I am back to Poland after more than two months travelling (and without blogging at all, sorry folks, I blame it on facebook!), and looks like summer is pretty much gone here. It was vacation time in Europe, but our students back home kept training at least 3 times a week, while I went to South Africa to visit our clubs in Johannesburg and Port Elisabeth, before heading to Italy where our first summer camp was done on the Adriatic sea, close to Ferrara.
Trainings in Johannesburg were organised with my time split among our four clubs. RGC Quantum Tribe hosted me first, then I went to RGC Tap Out, RGC Bedfordview and RGC Randpark Ridge, coaching daily classes and two big seminars. We also pulled together the first ever BJJ competition in Joburg, gathering 50 grapplers and training athletes, coaches and referees in official BJJ rules.
Since it was almost a year and six months from my last visit to South Africa, things have changed a bit. Our coaches have stepped up to the challenge of growing bjj, adding more classes, bringing more students, and looks like they worked hard on their own games too.
Wiekus Swart and Bobby Karagiannidis,two of the finest South African grapplers, were awarded the black belt, while younger Nathan Raaths, after winning a MMA bout by submitting his opponent with an armbar in less than 2 minutes, got his brown belt on the same day. All in all, the overall level of our students has improved exponentially, with special mentions to Dino Bertolis and Francois Groenenwald. Those two young talents are sure to rock any competitions they enter, with or without GI.
Nathan, Bobby, me and Wiekus – 1st of August, 2009
My visit to Port Elisabeth is also worth mentioning, our club there has new premises with new mats, new students and a coach so enthusiastic with the technical details, that it is just a matter of time to see the blossoming of BJJ in that beautiful city.
Back to Europe, I spend the last ten days of August in Lido degli Estensi, a beach located close to Ferrara, where Matteo Menna organised our first summer camp. The experience was fantastic to all of us. I travelled with my black belt student Mariusz Koziej, and we were joined by Eduardo Machado, a brazilian black belt that lives in Florianopolis, so we had 3 black belts participating of the classes, 7 to 12 italians (some guys joined a few classes but could not stay for the whole camp) and, lost in translation, our swedish friend Kim Ekerwald, that after a week was already speaking some italian words.
The camp was a great experience for all of us, all the guys sharing information and training hard, the whole group ate together and stayed together most of the free time, food was great and weather too, maybe a bit too hot to train but sweating is not bad if you have the sea nearby and showers 😉
Eduardo stands and Mariusz sits in the middle.
For more pictures of the camp, check the gallery at our facebook group.