The standard class structures here in Brazil are pretty much the same formula used worldwide at the majority of jiu jitsu gyms: a good warm including drills, stretching, push-ups etc, then technique from certain positions, and then sparring. But there are a lot of subtle differences I have noticed.
Jamie Hughes is from Wales, UK, and is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt under Pedro Bessa. Jamie is currently living and training in Rio De Janeiro for 3 months as part of the Connection Rio sponsored athlete programme. You can read his blog “Espanthalo BJJ” here. In this weeks blog, he outlines the differences between a BJJ gym in Rio de Janeiro versus academies back home in the UK.
In my experience here so far in Brazil, the warm-ups are a little bit more intense than back home with a larger focus on conditioning at the start of the class, also after the warm up they focus a lot on take downs here more so than many academies I’ve trained at. We will drill at least 50 take down entries here before moving into the technique portion of the class.
The level of instruction here is very good as it is in the UK also, but here a lot less time here is spent on drilling technique, maybe 15-20 minutes at the most compared with the 30-45 mins I’m used to back home.
Then on to the sparring section of a standard class here in Brazil, they like to do a lot of specific training here, usually from the position we have been working on during the technique section of training, we usually spend maybe 20 minutes positional sparring and then 30 minutes of free sparring.
In Brazil I feel there is a much higher emphasis on sparring and learning the techniques during live training as opposed to the more technical based classes in the UK. But I find both methods of training equally satisfying, but as a competitor myself the extra sparring is a real bonus of training here in Rio.
A few other things I have noticed are different here compared to the UK is the sheer number of higher belts that are on the mat at one given time, in the UK most schools have a maximum of maybe 2-3 black belts on the mat at any one time, here in Rio it’s not uncommon to have upwards of 10 black belts on the mat, even during morning classes, so this is of course a very big and unique difference to many schools around the world in that you have access to so many talented and diverse styles of jiu-jitsu and that’s just the blackbelts, not counting the very high number of brown and purple belts on the mats too.
Overall training here at a BJJ gym in Rio de Janeiro has a few major differences and many subtle differences in the way things are done, but one thing is for sure regardless of nationality, language or belt rank, here in Rio you are going to be exposed to so much high level jiu-jitsu that you will return home to your academy with many new tricks and ideas for training and competition.