There are so many amazing BJJ gyms in Rio de Janeiro it makes sense to visit as many as possible while you’re here. Follow these tips to avoid running into any problems.
1: Wear a gi without team patches
If you’re going to walk into somebody else’s gym, it’s best to avoid causing any tension by advertising a rival team. While things are a lot better from the heated team-versus-team era of recent times, people may still take your team patches as a challenge. A visit to another team’s academy should be treated as a privilige, not a competition, so wear a plain gi and enjoy the training session for what it is – an opportunity to train with different people without the pressure of a competition.
2: Follow what everyone else is doing as much as possible
If you see everyone line up against the wall during technique demonstration, don’t sit in the middle of the mat. If black belts get first choice of the rolling rounds, don’t try and jump in and take their mat space. Each gym has it’s own customs, so do your best not to ruffle any feathers by paying attention to how people behave and doing the same.
3: Shake hands with everyone upon stepping on the mat
This is a ritual should be performed whenever you enter a BJJ gym in Rio de Janeiro, but especially one you’ve never visited before. A quick handshake and “tudo bem?” goes a long way to ingratiating yourself with the locals. Visitors tend to enter as quietly as possible and try not to cause a disturbance, preferring to sit quietly without bothering anybody. In a BJJ gym in Rio de Janeiro this is often taken as a sign of rudeness. Don’t be that guy, say hi to everyone.
4: Roll at the pace they set
There’s no quicker way to get yourself matched up against the gym enforcer than by trying to go hard against everyone you’re paired up with. There’s nothing wrong with beating somebody fair and square, but going at full intensity against a guy who’s playing a slower game will mark you as somebody who needs putting in their place.
5: Always, ALWAYS pay your way
People who own a BJJ gym in Rio de Janeiro do this for a living, respect the fact their gym relies on the contribution of people who step foot onto the mat by always paying your way. Connection Rio helps negotiate guest fees for people who want to visit different academies, so if you have a particular team in mind let us know and we will work something out for you.
Article written by Hywel Teague