“This experience has truly been the best thing I have been able to do in my life thus far, and its all down to Connection Rio for giving me a wonderful opportunity I will always be very grateful for,” says our sponsored athlete Jamie Hughes in his final blog from Brazil.
Well its come to an end — my 3 month journey and stay at Connection Rio is almost over, as I write this I’m just waiting to go and get my last training session in at Gordo jiu jitsu and then its the long journey home back to the UK tomorrow.
Jamie Hughes is from Wales, UK, and is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt under Pedro Bessa. Jamie is currently living and training in Rio De Janeiro for 3 months as part of the Connection Rio sponsored athlete programme. You can read his blog “Espanthalo BJJ” here.
In my 3 month stay here I have been able to experience so much including;
1: The highest level training I have ever experienced
Getting to do the vast majority of my training with black, brown and high level purple belts, so many varied games and styles to train with was amazing.
2: Got to train at most of the top academies in Rio
Was lucky enough to train at Gordo’s, Strauch jiu jitsu, Terere academy,Nova Uniao,Escola de Jiu jitsu,Fightzone.
3: Trained with ADCC and World champions, UFC fighters and many of my jiu jitsu idols
Just to name a few Terere, Gordo, Antonio Braga Neto, Yan Cabral, Mario Sperry, Babalu Sobral, Kit Dale plus many more.
4: Rolled with close to 50 different black belts
Before coming to Brazil I had only been able to roll with a handful of black belts, so being able to train and spar with so many was a very eye opening and humbling experience.
5: Made friends from every corner of the world
The best thing about the house is all the cool people I met from every corner of the world, and being able to learn about their cultures, views on things and of course many different jiu jitsu styles, where else in the world could you do this in such a short space of time?
6: Got to compete in multiple tournaments in Rio
Was able to compete in the IBJJF Rio international Open and the Copa Novo Leblon/Copa Cyclone, got to go head to head with some very tough Brazilians on their own turf, held my own and got some wins and a medal.
7: Explored the various sights and sounds of Rio
Got to make my way around rio to see many of the famous landmarks and places, including my favourite of all, the Christ the Redeemer statue. That’s a memory and a view I will look back on with fond memories forever.
All these things are just a snippet of what I have been able to do in Rio, but honestly the biggest thing I have gained from this trip is the vast amount of knowledge and tough training I was able to be exposed to here, from all the amazing teachings of Gordo, Pitoco, Weber and Thiago at Gordo jiu jitsu — to learning from one of my masters Terere at his academy — and the gringo classes under Dennis Asche. The training level has been amazing and has hopefully taken my game to a new level.
I leave Rio with disappointment at not being able to stay in this beautiful place any longer, but I have so many amazing experiences and memories that will fuel my training until i return to Brazil next year. My advice to anyone reading this blog, if you want to really get to experience the full jiu jitsu lifestyle, set a date, book it up with Connection Rio and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!