Wow. There’s been so much to write about this week: Copa Podio, training with UFC fighters and a visit to Terere’s gym. So let’s get to it.
This week brought us a trip to Copa Podio. It’s an invitation-only tournament which gathers the best Jiu Jitsu fighters from all around the world to compete for the coveted championship title. This event included a lightweight tournament, a battle of the cities (Recife vs Manaus), GFT vs Alliance match and a Super fight between Demente and Rodolfo Vieira.
It was a star-studded event and the atmosphere was electrifying. There is nothing quite like being in the stands when the place erupts to the sound of drums and chants upon certain fighter’s arrival. Brazil is truly the only place where jiu-jitsu evokes such strong emotions.On Wednesday morning I got to train with two UFC fighters: Rafael dos Anjos and Chris Cariaso. Chris is an athlete staying at the Connection Rio HQ and he’s preparing for his fight on the 18th May. I had the opportunity to help him with his wrestling and groundwork and he’s scarily well prepared. Our training started with ladder drills and then we went onto specific grappling sparring. Even though he’s already started cutting weight, Chris is very much in-form and a tough opponent to go up against. His preparations are on track and the whole of Connection Rio will be cheering for him in his upcoming fight.
To cap off an exciting day, I tagged along with William and Hywel to Terere’s academy in Leblon. Terere has been someone I’ve followed throughout my journey and I’ve always loved his explosive style. I got a picture with him after Copa Podio (massive fanboy moment for me; I could barely contain my excitement) so I jumped at the opportunity to train with him. The academy is small but that just adds to the special feeling one gets when they get to train with a living legend.Terere showed a lot of techniques with details I’ve not seen before and it quickly became apparent that he is not just a great athlete but also an excellent teacher. One of his blue belts gave me more trouble than most people I’ve fought in Brazil and an unfortunate collision with him did lead to me dislocating my thumb. However, a small bit of pride and a large dose of stupidity kept me on the mat. I soon got to spar Terere but fighting someone who’s a shoe in for the BJJ Hall of Fame-with one functioning hand was never going to be a hugely enjoyable experience. I’ve promised myself that I will return to Terere’s gym when I’ve healed up and I’ll redeem myself.
This blog is being cut short by my inability to type with my left paw alone. Hopefully by next week I’ll be fully healed up and I’ll be able to produce a piece that’s closer to Fitzgerald than Hemingway. (I think that sentence is enough to fulfill my sponsorship obligation to the Great Gatsby motion picture. Phew, this sponsorship stuff sure is tough… )