I’m Tom Shrum, I’ve recently went on my first international trip in my life and it was to compete in the European Open in Lisbon, Portugal. I had easily one of the most fun and interesting times of my life as I look back on this past week. This was my first tournament competing as a Blue belt and even though I lost in my first round for my weight division I still believe the trip was very much worth it. I also competed in a Country vs. Country tournament on day 3 of the trip and got a chance for more matches. We competed as a team of five representing the U.S.A.. Team American consisted of Tim Spriggs, Matt Rihani, Big Al Washington, another blue belt who was from the states to compete, and myself. We ended up taking second after 5 rounds.
After everything I believe this trip was very beneficial to me, I have a very good idea on things that I can improve to better my Jiu Jitsu which I will be working as soon we get back to the gym. I think this tournament is a great experience for anybody who would like to be a regular competitor because of not only the experience at the tournament it self but everything else involved from traveling on multiple plane rides 10 hours from home and learning to adapt in a foreign country. On the way back we stopped in London for a day of sightseeing while overseas which was a great to see. London was a great place and unlike any place I have seen in America. Overall, this was a great trip filled with lots of new experiences that I recommend for everyone.