Clark Gracie, Rolling with World Champs, and S&C in Rio

This blog is written by Connection Rio team member Torryn Heffelfinger. He’ll be blogging weekly on life and training BJJ in Rio de Janeiro. In the following excerpt from his weekly blog ‘Training the Dream”, he details training with world champions and how he approaches strength and conditioning in Rio de Janeiro

I have noticed that various competitors and serious BJJ practitioners from academies friendly to Gordo come in to help prepare for competition. This week Clark Gracie was in with a couple of Americans from Texas, I believe. Clark is an aggressive fighter, and while I didn’t have the opportunity to roll with him it was fun to watch him spar.

Even though I didn’t get a chance to roll with Clark, I did roll with Gordo’s younger brother Rafael ‘Gordinho’- a world champion. He is a very technical fighter who keeps the pressure on you the entire time you spar. So needless to say he pretty effortlessly mopped the mats with me. After the roll he gave some quick advice and then complimented me on my game. It’s a great feeling, even though I got tooled upon, to receive a compliment from a world class jiu-jitsu instructor.

Torryn on the mats at the Gordo BJJ academy

Torryn on the mats at the Gordo BJJ academy

On Strength and Conditioning for BJJ
The high cost of gym memberships along trying to fit the time to go to a gym and train in an already packed training schedule can make keeping up with your traditional (Olympic lifts, barbell work, etc.) lifting hard. Thankfully there are plenty of alternatives to maintain or gain strength while in Brazil, which in the end will only help your BJJ training. The lifting that I do (and most of the CR guys) is geared towards athletics and sports as opposed to bodybuilding/packing on serious mass. This means that most of the workouts and lifts are designed to be functional and work muscle groups that are utilized in BJJ and MMA…


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