or passed we would restart and do it all over.
This training was great because there was completely no ego involved. It really forced me to focus entirely on the position and the techniques that I needed to progress. Once you add in all the repetitions and pairings. We probably did a hundred mini sparring sessions from just one position.
Maybe I will go more in-depth in a later post. But if you’re looking to get better and take your game to the next level, positional sparring will be a major key.
By the end of my trip I was lucky enough to get the chance to compete in Stockholm.
Competing in Sweden
I participated in the Nordic Friends tournament ran by Smoothcomp and Naka Dojo.
Smoothcomp is a new tournament software that was unveiled during the tournament. Handling everything from athlete sign up to the scoring system.
From its name you can guess that it’s designed to make tournaments work smoother.
Both for the competitors and the staff.
As an athlete all I needed was a smart device with access to a Smoothcomp account (you set up an account when you register for the tournament) and you’re good to go.
Once logged in you have access to a lot of cool features that give you peace of mind.
Such as real time updates on when you’re on deck to compete. So no worries about running to the bathroom and getting disqualified because you didn’t hear your name called.
I’m sure you will hear more about this company in the near future.
Back to the tournament
I was happy that I was able to put into practice a lot of the moves that I drilled in training.
That’s always a great feeling!
The feeling of seeing your techniques work is like no other.
It’s really satisfying and pushes you to put more work in.
Much more than winning, the feeling of progressing is what keeps me on the mats. Competing is never really easy. In fact it gets tougher the longer you do it.
But if you focus on improving a little bit each day. During every training session and drilling session. You will see results.
One thing that I’ve noticed with the best guys in our sport is that they are always improving.
Always adding more depth to their knowledge.
That’s what mastery is.
It may take a lifetime but you can never give up. You just keep moving forward.
I would like to give a big thank you to my good friend, training partner, and coach Jon Thomas.
Jon is the head black belt instructor at Valhalla Jiu Jitsu in Gothenburg, Sweden and the main reason I was able to have such a good time.
Jon along with international brown belt competitor and friend, Leo Graf, are the main instructors at Valhalla Jiu Jitsu and really are setting the standard for Jiu Jitsu not only in Gothenburg but for the whole of Europe as well.
If you’re ever in Gothenburg now you know where to go train.
Shout out to all of the students that also made my trip so fun. I look forward to coming back soon to see how much everyone’s progressed.
As my friend Sam says
I have a gi and will travel.
If you or your school would like to host me for a seminar or longer training camp please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
My schedule is slowly filling up but I should be available towards the fall of this year or Q4 for my business folks.
P.S. There aren’t many (or any) public laundromats unless you stay at a hotel. So if you’re expecting to train a lot make sure you make friends with someone with laundry access or make other arrangements before hand.