Guest post by Marcin Polczyk, BJJ brown belt from Poland. He is touring Europe for BJJ. Please LIKE his cool Facebook page BJJ Explorer
Taking opportunity of possessing a moment of free time and finding a super cheap airline ticket, I eagerly accepted invitation of my friend Sebastian Brosche and decided to visit him in Oslo, in one of the best and most influential European teams – Frontline Academy.
This gym has proved its level and reputation numerous times – for example its regional branch in Oslo won 18 medals in European BJJ Championship, within which 12 were gained in color belt division (!). It is worth mentioning that among Frontline’s alumni there is a fighter well known in Poland – Andrzej Migaj, who totally smashed Purple belts category during the 10th Polish BJJ Championship last year. However, Frontline’s spectacular results are no longer surprising me after my visit to Oslo.
My first thoughts after arrival on Viking’s territory were limited to: „Everything is so expensive in here!” I paid more for the transfer from the airport to the city than for the airline ticket, buying one bottle of water is equivalent to buying six identical bottles in Poland… More or less I knew what to expect.
Despite high prices, Norway makes an impression of a friendly country. First of all, English is a commonly known and used language and it functions in a public sphere nearly on an equal scale with Norwegian. It is very helpful in having a pleasant bjj training as you can chat with – absolutely – everyone. However, going back to my journey…
In the evening I checked in Frontline Academy. Frontline Academy exists for more than 10 years. Eduardo „Teta” Rios – main trainer, excellent theorist and practitioner – works with boys and girls training in Frontline from the beginning of its existence. The maim goal of my travel was training so I begin my visit with two trainings: gi and no-gi, one after another.
Unfortunately, the last time I trained without gi was year ago (not taking into account 2 fights during sparings in Alliance Warsaw). No doubt, I weaned off specifics of this kind of fight and got quickly smashed by local guys Fortunately, My fights in gi were far more better. Nonetheless sparrings with young ambitious Purple belts cost me a lot…and gave me a lot of satisfaction. It is not everyday that you have a chance to fight with competitors representing such high level.
The trainer „Teta” (despite the fact that he suffered from a contusion) honored me with a fight. After every experience of this kind I realise how long and difficult way to go I have to become a black belt… The very training in Frontline was exactly what I expect from my foreign voyages. Excellent techniques thought in a clear, coherent and logical manner, lots of drills and last but not least, easy-going and very friendly atmosphere. I really appreciate when BJJ training is not limited to techniques demonstration. What I find extremely important are: theoretical introduction, discussion about the very merit and BJJ specifics and motivation talks. Trainer Teta did his best to ensure each of these elements.
Traveling and training wouldn’t be anything special without this legendary „spirit of jiujitsu” – this „little” something which makes BJJ something much more than just a sport. Despite the fact that Norway is not known for its good weather, Oslo is not Paris nor Barcelona and a cost of a ride to Rygge airport is equivalent to Polish minimal fee – I really wanted to visit this place, cause I knew I will find here everything what is most precious in bjj.
David’s words are the best proof that I was right. David is a very experienced Purple belt, whom I met in Oslo one day and he claims that BJJ and Frontline Academy are these crucial things which makes him stay in Norway. I feel I know this kind of engagement from personal experience.
However, the main trigger of my travel was an invitation from a very good friend of mine – Sebastian Brosche. Sebastian has Swedish origins. He moved to Oslo in aim to train BJJ on highest level. Knowing the kind of person he is, I’m sure that atmosphere of trainings also possessed a great importance.
Thanks to Sebastian I had a chance to take part in yoga training, which according to a very popular trend constitute a perfect complement of BJJ training. It s hard for me to comment on the impact of yoga on BJJ from my own experience, because during one yoga training I attended I felt like a little bit retarded unit in respect of elasticity and movement – and you have to wait for the results of yoga hardships:) Nevertheless, observing Sebastian’s style it is hard not to admit that elasticity may give you a great advantage during a fight. Additionally I consider the union of these two disciplines as shedding new light on BJJ – not only on the technical level, but also from the perspective of the very approach to BJJ – what I find extremely fascinating as person who is always striving to find a deeper sense in everything connected to BJJ. So much fascinating, that I would love to dedicate my next post to this topic.
To sum up my travel – I really hope that every next visit in foreign gym will leave me with such positive feelings. I would like to thank all my Norwegian friends for their hospitality, wonderful time and trainings.