2024 ADCC European, Middle East and African Trial

Into The Land Of Vikings | FloGrappling EuroTrip Blog Pt. 4 (Norway)

Into The Land Of Vikings | FloGrappling EuroTrip Blog Pt. 4 (Norway)

A quick stop in Stavanger, Norway, to catch up with Felipe Mota's killer team of teens, then to Haugesund for training, saunas and more with Tommy Langaker.

Feb 17, 2024 by Corey Stockton

Our destination in Norway was Haugesund, home of Wulfing Academy and of ADCC veteran and IBJJF no-gi world champion Tommy Langaker. But it wouldn't be easy to get there.

We flew into Oslo — on the eastern coast of Norway — then crossed the airport to board a plane to Stavanger on the western coast. When we arrived in Stavanger, the incomparable Maggie Left of @Grapple.Culture picked us up to take us into town. Eventually, she would bring us north to Haugesund; but first, she had to teach a class.

So she dropped us off at OXY, the home academy of ADCC veteran Julia Mæle, so we could train off the travel sores and film with a room full of ADCC hopefuls.

Catch up on previous editions of the FloGrappling Euro Tour Blog:

OXY's head coach, Felipe Mota, has raised an army of teenage killers

In a room full of blue and purple belts, the average age must have been 15 years old; and each of them was a nightmare to grapple.

Fast, strong, explosive, and with cardio forever, each of these kids was dialed into ADCC scoring, and primed to perform at the ADCC European Trials.

Their strength and conditioning was bolstered by a Norwegian school program. When athletes reach the age of 15, they can enter into an athletic program, where a portion of their daily class schedule includes strength and conditioning. And it was damn apparent that all of the top dogs in this room were in that program.

It was equally apparent that Felipe invested in these athletes. They listened to him; they respected him. And he was beaming with pride in them.

Julia Mæle was the household name in the room. The ADCC trials winner and WNO veteran didn't battle like the young guns. But she didn't have to. She tactfully and technically picked them apart, relying on her maturity and veteran-ship to dismantle the raw athletes in the room.

After training, the fun began. Felipe took us to a spot down the road where he showed us the best burger in the country. The Brazil native had nothing but love for his adopted home of Norway, and it was evident when, after dinner he took us out to show off some of the nightlife in Stavanger.

A popular nightlife street in Stavanger

A shot of the national liqueur — Aquaveit — at the first bar.

A quick stop at another bar for a beer.

A third bar for for another beer and a live cover band which caught my attention for their rendition of "Human" by The Killers (you know the one... "are we human or are we dancer?").

Then, a song in Norwegian, which everyone in the bar except for us knew the words to.

After the rounds we finally met back up with Maggie, who would take us two hours north to Haugesund.

It was a long, late-night trip which included half a dozen extensive tunnels and a ferry ride across the Bokna Fjord. All of this, by the way, was out of the way for Maggie — like I said, incomparable.

For those keeping score, I had already lost a hat in Paris, a pair of mustache scissors in Ireland, and a camera in Poland. So only fitting that I left a set of headphones in Maggie's car as she dropped us off at the Scandic Hotel in Haugesund. It's like souvenirs in reverse.


The next morning, we walked a few blocks from our hotel to Wulfing Academy, where we met up with Tommy Langaker and team for competition training. Tommy was under the weather after his flight back from Japan, where he had just competed against Kade Ruotolo for the ONE Championship belt, but he guided the class through a series of drills and then rolling, and we got a chance to watch some of the rising Norwegian talent in action.

ADCC Trials winners Ane Svendsen and Josafine Modig were the most decorated names in the room, but everyone scrapped hard.

Nobody looked like a more dreaded roll, though, then Vegard Randaberg. The 88kg athlete had a hard nosed style, and was out to show it. He was all action during training, but taciturn when we pulled him aside to interview. I took that as a character trait until, at lunch, he was the life of the party. He made a point of sitting with us strangers, entertaining us, and joking with some parodies of American politics. After lunch, Tommy invited us to an evening sauna session. After two weeks of travel, nothing could sound more appealing.

These guys do the sauna the right way.

The wood burning sauna was on the dock of the city's central river. We opened with a plunge into that river, which was about 50º Fahrenheit, then rushed into the sauna for the first 15-minute set, where we started at about 175º.

Two more dips in the water and two more 15-minute sets in the box, and it was well into the 200s.

By the fourth set, we could feel our blood vessels dilating. We were getting light headed, loopy — we were getting high on the heat and the release. The five of us were having revelations in the box.

One more dip in the water, one more — brutal — 15-minute roast, and we were done. And, stepping out of the sauna and onto the dock, there was a cool sense of serenity, silently looking across the river to the sleepy city of Haugesund, enjoying the relief of the night chill.

The next day, Tommy took us and his pitbull puppy, Anouki, to Haroldshaugen, a monument on the coast commemorating the unification of Norway under the viking king. Then, to the mountains for a short hike, where we had an picturesque view of Haugesund's epic countryside.

On the final day, we returned to Wulfing Academy for some private training with Tommy and Josafine, where we shot an episode of Fix My Game (coming soon!).

Another checker on our public transit bingo card: we took a bus back to Stavanger across the ferry, then headed to the airport for the final leg of our month-long European journey. 

Destination: London.