No-Gi Training in Rio, Strauch Academy in Copacabana & Competing BJJ/MMA in Brazil

With the passing of time comes the changing of seasons and as we enter Rio’s ‘fall’, temperatures are changing from hot as hell to just hot. I can honestly say I never thought I would regard a 75F (23.8C) night as cool/chilly temperature. I guess that is the happy price you pay when living in paradise.

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.

The changing of seasons has also brought a shift in the training atmosphere in the houses. Currently in the houses there are a lot of people preparing to compete in various tournaments throughout Rio (and Brazil) for that matter. It really adds to the houses creating the work hard, play hard attitude which makes being here in Rio so much fun.

Week in Training
Early Monday morning I hopped a bus and went into Arpoador (a small section of Rio between Copa and Ipanema) and hit a free open air gym along the beach. The place is old school with all the weights made from concrete, and offers a no frills barbell and dumbbell workout. I loved it- for the first time since moving down I was able to deadlift, squat, and perform various other compound movements. After I finished lifting I was able to cool off by hoping into the ocean and then caught a bus back into Barra to wrestle.

Tuesday I mixed up training and went to the gringo nogi class taught by Jeremy DeNardo. As I have said before Jeremy is a great wrestler who has blended his wrestling into BJJ and MMA philosophies and I have learned a ton from him. The class was great, and it gave people in the houses opportunities to learn new takedown techniques, and also some great ground work. He showed an awesome (I mean one of the coolest moves I seen) way to take the back and choke from top half-guard that he learned from MMA standout and CR guest Peter Sabotta. The class was great and I got a chance to roll with some great guys, including the CR sponsored athlete Mike, who plays a smooth nogi game.

Academia Strauch
Wednesday night was the weekly CR Academy visit. This week was Academia Strauch in Copacabana. Master Strauch is a red belt grand master in BJJ and he welcomed us happily into his academy. Although in his early 60’s he moves with the agility of a much younger man and taught some great techniques. The rolling was spirited yet fun and the overall atmosphere was of a love for competition.

A couple of unique things stand out about the training; one being that during live rolling they play music, something that is very common in the U.S., but here in Brazil Academia Strauch is the only academy I have been to that has. Also they did a king of the mat takedown competition, another thing that I haven’t seen much of here in Rio.

BJJ "gang fight" at Academia Strauch in Copacabana

BJJ “gang fight” at Academia Strauch in Copacabana

After training we played a game. We formed a 5 on 6, team vs. team competition where the goal was to submit everyone on the other team. As people tapped they were out. As Strauch put it “I love a good gang fight”. We quickly went out against the other team, a grabbed a guy and then from behind had someone take my back, I battled back and forth with the two guys, a one point I was caught in a double armbar (one guy on each arm) but somehow I managed to escape. Suddenly I had another guy jump on, then another. I managed an anaconda choke on one guy getting the tap. He was quickly replaced by another guy and I found out I was the last guy left on my team. I went defensive blocking choke and keeping my limbs safe. Then I heard counting, and thought it was a countdown to the game finishing. However I soon realized the counting was going up and more hands and bodies were jumping on me. At that point there were ten guys on me and I still managed to survive long enough for time to run out, securing the victory for our team.

Weekend on the beach and watching MMA
Nothing caps off a great week of training better than sitting on the beach catching a tan, swimming in the ocean and enjoying a large acai. Saturday night we went across the street to 399 and caught Jungle fight 50 on the flat screen. The card had two guys fighting on it from the MMA camp, Thiago ‘Tractor’ and Uziel ‘Maruim’. Both guys fought incredibly hard, with Thiago picking up the win, and Maruim losing a very close decision. Great job to both guys!

It’s always great to see people you know compete and do well. I know that they, as well as the rest of the guys competing (whether in BJJ or MMA) train incredibly hard and have put a lot of time in. I got to say seeing my friends compete and be successful are getting my competitive juices flowing and I am starting to get the itch to compete again.

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!

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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