19.9.13

BJJ Globetrotter Interview: Christian Graugart


I love BJJ interviews. They are always fun and insightful and this one is no exception.

I trained with Christian when he visited my friend Carl Fisher's place up in Bolton not too long ago and while I had had several email conversations with Christian in the past, meeting him face to face and training with him was really cool. He is a very genuine guy. A straight shooter so I'm excited to share this interview with you all:

The Part Time Grappler Interviews: Christian Graugart - aka the BJJ Globetrotter.



- Hello. Why don’t we start by you telling us a little about yourself?

Well, hello Mr. Part Time Grappler :)
About myself, hmm... I am obsessed with maps, an apprentice cat whisperer (always learning!) and is afraid to rinse my mouth with water anything but exactly three times after I have brushed my teeth. Apart from that, I enjoy training Jiu Jitsu a lot, which I have done since 1999. In 2003, I started my own gym as a blue belt (www.csa.dk) and three years ago, I also opened a CrossFit gym (www.CrossFit2400.dk). I also have a mission of traveling all over the world, so I am trying to do that as much as possible.

- Are you currently working? Is that Full time / Part time?

I don't have a job, as in having a boss that can tell me what to do, but I do work 24 hours a day as a self employed Jiu Jitsu instructor, author, blogger, traveller and entrepreneur or all sorts of stupid ideas I get - usually more than I can handle in the before mentioned 24 hours.

- You also set aside time to practice a sport. Which sport(s)?
Apart from Jiu Jitsu, I don't do any other sports on a regular basis. I like to play a little football (soccer!) in the summer, skimboard, surf, longboard, beach volley, but none of that is very organised.
I do swim and lift weights, but wouldn't really call that a sport. 

- Have you competed much?
"Much" is hard to define. I guess someone will say I've competed a lot and some will say that I've only just brushed the surface of what it will say to be a competitor.
I've closing in on competition match number 100, and I do enjoy competition as a mental challenge, but unfortunately my body doesn't always agree that I should be doing it. Injuries have kept me away from it way too much lately and I wish I had competed more, when I was younger and more fit.
 
- Do you feel that you have to compete to get a black belt in combat sports / martial arts?
Yes, absolutely. I don't think I would ever promote someone to black belt, let alone purple or brown, if they didn't have a solid competition experience. To me, being a complete, all round practitioner of an art like Jiu Jitsu, also has a lot to do with confidence and character. Competition is one great way to build just this, a constant challenge of yourself, your mind and your ego.
Would you give someone a black belt in swimming if they'd never been out on the deep water, where they couldn't touch the bottom?
Christian at the London Open 2012

- Do you follow any special diet? Do you use any dietary supplements?

Not really, but as I've gotten older, I am paying a lot more attention to my diet. It does indeed make a big difference to my energy levels and if I want to train even 4-5 times a week, I need to put in the same amount of work in my food and sleep.
This is another good reason for me to compete. It really gives me a focus on healthy living and taking well care of my body. Leading up to competitions, I usually just stick to a simple diet of meat/fish, salad, fruit, vegetables and water. That's basically it, there are no fancy theories behind it, but I guess it is just common sense healthy eating. I can stuff myself 24 hours a day with that and I will never get fat or lose energy, it seems.
Apart from that, I take regular supplements like vitamins, fish oil and stuff, but I don't believe in all the shiny labels out there. Occasionally, when I try to gain weight, I add in some weight gainer and creatine.

- How do you manage to fit your training around work, study and family time?
I do work and study a lot. I spend a lot of time working on my gym and other projects, and I read as much as I can to keep training my brain. I also just had a son a few months ago, so of course that takes a lot of time out of the weekly schedule.
Basically, I just have set days and hours, where I always train. No other plans will be made there and there is no discussion wether or not I should go or not, I just get out the door and go.
Physical training is harder, since I have to kind of fit that in, when I can. I try to swim once a week and then squeeze in some weight training after Jiu Jitsu or in the mornings. In non-injury periods with sparring many days a week, I don't need much weight training anyways to stay strong. It is mostly rehab of old injuries and prevention of new ones, which I spend my time on in the gym.
 
- What is the greatest thrill you have gotten out of practicing your sport?

The ever lasting, constant experience of meeting people and exploring the world, that I have full, unlimited access to through the sport.

- Give us your top 5 tips for time-management (to fit exercise around life)
I don't really have any tips, I just get up in the morning to get started on my to do list from one end and I don't stop before I go to bed. I like to be busy, I guess that's my recipe.

- Now let’s balance that with what you consider the top 5 time-thieves.
1. Kids
2. Facebook
3. Facebook
4. Facebook
5. Videos of cats on Facebook

- Do you feel that there is a difference in style of jiu jitsu / grappling from academy to academy? What do you think is the reason behind that?

Yes and no. With the internet, Jiu Jitsu is a very universal sport, and any new development in technique is spreading quickly. I've seen white belts do berimbolos in every corner of the world.
There is, however, of course a difference in the vibe and style of training and teaching. I think that this ultimately comes down to the personality of who ever is on the top of the pyramid, so to say. We always attract people likes ourselves, so if you are a bad ass, chances are you will end up with a gym full of bad asses :)

- Similarly, do you feel that there is a difference in style of instruction from academy to academy?

Yes, again this comes down to the people running it. I've trained in very traditional academies, where it almost felt like I was in the Kobra Kai from Karate Kid (which, by the way, must be one of the most awesome places to train, ever). And I've also been to many super laid-back places, where you almost couldn't figure out wether a class was actually on or people were just hanging out and having lunch.

- Tell us how you started in MA?
My father had been training Taekwondo and Karate since the early 70s, so it was natural for me to want to try it out. I started out with Taekwondo around age 7 and did that for many years, until I discovered, that there was more to martial arts than just kicking. I have now been training BJJ for longer, than I have trained Taekwondo, so I can finally call that my main style ;-)

- Why do you train?

It's all I know, man! It's all I know *sad*

- Why do you teach?

I was the one who had the VHS tapes at home back when we started, so it just kind of became me that showed the moves in the gym. From there on, it kind of just stuck with me, I guess :)


- When did you put together the current syllabus you teach at your academy?

During the warm up, I usually come up with something. If I don't, the warm up routine sometimes get a bit long.

- What is this syllabus like? What is the focus (BJJ for MMA, self defence, no gi, gi)?

I try to teach a little bit of everything, but guess I mostly have a focus on BJJ for (sport) BJJ.

- How can we find out more?

I do have a few websites, you could check out, if this interview wasn't enough for you. My long-running blog is on www.ShogunHQ.com and I've also written one when I was travelling around the world to train, it is on www.BJJglobetrotter.com.
I did write a book about that trip, so if you really are looking for more to read, I would recommend picking that up on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Brazilian-Jitsu-Globetrotter-around-world/dp/1479104523) or find a pirate copy somewhere and print it out yourself.

Well worth a read!
I'm also running a BJJ team for all of us who dislikes BJJ teams (and the politics that comes along with them). We currently have 66 affiliated gyms and 500+ individual members around the world, rocking some sick patches. We are doing some cool projects like training camps, marathon rolls for charity, surfcamps and stuff. Check out www.BJJglobetrotters.com for more on that.
The BJJ Globetrotters team patches are ace!
Visit my friends at PatchYourGi
if you like what you're seeing.

- Finally, do you have any regrets?
I wish it hadn't taken me so long to do this interview, Liam Wandi is such a gentleman and I've let him down.


Haha. I'd like to thank my good man Christian for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions. He's a cool cat so if you get a chance to train with him do take it :)
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ZHOO ZHITSU IS FOR EVERYONE!

Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

Proudly sponsored by Predator Fightwear: Built for the kill and Brutal TShirt: Made By Grapplers For Fighters

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