So after a 7 week travelling holiday, we finally arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
I was really looking forward to unpacking my bag and settling somewhere for more than 2 days. And to making my own breakfast. And, of course to getting back into BJJ.
About 5 days before we were due to arrive, our apartment fell through, so we had to look for another in a hurry. Luckily, Lachie has trained with Fabio (brown belt) from Alliance at Cobrinha’s a couple years back, and after a couple messages it was decided we were to stay with his brother Ricardo (also an Alliance brown belt).
Ricardo and his girlfriend Camila have a beautiful house, not too far from the gym and as a bonus it comes with a gorgeous Golden Retriever. What’s even better is that we can go to the gym together with the Caloi brothers (more on them later), and be shown the in and outs of Sao Paulo.
So, first training back. I was so excited but so anxious at the same time. I was sure I forgot all jiu jitsu after 7 weeks. Alliance was closed, so we were invited to join a session at Eduardo Santoro’s academy, who is a very well respected black belt, a great guy and a very good teacher. After drilling different DLR passing variations, it was time for specific training and free rolling. I had some great rolls, specially with Syang – a fantastic feather weight brown belt. I don’t get to roll with higher belts close to my weight often, so it’s a great way to know how far I have to go. What I also loved about the club is that anyone form any affiliation was welcomed and happily trained together.
The next day, we finally visited Alliance. Training with Fabio Gurgel has been a dream of mine and it was completely surreal to step on the mats filled with black belt World Champions. Each session, there are about 10-15 black belts and I am one of the lowest ranked. There are also about 5 purple belt ladies, who are all very accomplished at an international stage. Everyone is super friendly and welcoming, but no one mucks around when it comes to rolling or drilling. The girls are tough as nails and provide me with the best training I can hope for. I am also super impressed with the orange/green/blue belt boys, who can kick my butt if they want to. It will be a long, hard road for me to become a good purple belt.
In all, each and every person is super tough here. First day, I could not even get a grip on anyone, let alone establish guard, hence I got passed and subbed probably about 15 x per roll.
After the lunch session, we usually eat acai and rest, then it’s either weights and drilling or just drilling with the Coloi brothers. We alternate 5 minutes of drilling each for about 1.5 hrs. This makes me so happy and I feel very lucky to be able to drill with guys at such a high level.
So that was the first week here in Sao Paulo. Training will start again in January and it will get much, much harder. Both Lachie and I are entering the Abu Dhabi Trials in Sao Paulo (mid Jan) and in Gramado (mid Feb), mainly because, why not?! It will be a great experience competing in Brazil, where standard is much higher than anywhere else I’ve been.
So now it’s time for Christmas and NY and we will have a couple days off (when the gym is closed) and get right back into it in January.
I’m so excited for the nest 6 months here. It will be super tough and I will need a thick skin to get through all the ass-kicking, but that is exactly why we are here.
Stay tuned for more updates!