Way back in 2001, I was lucky enough to be invited out to report on the ADCC 2001 tournament in Abu Dhabi; it was perhaps the best week of my life, staying in the same hotel as all the fighters and managed a few training sessions, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Royler Gracie, Genki Sudo, Saulo Ribeiro, Renzo Gracie and many many more.
It was a week I'll never forget, meeting all the fighters, interviewing all my grappling heroes and getting photos of some great matches and hanging out with the fighters, before, during and after the competition; I even made it onto the DVD of the event, namely the Superfight between Mark Kerr and Mario Sperry, where I can be seen at the edge of the mat, camera in hand.
At the event I met Jon Olav Einemo, Joachim Hansen and Marko Leisten and life wouldn't be the same again after this meeting; Einemo made the news by winning his weight group and beating Roger Gracie along the way and Joachim Hansen was yet to make his mark on the MMA scene proper. Hansen was winning fights on the legendary Finnfight events, where the real spirit of Vale Tudo shined on and all the guys were members of the Scandinavian Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Association, headed by Richard Bohlenius, who was a brown belt at the time; after meeting Richard, this was the start of another life long friendship. The week was an intense training experience with a group of Viking warriors and we even managed a road trip to Stockholm to meet with Richard Bohlenius and see the sights of a beautiful cosmopolitan city.
Since 2001, I have been a regular visitor to Scandinavia and have trained at all the big name clubs and competed in numerous submission wrestling events and reported on Finnfight events and even lived out in Stockholm in 2003. I am honoured to have trained with such a dedicated groups of guys and more recently in 2010, I was fortunate enough to train with Sebastian Brosche and Eduardo 'Teta' Rios at Gordo's academy in Rio; the grappling world is a very small one indeed.
The photo surfaced on my Facebook Wall, posted up by one of the 2001 attendees, MMA fighter Jakob Lovstad, so I thought I would share the photo and some happy memories from a summer week in Oslo I'll never forget :)
|Oslo 2001 with the Viking warriors|