What to do when a jiu-jitsu training session doesn’t go your way

You would be hard pressed to find a better place to live and train than Rio de Janiero. After training with world class athletes, you can sit back and enjoy a cold acai or fresh agua de coco. In your down time you can swim in the pool or head to the beach and soak up some sun. If you feel like being more active you can go for a hike along Pedra de Gavea’s jungle path, or hop on your bike or longboard and ride along the city streets and beach side bike paths.

This post was written by Connection Rio team member Torryn Heffelfinger. He blogs weekly on life and training BJJ, wrestling and MMA in Rio de Janeiro. This is an excerpt from his weekly blog “Training the Dream”. Click the link to read the full post.

Nicole and I were talking today and she brought up a great point; back in the U.S. everything was done with thoughts/plans for the future, but here in Rio you focus more on the present. You can just enjoy what you are doing at that moment take everything one day at a time.

Week in Training
Despite the late start to the week I still got in 10 training and /or conditioning workouts in. With striking training I learned some great Thai combos, involving work from the clinch.

My training partner for much of the time was Milton Vieira. As we trained we played around with possible grappling transitions from the clinch work. Later in the week, while teaching, I was able to incorporate the muay Thai techniques into wrestling takedowns for MMA. The new position in striking led to a personal revelation on new ways to work wrestling. That is one of the great benefits of having great instructors and having a mind opened to learning new things.

After one of the training sessions Milton asked if I wanted to roll. Of course I said yes. We spend the next 15-20 minutes rolling. I felt great—my movement and transitions were smooth. I was able to work some offense and force Milton to react to my game, for a couple of moments that is. Any attack I made was quickly defended and countered. He is a world class grappler and the positions he was able to launch submissions from was mind boggling. After our roll Milton spend another 15-20 minutes showing counters to several submissions that he had tapped me with. All this just because he is a nice guy who likes training with me, you can’t ask for anything better.


Training in the kimono at Nova Uniao also went good this week. I got in some good drilling with Dennis and some other guys, and also some great afternoon training under Fernando Bruno as well. With training everyday multiple times a day it is sometimes easy to get frustrated with your performance at any given training. This was the case earlier this week with one of my trainings.

I set high expectations for myself in training, so when I felt a little rigid and stuttering in my game and not performing how I would like I walked from training frustrated. But on the bus ride home and later that night I was able to look back on that training, and pull away positives from my training. Yes I may have felt slower and rigid, but I saw openings and tried several different submissions I have been drilling and I was able to hit this certain pass I have been working on. Also even though I might now have rolled the best I trained hard and didn’t give up.

It’s important to realize that just because a training session doesn’t go the way you want it to doesn’t mean that there was no positives to take away.

bossa boards

Long Boarding with Bossa Boards

This past week I was also able to start up a new hobby, one that I wanted to start for a long time,– longboarding. Connection Rio is working with Bossa Boards to soon bring another aspect of the BJJ lifestyle to people staying here. This past Monday I received one of the newly made boards.

The style of board responds similar to how a snowboard responds and after a little bit of practice and help from Dennis I was skating along Flamengo park. The rest of the week I took any opportunity I could to get out and skate throughout the streets of Barra and along Rio’s beach side bike paths.

It not only has been fun learning to skate this past week but it also has saved me a ton of time traveling from one training to the next. Just writing about longboarding is making me anxious to be able to get out and skate tomorrow in the hot Rio sun.


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!

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment