This is my penultimate blog entry. I know you’re devastated my tenure as the sponsored athlete and your source of weekly entertainment are coming to an end but the circle of life must continue. I am sure the next sponsored athlete will be a worthy replacement. So without further ado, here’s this week’s entry.
This blog was written by Connection Rio sponsored athlete Michael Tlalka, who wrote a weekly blog on his experiences in Rio de Janeiro.
This week has seen me in a new role. As one of the few people left who’ve been in Connection Rio for more than a few weeks, it was my turn to become the tour guide for the new guys. I took them to the largest mall in Latin America (a claim that is no longer accurate but everyone seems to repeat it like a mantra of sorts), the Atama store and shared my general knowledge of the surroundings. It made me realise how much I’ve experienced and learnt in the last 3 months and how thankful I am for it.
As for training, I decided to forget the fact that my thumb is still nowhere near healed and for me. Nova Uniao is easily accessible by the metro so I grabbed a few (probably close to 10) housemates and ventured to Flamengo. The gym itself is located within a plush commercial fitness centre which doesn’t immediately scream “this is where champions come from”. But as it has been the case in Rio over the last 3 months, appearances and first impressions can be very deceiving.
The class itself started with a warm up and what followed was the quickest technique demonstration I’ve ever seen. We were given roughly 3 minutes to practice a De la Riva sweep and then we were told to line up against the wall for sparring.
I got to spar against Ronny Markes (UFC middleweight on a 3-fight win streak) who was a beast but also full of helpful advice. Connection Rio founder Dennis Asche also made an appearance so I got to experience his movement based game. Overall, the trip was an unquantifiable success and I am looking forward to my trip to GFT next week.