All the way back in 2007. I had earned the rank of 2. dan in judo and trained as part of the Swedish national team. I lived all over Europe – in Hungary, Portugal among other places, trying to become a formidable judoka.
I had some success, but nothing something was missing. Judo, as you may know, is called »the gentle way«. It’s not. Yes, it uses leverage and timing and physics to secure victory, but it is anything but gentle on the body. The rules were also becoming more and more restrictive, less and less was allowed. It was time for a change.
Starting from the bottom.
After my judo career came to an end I moved to Oslo and started from the bottom. Literally. From living in the basement occupied by Frontline academy, one of the very best jiu jitsu / MMA academies in Scandinavia and Europe for that matter. Ironically, I also started from the bottom in most of the rolls, enjoying the new found freedom and this magical thing called the guard.
However, there was a problem. I was really enjoying jiu jitsu, it was all that I wanted judo to be and I knew that I was made to grapple this way. But my back, specifically my lower back was killing me. I had 2 herniated disks and no relief in sight. Almost all of us had the unfortunate chance of experiencing some kind of back pain. It’s debilitating. I was actually ready to cut my losses and quit. Yes, I was about to QUIT. The big Q word.
But then I met her…
I was introduced to a girl. Stine. She, in turn, introduced me to yoga and I had nothing (but jiu jitsu) to lose, so I gave it a try. Stine also became my wife and the mom to a human child and many more furry ones, but that’s for another story. I threw myself into the deep end of vinyasa yoga and started practicing regularly. It didn’t take long for me to start noticing things.
I looked into it!
I started noticing that I have a lot more awareness when it comes to my body. I started to understand how and why we move the way we do. I started to spend time at the ends of my range of motion, thus slowly pushing it forward. My back pain? It started to disappear. Not overnight or anything, but I definitely noticed the correlation between how much yoga I was practicing and how much better I felt.
Now it was time for the real test. Competition.
My new passion enabled me to back into jiu jitsu. I got back in with a vengeance and I was stunned. I was stunned to learn that I got better! »How the hell?« I thought to myself. I just moved better, I knew how to breathe, I knew how my opponent is going to move and I started to be able to do moves I couldn’t pull off before. As a purple belt I traveled to Los Angeles in and competed at the Worlds. I won double gold. Next year? I won the World Pro in Abu Dhabi. I don’t like to talk about my results, other people can do that, but what I’m trying to say is: »I firmly believe yoga got me to that other level«.
In a way, I was even more confused now than before.
After that happened, I started thinking.
»How many people are out there like me?«
»How many people are on the verge of quitting? Do they really just need a resource to teach them the principles of yoga?«
»How many people will have to end their grappling careers prematurely? Could that be stopped with a good recovery routine?«
Time for a different kind of training.
So that’s how a different kind of training started. I began my Yoga Teacher Training in London with Jason Crandell, one of the most respected yoga teachers out there today. Funnily enough, he also got into jiu jitsu later on and is training! After I got certified as a teacher I began recording videos for the first version of Yoga for BJJ. I recorded them in the cabin behind my house. The videos were ok, but the website was terrible. Comparing it to what it is today, it’s like comparing a kung fu McDojo to Marcelo Garcia’s academy.
The important thing was that the members that I had, liked it. They were also reporting back with very positive results and that kept me going. I also felt I was getting better as a teacher because my wife and I opened our own studio – Joy Yoga in Oslo.
Enter the Slovenian and the Programs.
In 2015 I met a Slovenian kid, who also happened to be a black belt in judo and purple belt in jiu jitsu. His name is Miha Perhavec and I’m sad to say I lost him to the dark side because he’s a heel hook loving, Satan worshiping grappler. He started helping me out with the website and we exploded. We began improving the design and more importantly adding PROGRAMS. Go ahead…
…think of a program you think Yoga for BJJ would/should have. Nice. It’s probably already HERE. We have a whole library of programs taking people from – not knowing anything about yoga –> to knowing enough to hold their own in any studio. More importantly, they’re there to make it easier to work on what you need the most at the moment.
“I’m NOT a doctor!”
But that wasn’t enough. I’m not a doctor. Chances are about 99.9% I never will be, haha. But people keep asking me how to heal *insert injury here*? For the longest time, all I could say was »Yoga worked for me, but I’m not a doctor, so don’t sue me pls«.
That’s why in 2017 we brought Rosi Sexton on board. Rosi is a little bit of a genius, but the kind that enjoyed punching ladies in the face. She’s a WMMA pioneer and now – licensed osteopath, who’s put many fighters back together. Since she recorded Rehab Programs for damn near any injury and we built that library too.
That brings us to today…
Here we are. You know the story of Yoga for BJJ. I’m not going to give you the talk about the benefits of yoga. I believe we all inherently know we should be doing it. Or at least doing something similar. We should be taking care of the one body we have.
Do you want to give it a shot with me?
As you can see, I won’t take no for an answer 😉