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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

15 October 2018

Ghent and GrappleThon Belgium 2018 at Aorta BJJ

I'll take any excuse to go to Belgium, so when Weronika announced she was organising a GrappleThon in Brussels, I was very excited! That meant I could indulge myself in some wonderful Flemish and Dutch art after the GrappleThon. I've been meaning to go to Ghent/Gent for ages, so finally took the opportunity to pop down with Kirsty.

İ was heartily impressed with Ghent, very attractive city. Previously, I'd just wanted to go because it has the van Eyck altarpiece, but having finally made it, I now know there is a lot more. Gorgeous buildings, a massive castle, interesting museums, tasty food and awesome people (like Leen). I'll definitely be back! 😍

The Ghent Altarpiece in St Bavos Cathedral is one of the key works of Western art. For that reason, particularly as I love FlemishArt, I've wanted to see it for years. Jan Van Eyck was a massive influence in the development of oil painting. Though he certainly didn't invent the technique (it has been erroneously credited to him by art critics in past centuries), he was an absolute genius with oils. The Gent Altarpiece is probably his masterpiece, though there's a strong argument to instead point to the Arnolfini Portrait in the National Gallery.

As it's an altarpiece, this is huge and wasn't done by Jan alone: his older brother Hubert was also involved. İt's difficult to say who painted what, but most likely Jan did the donor portraits on the outer panels, which I particularly enjoyed given their secular nature (in that these are normal humans, not biblical figures 😉).

The altarpiece is housed in a gigantic glass vitrine, so unfortunately you can't get very close to the inner panels. However, walking around the back, you can get pretty close to those donors, plus the #risaille saints stood by them. John The Evangelist is one of my faves (depicted here by the donor) along with St Catherine (not here, but I think in a group on the lower central inner panel), as both of them fit into a fantasy setting due to their attributes. John has his poisoned cup filled with dragons (because poison 😉), Catherine has her big sword. 😍

You're not supposed to take pics, so I was being a bit naughty, but I tend to find it irksome when pics are banned. As long as you don't use flash, I think it's ok, but meh, still naughty. 😜 İt's only €4 to get in, plus another €1 for a stripped down audio guide. İt purely gives you the description of each panel, so one of the most concise audio guides I've listened to. The cathedral is also worth a look, but I was mostly just there for the altarpiece. Then it was off to meet my friend Kirsty for waffles and waffling.

Monday is closing time in #Belgium, but fortunately there were a few cool places open in Ghent yesterday. Along with St Bavo's, I was also able to check out the Design Museum Gent: hooray for chairs! Also chandeliers, but mainly chairs. There were all sorts of materials used, from cardboard to 3D printed plastic to 18th century wood, even a #chair made out of fungi. The info was pretty thorough too, with snazzy themed booklets you can take away. Well worth my €8. Gent Wins Again! Or wins a-Gent? 😉

Class #1059

The first edition of the GrappleThon Belgium was a big success, so I hope it becomes an annual event. In terms of the actual rolling, as ever I didn't do all that much. I flow rolled for over an hour with Kirsty, relaxed and staying loose so I could go longer. Tougher roll with Kenny the next day, but he was still taking it easy. Trying to keep everything in place, remove from attacks. I think he eventually got a toe hold, can't remember? On butterfly guard pass, be sure to control at least one of their hooks.

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