This month I am super excited. I had the opportunity to interview one of the guys who have had a massive influence in what I do and the brand I am aiming to build. Black Belt, Christian Graugart, BJJ Globetrotter and all round good guy is the founder and author of The BJJ Globetrotter. If you haven’t read it yet and you are interested in travel and or Jiu Jitsu I highly recommend this read. You can get your copy here.
OG – Thanks for joining us here today Christian can you please give our readers a brief overview of how you come to be THE BJJ Globetrotter? When and how you were introduced to BJJ?
CG – Thanks for having me and sorry for taking almost four months to reply to this. My life have been kind of hectic recently to say the least and your email with these questions have been collecting dust in my inbox for way too long. But now I’m sitting in an airplane from Amsterdam to Saint Martin and have some time on my hands to finally write you a reply.
Ok, how did I become the BJJ Globetrotter haha I’m not really sure. Me and a few friends started headlocking each other in a Jeet Kune Do (aka pretend-MMA) academy back in 1999 and was looking to learn more so we wouldn’t get cauliflower ears all the time. Like a lot of other people, I decided to travel a bit for BJJ training. Then in 2011, I happened to do a bit-more-than-usual intense trip around the world and ended up writing a book about it. Things kind of took off from there.
OG – When you embarked on your journey in 2011 did you think that the Globetrotter brand was going to end up, did you have the plans of taking it to where it is now or did you just go with the flow so to speak?
CG – Absolutely no plans and never imagined it would turn into anything like this. Still have zero plans with that I’m doing and have no idea how things will look in 6 months from now. I pretty much just take it one day at a time and randomly come up with ideas now and then.
OG – Having travelled to ever corner of the globe numerous times over, do you notice different styles of grappling from place to place, is anyone place more technical, aggressive, passive etc.
CG – Not really. I think it’s more an individual than geographical thing. The world is a small place now.
OG – You have done a great job building a following how many Globetrotter friendly gyms are around the world now and how many individual members are currently active on your database?
CG – I actually don’t know and I’m offline so I can’t check. My guess is around 3000 registered members and we’re 8000+ people in the Facebook group.
OG – You would have to be one of the most active personalities in the community when it comes to organising camps all across the globe. The logistics of this must be absolutely crazy, what motivates you to keep improving time after time and what are the biggest challenges you have faced when putting the camps on?
CG – Yeah it’s a lot of logistics work, but I enjoy the process of controlling chaos and turning it into something organized. Kind of like Jiu Jitsu, I guess. My standard checklist of setting up a camp have 280 items on it and is still growing.
Most of the challenges about it is really just other people screwing up, not doing their job well or not honoring agreements. That’s why I put a lot of effort into finding the right people to work with for this, people I know will do what they say they will do. It’s a long trial and error process, but I kind of enjoy it and for each camp, things are getting easier.
OG – With the upcoming relocation to the Caribbean Island of St Bart do you intend on continuing running your camps?
CG – Yes.
OG – What was the biggest factor, apart from St. Barts being almost heaven on earth that contributed to the relocation?
CG – It was more of a random thing really. For a long time, I have been trying to turn my life in a direction where I had the freedom to take advantages of opportunities like this that might come to me. I had been teaching and hosting seminars in Saint Barth for a few years and one of my friends there happened to have an apartment available for rent that he offered me. At that point, everything in my life was prepared for this offer to arrive, so all I had to do was to press the button.
OG – I am sure I am not the only person you have inspired along your journey mate, what advice would you give to someone who wanted to give up the 9-5 and chase the dream living the BJJ lifestyle so to speak?
CG – I’m not sure I have any advise for that really. I could tell you what I did, but that wouldn’t apply to anyone else I think, as we all live very different lives. But I think that first and foremost you have to realise that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Turning your life around is a long process that takes planning, patience and probably quite many years. And you probably need to have a serious talk with yourself if that’s really what you want, because you’re gonna give up on a lot of things to get there.
OG – Are you a man of routine, or are you a take the day as it happens type person? If you a routine follower what does a typical day look like for you? Do you plan you seminars and or classes?
CG – I have two kids now so my day is 100% routine, but I’m not sure it would be very interesting for the readers to hear about haha. I don’t really plan seminars or classes as I never know who will show up or what the level is. When I’m teaching in the academy, I have an overall theme that I follow, but that’s about it.
OG – Apart from settling into your new location what can we expect to see from you and The BJJ Globetrotters in 2017? More Camps, another book, silver screen debut, competitions?
CG – I’m setting up a few new interesting camp locations in 2017, but apart from that, I’m not sure what the year will bring. Wish I had time to compete but it’s not really realistic to travel for at this point of my life. If I ever start shooting a film about my life, please unfriend me on Facebook immediately.
OG – Now I like to finish off with a tricky question, so who would be the best instructor you have had the pleasure to either grace your camps or you have had the honour to learn from?
CG – I guess that depends on the definition of “best”. Highest level competitor, most inspirational or perhaps provided most social value to a camp? I couldn’t possibly pinpoint one.
OG – Thank you so much for you time Christian, I appreciate the time out of your busy schedule.