So as I mentioned in the last blog, we left Sudbury at 5am after a crazy weekend. I would like to say we slept on the plane but I think we were riding high on the energy from the weekend, talking about the MMA fights and looking forward to everything that was coming up that week. One of the great things about travelling for martial arts.. or at least what I always try to promote is to take in some local sights as well. The great thing about training in that you will have this great network of people around the world. In each town we go, we always have a place to visit and train. It kinda gives us a reason to anywhere… because in the end we can train there. So of course, we are in California to compete and train… but of course, we are going to take in some sights too!!
We land Monday night and meet up with our head instructor, Professor Pat Cooligan, who brings us to a great restaurant… now for those of you who have travelled with Professor Pat, you know what I mean.. this place was amazing. It was not on the “A” list but definitely the B list. I think the highlight of that meal was the enormous pieces of bacon that we had. I will leave it at that, because I love seeing people’s reaction to these types of new food adventures and I know we will see it again!
The tournament did not start until Thursday, so that means we had a couple of days for sightseeing. First on the list, Randy’s Donuts! Randy’s is a land mark in California and has been featured in several TV shows and movies… not to mention, it has the best donuts in the world (just my opinion… but those who know me, know I know!!). It was a great time, but I am afraid we may have ruined Randy’s for Davin and Piper since their Dozen Donut eating contest.. lol.
We then hit up the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This strip is so cool! I love the street performers, the little shops, the cafes, the people etc.. It was so much fun seeing all the stars.. not so much fun listening to the rap CDs Ricky and Davin picked up from some of these aspiring stars that want to break out into the business. Other sights we took in was the Santa Monica Strip, Bubba Gump’s restaurant, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and of course the Hollywood Sign.
The tournament started on Thursday and as someone who loves BJJ, I was pumped. Our Team competed and I was extremely proud to watch my students compete on the world’s biggest stage (in terms in of BJJ). Everyone did amazing! Piper fought her way to a Silver Medal and consequently was promoted to Blue Belt by Professor Pat.
Experiencing competition at the highest levels is a game changer for many people’s learning curb and I have no doubt that each of these athletes (whether they won or lost) have levelled up simply by competing on those mats. I can tell you that we definitely picked up on some positions that were being used that we do not see often in the Ontario circuit. So we will be working those for sure.
Watching the Black Belt semi-finals and finals on Sunday is a must for any BJJ fan! It is absolutely amazing to watch all your BJJ Idols compete and experience the greatest crowds, and Brazilian chants during the matches. To experience some of the highlights and controversy literally had me jumping out of my seat. As I am sure may of you already know, there were several great matches and Mundial moments… but when Romulo Barral had his ankle broken, I feel we witnessed Jiu Jitsu History. He may not have won that match, but he was cheered by the crowd louder than almost anyone else in the tournament for being the legend that he is.
We were fortunate enough to stay an additional few days and spent our time in the evenings training at Professor Shawn Williams’s academy, 5 Star Martial Arts. Professor Williams is like an encyclopedia of Jiu Jitsu and a great instructor. He is a pioneer of BJJ in the USA, and Renzo’s 5th American Black Belt. It was awesome to be there… he literally made it feel like home for us! We cannot say enough good things about his academy!
I am pretty sure we almost lost Piper to the Cali lifestyle and vibe but we did manage to bring her back. 10 days flew by and before we knew it, we were back on a plane heading home. But there was no time to relax.. we had to leave the next day for the Muay Thai Provincial Championships.
See you on the mats
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