We rented a hotel room in Ipiranga (a suburb in Sao Paulo) for a week to train at Cicero Costa’s. For me it was a very exciting prospect to be able to roll with Luiza Monteiro, and for Lachie to train with the Miyao brothers and Leandro Lo.
Ipiranga was also a refreshing change – it’s a quirky neighbourhood with many delicious cafes, bakeries and restaurants. Another plus was that our hotel was a 10 min walk from the gym.
However, one thing that’s really frustrating in Brazil is the lack of laundries/laundromats at affordable prices. It is also hard to find apartments to rent with a washing machine. And that’s a big problem when you have 2-3 gis, rashies, leggins etc to wash each day. The first day the hotel tried to charge us AUD$50 for 1 load. Luckily we negotiated and didn’t go bankrupt after a week…
So to more important things. Training at Cicero’s:
When you first walk in to the academy, it’s a stark contrast to most other gyms. Cicero’s is a Social Project designed to help adolescents in need and offers unlimited BJJ as well as a place to stay. At the moment, there are about 15 boys living at the gym and sleeping on the mats.
Cicero himself is extremely friendly, kind and welcoming and it’s easy to see how he developed such a strong and bonded team of fighters.
The Miyao brothers and a few other boys who live at the academy work extremely hard. In fact, I thought it was all exaggerated lies, until I saw it with my own eyes. Their routine goes something like this:
Weights at 7am. Drill from 12-1pm. Roll 1-2pm. Competition rolls 2-3pm. Rest 3-5 pm. Drill 5-6pm. Roll 6-7 pm. 10 min rest, then drill again until about 9pm.
For anyone who wonders how they are so good, this is how… they just work hard.
Lachie and I attended the noon and night classes. The noon class is for purple belts and above and the 1st hour is just drilling. Each person swaps top to bottom every 5 minutes and you drill whatever you want. The next hour is always 6x 8 min hard rolls with 2 min rest in between. Everyone goes hard, and since there is no air con or ventilation, it feels 100% worse. For me, it was great to roll with Luiza, who is super technical, quick and good from every position. There were also some great purple belt girls who kicked my butt.
The night classes are run in the same way, except that for the 1st hour, white and blue belts have a structured class, while higher belts drill.
Unfortunately I felt one week wasn’t quite enough to get used to their games and I got berimbolo-ed and got my back taken about 20 x each session. It was another eye-opener though in terms of different training methods and different games. Training there has certainly encouraged me to get better at going inverted in all directions and to change my passing style.
Full of inspiration and more knowledge, we went back to our base at RIcardo and Camila’s house. I count myself lucky to be able to meet and train with so many of my idols.