The drive through Washington State to Seattle was beautiful! We had no real idea what to expect when we arrived as to be honest we had not done much research on Seattle. The only real plan we had was to go and train with Brian Johnson at North West Jiu-Jitsu, John Will had mentioned to me in an email that if I had a chance to visit Seattle to make sure I looked him up.
When driving to our Airbnb the first thing that struck us was just how hilly and tight the roads were around the city. Thankfully we had an automatic car as I would have burnt the clutch out in a manual car in the first few miles. It was still quite cold in Seattle…. but nothing like what we had come from in Wyoming and Montana. The first day we decided to head to the Woodland Park Zoo, as we had missed seeing a lot at Yellowstone we thought that it would be good to go and have a look. There was only a small amount of people there, the freezing wintry weather would have probably had something to do with it. It was actually quite good, we walked around for a few good hours and even got to hold a tortoise and snake.
Following the Zoo, we headed to North West Jiu-Jitsu, we arrived in time for the kid’s classes ran by Coach Phil Kleffner. Both Lilly and Kobe had a wonderful time, Phil was great with the kids and made the class super fun for them. Unfortunately, the cold weather must have kept the older kids away as for the second class no one turned up, so Lilly ended up getting a private session with Phil which was awesome that he took the time to do that. We stayed and did both the beginner and Advanced classes. The instruction was great and both Dee and I picked up some great back control points that we will definitely take away to add to our games. The time we spent training with Brian Johnson and his team over the next few days was great. Everyone was so nice, and the level was quite high, we had so many great rolls and made some new friends. Brian still being an active competitor was super cool to roll with he has so many little tricks he was a pleasure to roll with. It was also great to walk around the office and read all the articles on the walls and see all the photos of John Will, David Meyer and Rigan Machado, it was a great little history lesson.
As a martial artist there is one thing that you have to do when in Seattle…. One morning we visited the graves of Bruce and Brandon Lee. It was a little surreal standing in front of one of the biggest philosophers and influencers in martial arts. Prior to getting there I had explained to Lilly and Kobe who Bruce was and I was proud to see how respectful they were when we were there. After the visiting the Lee’s we headed to a park, just so the kids could go and play in the leaves. This was something that both of the kids were super excited to do, rolling in them, throwing them, they were having the time of their lives!
We also headed to the into the city…. We checked out he Public Market which was very cool, also seeing the huge line up to get a coffee at the first ever Starbucks store. We had a little down time between training, so we took the kids to see the new Thor movie which by the way was outstanding! We also headed to the Mo Pop (Museum of Pop Culture) now this was awesome. We spent a few hours checking out all the exhibits, Lilly and Kobe had a great time in the Jim Henson section. Seeing all the puppets and old shows was as entertaining for Dee and me as it was for them, it definitely brought us back to our child hood seeing the Fraggle Rock and the Dark Crystal sections.
We also visited and spent some time in Discovery Park, the sunset and views were awesome. We went on a bit of hike which ended with us walking in the dark back through the woods. It did make it a bit tricky as we took a bit of a short cut and I may have got us lost for a second or two, but I don’t think Dee or the kids knew.
Seattle was a lovely city and we had a great time there training with the guys at North West Jiu-Jitsu. We were starting to grow a little tired of the rain and cold though, something that we had seen since leaving Kansas. We made the decision to head south back through a few national parks and get back to San Diego and warmth. I had missed a lot of training there due to my injury in the first weeks of the trip, so we were pretty excited to have time to be able to head back there.
If you’re ever in Seattle and looking for somewhere to train, make sure you look up Northwest Jiu Jitsu!