Julien Goes Across the World (6) / IJF.org

Julien Goes Across the World (6) / IJF.org

Final time I wrote to you I used to be in Georgia with Lasha Bekauri, the Olympic champion, and his coach David. At present I am blissful to see that he got here again from the Oberwart European Open 2022 with a gold medal, after his shoulder surgical procedure. Bravo!

Julien in Gori

I’ve determined to go to town of Gori. This can be a particular metropolis as a result of with solely 50,000 individuals, they’ve extra Olympic and world medals than a few of the greatest nations on this planet. Shavdatuashvili, Gviniashvili and extra come from this metropolis.

I had a contact who was serving to me with administration, organising the place to sleep and eat however as he wasn’t bodily current, it was the younger Archil Mamulashvili, who is definitely competing for a French judo membership, who kindly supplied some additional assist. He speaks English and French too and because of him I used to be nicely built-in with the judo membership and it was a really nice second.

I’ve found that this metropolis is simply speaking about judo, they’re fully immersed. In fact, there’s the Joseph Stalin museum, since he was born there, however other than that it is solely judo coaching and different judo actions.

Worldwide judoka got here to assist their mates to heat up.

The coach of the judo membership invited me to look at the Chidaoba Nationwide Championship. That is an historic type of wrestling invented in Georgia. Worldwide judoka, who’re registered on the World Judo Tour, can not take part, however a few of them got here to assist their mates to heat up. This was a second of actual jita kyoei. I had the sensation that I used to be diving into the intimacy of the Georgian tradition; it was superb.

I got here again to Tbilisi to attend for details about my subsequent stage, Azerbaijan. As a reminder, it’s prohibited to enter the nation by land as a result of Covid restrictions. My undertaking purpose to attempt to go to 197 nations with none flights, due to Ulker the Press Secretary of the Azerbaijan Judo Federation, was maintained. She did a tremendous job and labored to acquire me an official move to journey by land, a paper signed by the Minister of Sport. Once I reached  the border, the police could not imagine their eyes and did not let me cross, at first. Then they instructed me that I used to be a really fortunate man as a result of even most diplomats could not enter the nation.

I took a taxi from the border to the capital, about 20$ for 500km! There, all the things was prepared for me. I had a spot to remain and other people had a full programme prepared for my time within the nation. My visa was legitimate for simply 10 days.


First, I went to the largest judo membership in Baku, the place I participated in a really busy coaching session for veterans. It was an enormous shock to seek out such a well-liked session for this age group and everybody was actually pleasant and cautious with one another. The veterans’ good temper is not a fantasy! The coaching was lead by 9-time veteran world champion Farhad Rajabli.

As Ulker organised all the things, I had individuals to information me via town and I found the tradition and the fantastic thing about Baku. The federation needed me to present a category to youngsters who had by no means carried out judo earlier than. They have been on a summer season camp for psychological rehabilitation.

It was difficult as a result of we had no dojo or judogi they usually have been all inexperienced persons however the class went very nicely and all of us discovered loads. We have been there for a few days however sadly everybody needed to be evacuated due to the forest hearth. Whereas in Azerbaijan, the warmth was loopy, between 37 and 38 levels. Within the mountains, one of many greatest forests within the nation was on hearth. It was heart-breaking to see that.

One of many the reason why I began this undertaking was to have the ability to see all the world’s wonders with out contributing to their erosion. Seeing them burnt to the bottom made me actually unhappy.

Julien in Yanar Dag

The have been actually attention-grabbing and positively uncommon issues too. We additionally went to a spot known as Yanar Dag. It’s a pure hillside fuel hearth which blazes constantly, proper on the Absheron Peninsula on the Caspian Sea close to Baku. This was the primary time for me to witness one thing like that.

The following day, after the evacuation, I went to see the nationwide cadet group however I could not present a lot to them as they have been of their ultimate preparation for the world championship for cadets. It was nonetheless attention-grabbing to see and to speak with the coaches. A nationwide tv crew got here to speak about my undertaking and likewise about these cadets. I’ve seen that for a number of years the judo is de facto altering within the nation. The federation is working exhausting to make issues even higher. The way in which I used to be welcomed is one instance of this. The federation is not scared to discover progressive issues.

I needed to go away Azerbaijan in a rush and with it not being open to vacationers, the boats from Baku to Kazakhstan weren’t open for me, so I needed to take a cargo ship. These usually are not common and I needed to go away sooner than the ten days of my visa. I used to be anticipating this journey to be very uncomfortable nevertheless it was the other. It was one of the nice journey moments I’ve had thus far. I used to be with truck drivers from Ukraine and Kazakhstan and we had a number of enjoyable collectively.


I arrived in Kazakhstan within the metropolis of Aktau. After two day restoration, I needed to take a practice in a rush once more. One membership needed to see me however I could not go to them. It was nonetheless the summer season holidays and all trains have been fairly full. I discovered a final minute practice from Aktau to Nur-Sultan, beforehand often called Astana, the capital metropolis which is 2800km away. I went on that practice for a loopy 50 hour journey, with out even a correct bathe. I spent the journey with a Kazakh babushka (grandma) and two different individuals in a 2 sq. metre wagon. No one might converse English. Initially I assumed it might be very sophisticated for me nevertheless it turned out to be very nice. I do know some fundamental Russian as a result of I’ve been finding out it able to journey to these Ex-Soviet areas, so we might talk a bit and discovered about one another’s lives.

In Nur-Sultan, the judo centre was ready for me. Aigerim Toxanbek, the media supervisor of the federation, reached out to me and defined that she’ll maintain my time within the metropolis. Aigerim and her pal Ayakoz, who’s a fluent French speaker, in addition to the judo coaches, have been guiding me all over the place to find town and train judo somewhere else. I principally taught kids and did some interviews once more. I seen that the kids have been extraordinarily disciplined in that area. As quickly as they see you they run in direction of you to bow. Then they maintain your hand and canopy it with their second hand.

I used to be staying within the centre with the coach and though the communication was not all the time straightforward, we developed a real friendship, with the final day being simply superb. First we went partying with Ayakoz and Aigerim. It was a memorable night time within the capital. We sung a few of the hottest French songs out loud.

The following day we went to see a standard sport, the Kok-Par. It’s a sport that exists in Kazakhstan and different nations of this area, equivalent to Azerbaijan and Kyrgysztan. There are two groups which should put their ball on the opposite aspect of the sector whereas operating on horses. Normally the ball is a lifeless sheep however right here is was not. Horses are very current within the tradition of Kazakhstan.

I used to be made to really feel extraordinarily welcome; they lined me with items and applause. Everybody was taking images with me. Truly that is one thing that occurred in random locations in Kazakhstan very often. They have been among the many nicest individuals I’ve met thus far however I nonetheless had then feeling of sand in my eyes figuring out that I needed to soar on the following night time practice to Almaty already. I can not thank them sufficient for such kindness. As soon as once more my coronary heart was heavy, leaving these individuals.

The following day, I arrived in Almaty the place I’m in the meanwhile. I’ve met Isa, the coach of Judo Membership Almaty. We dropped my baggage at my hostel and went on to the mountains across the metropolis to find how fantastic it was. After that I assumed I’d return to the hostel to take a bathe and relaxation however no, the Kazakh’s generosity was too sturdy and we stored going all day till late at night time, discovering town and completely different locations. Isa organised all the things to make it match with my undertaking. He needed to ask me to his place however he is about to maneuver to a brand new house so it wasn’t attainable.

I additionally went to a different dojo known as Membership Champion Judo. It was primarily kids, together with youngsters, many ladies and a few of them have been very sturdy, equivalent to Madina Paragulgova, a silver medallist at a world championships for cadets. I used to be blissful to spend time with them. Thus far throughout my undertaking I’ve discovered a number of suggestions and tips, so once I train kids it is simply fundamental judo, since they’re inexperienced persons, however once I train opponents I can exploit the complete potential of this undertaking and that is very satisfying.

I am now leaving to my subsequent nation, Kyrgyzstan. All these nations are completely unknown for me and I really like discovering all the things. There the federation is ready for me and I do know it will be one other very nice second. I am going to then go to Uzbekistan for the World Championships and I hope to meet up with many mates there.

Then time will begin to be a bit of sophisticated. By travelling to that area, I form of put myself in a lifeless finish. My authentic plan was to go east via China however China has one of the strict Covid protocols on this planet and it’s nonetheless closed for individuals like me. I checked if I might take a ship to Iran however there usually are not any obtainable. The politic state of affairs not removed from right here additionally has an affect on my selections and so I’ve to watch out about my coming decisions.

That leads me to three potentialities:

– I maintain taking my time in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Then perhaps China will re-open. There was some enchancment just lately for college students and employees.

– I exploit my ‘Joker’ of flying. My undertaking is a no-flight undertaking but when I’ve private or household points I can fly. Additionally if there are geopolitical issues that supply no different possibility I could should do it however I really feel dangerous about it so I’m presently looking for one other approach.

– I am going again by boat to Azerbaijan to then attain Iran however I would wish some sophisticated particular permissions once more.

I’ll have the reply by the following article. Thanks on your consideration and do not hesitate to observe the journey on my social media Thejudonomad.

Observe Julien in Fb and Instagram

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