by | May 3, 2016

Have you been looking to learn a new set of skills? Have you been feeling unmotivated to exercise? Have you been spending more than $950 a month for food, accommodation, training, yoga, wifi, working space and language lessons? If so, this opportunity might just be perfect for you!

For the past two months I have been living in Dali, China studying Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. This has been an absolutely life-changing experience. In addition to yoga, jiu-jitsu, calisthenics and Chinese lessons I have also been creating content for my blog, consulting for other websites and running an AirBNB back in NY. Last month I even started a youtube channel where I share content from my daily life.

To say I’ve been busy would be an understatement, but I’ve also been extremely productive. Being in an environment where I am physically active has sparked my creativity and motivation. As a digital nomad and entrepreneur I can’t think of a better way to elevate my business than by elevating my daily routine, even just for a few months.

Why Study Jiu-Jitsu in China?

I don’t know about you, but I have always wanted to visit China; it’s a place that has seemed so foreign and misunderstood to me. While most people picture massive crowds, factories, pollution and garbage, I always knew that there was more to this enormous country than what the mainstream media portrays. Dali is an incredible town – one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of China. After having lived here for more than 2 months, I can understand why. The beautiful ancient city is just a five-minute walk away from our school. Additional attractions in the area include a beautiful lake, natural hot springs, incredible temples and breathtaking mountains. Even if you don’t come to the school, you should immediately add Dali to your travel bucket list!

Photo by Scott from Travelstache.

The Best Self-Defense for Digital Nomads

For many of us who travel all over the world, self-defense is an especially pertinent skill to have. I have (more than once) found myself walking down strange alleyways with thousands of dollars worth of equipment on my back, feeling exposed and unprepared. Learning Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has totally changed my perspective on situations like this. Instead of being afraid, I now feel I can walk with my head held high knowing what to do in many worst-case scenarios. Even just this attitude adjustment may help to prevent bad things from happening in the future.

>>Read: What I Wish All Women Knew About Self-Defense<<

Photo by Jordan from The Life of Jord. 

Jiu-Jitsu for Entrepreneurs

In addition to building your energy and activating your brain, the fundamental skills and mantras that we learn in Jiu-Jitsu translate beautifully into the business world. Here are a few parallels that have been drawn by Rener Gracie himself:

  • Remaining Calm in Chaos: If there’s one skill that I have learned from Jiu-Jitsu that will always stick with me it is to remain calm. We started training with very little resistance. Weeks later, we introduced boxing gloves to add more pressure. After the initial few fights, the shock factor wares off and you begin to think clearly and calmly despite the fact that fists are coming at you. As a sailboat captain remaining calm in chaos is one of our chief responsibilities. As a business owner, when websites break and emails are pouring in like angry fists, it is important to remember to take a deep breath and react calmly.
  • Failing Forward Fast: On the mat we learn to respond to the cues that are given. The 36-moves in the beginner course are a perfect base set of skills that provide backup upon backup. If you go for arm break from the guard and the opponent manages to slip his arm free, instead of panicking you adjust your body and choke him out. Learning how to adjust your moves and come up with a new game plan based on the response is an invaluable life skill. Many of us become stubborn when we fall in love with an idea. Learning how to take feedback and make adjustments will take you farther in business than probably any other skill.

Watch this awesome video for more from Rener:

Gracie Immersion China, The Perfect Destination

I feel so fortunate to have come to this school for my first martial arts experience. Gracie Immersion China is a brand new school opened by people who are so passionate about Gracie Jiu-Jitsu that you cannot help but fall in love with it yourself. The price is right and the environment is incredible. Additionally, this is the only “full-immersion” school in the world. Here, they offer up to three hours a day of specialized Jiu-Jitsu training designed to take a complete beginner and give them confidence to defend themselves against an attacker in just three months. If you attend all of the classes, you will log over 160 hours on the mat in 3 months – a feat that takes the average person more than a year to accomplish. **If you became a digital nomad because you love flinging yourself into unfamiliar situations, you love to travel, you enjoy challenging yourself and you are up for adventure this will be an incredible experience. If you rely on constant high speed internet, you are easily frustrated by the prospect of dealing with a VPN and you are slightly less adventurous, this may not be your cup of tea!**

All-Inclusive Means You Don’t Have to Budget

The prices are listed on the website, but for the most basic accommodation the starting price is ¥6000 or around $930US/month when you sign up for 3 months. For this price you will receive:

  • Your Accommodation
  • Three Meals per Day
  • Gi (one clean gi per jiu-jitsu session)
  • Internet Access (Wi-Fi)
  • Training
    • Calisthenics (one hour daily)
    • Yoga (one hour daily)
    • Jiu-Jitsu (two to four hours daily)
  • Survival Mandarin Chinese (3 classes per week)
  • Holiday Excursion(s)

As well as support on the ground. The staff at the school and hotel is extremely friendly and happy to help out in any way possible. They are dedicated to making this feel like a home away from home! Of course, it is a good idea to show up with extra money in case you want to participate in any of the activities outside of school or go out for a few meals. Knowing that you have three meals a day, training and a place to live for your entire stay definitely offers some peace of mind. Not having to wash your own gi is a gift like no other.

Commitment is Scary

I understand – we all get busy with work and this much training can be a lot! Good news is that you can’t beat the price and you will not be penalized if you’re unable to show up for class. If you have a busy workday and cannot make it – no problem! The program is designed so that any student can walk into any class out of order and still receive a full lesson. While the moves you will be learning all tie in together nicely, they are not contingent upon one another. Sign up with the hopes of attending all of the classes and then do your best

Full Disclosure

I am not being paid to write nice things about the school and I will not receive any kind of commission if you do sign up. I was invited here to write about my experience with the program, good or bad! There are many martial arts schools in China that have fake testimonials, so the founders of this school sought out bloggers who already have a following and a reputation for being honest. I wrote this post because I really think this is an excellent destination for digital nomads and I want to encourage my friends to have the same life-changing experience that I’ve had. Additionally, I want to see the owners of the school succeed because they truly are some of the nicest, most genuine people that I’ve met in my travels. It’s always so refreshing to see young people who are realizing their dreams. I knew this would be a new and challenging experience but I never expected it to be so fun, fulfilling and transformational.

Where Do I Sign?

Make sure that you sign up for the school while there’s still space and prices are so low! Pop over to Gracie Immersion China and register today. If you have any questions about visas, VPNs, or any other detail about the program please check out their website which is full of useful info or shoot Ferdinand an email! If you want to hear any more about my personal experience with the school, feel free to ask in the comments below! Finally, if you’d like to hear from more real people check out the Dali Digital Nomad Facebook page!

Do you know someone who would be a perfect fit for this exciting opportunity? Feel free to share it with them or pin it for later!  >>