San Francisco and the Ralph Gracie Academy

We left LA and planned to head up along the coast the whole way to San Francisco over 2 days. We started the drive and headed trough Malibu only to be turned around and had to take the back roads due to an accident on the road. Once back on the Coast road again we made our way to Morro Bay, a small tourist town located next to Morro Rock. We spent the end of the afternoon with a walk around the rock while watching the sunset.

Morro Rock
Morro Rock

The next morning, we continued north and stopped in to check out the elephant seal viewing area, where large amounts of seals congregate. It was impressive to see how big they were and just how many were along this stretch of coast. Some of the coastal views as we came closer to San Francisco were amazing.

Sea Otters hanging out in the bay
Great Views

Arriving downtown, you quickly realize San Francisco isn’t the cleanest of cities, it was quite an experience dodging the human excrement along the sidewalk on some streets. We headed to the Ralph Gracie academy in the city. We had met Kurt Osiander at the Worlds Masters competition earlier in the trip where he had invited us to train with him. The gym is quite large with two mat areas and has a very old school Jiu-Jitsu feel to it, complete with club rules that includes no whining hahaha.

Golden Gate Selfie
Sunday NoGi class was super tough

As we were staying in Berkeley, Oakland we also trained at the Ralph Gracie Berkeley academy ran by Prof Eduardo “Selvagem” Fraga as it was only 5 minutes from where we were staying. Dee and I trained twice a day for the whole week, we would get up at around 5am to make sure we got across the Bay Bridge and through traffic with enough time to make it for the famous 7am class  ran by Kurt. This class has a large attendance for the time that it is ran and if full of a range of different people and ranks. We would then shower at the gym before heading out to explore the city for the day. In the evenings we would train at either the HQ or Berkley depending on where the kids classes where being ran. The one thing that everyone told us about before heading there was the full on warm ups and they were not wrong. Luckily, we were quite jiu-jitsu fit so it we were able to get through, it was definitely more intense than most of the places we had been to.

Ralph Gracie selfie!

The training was great, and we loved Kurt’s instruction, he is exactly as you would expect and even funnier in person. Both Lilly and Kobe loved his classes and his big “kid” attitude, as tough as he can come across he really is  a big softy with the kids, but don’t tell him I said that 😊. I was lucky enough to get some rolls in with Ralph and Kurt during our time there which was a trip highlight. They are such nice people and have such a tough attitude when it comes to their training which I really admire.

Getting a roll in with Kurt

The training at Berkley was also great, Prof Eduardo who is the head coach welcomed and showed us around. We enjoyed training there and not having to battle the traffic trying to get in and out of the city. Lilly and Kobe made quite a few friends there and at one stage I’m sure there was a line as all the other kids took turns to ask them questions about the trip and Australia.

Kurt playing with Kobe
Lilly training at RGSF
Ralph Gracie Berkeley

In between the hard sessions we did manage to get some sightseeing in, we walked the golden gate bridge which is a must do when visiting San Francisco. We visited Alcatraz and did the audio tour which was pretty amazing, Kobe especially liked it and kept asking a heap of questions throughout the whole tour. We went and checked out the Bison in the Golden gate park and the Sutro Baths at Lands’ End, where an earthquake had collapsed the old bath house.

lands End
Alcatraz

As our time started to come to an end in San Francisco our bodies were starting to feel a little worse for wear. All the early starts and late nights with the hard training had left us feeling a little physically drained. The tape on our fingers and toes seemed to be the latest fashion accessory as there was no point taking it off between sessions and we wore it around while sightseeing, all the while getting strange looks. Dee’s nice black eye would have also contributed to the looks we were getting.

Getting in some great rolls

We spent our last day in San Francisco moving to another hotel closer to the airport, so we didn’t have to deal with the dreaded traffic before we flew out. We had some time to kill so we went to another Zoo!! I think this puts us to around 6 or 7 zoos we have visited this trip. It was a good way to spend our last few free hours before we headed off to the final leg of this adventure to Hawaii.

-Woody

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