Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Brazilian adventures - end of week 1.....

It's the end of week 1 here for me in Rio and what a week it's been; I more or less hit the ground running upon arrival last Wednesday morning, taking in two training sessions on the first day and repeated this on Thursday and Friday. The weekend was taken up by the hard task of lazing around on Pepe Beach, taking in the sights, smells, sounds and surf with new found friends and just general chilling out on the Sunday, took in a long walk down the strip where the beach is.

Weekends in the UK for me usually comprises of long hours on the doors dealing with idiots and getting in at crazy hours, which plays havoc with me through the weekdays, as my body tries to make up for all the lost hours of sleep at the weekend.

A weekend off was just the tonic I needed and I hit the mats with renewed vigour on Monday, training twice a day and Tuesday I missed the afternoon class, as I was out for the day at the Acao Social project in Vergam Grande, where Kyra Gracie gives up her Tuesdays to teach the local school children for free, giving something back to the community. A more detailed report, plus pix will follow.

Evening class last night was packed out with black belts, purple belts, blues and whites, over thirty guys and we were treated to a guest session from Mamazinho, who covered for Gordo.

So what are the classes like I hear you cry?

I must admit I was very apprehensive about the reception a 'gringo' would receive out here; I've trained all over the world but this is the first time I was to walk with the Brazilians on their home ground, so I was nervous and excited at the same time. Anyway, all the doubts and fears were soon laid to rest in the first afternoon class with Dennis Asche; Dennis is a black belt with Gordo and runs Connection Rio and is one of the most helpful people you could wish to meet. After meeting me at the apartments, we walked round the block to Gordo's academy and started the class; Mad Jack Magee was also at the class and we started with grip defence into takedowns and uchikomis, before moving onto guard passing drills.

Dennis showed a couple of technique 'series' which were really cool and a great way to fully warm up, before specific training and of course, rolling. The rolls were seven minutes long and we rolled with everyone on the mats, which at the time equated to six rolls in total. The afternoon class has two purples (Jack and myself) and a few other white belts and Dennis and my first roll was with Jack, a very technical and flowing roll, then I was on with Dennis. Dennis is a very technical and precise roller, with great movement on the ground, but at the same time allows you to relax and open up your game, which in turn helps you improve.

So that was the first session, the weather wasn't too hot but still worked up a sweat, so it was back to CR and a quick shower and all that was required was to kick back and wait for the six thirty class with Gordo.

Gordo's class was a lot busier and had more coloured belts, so this was it, in with the big boys; the warm up was no different from what we're used to back in Blighty and Gordo stepped in and showed a few techniques from open guard and then it was onto specifics and rolling and this is where training here comes into its own.

Based and training in Bolton, there aren't a lot of higher grades to roll with on a daily basis, but on this first session, there were three black belts, five brown and purple belts and a handful of blue belts and so the fun began and my worries eased. To say the guys were laid back is an understatement; all the training from here on was relaxed yet competitive and once again, relaxation was the name of the game and from that I had some awesome rolls with the browns and blacks (ten minute rounds) and my last roll was with black belt Mamazinho, how cool is that?!

It was the best ten minute roll I have had in a long time, I was pulling off guard passes and sweeps like a man possessed and was encouraged all the time with a large smile and then was brought back down to earth with the sneakiest of submissions. I even threw in a few of my own, but yes you've guessed it, I didn't get the tap, just a cool escape and an even cooler submission, but I still learned heaps about getting the submissions on in the first place. There were no egos on the mats from all the guys, everyone was helping each other improve and just sitting watching the black belts go at it was an education in itself.

And that has been the way of training since I arrived; training twice a day (2pm and 630pm) has exposed me to the technique and drill-driven classes with Dennis and the high class rolling in the evening session with Gordo, a perfect combination.

Whilst here, my journalistic desires are being fed to the max by Dennis, who has an eye watering amount of contacts and I've already bagged an interview with Wallid Ismail, that can be seen at the Kombat Clinic dot com website, the first of many, together with a mini interview with Kyra Gracie, to join my write up on the Acao Social project. More BJJ and MMA legends will be given the FP treatment, so keep 'em peeled on here for the links.

All in all a great first week, hard training and no injuries, which can only be a good thing, so with that said, it's time to log off and get ready for the six thirty class - no rest for the wicked!


DirtyWhiteGi said...

dang, makes me miss Barra and Gordo's even more now, i'm jealous!

Mamazinho is awesome to roll with and to watch roll.. he just lets people get positions and subs on him so he can escape and them tap them out.. i love watching the little tweaks he does

Thiago's great too... one of the most helpful and friendly guys there, gives great feedback and you can tell he cares about it too

if you could say hi to Dennis for me from Greg that'd be awesome... and to Mamazinho, Gordo and Rommel from 'pacquiao' lol... cheers

TFP said...

Hey there mate

I'll pass the message on to Dennis, got 2pm class in an hour; Mamzinho is awesome, did just as you said, escape the subs and tapped me out, wicked fun mate :)