This week brought the closing out of March and almost the 4th month of being here in Rio. As always the training was great and the week brought lots of fun new experiences. After spending the day on the beach thinking about the past week, I am again reminded of how blessed I am to be down here with Nicole living out our dreams.
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 training in lita livre with the current Connection Rio MMA camp.Week in Training
On Monday morning we started off with wrestling . We worked takedowns off defending leg kicks from various ranges and set ups. One guy would throw a combo ending in a leg kick and the other guy would step in to close the distance and work to the takedown.
Tuesday morning was boxing. After warming up and shadow boxing, we did various boxing style foot work drills to help us flow and create angles with our attacks. I then hit mitts with Jean Pierre, who stresses quickly stepping in, firing off your shots, getting out, and changing angles. While there is a bit of a language barrier I can understand the concepts and tips he is trying to give (it just might take him repeating a time or two).
On Wednesday was sparring. Some of the guys with fights in the next few weeks performed hard sparring rounds, while others did a more technical sparring session, throwing combos into shots with the other guys used head movement and positioning to defend. The high caliber of fighters in this training camp created some great sparring rounds, it was like watching Bellator or UFC level action right in front of you. The techniques and fighting spirit put on display were awe inspiring.Thursday morning’s wrestling training was fast paced and drill filled. Since a lot of the fighters have a basic understanding and good technique with wrestling it allows for more intense drilling and positional work. We drilled heavily on go behinds, stand ups, and res-shooting off of escapes. We then drilled various slips and counters into attacks.
Thursday night I threw on the gi and trained at ATT. It was the first time in about a month that I trained in the kimono, and while it felt weird at first, it also felt good and slow down the pace and work on solid technique. Reyzinho showed some nice chokes from side control, which I am excited to add to my game. Two of the guys who train at ATT are the Manager of 399 (Thiago) and manager/owner? of Alves (Ricardo). Both are great guys and when you go out for a drink or some food its great to see friends and training partners. Even if we are only walking buy both guys are quick to wave and shout out a hello.
Friday morning striking class went great. We had a group of fighters come in to train. The guys can from a striking background and their movement and positioning showed. The format of positional sparring, where one guy throws a combo and the other guy is reacting does a great job at making a person get used to blocking and catching punches, without having to worry about getting your head knocked off. I feel like in the last couple of weeks of striking that I am getting back to where I was technically as a boxer and that I will only continue to progress as time goes on.
The training was the last one for the weekend to allow people to spend the holiday with their families. It was nice to have a long weekend but I am looking forward to Monday when training starts up again.
Holidays in Brazil
The adjustment of staying for an extended period of time in Brazil can, at times, be difficult. Overall getting used to Brazil and adjusting to the lifestyle has been a fairly easy transition. The times that it can be difficult is around the holidays. I come from a very large family that celebrates any (and all) holidays, so living so far away can make a person feel a bit homesick.
One thing that has proven nice is every person in the Connection Rio houses is in the same boat as you. So as the holidays come, the people in the houses come together as well. Typically this happens in the form of lighting up some coals and barbequing in the Connection Rio HQ house garden. Everyone chips in, so the food itself is communal, with everyone grilling cooking their ‘specialty’.
Having so many people from all over the world brings great culinary diversity into the house. This weekend there was grilled flank steak, pork tenderloin, a mint basil chicken, balsamic veggie salad, thinly sliced juicy steak, and Hawaiian pineapple burgers. Add to this tons of dipping sauces, and lots of beverages and you have yourself a great holiday feast.
So while I was not home with family this past Christmas, or for this weekends Easter celebrations, I was here in Brazil celebrating with a very different ‘family’, but one that still made me feel at home.
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!