Jiu-Jitsu Battle Royale / Training for Luta Livre Competition in Rio

This week saw me training under a red belt and my preparations for the Luta Livre competition. The Strauch Jiu Jitsu Academy is known for giving Caio Terra his black belt and also for being run by a well respected red belt. The atmosphere in the gym was relaxed and friendly.

This blog was written by Connection Rio sponsored athlete Michael Tlalka. He’ll be blogging weekly on his experiences in Rio de Janeiro.

Master Strauch showed an omoplata sweep from open guard. I’ve seen and used this technique a thousand times but he still managed to provide a few pointers that made it even more effective. I was amazed at the ease and fluidity that Master Strauch moved with at his 61 years.

The sparring ended with a king of the hill scenario where the first fighter to score a point or an advantage would stay on the mat. Such training is invaluable to future competitors because it simulates the pressure of having people watching you fight while also instilling the mentality of never giving up and always looking to score. The class finished with a strange game which can only be described as a Jiu Jitsu Battle Royale. Two teams of five had to spar against each other in whatever way they saw fit. The image of ‘Jon Jones’ being baseball bat choked while getting double arm barred will stay with me forever.

Luta Livre competition this weekend
This week was the second week of my preparations for the Luta Livre competition. I got to train with Leo Nogueira on Friday which gave me a better understanding of the style of fighting employed by the fighters. It’s similar to a jiu jitsu no-gi game but with a heavier emphasis placed on top control and leg locks.

Luta Livre guys are also willing to sacrifice position to have a chance of submitting the opponent which makes for some dynamic matches. As always, I’ve been more concerned with the weight cut than with the fighting itself. My approach is not yet a science which means that usually I lose my weight too early and then I have to keep myself at it. The cut been very much on target until I found out that the competition was moved from Saturday to Sunday. It may not seem like a big change but I was already planning my Nutella and cake induced coma for Saturday night. Siiiiiigh. On the other hand I now get to enjoy myself at bit more at Pedro’s wedding on Friday so I guess every cloud has a silver lining.

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