Dream gyms to visit in Brazil? And my 6 months in Rio

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by bllandzz, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. bllandzz

    bllandzz White Belt

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    Hey guys I've just come back from living in Rio for 6 months. Spent 2 months training at Nova Uniao in Flamengo and spent a month training at GFT in Meier - Zona Norte.

    Just to give you a quick background in my training, I knew absolutely no jiu jitsu before arriving in Rio. I started training muay thai in 2008 when I first went to Tiger MT in Phuket and since then I've competed a bit in MT and trained regularly for 8 or so years. This year I wanted to try something new and that's how I ended up training bjj in Rio. I was originally meant to train for 6 weeks and then move around South America but 6 weeks turned in to a few months, which turned into a total of 6 months in Brazil. Fucking great experience, not just the jiu jitsu side of it but also living the good life in Rio.

    When I arrived in Rio I didn't know anything about jiu jitsu or the bjj gyms in Brazil so I picked the only gym I knew about to train at - Nova Uniao. While I have no complaints about the gym I wouldn't recommend it to someone in my situation who is an absolute beginner because these guys are all top notch and on a different level. My first session I was rolling with blue / purple belts and getting destroyed, great experience but not so great if you need to learn the basics. The gym is very competitive and people are there to train, I was lucky enough to get some privates in with a purple belt at the time who broke the basics down for me and after a few months I popped my submission cherry, albeit with a blue belt guy in his 50s but I was happy to take what I could get!! There were a few gringos training BJJ there on and off but most classes I was the only gringo, especially the only gringo training as a white belt. Classes are in Portuguese but since most classes have around 20-30 people it's easy enough to partner up with someone who is able to explain the moves in English. The classes consisted for an hour and a half, with half hour technique / warm up and then an hour rolling. This schedule seemed pretty standard for the schools I visited in Rio.

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    Group photo at NU. Spot the gringo.
    Once the Olympics hit Rio my training went downhill and the partying reached new heights. This continued on to well after the Olympics and and around October I started training again. I was living in Zona Norte in Meier and was always walking past a gym called GFT, since I knew nothing about bjj I had no idea that it was one of the best gyms in the world. I stayed there for 4 weeks and trained most nights in their beginner / intermediate class before coming back home. For me this was the gym I liked the most, they broke the techniques down to a basic level and took the time to show me things at a beginner level. Same format as NU with a half hour of techniques and drilling with an hour rolling. Classes had around 15 people per session and there were a few gringos training in the night time that were also training in the pro mid morning class. I didn't go to the pro training sessions but by all accounts the level is quality.

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    The only pic I snapped from GFT. This is downstairs and since the photo was taken they have made a training room upstairs.
    One of the best experiences of my life and a great introduction to jiu jitsu!

    On top of training I linked up with the Terere BJJ Social Project which aims to teach the favela kids of Cantagalo English to compliment the free training they are given at the academy from Terere. If anyone is interested have a look at http://tererebjj.blogspot.com.au/p/social-project.html

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    Terere social project in Ipanema
    With the connections at Nova Uniao I managed to get a training session with the Brazilian Special Forces BOPE. If you haven't heard of them or want to know more, check out the movie Tropa de Elite which gives a pretty surreal insight into what they do and why they do it.

    [​IMG]

    I just wanted to give a little insight into the training in Rio and what it is like to come to Brazil with absolutely no jiu jitsu training. If I could do it over again I would definitely shop around at a few gyms and see which one suits me, my style of training and who are open to teaching absolute beginners. I really liked GFT from my first visit there, I like grimy gyms that are family orientated and that is what I found with GFT in Meier. It also helped living 10mins walk from the gym because if I was living anywhere else or staying in Zona Sul I wouldn't take the train back to Zona Sul after training is finished at 10pm at night.

    Before I went off on a tangent the idea behind this thread is to ask what dream gyms would you like to visit in Rio? Or what gyms would you recommend for someone that wants to travel to Rio and train? It doesn't have to be world class competitive gyms, just gyms you have an interest in and want to know more about.

    Cheers!
     
    lechien likes this.
  2. randomg1t

    randomg1t EVERYTIME CHAMPION

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    i can't believe how much of a shithole GFT looks in every photo and how awesome their jiu jitsu is. i hear nothing but great stuff about everyone there, too.

    super jelly.
     
  3. bllandzz

    bllandzz White Belt

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    The training is quality and they cater to all levels, Julio is the man. Definitely worth a visit but if you are doing the beginners class try to stay local because the train is too dangerous to take when the class finishes at night.
     
  4. RuDOWN4It

    RuDOWN4It Brown Belt

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    Nice post. I was in Rio for the Olympics. That wasn't a training-focused trip, however I did manage to check out a couple gyms while I was there.

    Where did you live at for the 6 months? How did you manage to take that much time off work? How much would you say you spent for the entire trip?
     
  5. DaGenius

    DaGenius Silver Belt

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    Awesome and good for you. If I lived 6 mos in Rio I'd have excellent Jiu jitsu and about 3 kids
     
  6. bllandzz

    bllandzz White Belt

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    Awesome, which gyms did you manage to visit? Any other gyms on the list?

    I stayed in 3 different spots. First off I was near largo do machado which was 15mins walk to Nova União. Then I stayed in Lapa during the Olympics and after I was in Meier for a few months.

    Was lucky enough to lose my job a year ago and have taken time off since..I've got no responsibilities and won't go back to work until March next year.

    Spent about 25k usd in 6 months, maybe a little more of little less. I drank and partied a lot, Brazil is not cheap especially if you're going out all the time. I didn't do anything cheaply, I blew a lot of cash but it was a fucking great experience. If I were to do it again I wouldn't be spending as much haha. A friend I met there spent about 6k usd in 3 months and he was on the cheap, stayed in a hostel and trained pretty consistently.
     
  7. bllandzz

    bllandzz White Belt

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    Don't sell yourself short, you'd have more than 3 kids ;)
     
    DaGenius likes this.
  8. Alex88

    Alex88 Brown Belt

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    Tell us more about the partying :D
     
  9. Invisible Jiu Jitsu

    Invisible Jiu Jitsu Green Belt

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    25k? o_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_O

    Hahaha cool trip though, I was there for a couple of months from october to december. NU and GFT ar about the only 2 big gyms I haven't been too. I was also lucky enough to get a tour of the BOPE headquarters, did you go up on the roof? the view is literally the best I have ever seen in Rio
     
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  10. bllandzz

    bllandzz White Belt

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    Top notch...from what I can remember!! Just stay away from the Cachaca, that shit is the devil
     
  11. bllandzz

    bllandzz White Belt

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    Nice man, which gyms did you get to visit there? And how did you find the classes? NU don't do single sessions at the gym so if you go you have to pay for the week minimum. They run it pretty professionally because it is attached to a gym.

    Got the full service at BOPE, even got to have lunch there after training as well. The view up the top is quality..the captain who was with us said that when they moved in to the building the Tavares Bastos favela was full of traficos and they would sit on top of the roof with a sniper and pop them off to get rid of them.

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    View from the top​
     
  12. RuDOWN4It

    RuDOWN4It Brown Belt

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    Good stuff. I checked out Gordo's and Pr1mera MMA.

    How did you manage to find the housing? Airbnb?

    Haha you must've lived like a king with $25k spent in 6 months.
     
  13. Invisible Jiu Jitsu

    Invisible Jiu Jitsu Green Belt

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    I just train at de la riva for gi and Rio fighters with milton vieira for luta livre. I've lived out there so been to a hell of a lot of places in the past. dropped in at felipe costa's new place too this time around.
     
  14. The Persian Prince

    The Persian Prince Blue Belt

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    Sounds like a great experience, but for the love of God man tell us about the Brazilian women..
     

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