2020

Remember the weird time when everyone trained BJJ, but pretended they didn’t and we had to sneak around like we were criminals? That’s probably coming back as soon as the lockdown eases again.

In the meantime I decided to write down what 2020 was like for me, because hopefully in some time it will seem too ridiculous to be true and some proof of this craziness will be needed. Is this similar to your experience? 😄

For most people this year ended in March as the lockdown begun. Before we get to that, let me tell you about the good things. 

Last moments of normal life

After being badly injured in 2019, I decided to return to competition. My year started with competing in Lisbon and getting to know this amazing city better (check out the guide to Lisbon here). I didn’t do very well, but after a break of this length it wasn’t unexpected. The plan was to compete every month this year, so things could only get better from there, right? 😂

Visiting Israel

February is my most hated month of the year.

In November, when the temperature outside drops there’s Christmas to look forward to in December, then the New Years and finally, January is ‘the new start’. There’s always something to carry you through the shitty weather. But then just as you are done with the misery-inducing winter – February prolongs your suffering.

Hence, I usually try to go somewhere warm around this time. This year the choice was Israel. (Check out the guide to visiting Israel here

I spent 2 weeks meeting new people, eating hummus, roasted cauliflower and sabich (google it, it’s worth it), exploring the country and training BJJ with the national team.

That was when corona started appearing in the media in the UK. I remember having a laugh with the hostel owner, who wanted to develop a game based on it. It didn’t seem like this could reach us at all 😄

When I came back to London at the end of the month things became more serious. IBJJF London Winter Open happened as usual, but just two weeks later the UAEJJF London Grand Slam went ahead without any audience being allowed in the venue. 

Lockdown #1

A few days later my boyfriend and I were on the bus to Newcastle to escape spending lockdown in our tiny flat. We packed for a month, because at that stage who would expect it to last six?

After the first month I got mats and life started making sense again. Two sessions of wrestling per day kept me sane and exhausted enough to not mind the rest of the day too much. 

We set down the mats in a little conservatory attached to the house, which is the summer became a great hot yoga studio with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees. 

I was working remotely like before, teaching a stretching class online once a week and had a space to train, so I got pretty lucky. 

BJJ is a crime now

By August lockdown was too much and I flew over to Poland. Going back to training after such a long break was a disaster, but it got better after the first two weeks. I’m pretty sure everyone here knows what that’s like anyway! It was amazing to get back to normal life again.

Towards the end of my stay I was counting cases every day to see if I’ll be able to avoid self-isolating, but I got back to the UK in time.

Just as we returned to London the period in which everyone trained while pretending not to began. It was both hilarious and sad having to act like we were doing something illegal. But I got my life back and until November things were looking pretty good. 

Big News

Then another lockdown came around, but there were already better things to worry about.

My boyfriend quit his team and we’re moving to Oxford to start his own academy there. It’s probably not a great moment, but it never is! Keep your fingers crossed and if you’re ever in Oxford come train with us at Jiu Jitsu Republic! All affiliations and creontes are welcome!

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