As some of our students are already aware, I will relocate back to my hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the end of the month. After more than a decade living in Denmark, I am very excited to reconnect with my Brazilian roots. I'm also really looking forward to raising my son Connor as a true carioca, with lots of sun, sand, sea and Jiu-Jitsu!
The hardest part for me will be coping with the distance to my students and the schools. After so many years together, we've all become one big family. There are periods when we spend more time with each other on the mats than we do with actual family members. Missing that close connection will definitely take some time getting used to.
I will evidently still come to train and teach once or twice every year, and we will hold the annual graduation around those dates so we can have some big get-togethers. As the founder and head instructor of Choke, I will maintain an open line of communication with the instructors so that we are all on the same page and working towards the same goals.
Choke remains strong and expanding both in Copenhagen and in Århus and I am happy to see our guys stepping up to take our organization to the next level in the coming years. We have a team of very qualified and committed people to build upon the solid foundation. So even though I will not be present on a daily basis, I know my guys will do a great job like they always do. I'm really excited to see their projects and ideas come to life.
The headquarters in Copenhagen will be operated by Franck "Biohack" Hedehøj together with Marcus Dahl Rasmussen. They will have a strong support crew including Rune Thorbek, Michael Krag, Tajs Kolman, Jesper Bendtsen, Devin Day, Jesper Nørby, Tristan Reagan and others.
The school in Aarhus, which is the breeding ground for some of the most talented people we have, remains under the leadership of Alexander Rasmusssen, instructors Søren Jensen and Lasse Bager and a team of savages with the likes of Mugtaba Sirelkhatim, Christian Vester and co.
It's so rewarding for me to see how far we've come and how much farther these guys will take it. When I first came to Denmark for a seminar in 2004, there were only a handful of blue belts and one single purple belt in the whole country. And even though today the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is well established and recognized, I feel like Choke's mission of representing Jiu-Jitsu as a martial art and way of life is more relevant than ever. Therefore I feel very lucky and grateful to have my students/friends/brothers following my path.
I hope to spend as much time with you on the mats as possible before the end of the month. Just don't expect me to let you take my back, you'll have to work hard for it!
Now let's go train porra!