Rio de Janeiro – BJJ & Judo

BJJ @ Checkmat (Fight Zone)

Getting There – Long walk (about 2.5 – 3km) from our hostel. Majority was down the main street (Rua Visc. de Piraja) in Ipanema however and quite safe. The last 500 m or so we went past Crossfit Carioca for Ailie and went through some back streets near the hospital to get into Copacobana with no trouble. The gym is located near the intersection of Ipanema and Copacobana. Somewhat difficult to find the gym, no signage out the front. Located up a small flight of stairs on the first level at the end of the long hallway.

Neighbourhood – Neighbourhood seemed quite safe, even walking around past 10 pm after class. Ailie did have a dodgy moment however while I was in class and she walked across to the convenience store, with some homeless guys causing some trouble in the shop.

Cost – $50R for the drop-in class.

School – Quite a nice school, large mat area with toilets and change room. Nice photo montage at the entrance, with some trophies and gear for purchase.

Class – Relatively large class, around 5 black belts, 2 browns, 5 purples, 5 blues and 3 whites.

Warmup – Simple warmup of just running around the mats.

Technique – No real specific technique, more of a concept of how the instructor plays side control. Practiced the details for about 20 minutes; taught in Portuguese and English.  Can’t really remember everything but detailed different concepts for controlling side control (position, switching to north-south and crushing the far shoulder when they bridge into you, bailing on scarf hold if they try escape out the back, attacking the s-mount ‘teabag’ kimura when they bridge in and arm-in guillotine if they get to turtle); somewhat similar to these:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZAs-ZrjsdQ
– Can’t find a video for scarf hold bail, when they try escape out the back, put your head/shoulder to the mat and jump over them to the other side behind opponent and take back / side control.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFgox0wot1w
– Arm in guillotine extra details, as they turtle, get arm in guillotine grip, fall to the side which their head is on and slip your near leg in for shin block. Your far leg goes across their back, and finish lying on your side and arch backwards. For setup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHD3M6kPv-Q for finish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr9PudI_nlo

Rolling – For the first 30 minutes we did positional sparring then rolled for the next 30. Black belts stayed in the middle for the first 10 minutes of positional sparring, everyone else formed a line and after each sweep or escape the next person came in. After this, people in the middle alternated every 10 minutes or so (including during rolling, swap after tap or time). Positional sparring started from (or under) side control.

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Judo @ Mehdi Judo

Getting There – Located on the main street in Ipanema, probably less than 1 km from our hostel. Large sign on the building, entrance is on the left of the sign and go up the stairs to the first level.

Neighbourhood – Ipanema, nice area, no problems.

Cost – $150R for the one lesson.

School – Very nice little school, have to take your shoes off outside. As you walk in, there is a couch to the right and desk on left. Rest of the school is matted area, lots of old photos and paintings on the walls. Neatly made bed in the corner of the mat area (near the entrance) and change rooms behind that. At the far end near the windows is some gym equipment (small weights, bands, yoga balls, pull-up station etc. Incense burning and classical music playing, very traditional Japanese dojo feeling about the place.

Class – 3 black belts, 1 brown, 1 orange and 1 green. Very interesting class to say the least, could probably write a whole blog post just about the atmosphere. Very unwelcoming when I first walked in, told me I have to pay first then we’d talk as “Australians are just like Brazilians” … not sure what that was supposed to mean but I’m assuming something about thieves. Unfortunately made the mistake of telling him I did BJJ, his rumoured hatred for BJJ definitely isn’t a rumour. Got told I was shit plenty of times, along with my BJJ being shit and BJJ being shit in general. While he was hard on my Judo (of course it was shit – white belt), he was also helpful, and to be fair, he did yell at everyone (especially when they couldn’t choke me); he even complimented me and said I was intelligent and asked my profession. At one stage he did talk about himself back in the day and how he was my height once, so I think he showed some signs of warming up to me. Other members of the class were quite helpful. After this he picked up a stick and apologised to me, I thought I was going to get hit but he ended up just using it to point to photos on the wall of his instructors and tell me again that BJJ is shit and they’re all thieves and come from thieves. At the end of the class we did jump squats (100) and then pushups where he’d count and every time you added a rep (1, 1-2, 1-2-3, etc), nose had to touch ground. Saw him belt someone in the back with the stick for shitty form and then as he arched up he smacked him in the stomach. Unfortunately I only made it to the 7th set, and he kept yelling for me to keep going. After failing I realised I was the last person still going (Ailie told me later). Even though I was the last, he still let Ailie know she was “married” to a weakling (he was very friendly and talkative to Ailie all class). At the end of class he took me to the side to show me some things … and again reinforce how shit BJJ is. All in all though, he definitely warmed up to me during the class and was relatively friendly by the end of it (wanted me to come back and took a photo with me). Would definitely recommend the class just for the experience, and of course his Judo knowledge is amazing. Just be prepared for a very strict class.

Warmup – Light warmup, did some Uchikomi (kouchi gari, de ashi barai, osoto gari, kosoto gake), practised break falls and rolling break falls over yoga ball.

Technique –

Not posting videos for these since there’s plenty out there, just random notes that I wrote down afterwards. Need to keep hips up and open, tend to bend forward too much instead of being upright. Also due to height always use top / high grip on lapel behind neck.
Kouchi Gari – Pull in as your step in, turn sideways (left), left foot replaces right, right foot hooks deep (on calf), same arm movements as DAB, stay chest to chest.
De Ashi Barai – Pull sleeve to get them to step forward, circular back step with right leg, sweep with left foot while trying to push your elbows together (i.e. push head to the left and back, pull their elbow to your hip).
Osoto Gari – Pull in as your step into them, stay chest to chest. Right arm should be forcing their head back and down to the left, left sleeve grip should be forcing their elbow to your hip. Step hips through (right leg), ensure hips open and up, then big kick backwards with straight leg.
Kosoto Gaki – Same as OG except hook with far leg instead of near leg, hook on calf on calf.

After these techniques we also did some practice resisting Uchimata by hopping around and keeping chest up. Did some ground work with armbars and changing to figure four when they wrap their arm under your leg. Also showed some chokes from turtle / roll to crucifix. Can’t remember the details for all of them as half of them we didn’t practice, he just showed us. At the end of class he took me to the side and did a standard mounted figure four / Americana however he twisted my wrist in towards me instead of away to crank the wrist lock as well as the shoulder.

Armbar details were to wrap around their arm and grab their near lapel (right handed), as they step up, underhook their leg (and grab your lapel) and sweep over and lie back for armbar. If they put the other arm underneath your leg, grab sleeve, slide leg through (over their arm) and under their legs, grab over their back for belt and extend legs for figure four.

Randori – No randori.

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BJJ @ Brazilian Top Team

Getting There – From Ipanema, can walk along the lagoon, however we went to Crossfit Leblon beforehand, so we walked down some back streets in Leblon, past the school and the park/stadium to AABB (Associação Atlética Banco do Brasil). Let the guy at the gate know you’re there for BJJ. He let us in without paying. BTT is located at the very back of AABB on the ground floor (although up a flight of stairs at the end), you’ll see the sticker on the side of the door.

Neighbourhood – Didn’t have any problems walking through Ipanema or Leblon, streets looked kind of dodgy but no problems. Read that next to AABB is a housing project so it can be kind of dodgy but we didn’t have any problems even at 10 pm.

School – Quite a nice school, large mat area to the right, and behind the counter is a ring and some heavy bags.

Class – Lucky for me, Murilo was teaching the class I dropped in for (he has very good English).  Class consisted of around 3-4 black belts, 2 brown, 3 purples, 3 blues and 1 white (one of the blues received his purple at the end of class).

Warmup – Just a simple warmup of running around the mats, followed by some stretching then approximately 50 crunches, 50 bicycle crunches, 10 pushups.

Technique – 2 techniques: First, when they stand in your closed guard, let it open and slide down (calves resting on their thighs). Get a cross sleeve grip and using other arm, underhook their near leg and sweep using underhook and pushing with legs. For technique two, same as technique one but instead of sweeping them, kick legs up in omoplata and as they fall down, barrel roll (still holding their arm and leg) over your front and into reverse scarf hold. Post on your leg closest to their head, let go of their arm and switch legs through for side control. Video for the omoplata sweep (excludes switching to side control): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLRA-x_BXXY

Rolling – About 45 minutes of roll time, very strong team.

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BJJ @ Terere Academy

Getting There – Dropped Ailie off at Crossfit Carioca before hand then went to the academy. Probably about equal distance from Carioca as was Checkmat. Relatively easy to find, large sign on the building. At the cul-de-sac / end of the road, you’ll see a small side road on the left with the building at the end. Gym is located up the first flight of stairs.

Neighbourhood – Didn’t have any issues, quite a nice neighbourhood up to the little 100 m strip outside the building. On the ground level of the building is an elevator to the favelas so it can be dodgy supposedly. I had some homeless guys say something in Portuguese which I didn’t understand and that was about it.

Cost – $40R for the drop-in class.

School – Small school, basically what’s in the photos is what you get. Small mat area (enough for 3-4 pairs to roll I’d say at most). Behind the mat area is a little reception with toilets.

Class – Small class given it was a Friday night and the fact that there was a competition the next day. Two white belts and the black belt instructor. Unfortunately Terere was at a seminar so didn’t get to attend a class with him (last training day in Rio too). Class only went for one hour however I think it’s usually 2 hours.

Warmup – Didn’t write anything down, can’t remember if we did a warmup.

Technique – Did two guard passes (detailed right handed). Technique one, open guard pass – right hand on their left hip, left hand on their right knee. Sprawl out and push the knee down, switch knee grip to underneath the knee and then pull their leg up and push the hip down with your right hand, forcing them to turn the other way. Slide your right leg in behind their right leg to enter leg drag position. Similar to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGVX5ujqSC0 (very start of the video). Technique two, DLR pass when they have ankle – push in with hips and on push back reaction back step and push their leg between yours. Fall to the side with the leg and crossface them. Right hand moves from knee grip on their DLR hook leg to underneath their leg, grabbing onto their wrist (which is grabbing your ankle). With strong crossface and crushing down their top knee with your chest, kick leg back to break ankle grip and big back step into side control. Similar to: DLR Pass #1, Disc 1, Favela Jiu-Jitsu (Terere)…can’t find a similar video on Youtube.

Rolling – Probably did about 20 minutes or so.

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