Wine, Cheese, (Beer!) And BJJ

Partially bailing on a girls weekend in France for BJJ? I thankfully have some very understanding friends. While they don’t ‘get’ the sport, they certainly do get that it’s special enough to have me gushing like a teenager after attending a class on our first night in town.

I honestly didn’t know much about Strasbourg before this trip, other than it being near Germany, and one of the seats of the European parliament. But thanks mostly to super cheap EasyJet flights, I found myself in the main city of the Alsace region in eastern France, asking for directions to Gracie Barra 67 (thank God for Google translate).

I was reminded yet again just how awesome – and small the BJJ universe is, when I met the only other girl in the gi and no gi class, Marie-Laure. It turned out she had recently been travelling on my ‘home’ side of the world, AND rolling with some of my favourite AGIG  ladies! You should read her most excellent blog.

Marie quickly took me under her wing, partnering me and translating instructors Geoffrey Kintz and Christian Sardella.

This particular night’s classes were less focussed on techniques and more on rolling rounds, giving me the opportunity to be paired up with (and squashed by) pretty much everyone on the mat. Later, Marie was great in letting me work through some specific techniques with her.

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After class, in true BJJ Globetrotter spirit (a team/movement I only recently heard about, ashamedly) Marie not only offered me a ride back to my hotel, but also a walking tour of Strasbourg the following day.

Taking in and learning about the sights from a local’s perspective.. what could be better, seriously?

How about hanging with her BJJ teammates at a cool little beer festival right next to a stunning gothic cathedral? Yup, I got to do that too, and nervously say “une bière s’il vous plait” – baby steps, you know.

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Meantime back with my girlfriends, copius amounts of cheese was gleefully eaten along with way too many croissants and pastries. I also inhaled my fair share of the local specialty – flammekueche. Did I mention the Alsace wine? There was plenty of that too, naturally.

We also wandered around the Petit France quarter, took a boat tour and caught the train to the pretty town of Colmar.

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I’d love to head back to Strasbourg at the end of the year to experience the Christmas Markets. After such a warm welcome however, I could easily return to this city just for more BJJ.

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“Are you sure you’re not a blue belt?!”

The awesome AGIG Apryl came to visit my club on Friday night, and gave the white belt boys a run for their money in comp rounds.

The higher belts made time to roll with her, too.

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It was so great to see this lady! Safe trip back to Australia, lovely.

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BJJ Family

I made my big, scary, indefinite move overseas knowing that if the UK BJJ community was anything like Australia’s – it would provide a great deal of support, friendship and maybe even a surrogate family.

I’m still getting to know my ‘pommy jitsu’ crew, but back home the Australian Elite team and Girls In Gi are making me feel so damn proud.

We all have that special connection to our home club. It’s the place where solid friendships and even relationships are forged, and where we record so many milestones in our Jiu Jitsu (and overall fitness) journeys…

I can only imagine how heartbreaking this fire has been for Legacy Martial Arts.

But what incredible spirit, and what a wonderful show of support from other clubs – more than $10,000 raised and counting! 

* Click the following images to enlarge/read – and skuze me for not making them bigger 😉

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Watch ==> Legacy Martial Arts from Brendan on Vimeo.

“On the 7th September, our gym in Chippendale was destroyed by a criminal act of arson. It was our home. As a show of support and family spirit we continued our training in the park the following day.”

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Much love.

Aussie Jits Girls Represent!

I was sitting in the newsroom at work when this came on one of the five TVs on the wall – I totally squealed “that’s my girls!”

It’s stupid awesome to see the Australian Girls In Gi get national media coverage.

For those unfamiliar with Aussie television, Sunrise is (most of the time?) the number one breakfast TV program. Great exposure for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

If you’re a local BJJ girl or from overseas just visiting, definitely hit the group up for the best Aussie club, and female only open mat meet up recommendations.

Meantime at the Worlds …

Livia Gluchowska won gold!

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I have known this woman for only a short time through AGIG, but she is the most inspirational BJJ gal I know, so incredibly hard working and focussed. Huge congratulations Livia!

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Pic via IBJJF