BJJ training camps are a relatively new phenomenon but one that is quickly taking the grappling world by storm, across several different organisers there’s a camp available almost every month and across every continent, but last week marked a very special occasion indeed. They’re all a pretty decent-sized one-off expense that can turn people off and a lot of grapplers can be left debating whether or not the price is worth the experience.
Fear not, as I was fortunate enough to do the digging for you at one of the most successful and popular training camps, BJJ Globetrotters, who celebrated their 50th camp last week in Heidelberg, Germany. Across six days there was 27 hours of open mat-time and 36 hours of classes with 26 different elite-level instructors from across the world. The time available alone meant the cost of the camp per class was barely more than standard gym fees.
The classes varied in style with plenty of concept-driven hours like Chris Paines’ No-Handed Choke Defense, new takes on old techniques like Axel Apergis’ Different Approach to the Guillotine and techniques you wouldn’t see anywhere else like Wim Deputter’s The Koala. No matter what approach suits you best or what your game is based around, there’s literally a class for everyone.
The open mats are a truly unique experience as well, with around 200 grapplers in attendance from white to black belt you’re never going to be lacking a willing partner to roll with. All of the instructors were there to roll and freely give advice on some holes in your game or even just to answer questions about the classes they’d taught. I can safely say I learnt nearly as much at the open mats, as I did at the structured class.
For those of you who might be feeling battered and broken after weeks of training crammed into a few days, there’s yoga every morning with Jack Clover to help ease you back into another day. If you’re more focused on the social aspect then there’s plenty to do with pub crawls, restaurant dinners, beer tasting and a final end-of-camp party to close the show.
All in all, it was a genuinely amazing experience. I felt as though I developed as much in a week as I would have in two months of training, rolled with more blackbelts than I have in the last few years put together and met people with games so diverse that I felt tested every single time I stepped on the mats. In short, I’d give it a 10/10 and honestly can’t recommend it enough.