As I am sitting here reflecting on another great week of training, it’s hard to believe that in just two days (March 12th) will mark three months here in Rio. It’s insane that for such a relaxed culture time can go by so fast. Our time here to date has been amazing and it shows no signs of that changing, If anything as Nicole and I become more settled and living the Brazilian lifestyle new and more exciting opportunities seem to pop up. Like I said these last three months have flown by in a whirlwind of new and exciting experiences, and we are looking forward to the many months (and hopefully years ahead).
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 in lita livre with the current Connection Rio MMA camp.
As always the training this week was top-notch and intense. Monday morning brought on wrestling class. We covered some counter offense work dealing with shot-re-shot. The basic principle of shot- re-shot is after stopping an opponents leg attack, you quickly work to counter with a leg attack of your own. The idea behind this is in the moment when an opponent is stalled out they are most open to attack. This principal applies to all grappling disciplines where takedowns are involved. On Tuesday we had Luta Livre class out in the front yard of CR HQ. Pequeno went over several armbar escapes, a couple of which I had never seen. We then covered several reversals to leg locks. We then got to rolling live. I primarily sparred against the guys from France, it is a lot of fun rolling against them, because they bring different styles and techniques to the mat.
I had the opportunity to roll with the Professor of the French team from NRFight. Nicolas Renier. Like I have said before Nicolas is a Luta Livre black belt who has been coming to Brazil to train for the last 10 years. He also has competed in the Abu Dhabi’s, the premiere tournament in submission grappling. He has great flow and feeling for pressures. There were several times when I was in a position I normally pass from and when I went to pass I found myself flying through the air caught in a sweep. The roll was fast paced and scramble filled. Having trained with Pequeno and Leozada Nogueira so much he is well versed in guillotine chokes. He runs his in a different way; when he hit’s a choke it is not tight or cutting off blood, in fact it feels like you can pull out of it. The thing is when you try to escape this his fingers get positioned under the chin in a way that closes off your nasal cavity and throat. You feel perfectly fine and then you go to take a breath and all you can do is wheeze. No pain, not really even much of a choking sensation, it is simply impossible to take a breath. I got schooled with this choke several times, each time I would feel perfectly fine until all of the sudden I simply could not take a breath and was forced to tap.
On Thursday my knee was tight but it felt good. My plan was to just help show technique, but when live wrestling started Pequeno needed a partner, and when a multi-time world champ want to roll you don’t say no. I felt that day I wrestled better than I have in a very long time. I was creating angles, defending, scrambling, noticing my opponents patterns, and feeling better leverage and control.
I thought I had missed my chance to train for the day, but then the French guys came back to the flat saying that they were going to check out a newly opened American Top Team academy, and asked if I wanted to come train. To my surprise the gym is maybe 300 yards (at most) from the CR flat. I was amazed. The gym is on the top floor of a small apartment building and is still in the process of being finished, they are currently working on getting the whole mat area cage walled off. The class was taught by Reyzinho Duarte and Edson Diniz (who also comes to CR to teach NOGI every month). We worked on several good techniques and then rolled.
At the end of class we were treated to a surprised UFC Heavy Weight and now #1 Contender for the title, Antonio “Big Foot” Silva stopped by. He was an incredibly nice guy and took them time to shake all of our hand, talk and take photos with us. Only in Rio can you think you missed your chance to train and then end up at an ATT camp and meet the Number 1 Contender of the World. Craziness.
From training and accommodation to academy visits and special tours, and even small group classes with the best teachers Rio has to offer, Connection Rio offers everything you need for the perfect jiu-jitsu holiday!