I recently came back from my trip home and as always I tried to come back with a few techniques and few new ideas. I left not only looking to elevate my training and to see some old friends, but I also needed some time to relax on a beach!
I had the opportunity to train both judo and jiu jitsu during my brief stay and I left Hawaii with three attributes that I feel make training in Hawaii very special. Perhaps it’s me getting older, but with new eyes I feel that I can sense details in training that I was blind to before. I explain below.
First, the GAMENESS.
Every dojo I went to had game people. There are many definitions of gameness, but to me, it can be summed up by the mental willingness to get in to a fight. You’ll find a high amount of gameness in every Hawaii dojo you go to, judo or jiu jitsu. You’ll see it in the youth and feel it as soon as some one grabs your lapel. This ain’t the mainland. It’s not California, Oregon, or even Japan. It’s something different.
This is not to say that you can’t find game people in other gyms, but I have trained all over the World and I can honestly say that Hawaii has a very unique attitude when it comes to persevering and fighting. To me, I think it comes from the lifestyle that the majority of people in Hawaii was raised in. Be humble, but when it’s time to bang, JUST SCRAP.
Second, the Aloha spirit is alive and well.
Every dojo I went to, I was welcomed with open arms, smiles, and shakas. “What high school you went?” “Where you stay visiting from?” “Brah, Oregon is pretty mean.” “Tanks for da rolls.” It could have been my personality, but I doubt it, the dojos and gyms on the islands are rife with Aloha spirit. At the end of the day, people just want to train, grab a plate lunch, and hit the beach after. That’s exactly what I did.
Lastly, the technique is sharp.
Whether it was a 1988 Olympic Judo Silver Medalist running class or me training with a jiu jitsu beginner, the techniques were astounding. The hard working mentality found all over the island fosters an incredible dedication to technique. If it was 400 uchikomi practice or 1.5 hours of jiu jitsu drilling, the practices were solid.
To conclude, I couldn’t have asked to train at better gyms. From Nova Uniao in Kona, Relson Gracie Academy Waikiki, Gracie Technics Honolulu, and Leeward Judo Club, I want to thank you for opening your doors to me. It made my entire trip home that much more memorable.