A brown belt’s around-the-world experiment in Jiu-Jitsu hospitality

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Christian Graugart is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime, and Jiu-Jitsu is making it all possible. In the following article, the brown belt from Denmark describes how he came up with the idea of his impending trip and what he looks forward to as he travels the globe guided by the gentle art.

We are all one.” Genki Sudo

It’s been almost a year of preparations, and now my calendar says thirty-eight days till departure. It is difficult to believe that in just over a month I will venture out on the adventure of my life, as I launch my experiment to travel all the way around the world just by the help of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community.

A quick note about myself. My name is Christian, I am twenty-eight years old, and I currently hold a brown belt in our beautiful art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I teach and train in my own gym in Copenhagen, Denmark, which I built up from scratch with a friend starting back in 2003.

Where I come from, we have never had easy access to quality instruction. Basically, we had to figure out everything by ourselves, so VHS tapes, DVDs the internet, and traveling has been a big part of our journey into learning the sport. Since we started, I have traveled a lot to find good training and instruction. These trips have taken me to many places in the world, and I have met so many good friends for life out there. Wherever I’ve gone to train, I have always been able to just walk through the door in any gym and people there have been really cool and welcoming. I have often thought about just how amazing a community we have. I don’t think there are many other sports where practitioners are so closely connected all over the world, always eager to share information, get better, meet new training partners, and enjoy the sport together.

About a year ago, I had played around with the thought of doing another training trip, but had not decided where to go. I hadn’t been to Brazil yet and I had also researched a bit about many exciting places to train in Asia, the U.S., and Latin America. And then it struck me… Why not take advantage of this extremely strong network and hospitality in our community and prepare a trip all the way around the world instead of just to one place?

So here I am, a year later and with only a month to go, before I head around the world in four and a half months. The entire trip, I will train and stay with people I have met through the worldwide Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community. Some people I know already, but most of those I will visit are people who have seen my blog for the trip and invited me to come and stay with them. I have so many invitations it is overwhelming, and I wish I had time to visit them all. I am traveling on a serious budget and can’t afford to pay for accommodations, so the hospitality of people in the gyms around the world is what makes this trip possible.

February 21, I will go to France and from there head east around the globe, training in all sorts of different places, from a small village in Moldova, an exotic island in Indonesia and a training group in Cyprus, to the big gyms in Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Rio de Janeiro. On the way, I will try to do some competitions as well, especially the Worlds in California this summer.

On the gi I am bringing for the trip, I am carrying the logo saying ”We Are All One”, popularized in MMA by the amazing athlete Genki Sudo. With the BJJ community on my back, making this trip a reality, I think this is more true than ever. There is something special holding us together, and with this project, I want to make that obvious to the rest of the world and put on display how strong it is.

If you want to follow my trip, log on to my blog at www.BJJglobetrotter.com. Maybe I will drop by your city and we can do some training together. If you see me in the gyms out there one day, make sure to come over and say hi. I am traveling all by myself, so I don’t mind making new friends 😉

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There are 14 comments for this article
  1. Joshua at 6:43 pm

    You are truly lucky to be able to take such a trip. Enjoy it, make alot of friends and train your butt off. You say where you live there wasnt much instruction… how did you get your brown and how long did it take you? It sounds like you went through alot to get your rank.

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  3. Christian Graugart at 9:36 am

    I used to be associated with the SBG and got my first belts from Matt Thornton in Portland, Oregon. I got my brown belt from Robson Barbosa, a brazilian living in Sweden near by me. It took me about 10 years of training 🙂

  4. AcademyCyprus at 7:14 am

    We’re waiting for this one of a kind opportunity. Christian will be the first BJJ Brown Belt ever step on North Cyprus for training. We already started to spread the word around. I hope we could be able to accommodate him well enough. I am sure there will be lots of activity other than BJJ and he will continue his journey with nice memories.

  5. Hillary at 10:06 am

    Outstanding! I know a lot of people in a lot of places so if you get stuck, just shoot me an email through hillarybjj.com…good luck!

  6. Samuel at 3:30 am

    Hi Christian,

    If you are ever planning to…please come and train with us in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (aka North Borneo), Malaysia. We’ll be more than happy to provide accommodation, transport, training (as usual), some sight seeing (a usual definite!) & food (if you are not too fussy…diet wise that is! :-).

    Cheers mate and good luck on your trip!!

    Sam

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