Thursday, 9 September 2010

Greetings from Rio!

After 11 years, I have finally got my ass down to South America into the mecca of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! After a hassle free flight from Manchester, I was met at the airport by Carlos, a friend of Dennis Asche and was taken up to Connection Rio in Barra de Tijuca. The weather was cold and raining so I immediately felt at home, as we drove through the winding streets, passing the Estadio Mario Filho, Brazil's biggest football stadium and had my first glimpse of the favelas, as we passed the Borel favela in Tijuca.

After arriving at Connectio Rio, I unpacked and managed a few hours sleep before attending the 2pm class with Dennis; the class was a great way to wake me up and I trained with Mad Jack Magee, who is also resident at CR; drilled out some techniques, takedowns and guard passes and rounded off with specifics and rolling with Jack and Dennis.

Chilled out with Dennis before joining in the evening class with Gordo and a number of brown and black belts; there's just been a national holiday here in Rio, so most people are still recovering from the partying, so numbers were low last night, with a few black belts, browns, purple and blues. After a good warm, we drilled out some takedowns, before covering a few open guard drills and sweeps and then I had three ten minute rolls.

My first roll was with a brown belt called Thiago and started off very relaxed which allowed me to relax and open up my game a bit more, as we weren't fighting to to the death, just training and having fun. Thiago was a cool guy and we traded passes and sweeps and all too soon it was 'Tempo', end of the first round.

Second guy up was a lightweight blue belt called Rafael, very flexible individual and we had another good session, he had an insane bendy open guard, one minute he was there, then POW he was underneath me and on my back and then somewhere else, a very slippery cutomer.

Last roll saw me up against Mamazinho and was one of the best ten minutes I've had on the mats; I pulled off sweeps from all crazy angles and guard passes galore, he really let me relax and get the most from the time with him. We moved together the whole ten minutes non stop from start to finish, laughing all the time, more so when he set me up with some sneaky moves of his own!

So there endeth my first day in Rio and all that remained was to eat; I went to the Canto Alegre with Jack Mc Gee, round the corner from the gym and we feasted on grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, black bean rice and rice with broccoli, the food of Gods (and hungry BJJ men).

As of writing, the sun has made an appearance and in two and a half hours time, the 2pm class will be upon me, so until then, I'll hit the road and go for some Acai and protein and fuel up for the fun that lies ahead of me.

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