There is more to Rio than just grappling, but there is plenty of that too

My second week in Rio had a slightly different feel to it. The sunburn was affecting my head so I had to take a few days off of training. While frustrating, it allowed me to look at the other “Rio experience” on offer.

This blog was written by Connection Rio sponsored athlete Michael Tlalka. He’ll be blogging weekly on his experiences in Rio de Janeiro.

I went to the Christ the Redeemer statue with Dave and Nick. They were both nearing the end of their respective stays so ticking off touristy attractions was high on their agendas. We took the bus from outside the house that got us into Ipanema and we then we took a taxi to the cable cart. After a 20 minute ride filled with complaining English women, we’ve made it to the top and the view was stunning.

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The statue itself was impressive but due to the amount of tourists around, I concentrate on the views from the mountain. Rio’s layout is best appreciated from a tall vantage point and it’s an excellent way to make sense of the city. Seeing the city from so high up convinced me I’ve that I need to see more of the tourist attractions and not leave them to the last minute.

On the training side of things, I’ve had the pleasure of going to two academy visits this week. I’d advise everyone staying in Rio to explore different gyms because it’ll round out your experience and also open you up to other approaches and ways of doing things. My first academy visit was to the Drive in academy. Located in Gardenia Azul, it’s a social project which helps channel young kids’ energy into a worthwhile past time. Paulo Cezar “Drive-In” (so nicknamed after working in a… you’ve guessed it, a drive-in restaurant) is a high level black belt and his enthusiasm for the project can be seen in his students. The kids are very disciplined and committed to their training and some of them will surely be great champions (and people) further down the line. Being able to take part in classes there made me realise how much our community can achieve with some goodwill.

My second visit was to the Renovação Fight Team (RFT). I was particularly looking forward to it because of my background in no gi and I was not disappointed. Upon arrival, you’re welcomed by pictures of RFT fighters and it sets the mood for the training. As a luta livre school, they concentrate on a highly-aggressive and submission-oriented style which lends itself well to MMA. The training was intense and the atmosphere of hard work motivated each and every one of us. I got to spar with two of their excellent Bellator fighters and it was a good way of testing where I stand in the grand scheme of things.

Hopefully next week will let me settle into a bit more of a routine and my portuguese will experience some much needed progress.

Until then.

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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