Hi everyone! My name is Colin Leigh and I am a Canadian living abroad in Riga, Latvia. I am a three striped white belt under Vladislavs Čerņavskis, training at LEWC- Giudici BJJ in Riga. I have been training since the 1st of September, 2015, train at least 5 times a week and I’m 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 gi 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.
Well folks, I am back! I took a bit of time off travelling and writing my blog to enjoy my summer and spend more time with family and friends. I am back travelling again, visiting gyms and meeting amazing people in the BJJ community!
Recently, I had the pleasure to travel to Oslo on business. Last time I was in Oslo, I didn’t bring my training bag with me due to time constraints, but this time I stayed an extra day which meant I could squeeze training in! This was not my first time in Oslo and every time I visit I see something new but I have to warn you…it is one of the more expensive cities I have been to, so prepare ahead of time.
Before I was introduced to the Globetrotter’s Facebook group, I had to do manual research on the internet for local academies to train at! ☺ I found an academy that sounded excellent, were very active eon Facebook and had a schedule that fit mine. I made contact with Gym Ila in Facebook, as I find that this seems to be the fastest route, and asked for permission to train with them. I got a very quick reply from a gentleman called Alvaro E.F.Ribeiro, a brown belt under the legendary Eduardo “Teta” Rios, telling me that I was more than welcome! I already had a good feeling about this place! You can find them here.
I arrived in Oslo on a Thursday and spent most of the day working. Once I was off of work, I REALLY needed to train. You know how it is! I got back to the hotel and checked out how far I was away from the gym and saw that it was only 700 meters. Training started in 30 minutes so I grabbed my gear and headed off on foot.
The gym is located in a very easy place to find. I walked in to the reception and was greeted very warmly by the staff at the front desk. Gym Ila is not only for BJJ, but many other sports including a really nice training facility. The changing rooms are located right outside of the training room and from the outside look like bathrooms, so don’t be deceived! I changed and entered the area that I was directed to. It was a small to midsized space and quite cozy. I was the first one there so I started my own warmup while I waited. As people arrived they all came up to me to say hello and welcomed me…a very friendly bunch of people. Shortly before the start time, Alvaro arrived and came right up to me. We had a good chat, he told me what was going to happen and then asked me if I was going to stay for the advanced class afterwards…of course I had to accept, no matter what! ☺
The warmup was a mix of the standard beginner’s drills, tumbles, shrimps, arm bars, triangles etc. We also did a bit of light rolling to get the juices flowing.
The drills we worked on were really quite interesting. We worked on a really slick omoplata that worked into an omoplata attempted escape by your opponent with the usual roll and the subsequent retake of the omoplata with your own roll again. I know it sounds a bit confusing but it is a tough one to explain!
With 20 minutes to go, we broke into groups and did some “light” rolling. Everyone was actually really sound technically and I had a hard time gaining any advantage at all. I had a chance to roll at the end with Alvaro and his game was really tight. It was an honour to share the mat with him!
After the beginner’s class, we changed halls and moved to a MASSIVE training hall that could have almost fit an ice rink! There we dove straight into warmups and when you have to shrimp and roll that far, from end to end, it can be a challenge for an old guy like me, but I persevered!
The drills we did that day focussed on escaping or passing from half guard. Utilising your head, leg positioning and weight correctly, I was shown how to pass through half guard like a hot knife through butter.
We then did quite a few rounds of rolling and by the time I had gone around the circuit of sparring partners, I was done for the day. It was an exhausting but very rewarding evening and I met some really wonderful people.
During the writing of this article, Alvaro was promoted to Black Belt. I could not think of a more deserving, capable person to receive this reward. I wish him all the best in this new journey and it was an honour to train with him.
I would really recommend you check them out if you are ever in Oslo. You can get in touch with them here https://www.facebook.com/gymila/ .
Now I am off to continue preparing for my first Gi/NoGi tournament in Saldus, Latvia. I am excited and nervous at the same time and I can’t wait! I owe a huge thanks to the amazing guys at http://riptrevolution.com/ for helping with my nutrition and I will let you know how I did when it’s over!
Stay tuned for my next blog where I write about my trip to Yamasaki Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden! Oussss!