What I Learned Training BJJ in Rio: 5 Lessons from Grapplers Just Like You

What can you learn by training BJJ in Rio? New techniques? Sure… Refinements to a position you’ve been playing for years? Absolutely… But there is much more to be learned than just that

An experience such as training BJJ in Rio goes deeper than just a new trick here or there. Being exposed to high-level jiu-jitsu every single day has an effect on your jiu-jitsu unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Every day is a learning experience, and an opportunity to grow as a grappler.

Whether you’re a hardcore competitor or a life-long student of the martial arts, there are many lessons waiting for you in the home of jiu-jitsu. Here, five Connection Rio team members share some of the most lasting lessons they learned while training BJJ in Rio.

“I learned how to train full time”

Sean Coates

Sean Coates

The thing that I learnt the most about from the world class guys in Brazil was how to train full time. Before I went I had never trained multiple times a day so when I arrived it was a shock to me. The main thing was that I was rolling like every round was a competition and being desperate not to be tapped, however, the thing was, the vast majority of the people I rolled with there were better than me so I was getting tapped a lot no matter how hard I rolled. Really I had my ego beaten out of me and I learnt to see training as what it is, which is time to learn, competition is the time to test yourself. Once I changed my attitude it meant I found it a lot easier to train multiple times a day without burning myself out, which has been really useful since I came back from Rio.

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“I learned how to be more technical”

David Garcia

David Garcia

One of the biggest things I took back from training in Brazil was to work on the finer details when working technique, whether that meant drilling more on my own or just asking more questions during class to better understand the little things.During class I would sometimes struggle with the details of a technique that was being taught, usually a grip or misplaced pressure, in part because of the language barrier, so I was forced to ask more questions which helped tons. I also noticed at the Connection Rio house people would get back from their respective gyms and almost immediately start drilling what they just learned, getting more technical everyday. Now that I’m back home I ask a lot more questions, trying to understand every last detail as minor as they can be, and drill way more on my own to refine my technique.

“I came home with confidence and determination”

Davey Morehead

Davey Morehead

As an active competitor I came to Brazil with one broad goal in mind, to train with some of the best talent out there and sharpen my game. Well I certainly got that chance! During my time training at Gordo’s I was constantly surrounded by black belts. Due to the training style I was able bring home with me a work ethic that I did not possess before. I learned to push myself past what I thought my limits were. By doing this, my game improved ten fold during the short month that I was there. I came home with confidence and determination. I have parlayed that confidence and determination immediately into tournament success at home, and will continue to do so thanks to the lessons that I learned while staying at Connection Rio.

“I learned what high-level jiu-jitsu really is”

Hywel Teague

Hywel Teague

I always aspired to that high-level technique that I keep hearing the top level guys have. As a non-competitive grappler, it’s not about just being stronger-fitter-faster… Instead, I wanted to see the ‘real’ jiu-jitsu. I found it by rolling with a 48 year old 6th degree black belt. I outweighed him by 20kg, but he flipped me around without breaking a sweat. How? By staying utterly, completely relaxed – but never allowing me to get my base. What I learned from him was that it doesn’t matter if your opponent is tougher than you – if he’s constantly off-balance and fighting to get his base back, it makes it super hard for him to mount any offence… And that’s when you attack!

“I realized this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life”

Torryn Heffelfinger

Torryn Heffelfinger

I think the biggest takeaway I had from Brazil (thinking back to my first time here) was learning to live and embrace the jiujitsu lifestyle. After finishing up wrestling in college I took up BJJ as a hobby. It wasn’t until coming to Brazil and seeing how people embraced the lifestyle both on and off the mat that I realized this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Being in an environment where people worked hard and embraced all that life had to offer with an open mind was an eye opening experience. That and there was no way you can’t get better when you have a ton of black belts kicking your ass every day.

Everyone who comes to Rio to train BJJ has an unforgettable experience, and the effects of training in Brazil will forever change your jiu-jitsu!

If you want to experience this for yourself all you need to do is contact us and we’ll send you the info about guest house where we host grapplers from all corners of the globe. Join like-minded people and train BJJ in Rio with COnnection Rio, you won’t regret it!

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