Monday, January 28, 2013


Ah, the blessings of having others write kickass articles for me, leaving me all the time in the world to catch up on Downton Abbey.  Behold, Volume IV from BJJ Hacks Brazilian Blog, here on DSTRYR/SG:

My jiu-jitsu life here in Rio de Janeiro isn't exactly hectic, but it's pretty full on at times. I'm always moving from gym to gym filming, getting interviews, and of course training.

Being exposed to so much jiu-jitsu from so many different sources is very stimulating, but sometimes overwhelming. I always feel inspired and eager to try what I've seen after a visit to a gym and encountering a new method or style. I often watch and rematch my footage to break down techniques or transitions so I can add them into my own game, and this process never stops. I was rewatching some old BJJ Hacks videos last week and I had a eureka moment. Something I had seen literally dozens of times during the editing process suddenly made sense to me. It wasn't that I couldn't see the technique before, it was just that I couldn't see how to put it into my own game.

I can honestly say I've gleaned something from every BJJ Hacks video I've made. Some videos, I've only picked up a minor detail or two. Some videos have inspired me to implement completely new methods. The mythical Miyao brothers video (which has been shelved indefinitely, unfortunately) probably gave me the most food for thought, because it was a type of game I'd never really studied and I'd never met anyone who played that style.

I always make a point of asking questions of the subjects I film. If I see them do something cool while rolling I'll ask them to break it down for me. Not asking questions while you've got such awesome grapplers right there in front of you is lunacy!

The one BJJ Hacks subject who has helped my jiu-jitsu the most is without doubt Felipe Costa. We didn't actually start training together until many months after I had completed my video with him, but since then I have picked up so much stuff I'm not sure how to properly thank him.

I was lucky because I like to use certain set-ups and techniques that he is also keen on, but his openness, excellent teaching style and deep technical knowledge have been a huge benefit to my game. If you ever get the chance to train with Felipe you should take it. He's running an intensive camp in Cancun later this year with Comprido and Caio Terra, and if you can I seriously recommend you consider going.

Speaking of Caio Terra, I managed to hook up with him shortly before he returned home to his academy in San Jose. I interviewed him at his brother's apartment in Copacabana, which has a decent sized mat and is decorated in a beautiful Mendes bros-style all white.

Caio Terra BJJ Hacks video coming in February

I'll save details of his interview for now, but I will say this – watching Caio roll was something else. I've seen world class in action, and he's one of those 'another level' guys that do stuff the rest of us can barely comprehend.

Finally, a quick word on mat culture in Rio. Jiu-Jitsu Magazine asked me to write a feature article on this topic, and I had to wonder if mat culture really is that different here. After some pondering, I decided the answer is yes. Not massively so, but still different – although you'll need to read the article to find out exactly how.

One thing I can share is something that catches many visitorsoff guard. Brazilians love to engage in what we British call 'relentless piss taking'. Cariocas love to joke at one another's expense, not in a malicious or vindictive way, more like verbally roasting each other.

Roger Gracie, Jose Leao Teixeira and Mauricio Gomes making fun of each other.

Banter flies thick and fast in the gym, and nobody is exempt from this. Because Brazilians operate at a higher volume than other nationalities and flail their arms around when they talk many visitors think they're actually arguing, but it's all in good spirits.

Until next time.

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