¨We don´t cry for men, we cry for Jiu Jitsu¨ Marcy

Friday, December 30, 2011

Argentina and Uruguay

One afternoon in Buenos Aires Argentina I came back to the hostel where Gins told me she had met a group of Jiu Jitsu travelers from Australia and New Zealand. Right away I ran next door, knocked and said "Hey guys sorry to interupt but ar you guys the BJJ guys?" Sure enough they were. I introduced myself and they quickly invited me to train but I was already sold on my plans with Gins for La Bamba that night. I'd later meet up with the BJJ guys in Brazil for the best training of my trip so far.

La Bamba..
We chugged a few beers and headed to this big area and you could hear the drums pounding. Instantly excited me, my hips my butt just started shaking with the rhythms. We bought our tickets and went in. Tons of people dancing like crazy, tourists, locals, beautiful men and women of all colours and styles together enjoying the insanity. The stage was full of musicians, drummers. The beats got right into my body and brought me to life, it seemed to be having that effect on everyone. We held massive beer cups the size of our torsos...it felt that big. It spilled down my shirt as we walked through the crowds of people and it was such a crazy experience seeing so much energy in one place.

It was the day I had to leave for Uruguay at the last attempt to get my Visa for Brazil. Within the last 30 minutes I managed to get some company..GINS! We are probably THE worst pair together for making decisions. If you want things done, just make sure me and Gins aren't together and I'm sure it will happen. We are both just so go with the flow that when it comes to making plans, it seems just so unlike us to have things organized. We took a ferry over to Colonia Uruguay and then a bus ride to Montevideo. The town was quiet and we were just there for the experience. Arriving at the hostel we got ourselves set up with chinese noodles and sandwich ingredients for the most affordable meals ever. Paired with the cheapest of all vodkas we really treated ourselves hahaaha. We had a good night started out with a traditional bbq followed by a night out with some locals. It seemed a little lower in energy comparatively from Argentina and Colombia but we made do with what we had. 

I ran into  hard time with a local I met; after that experience I had this journal entry to lift myself up...

It's been a fucking wild jounrey the people I've met, bonded with and said goodbye too. Nothing can bring me down. I have to always remember to stay true to myself. Don't get offended if someone says something you don't like. It's their opinion and is not a reflection of myself . The same goes for my opinion of others.  I am in no place to judge anyone or anything. I learned the hard way these past 3 days in Uruguay with the most difficult person I've ever encountered in my life. I am at least appreciative for the learning experience. 

The most anticipated moment of my entire trip...BRAZIL

Epic Bus Journey

It's been about 2 weeks I'd say. I've been on the road with Tracey the Kiwi ;) We've traveled 109 hours to get to Cusco, Peru were we stayed in the Loki Hostel. Our bus trips were nothing short of amusing. We tried to play Bingo I guess without knowing proper rules. Once Tracey had a whole row I thought she'd won, so immediately I ran the buzzer to let the staff know. A guy came on the intercom and I guess he was asking if it was a false alarm, if someone had won or if someone just wanted service. He repeated himself a few times (in spanish) but in all of the excitment I just couldn't make out exactly what he was saying. The door to our lower section opened up and I showed him the card and asked if it meant she won. The WHOLE GAME was stopped because of us...He looked at us not surprised..of course it would be the gringas to fuck up. He asked me to turn off the notification I had pressed earlier to get his attention. Me and Tracey just looked at each other and burst into laughter. We usually call out "cabin fever" when we're feeling crazy. It was a good long time since we had a whole nights rest. You never fully fall asleep on those buses. We did what we could but that was a more difficult time to survive such a long, uncomfortable journey. Thank god for such wicked company.

1. Monday night 11:15pm- Tuesday 2pm Medellin to Bogota total 15 hours
2. Friday noon-Saturday 8:30pm Bogota-Impales total 32 hours
3. Sat night Border machines crashed so we waited 3 hours to cross the border into Ecuador. Grabbed a crazy party bus from 12:30pm til 5:30 am total 5 hours. Along the way picking up drunken locals, disco lights flashing the entire time, people falling on each other and into you on your lap, music, laughter, screaming it was just insane.
4. 6am-9am Sunday morning
9am-7pm total 10 hours to the bottom of Ecuador
2 hours to the border crossing Sunday night

Almost got robbed by Police and Taxi officials
slept in a shitty 3$ per night run down place

Monday 330pm -Tuesday 1230 total 21 hours Tumbes-Lima
Tuesday 2:30- Wednesday 1230 total 22 hours
Thursday 1.5 hour taxi
train 1.5 hours

Now in Aguas Calientes almost at MACHU PICCHU

Best quote from Tracey- "To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." Oscar Wilde

80's style crew, on our first 2 days of bus life. 
Along the way..
through Peru

All those little lego looking bits are houses

 We ended up getting to Machu Picchu the day after the Full moon on 11/11/11. It was crazy the coincidence and the fact that it wasn't planned at all we didn't ever keep track of the dates.

Bolivia -Traditional women.

Buenos Aires, Argentina
After our day trip to Machu Picchu, we got on an earlier train back to Cusco to catch an overnight but to La Paz Bolivia. That bus ride was about 13 hours followed by...

La Paz to Santa Cruz 18 hours
Santa Cruz to Villazon 20 hours
Villazon to Buenos Aires 27 hours

I have countless pictures and videos from Machu Picchu but none of them do it justice. None. The moments passes so quickly. The best part was after a little hike to the top view of the mountain, we picked a spot in the grass and laid out staring at the whole village, mountains and sky view. Tears came to my eyes and I felt so empowered. This is the reality I am creating for myself..this is my life I thought to myself.

So many people have helped me, whether from character building and life lessons preparing me for all of this, financially, or a combination of both, It's all support, it's all a part of why I'm here, because I took the risk.

By the end of our bus journey together we were restless, hungry, exhausted and just in general messed up. Tango Backpackers in Buenos Aires was a pit stop. We met up with another loved Kiwi.. Virginia aka Gins..there was no room for rest once we caught up with that beauty. All three of us were running short on cash and just tired out. We did exactly what we all needed, went out for a party night. We went out for dinner had some cheap wine for I think it was 1.5 for a litre. We went into town but it was too expensive for us to get in anywhere. We saw a party train passing us and it looked awesome. I quickly convinced them to hop in a cab and told him to cut in front of the train to stop it..and he did. We ran out and there were girls piling out of the front yelling at us "no no no" they were locals, we quickly ignored they're rejections and ran to the back of the train where a group of guys were waving us down. They helped us on and it was go time hahaha. The night didn't get too crazy but we ended up being asked to leave in a rather aggressive way by the girls a few hours later :S so we headed back to the hostel and passed out.

We said bye to Tracey one afternoon, she was headed back to Australia and then to New Zealand for the holidays. I know i'll see her again, maybe i'll end up living on the gold coast who knows but I have a feeling South America round 2 is going to be even more epic than our bus journey haha...let's hope so!! Thanks for everything Trace and Gins had an awesome time with you little ladies. You too Grant great laughing fits it's good to smile.
Tracey, Gins and me on the party train

Me Trace and Gins
Buenos Aires market
One picture from the water park in Medellin
La Bomba, Buenos Aires, Argentina Palermo. best street party. Me and Gins

Some keys to happiness for me:
Laugh and smile as much as possible
Be yourself
Confidence mentally and physically...do what you need to.
Able to adapt to any changes at any given time.
No expectations.
Accept fears but challenge them.

Gracie Barra Bogota

Big Thanks to Giovanni Espinosa and the Team for welcoming me to GB BOGOTA!
Deep half guard class

Girls training BJJ ! 


The people you meet all around the world. From Ottawa he is now living and training GB Bogota!

After a long night bus of about 16 hours I arrived in Bogota. When I woke up in the morning, once again from every angle, there wasn't much else but gorgeous mountain views; enough to take your breath away.

When I arrived in Bogota at the bus terminal I grabbed a cab to the directions I had on a loose piece of paper. Usually all I had was my next address and an emergency phone number to call if I got into any kind of trouble. The only catch was I didn't have a cell of my own not to mention a watch or a laptop. I mostly just kept a positive attitude and went with the flow of things and it was without fail. I arrived to Gio's place and I just asked at reception if he had mentioned anything about my arrival. He passed me a cd case and inside there was a key. Once again what luck I have to meet such incredibly hospitable people along the way. He had a bed set up in a room just for me it was amazing. First thing I did was grocery shop and make some hot soup. The temperature was a little chillier than I was used to so I did anything I could to stay warm. I had gotten pretty sick in Medellin right before getting to Bogota so I needed to take it easy.

I was pleasantly surprised with the creative class ideas they had going on. A few students were recently promoted to blue so they were asked to each prepare a class, the entire thing starting with a warm up and on to 1 or a few techniques. One student showed a sweep from the bottom of deep half guard and once again it was great to see because it had been a while since going over a position like that. I think I was most excited to train at this gym because they had 2 girls. Two white belts, with flow and technique (keep training hard girls, and fight for your life always when training with the guys!)

One morning I went to a cross fit class with Gio over at the academy. We did circuit training but with pretty basic exercises. The difficult thing about that for me is that it burrrrrns the muscles, you think it's easy at first and then once you've repeated the move over and over in your 5th set or something, I turned to my childish side, whining like a kid. Let's not even get me started with burpies. I think if there is one thing I hate doing the most its burpies and yet somehow I have a feeling one day I will grow to love them. In general I felt great on the mats, the altitude didn't affect me in the least which was strange because I was 2640 m above sea level. I did however have an extremely hard time breathing while walking up any kind of stairs. Thank god I was fine on the mats, in Medellin I can't say I had an easy time.

I would say the best thing for dealing with training in high altitudes would be to go for an hour run or so before training. I did a work out in one of Kim's classes in Medellin and right after we did a 1.5 hour BJJ class; I had the most amount of energy that night out of all the days I trained.

On one of the bus rides I left my BJJ notebook in the seat pocket. I beat myself up for about a minute before accepting and moving on from the loss, I have a pretty good idea in general of the techniques I need to be focusing on and if I've forgotten anything along the way, well thank god I have the rest of my life at this sport :) I'm in no rush.

I want to say thank you to the GB Bogota Team for the great classes and training. It was a pleasure. Gio you were a great host and I can't thank you enough, hope to see you and everyone down the road! Keep in touch.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011



Brown Belt Profesor Kim Cuervo from Rio de Janiero, Brazil (in the Gracie bloodline) is in the process of opening up an Academy here in Medellin. At the moment he has a great space set up about 20 minutes from where I am located. Hostel Casa Kiwi -http://www.casakiwi.net/ the nicest and coolest hostel I have ever been too! I trained once at Kim´s gym last week and it was awesome. We started with a warm up and a serious of 20 attacks from the guard position. I was such a mess trying to remember what came next as everyone drilled away, Kim was patient and helped me find the flow. All of the techniques led into each other beautifully and I think it´s really important for ME to reinforce my attacks from the guard. We drilled some half guard, keeping the opponent on their back with the gi grip under the furthest shoulder, pressing your shoulder weight across their face. I love half guard, but once again it´s a matter of repetition. If you want to be good at something, you´d better start practicing 1,000 times per day! Something that happens WAY to much to me, happened in class with Kim. My partner just rolled me right over and I had to base to stop it. In that very moment when your opponent goes to roll you over no matter what the size, that is THE opportunity to release your leg (passing the half guard) passing that leg out wide and switching the hips to slide into a tight cross side. This week will be my last week of training here in Medellin, so I´m going to push myself hard. Tonight I´m heading to GracieK to check out some MMA and train BJJ and tomorrow heading to GB for the lunch class! Hopefully I´ll remember to take some pictures tonight with the guys at GracieK!!

 Last week I managed to take a few of Kim´s night classes along with a cross fit class. We worked a lot of passing the half guard on top and he gave me some tips here and there to work with. A very talented, young and smooth BJJ practitioner named Yiyo Moussa was promoted last week to purple belt! Congratulations to you Yiyo as well as the entire team. Here is a link to see the promotion!! I am glad that I got to give him a well earned slap on the back with my belt :) It was a first for me and a great way to welcome him back!!


We did a lot of drilling to practice passing half guard and even played a few games of real chess. I was so confused when we did the exercise as a group haha it just wasn´t clicking, and then we did our own games with 1 other partner and it was a great way to really think about what you were doing.

Over the weekend a few of us got together to help clean up the new academy that is now officially open!! Endless laughs joking around with the mops and different cleaning styles it was a nice way to contribute to the hard work Kim has put in day in and day out. The space he now has is amazing. For those of you who know Rio Connection ( I will be headed there soon to check it out!) It is a similar idea right in Medellin.
If you´re interested in trying some classes check him out on facebook:                http://www.facebook.com/graciefusion
or e-mail graciefusion@hotmail.com if you have any questions about the new location and class schedule!!
Los horarios quedaron asi:

de lunes a viernes
BJJ 9 AM - 10:30 AM
BJJ infantil 5 PM - 6 PM
MMA 6 PM - 7PM
BJJ 7 PM - 8:30 PM
open mat de 12 PM - 2 PM

Also something really fun I got to try was pole dancing! Juanita and Charlyne will be offering classes which is now located right in the same building! Ladies interested, I suggest trying it out!! It was so much fun and I never realized how much core strength as well as hand strength you need. I will definitely be taking more classes back in Canada when I return it was so much fun and so sexy...I just need a TON of work!
Kim Cuervo´s team in Medellin, Colombia
guys rolling

Kim welcoming Yiyo back to Medellin after he received his purple belt in California!
prepare for the beat down!
and start running!
sexy mop kim!! jajaja
el amorrrr!!! jajajja
Kim has put a lot of time and effort getting this academy up and running day and night. Congratulations for all your hard work, dreams to reality Kim, the first of many of your plans I am sure!!
Kim and Carlos- stolen pic
cleaning the new academy!

New Academy up and running!
What a hard day...cleaning and looking at a bunch of guys with no shirts on...man I have a tough life ;) !!
First night training at the older location
Team GracieK 

group barbeque!
Me, Yiyo, Jamie, Dami!!
Charlyne and me

To end it off with my last shot in my hostel Casa Kiwi