Florianopolis – BJJ (RG & Spartan)

BJJ @ Rilion Gracie Academy

Getting There – Went there for the first time on Thursday at lunch after reading on the website that is the No-Gi class, turns out the website timetable is wrong and No-Gi is Wednesday. When I got there it was locked, sat outside for about 15 minutes until someone showed up and told me the correct timetable as follows (fundamentals class is typically an hour before I think):

Everyday 12:30 (Wed No Gi)
Mon/Wed 19:00 (Wed No Gi)
Tues/Thurs/Fri 20:00
Tues/Wed/Thur 22:30

Note the school is down the ramp with the stairs in the middle. School is relatively easy to find using the FloripaRide bus app. Took either the 320 or 333 from Lagoa, stopping at stop 03A, then it’s about a 1.2 km walk to the school. There is also the 8somethingsomething which goes straight past the school however it’s a less frequent bus. Follow the map on the app is the gym is right off a T junction at the end of the walk so it shows that street name (in case you’re looking for that street once you hop off the bus). Note the bus stops go 01 – 03 – 03A.

On a side note, at stop 03 there is Academia Ellite which has an Alliance club, unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to train there. Very easy to find as it’s a massive yellow and black gym, the timetable is as follows:


Neighbourhood – Very nice neighbourhood, lots of fancy(ish) houses, no problems.

Cost – First class free, others are $30R. When I tried to pay for the lesson (with a 50), Alexandre (head coach) asked how long I’d be staying. When I said that I was only here for another week, he said I can train the rest of the time for $50R. I was only likely to do another 2/3 classes I gave an extra $10R anyway so it worked out about right.

School – Nice school, relatively big mat area (enough for around 8 pairs comfortably), water fountain, change rooms and toilets. Small sections of weights and mobility equipment (yoga balls, rollers, bands) in the corner and a climbing rope in the opposite corner.

Noticed while doing a tour of the island there are another two Rilion Gracie affiliates located around the island, in Campeche and Inglese.

Class – Class typically ranges from about 5 to 15 people (more for Gi than No-Gi). Lunch seemed to be mostly white and blue belts. Other classes seemed to have a relatively even spread of students from white through to black (obviously a few more white/blue compared to brown/black). Everyone was friendly and helpful, about 50% of the people spoke English. One of the guys even gave me a lift home to Lagoa. All the classes were taken by black belts however Alexandre only taught the No-Gi night class the times I went.

Warmup – Different warmups for each class (dependent on who’s taking the class). Lunch time we did running, then up the mat – frog jumps, shots, shots without standing (just the leg motion), bear crawls, back break falls / shoulder roll, then shoulder circles, wrist circles and a few others I can’t remember. No-Gi night we didn’t really have a warmup. Gi night we did running, shoulder rolls across shoulders, alligator walks,  bear crawls, walk out to pushup and jump up to standing (somewhat like a bad burpee), crunches (10 x people), planks (30s each side), pushups (10).

Rolling – Majority of the class is rolling, usually at least 30 minutes, 6 minute rounds with 2 minutes rest in between. Usually the instructor will pair you up. Club is left open after class for extra rolling and most people roll for at least another 30 minutes.


Wednesday Lunch – Techniques were off the collar tie / duck under – High C(rotch) to single (with run the pipe finish), High C to low single, High C to back take / belly to back (recommend watching the Sergei Beloglazov instructionals, much better than I could explain it). Practiced those about 5 minutes each. Did some positional sparring of 2 min rounds – only one person attacks while standing, other defends. Did some partner carries (te-guruma, double leg) and partner turnovers (partner on all fours, you basically suplex them up and spin them around to face the other direction from side to side). Then rolling, 2 rounds, 4 mins each. Think we did some other positional work too from standing but cant remember. Did some neck strength work, 1 min each on front / back.

Wednesday Night – Techniques were positional sparring of 1) passing open guard feet hooks, slide knee across and down (to the inside) and circle foot / shin out of their hook (do both sides), and then toreando pass to knee on belly (finish at 2:55, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yi7cpNx-D6Q, start is opposite to bit at 58s). 2) same as 1 except leg drag – then they swing their leg over your head to defend guard, you overhook the top leg with near arm and push down the leg you originally leg dragged (with far arm) and knee slide across inner thigh/shin to the back (second 6 to 9, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoHyCFD1uAw) 3) knee slide pass against half guard knee shield (stuff the knee, complete standard knee slide pass, kick their bottom leg out to release your foot or slide low) – see Xande Ribeiro BJJ Library video for good knee slide series, can’t see it on YouTube. After about 15 minutes of this, we did positional sparring from half guard (about 3 rounds, 3 mins per person) then free rolling, 6 min rounds, about 6 rounds.

Wednesday Night – Same first two techniques as last time (no warmup, 5 mins drill each technique then about 4-5 x 6 min rounds of rolling). Technique two had extra added on: as you finish knee slide, arm slides around into underhook on leg, other arm controls their head, consolidate side control with their arm trapped outside your body. Pin far arm to chest and swing leg over into mounted triangle position and finish mounted triangle. Technique 3 was sit-up guard pass: When they’re playing sit-up guard, push down on the leg which is not laced behind yours, lift leg up and bend and plant outside outside their guard. Back step pass into side control (with them on their side) controlling the head and the top leg (which you pushed the knee down on). As you land in side control, pull the top leg across (I like to thread my top leg through before roll however instructor showed during roll), and roll over your far shoulder into the truck, then continue to take the back. For the rolling back attack details see Ryan Hall Back Attacks DVD 3. Details on pass: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKW4YTo4TE0 (around 0:55).

Thursday Night – Rocked up about 30 mins early for advanced class, fundamentals class on before, told to join in anyway. Did one technique – spider guard sweep from KoB – from closed guard, open guard, feet on hips, when they stand, transfer to feet in biceps. Thread one leg through to the other side of their hip and let them pass guard to KoB (maintaining your other foot in bicep). When they get KoB, push down with foot and lift your near knee up and bump their near knee / butt (which is on your stomach), to sweep up into leg drag position – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjPepxR8vcs.
Advanced class – First technique was reversal from side control, when you have half guard and they’re trying to pressure pass with head looking towards legs, stiff arm using your near arm on their near arm and your far arm pushing their head, as they pass guard, grip over the back to belt (using far arm), and barrel roll them over onto side, come up into kimura control – similar to this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bAejbLivm8 except instead of underhooking the arm near your head, it’s stiff arming (using sleeve grip) towards your leg, don’t let them consolidate side control before doing technique. Technique only works if they’re pressuring into you. Technique two was inverted triangle from side control bottom. Won’t go into too much detail but what I found helpful to lock up was instead of trying to snag/push arm and then push head in, was to just stiff arm on the head with far arm, underhook arm tight (which is controlling your head) with your near arm and head, hip escape out (once or twice) and then throw legs up to get a better angle. If you only get the head and it locks their arm in the hips, you can finish with an armbar on that arm. Otherwise if you get the arm and head, finish the reverse triangle, or on the other arm finish with the kimura / wrist lock / cutting armbar or if they try to hop over, finish with the toehold on the near leg (similar to the omoplata toehold I described from Badeco’s) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kVjtsncbkA. Rolling for 2 x 6 minute rounds, although gym left open so we kept rolling until everyone was tired (another 30 mins).

BJJ @ Spartan Fight Club

Getting There – Took the bus, about 35-40 minutes to the club. There’s two buses that go down, there. Again, FloripaRide is by far your best friend. Gym is located in Rio Tavares area (https://posuta.com/pt/florianopolis/artes-marciais/spartan-floripa-fight-club/). Note that along the ride there are very few bus stops on both sides of the street (usually only one on the side that goes to the gym), however wherever there is a bus stop on one side you can catch the bus on the other side in the opposite direction (there’s just no shelter / sign). Not really important in this case as in front of the gym there is shelters on both sides but just a note not to panic where to catch the bus from / if you’re traveling somewhere else and notice there’s only bus stops on one side. Pretty easy to see the gym, it’s got a big sign on the side of the building and takes up all of the third floor.

Neighbourhood – Smaller neighbourhood than the other areas however seemed OK. The more South you go on the island the less developed / inhabited it seems.

Cost – $30R for one class.

School – Relatively large mat area  (again comfortable for probably about 8 pairs to roll), water fountain, change rooms and toilets. Looked like they were renovating some of it too.

Class – Very even spread of belt levels. Everyone was very friendly and as far as I could tell nearly everyone spoke great English. Xandão (head coach) even thanked me at the end of the class for coming down, and someone else gave me a lift home and offered a place to stay next time I was in Floripa! Even though I was 15 minutes late (unfortunately got home late from tour and FloripaRide underestimated the time it’d take) there was no issue and I was told just to jump on and join in.

Warmup – Missed most of the warmup however did some crunches, flutter kicks, sprawls and breakfalls.

Rolling – Tough team, 7 minute rounds with about 1 min rest between rounds. Usually paired with by the instructor but can pick your own rolls too.


Tuesday Night – Did three techniques: hooks guard sweep, reverse elevator sweep and step over pass against hooks guard to kimura (s-mount). Next did drilling from hooks guard, line up, if you sweep or submit you stay in the middle. Person in hooks guard starts with double underhooks. Lasted about 15 minutes, then did 3 x 7 minute rounds of rolling. Technique a) From hooks guard, with over under control, hip escape back and slide far foot in front of their near knee, hip escape to the side and pull their arm using over hook while falling to that side. Using foot that is on the ground, push off and spin, don’t lift with top leg (as explained in Firas’s video, everything comes from the bottom foot).  Technique b) When they try to pummel and fight underhook, 2-1 arm drag and place head over their shoulder/ tucked tight to their head and grab belt grip with right hand. Bait technique a (feet in same position as a), then tuck head into them and roll onto side (pull them forward and then kick them over you to the side). Grab belt and come up and into bow and arrow choke. Technique c) when they have hooks guard on you, using your near side arm, grab lapel (or head) and pressure into their head with stiff arm forcing them to their side. Using other hand, post out on mat and crush them down, then slide top leg up and over their hook. If they try catch you in quarter guard with the bottom leg, hit s-mount kimura (note to look back as far as possible when ripping kimura to get the most rotational power). Can’t find a video of technique c, but a) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEg1Lwe3mNk (Part 1 good also) b) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AuX1MZ5b1s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFjzLC4BMPI

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As a side note for other gyms in Florianopolis, while driving around we also spotted:

CT Floripa Golden Team (associated with A.S. Team) – Centro, near the bus station, probably 500 m.
Fight Gym (associated with Checkmat) – Near the South end of the Island, can’t remember the suburb – https://posuta.com/pt/florianopolis/artes-marciais/fight-gym-floripa-checkmat/

Couple of others we found on the net but didn’t visit:

BFTeam – http://www.marciobrancojiujitsu.com/
Gracie Barra – http://www.graciebarraflorianopolis.com.br/
Team Tavares – https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaTeamTavares


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