Training With Brazil’s National Freestyle Wrestling Team

The week has flown by. As I sit here typing, I am amazed at all the opportunities that come up here in Rio. My knee is finally back to 100% so I was able to dive head first into hard training. I also was able see some parts of Rio that I hadn’t seen yet.

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.

Training at the new Americn Top Team gym in Barra da Tijuca, 30 seconds from our Connection Rio apartment in Baixo Barra

Training at the new Americn Top Team gym in Barra da Tijuca, 30 seconds from our Connection Rio apartment in Baixo Barra

MMA Camp Moves Up a Gear
This week marked the start of a new MMA training camp. While the last camp had a lot of younger fighters prepping, this one is full of seasoned, battle tested veterans of MMA and BJJ. From the end of April to early May several fighters including Alexandre ‘Pequeno’ Nogueira, his brother Leozada, Edson Diniz, and Reyzihno Duarte have fights lined up throughout Brazil and South America. Needless to say, training will be intense in the coming weeks.

The camp is now being run at the newly formed American Top Team Barra Da Tijuca, run by Reyzihno. It is located about 30 seconds away from the CR flat on Olegario Maciel. The training area is great; plenty of mat space and the whole area is surrounded by a cage. In addition to the members of the training camp, a lot of guys from ATT who recently moved back to Brazil are coming in to train during sparring and no-gi classes at night.

Brazilian Olympic wrestling coach and former MMA fighter, Antoine Jaoude

Brazilian Olympic wrestling coach and former MMA fighter, Antoine Jaoude

Wrestling with the Olympic Hopefuls
On Monday afternoon I went down to the beach to do a workout consisting of pushups, pull ups, and plyometrics. I happened to have my phone on me and about 5 minutes into the workout I get at call from Antoine Jaoude. Antoine is very good wrestler, having represented Brazil in the Olympics and other distinguished tournaments such as the Pan Ams. I had met Antoine through Dennis, and we have been communicating back and forth for some time.

Antoine called to say he was on his way to the new FILA training center and wondered if I wanted to come along to train with him and his friend. Of course I jumped at the chance, I quickly ran back to the apartment, grabbed my wrestling gear, and got picked up by Antoine. Since Rio is hosting the 2016 Summer Games, they have performed an overhaul on their Olympic training. One of the major changes in the training platform is a working relationship with the Brazilian Military. Olympic hopefuls as well as national team members in varying sports can now receive a military commission and train for large international events nearly full time.

The FILA wrestling center is located on a large naval base near GIG Airport. The base also houses other Olympic sports athletic teams such as boxing and weightlifting. Only an hour before I was on the beach working out, and then there I was heading into a Brazilian military base getting ready to workout with the national team as they begin their training for the Pan Ams. CRAZY. We made our way into the gymnasium; the newly donated mats by FILA which were designed to look like the Brazilian flag, where filled with members of both the men’s and women’s national freestyle teams. Overseeing the training were former coaches of Bulgarian and Cuban National teams, as well as renowned Brazilian wrestler Daniel “Pirata” (whom is Jose Aldo’s wrestling coach).

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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