Alex Toma is a BJJ blue belt from Romania whose dream was to go meet his idol John Danaher and train under him.
In February 2023, he packed his bags and travelled to Austin, Texas to stay for 5 months learning from Danaher at Renzo Gracie Austin.
He talked about his plans:
“I will be traveling 5,937 miles (that is 9,555 Km) to learn from @danaherjohn
Let me tell you a little story…
My ex-classmate and friend Tomasz (who’s not on Instagram) told me this in June 2017 in the school’s cafeteria “Alex, I would like to go to a great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym, sleep in the gym for 3 months and learn from them…”.
After over half a decade, I had a Zoom call with him 3 days ago and told him that I will do just that – this actual week. But not for 3 months, for 5 months! (I will not be sleeping in the gym, however.)
And I am going to probably the best Grappling/ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym in the world – in Austin, Texas and, I will be learning from probably the best Bjj coach in the world!
I plan on going there since November 2021, finally applied for the visa at the beginning of March 2022… and, because of the war that outbroke in Ukraine (I live just 1.5h away from the border) I was scheduled for the visa interview only in late September 2022.
Also, I haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 and did not want to do it.
But the USA’s law requires me to be vaccinated if I want to enter America (nowhere in Europe is that a requirement anymore – at least, not to my knowledge).
So, against my will, I did it! …2 shots! Just to be able to learn from the best for a few months…
And… I got a very bad reaction shortly after this, lost weight, and could not sleep for 4 nights in a row…(X2)
Anyhow, by next week, I will be on the mats, hoping to train and learn from great legends like Gordon Ryan, Nicholas Meregali or Giancarlo Bodoni and future legends like Big Dan.
It will be such an honor for me to finally be able to meet the whole Renzo Gracie team!
Also, I will be documenting this journey on YouTube ▶️ – but bear with me, as I am now learning this also (will let you know when first video comes out – for those that are interested).
P.S. Funny thing – When the lady that interviewed me at the embassy asked me what am I going to do in the United States I said “I want to go to the United States to learn from John Danaher, the best Grappling coach in the world”.
She then said “Ok, ok. So what are you going to the USA for?”…”
The moment he met Danaher: