Guest post by Colin Leigh, a Canadian living in Riga, Latvia. He is a white belt under Vladislavs Čerņavskis, training at LEWC- Giudici BJJ in Riga. Colin trains at least 5 times a week and is 47 years old.
I travel all the time with work and find myself in many different cities around the world. When I travel now, I take my kit bag with me and find an academy to train at in the city I am visiting. It has become a bit of a ritual now and I have met so many wonderful people!! The BJJ community is one of the most open and friendly groups I have ever experienced!
What I plan to do in this article is write about my experiences with the academies I visit, the profs and instructors and to help create an awareness of the BJJ community as a whole. It is also nice to get the word out there about the academies for anyone that decides to visit the cities that I write about in this blog. I hope you enjoy what I write and any feedback is always welcome.
A little while ago, I had the pleasure to travel to Haugesund, Norway. I had to travel a day early due to the trip being 2 flights…and to get my BJJ on! Haugesund is a beautiful city on the west coast of Norway…as are most of the coastal cities.
The hotel I picked was literally 50 meters from the gym, so it worked out really well! Before I travelled, I checked the internet and only one academy fit my time schedule, Guigo Jiu Jitsu academy, run by Prof Luis Alberto Armas Gamarra, a black belt hailing from Peru. I wrote him in Facebook asking for permission to join their class that night and got a very quick reply. I walked over to the address and found a place called Power Gym and popped inside. The guy that owns the actual gym was really helpful and introduced me to Prof Luis. The room itself was a comfortable size and Luis used the space really well.
The training was excellent and if I am being honest, he nearly killed me in the warmup! Whenever I warm up in a larger hall, you get some time to relax (slack) while you trot back to your starting point. Not here, down and back I went, shrimping, rolling, flipping, flopping…I almost threw in the towel then and there!
After the warmup and Prof allowed us a small sip of water, we paired up and started on the drills…the usual ones, arm bars, omoplata, triangle chokes, guard passes and a few others. We ran the drills for about 20 minutes and went straight into techniques.
This was very interesting for me being the first time training outside of my home academy. Normally you spend all of your time learning the techniques that your own coaches teach, so to learn something totally new was brilliant! We spent most of the time learning how to set up and execute a powerful omoplata from the guard position. The way Prof Luis teaches made it really easy for us to pick up and sooner than expected, we were snapping this in place!
The last 20 minutes were spent rolling with 5 minute rounds and no break…jumping from one person to the next. By the time the session was over, we were all thoroughly exhausted but energized at the same time! I can honestly say as well that everyone that I rolled with were respectful, careful and a pleasure to train with. You know sometimes you get the ones that want to rip your arms off or put you to sleep, but everyone seemed to have a certain discipline about them that did not allow this type of behavior.
Prof Luis is an amazing person and coach and his students were all really open and helpful. I would highly recommend a visit if you ever find yourself nearby…even if just to meet the gang and say hello. We are friends now and keep in touch, which in my opinion, is what it is all about.
Stay tuned for my next blog where I write about my trip to Hilti BJJ Academy in Parnu, Estonia! Ossss!