Taiwan is a small island nation with a complicated history stemming from its relationship with main land China. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is relatively young here but now is making great strides in becoming more main stream. If you are ever looking for a place to visit that is affordable, convenient, and safe, Taiwan is the place to go. Rich with culture and great food, its definitely a designation to stop at if you are ever making a trip to Asia. (Just don’t go during the summer, the heat is brutal and the misquotes murderous).
The BJJ Experience
Some of my fondness experience from my early years in BJJ was training at Taiwan BJJ (台灣巴西柔術學院). I had the opportunity to stay in Taiwan for about 6 months on my first trip. The BJJ scene back then had just started to bloom, with Taiwan BJJ being the prominent academy in Taipei. Under Makoto Ogasawara (Nova União) and Chris Ng, both amazing black belts, the school fostered a great culture and vibe.
In recent times the school has split, with Makoto staying at Taiwan BJJ, at their new location, and Chris opening up his own school under the PMA (台北巴柔運動館) banner. The new Taiwan BJJ has a huge mat space, offering strength and conditioning classes besides BJJ. They also have showers and lockers. Mat fee was about 500NT for whole day.
There are usually multiple classes per day, with usually starting with a light warm up, then going into technique, rolling, and then ending with basic movement and cool down. Makoto sensei teaches most of the classes, with the occasional guest professors or help from assistant instructors.
PMA BJJ has a much smaller gym space, with more of a old school vibe. They do have a shower, with the mat fee of 500NT as well. Chris teaches all his classes, format similar to Taiwan BJJ but without the cool down part.
Overall the guys and gals there are very open and friendly, always happy to have new and old friends stop by. If you ever get the chance, definitely go visit them.
Taiwan Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Academy
- Address: 10491, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongshan District, Jilin Road, #12-3
- Tel: 02-2531-7383
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://taiwanbjj.org/en/taipei/
- Address: No. 33, Lane 82, Section 3, Xinsheng North Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pmabjjtaiwan/
Staying In Taiwan
In the capital Taipei, everything is super convenient even for foreigners. Most of the signs and directions are printed in Chinese and English. The city also has universal wifi (something we are severally lacking in the States…) During my time there, I opted to stay at a hostel. If you are thinking to do the same, definitely do your research, read reviews, and shop around for location and price.
If you are thinking of leaving the capital and visiting other parts of Taiwan, there is the high speed rail option (kinda pricey), bus, and local train.
Affordable and Tasty
Food is something you don’t need to worry about in Taiwan. I mean it, there is food literally everywhere. Make sure to hit up the night markets, the largest at Shi Lin. (Take the red line and get off at Jiantan). Food is one of the reasons you go to Taiwan and they do it very well over there.
Getting Around in Taipei
Travel wise, the public transportation system is one of the best in the world in my opinion. Coming from the airport, you have the option of (I believe now) of taking the Red Line to Taipei, taxi service, or bus. Once in the city, you can usually get to anywhere by metro or bus. Taxi is more expensive but will get you where you need to go no problem.
If you want to leave Taipei and travel to other parts of the island, you can either take the High Speed Rail (HSR) that goes from North to South or take the scenic route by bus.
Places to Visit
- Taroko National Park – Hualian
- Ali Shan
- Taipei 101
- Sun Moon Lake
- Houtong Cat Village (If you like cats)