How it feels to Train Jiu-Jitsu in Rio with UFC fighters

Read this report for the real story on what it’s like to train jiu-jitsu in Rio with UFC fighters Leo Santos and Yan Cabral.

Pictured at top, Connection Rio guest Laurino from Australia, UFC fighter Yan Cabral and TOrryn at Nova Uniao MMA and BJJ gym in Rio de Janeiro

This blog is written by Connection Rio team member Torryn Heffelfinger. He blogs weekly on life and training BJJ, wrestling and MMA in Rio de Janeiro. In the following excerpt from his weekly blog “Training the Dream”, he talks about how it feels to Train Jiu-Jitsu in Rio with UFC fighters. Click the link to read the full post.

I spent a lot of this week in the kimono working my ground game. In addition to Dennis’ class I also made it into Nova Uniao several times. As always the technique and rolling was great. One aspect I like is that that at NU they work takedown techniques a lot more than most gyms I have been to in Rio. A lot of places will just drill entries into takedowns or throws very lazily as part of the warm up; at NU they will actually show and work defense and offense from the feet and sometimes include short, live situational goes from standing. Now that my face is a bit more recognized there I have been getting more and more helpful tips from the higher belts. In fact, after a good roll with one of the black belts (by which I mean I got smashed technically, but held my own), he asked me if I wanted to roll again a few minutes later. Of course I said yes, and he again continued to smash me technically, but offered up a lot of good pointers on where to move and grips.

Train Jiu-Jitsu in Rio with UFC fighters

This past Saturday a few of the guys from the house and I attended a seminar hosted by Nova Uniao MMA and BJJ standouts Yan Cabral and Leo Santos. Both men have been recently signed by the UFC and Santos won the most recent Ultimate Fighter Brazil. While they have transitioned into MMA, both originated in training BJJ; Santos being famous for the flying armbar finish of GSP in ADCC.

The seminar was phenomenal and packed with BJJ practitioners of all belt levels, and was broken into two hour long parts with Cabral and Santos each taking an hour to show technique. Santos showed a lot of top game attacks, while Cabral showed a mixture of guard work and submissions from top.

Sometimes people can get overloaded with way to much technique, but at the seminar it really wasn’t the case. We were given ample time to rep each move and then afterwards the mats were free for us to practice what we had learned. I took away 2-3 things I really liked—a standing butterfly guard pass, a submission from top half, and a small concept of hand positioning from back pack position. Everything they showed was great, but I really felt like those things were moves that compliment my game.

Now, one of the great things was that in the U.S. a seminar like that would have cost well over a $100 USD, but here in Rio the birthplace of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu it cost R$50, which at current rates is about $20 USD. Just another advantage of living in Rio.


UFC in the Connection Rio house

While most people are getting things organized for their looming 9-5 workweek, I am anxiously awaiting the coming week in training. The non training part of my week was fun. CR HQ now has the Combate channel, Brazil’s 24 hour martial arts tv station, perfect for relaxing at the house and watching this past weeks UFC events. In addition to that, Nicole and I attended a large going away BBQ for a friend on a nearby island in Rio. While its always nice to relax I am chomping at the bit to get back into the gym and work to improve my game.

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!

Take a look at our brochure – we’ve got houses with pools, huge gardens, and apartments next to the beach: all within 30 seconds walk of top BJJ gyms in Rio!

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!

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