Discovering secret beaches in Rio, intense no-gi training

Rio de Janeiro is a place of great beauty, wonder, and excitement. On a personal level Nicole and I have been planning and making excursions around Barra and throughout Rio. Last Sunday we went down to a small private beach not far from the CR houses called Joatinga. The beach is surrounded by cliffs and as the tide comes in the sandy beach is virtually engulfed by the ocean.

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 finding the secrets spots of Rio de Janeiro and no-gi training at one of Rio’s top luta livre gyms.

Nicole and I went in the late afternoon and took some small snack items and watched the the large waves thunder against the cliff side as the sunset. It’s the small moments like these that really makes us realize that Rio is a paradise. This weekend we are headed into the more Bohemian part of town, Santa Teresa, and we are looking forward to seeing what this little piece of Rio has to offer.

Joatinga beach

Joatinga beach

Renovação Fight Team
Wednesday morning was the weekly CR academy visit. This weeks visit was at famed Luta Livre school Renovação Fight Team (RFT) in Botafogo. Over the years RFT has turned out many great grapplers and MMA fighters. The building has that old school gym feeling where you just know hard work is being put in. The training area is all business with hard matting and heavy bags lined up against the wall.

The technique that where shown was an ankle lock off of a guard pass, and an arm lock from bottom. The biggest thing that jumped out at me was just how long the moves where drilled. Each guy spent at least 10 minutes hitting the technique over and over before switching positions for the other guy to work. During the entire technique period several coaches were walking around making little adjustments to ensure the technique was being hit properly. The high reps plus the close eye of coaches is what brings RFT fighters levels to such a high game.

After the technique we got to the sparring portion of class. The instructor explained there would be eight, six minute rounds, and because of the high number of people in class people would have to rotate in. I start to roll, one of the first things I notice is that these guys are good at hand fighting. Sometimes with guys they are more relaxed and have a tendency to ‘hang’ on their ties, but not at RFT. Movements were quick and explosive, openings hard to come by. I hit a slide by on the guy and he quickly readjusted but when he did he his weight was forward and I was able to hit in a front headlock. I quickly extended him locked up a grip that Pequeno had shown and rolled into a choke. I wasn’t able to finish a scramble happened and he managed to work his way behind me, instead of sitting in turtle I exploded up hit a switch and took him down. Time ran out. Then I noticed something, A LOT of the guys sitting the round out were watching me, I had a couple of guys approach me to roll but then a guy stepped in and said he was with me.

I rotated out for a round and then I rolled against a big welterweight who fights in Bellator. It was a fast paced roll, starting with him trying to arm drag and me re-dragging him and getting one hook in, then he escaped and it was on.

The last guy I rolled with was more my size, but was an animal. He was hitting techniques to set up submissions on me that I had never even ran into before. Being that he was a smaller guy it was a rapid fast paced roll with one of us working for a move and the other rapidly working the counter. Turns out that the guy also fights in Bellator and has a great MMA record.

When it was all said and done the mats were covered in sweat and we jogged for a cool down. I felt right at home at RFT, the people were nice, the technique and rolls were great, and the overall class warm up to cool down had a very strong wrestling practice feel to it. I can’t wait to make it back there!


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!

Connection Rio is the best combination of accommodation and BJJ training in Rio de Janeiro. Contact us today and plan your trip to train BJJ in Rio!

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment