On Saturday I met up with Antoine and Dennis to go train at BOPE HQ. The trip itself should have taken about an hour but because of having to change routes because of blocos took close to two hours. The trip took longer than expected but it was definitely worth it.
This post was written by Connection Rio team member Torryn Heffelfinger. He blogs weekly on life and training BJJ, wrestling and MMA in Rio de Janeiro. This is an excerpt from his weekly blog “Training the Dream”. Click the link to read the full post.
While at BOPE we trained with the CO and a couple of his guys. The training was relaxed but competitive. We rolled several rounds of submission grappling starting both from the knees and from standing. There were several tough luta livre and BJJ blackbelts there so the rolling was top notch. After grappling we did a couple of rounds of boxing and MMA sparring. The focus was more on movement and technique than hard sparring, which was good to get timing down and to try new things.
I have to say it’s a pretty unique feeling to be training and look over and have about 10 guys in full tactical gear and assault rifles watching and nodding. After about an hour and a half the training wrapped up and we slowly headed back to Barra trying to weave our way around the blocos
It has been a busy few weeks here in Rio. And this is the first time in the last two weeks I have had a chance to sit and write up a blog. You may be wondering what happened? Carnival happened. While it officially lasts for only 5 days it’s pretty much a week and a half long affair. A lot of my time leading into Carnival was spent training or welcoming a ton of new guests to CR. When Carnival did start I did make it to a few blocos on Barra beach, and spent some time celebrating with friends
For those who don’t know Carnival blocos are the staple of Rio Carnival. They are large street parties/ slow moving parades that are scattered throughout the city and at various times. They can vary in size and theme. Some are smaller traditional blocos for the family and others are huge and crazy. How crazy? Real crazy (some blocos attract 50-100 THOUSAND people).
The blocos I went to were smaller, about 5-10 thousand people. I didn’t stay the whole time but both lasted about six hours, with the huge buses with live bands playing music slowly making their way along parade route. Both of the blocos I went to were along the beach so at any point during the day I could just duck out of the crowd and jump into the ocean to cool off.
How Connection Rio helps during Carnival – and a sock full of money
While I had a lot more fun this year at Carnival there are definitely a few downsides. One major downside is that training can be limited to downright non-existent during the 5 days. Most training sessions will be open mats and you aren’t guaranteed to have a lot of people there to train.
But that’s where being here at Connection Rio helps. Even with the city being on a 24/7 party schedule for Carnival there were guys in the house who either wanted to drill or roll here on the mats. While most of the academies were closed at least 3-4 days of Carnival most guys only took one day off the mats.
Don’t get me wrong though there was plenty of time for guys to go out and have some pretty hilarious stories in the morning. Including someone who paid their bar tab in a club by giving them a sock full of money. We got this story (and a whole lot of other ones) after he showed up the next afternoon when he came staggering through the door with only one sock.
The moral of his story is if you tell everyone at the club you’re a millionaire be prepared for a millionaire’s bar tab.