Quit your job, train martial arts travel the world! Quite the appealing quote isn’t it? The only catch is that it is quite difficult to do. Or it was… At present, traveling is becoming more and more accessible to everyone. And, when you get a travel-friendly martial art like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it is a match made in heaven. Now, I doubt most people will get up (after finishing this article), quit their job and go do a BJJ Travel tour around the world. We all wish it true, but unfortunately, the reality is a bit more complicated. For some, traveling for BJJ is a daily struggle, and not nearly as fun as it may be for the occasional traveler. However, regardless of the situation, BJJ is a very travel-friendly art. All you need is to find the right type of BJJ travel for you.
People usually love traveling. Why wouldn’t you? You meet new people, you do new fun things, discover places. Now, throw in the fact that those people are like-minded in terms of grappling enthusiasm. Plus, all the spots you visit are centered around great BJJ. “Traincations” are becoming a big thing in Jiu-Jitsu, particularly when grapplers are dating or married. However, there’s another, less glamorous side to BJJ travel as well – commuting. Although BJJ is extremely widespread, some people do face daily challenges in getting to an actual Academy for training. Let’ explore both these aspects of BJJ travel a bit more.
The BJJ Commute – How Far Would You Go To Train Jiu-Jitsu?
Let’s start with the one side of BJJ travel that’s a bit on the negative side – commuting. Personally, I have only about a 10-15 minute drive to get to my academy. That’s almost perfect, bar from living right on top of it. Still, others have to do quite the commute. There are even people, both in my gym and countless others around the world that travel for hours in each direction. I just met a guy that travels a couple of hours in each direction to get to training. And he is really serious about it. Still, this type of travel does tend to have a point of diminishing returns. At a certain point. You need to stop and ask yourself if you’re suffering more than you’re gaining? While getting comfortable with suffering is a great way to learn BJJ, as a great black belt once told me, that doesn’t have to extend to every aspect of life. So commuting for BJJ, whether it is by yourself or via public transport needs to have a limit. I’d say that anything above there hours is pushing it. That means that you spend a total of six hours just driving from point to point. Add to that a couple of hours of training and an 8-hour workday and only have 8 more hours for everything else, including sleep. That’s a great way to start hating BJJ because of traveling so much.
If you’re one of those select few that don’t mind a long commute to BJJ every day, kudos to you. For all us mortals, a change of academy might just end up being the better solution. While commuting can be fun, and you can invest in yourself during that period, there are only so many hours in the day. The less you commute on a daily basis, the more you can travel long distances for BJJ. And that’s something everyone loves and also leads me to the next and favourite topic, CAMPS.
Its no secret what we do here at Free Rollers and I would like to think we do it well. We have bought together people of all ranks, affiliations and genders from every corner of the globe to train BJJ, we do things a little differently at Free Rollers rather then the large style of camps we base ourselves on our motto, Small Groups Big Adventures. We limited our trips to 15 and we immerse ourselves into the local BJJ culture training, engaging and just living the life with the locals in what ever area it is that we are visiting. We have just added our 3rd location to our Getaways, adding Hawaii to our San Diego and Singapore getaways. We also have a few more in the pipeline and cannot wait to announce them in the very near future. Trying to remain unbiased, BJJ camps are probably the best thing you can do to actually see huge improvement. Yes, daily training is important, and the lessons you learn in competition are irreplaceable. But going to a multi-day training camp led by some of the worlds best coaches and their students is a completely different experience.
At the moment, there are BJJ camps happening around the world almost every week. From camps that are affiliation only, to camps open for everyone, like our Free Rollers Getaways. From camps that take place in medieval castles in Europe, to camps at exotic locations with the latest ADCC stars. We can only speak for ourselves but the fact that our BJJ Getaways are sold out months before the deadline without exception, tells you a lot about the quality of Jiu-Jitsu.
Global BJJ camps are the embodiment of BJJ travel. You’ll easily get through every travel challenge that may arise to get the ultimate BJJ experience. Plus, you get to do nothing but Jiu-Jitsu for days and forget all other daily chores you have. One camp equals a few years of training, given that you get to both learn from top people and roll with more people than you would in a year if you never go out of the academy. So, look into BJJ travel camps and make sure you travel with a purpose.
BJJ Travel Guide: Grappling Meccas
Speaking of BJJ travel, let’s look at one more possible way in which you can get the most out of both at the same time. Simply put, some spots in the world are real BJJ hotbeds, and everyone wants to end up there at one point or another. Going to spots like this might not coincide with camps, although if you Travel with Free Rollers there is a very good chance that we will end up there, if solo travel is more your style you may have to make your own BJJ travel itinerary.
Planning a ‘traincation” is bound to lead you into one of several spots that are undeniably the best for grapplers to visit. At least at the moment. Of course, we have to start with Brazil, where Rio and Sao Paolo are unmistakable designations. Speaking of both, there’s just no way to pick one single academy to go to. Everywhere is great! There’s New York City, that’s a growing grappling Mecca nowadays. Renzo Gracie`s blue basement should be a certainty on everyone’s list. Just a few blocks away is the world class Marcelo Garcia academy too. Over on the West Coast, in L.A, the unmistakable Mendes Brothers and 10th Planet HQ academies are the spots to visit, drive 2 hours down the road to San Diego and take your pic of the world champions that call this place home.
Across Europe, there’s lots of talent to train with Wherever they are, you’re guaranteed an extra high level of instruction, plus meeting other grapplers from all around the world. The perfect combination. Finally, if you’re around Asia, there’s no way you can afford to miss out on Singapore’s Evolve MMA gym.
There’s just one rule when you’re looking into BJJ travel – be smart about it. You can travel to camps, go on traincation or be one of those that commute daily. Whatever your situation might be, remember that BJJ is very travel-friendly. Don’t be surprised if people you’ve never met before offering you accommodation and food free of charge. Speaking of which, there are several BJJ communities out there that can hook you up in no time, if you dont already follow us on Facebook and IG!
Do your research and happy travels!
See you on the mats!