Copa Podio

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On Saturday night me and the homies had the chance to go and peep one of the premier, professional grappling shows in the world; Copa Podio which is held here in Rio. Some of the top dudes in the sport were competing including Rodolfo Viera, Leandro Lo, Leo Nogueira and Felipe Pena.

Being the impoverished and cheap ass dude I am, I’d opted for the upper tier tickets to watch the show. The evening got off to an awesome start when the bouncers on the door somehow gave me and the homies Mike and Torryn the same wristbands as the rest of the crew who had bought the more expensive floor tickets. Boom, we were bumped up to floor tickets which were double the price! Second stroke of luck happened as we got in there, we aimed for the corner area of the arena and took our seats. This turned out to be a wise decision as we had somehow wandered into the area for athletes and families. For the entirety of the evening we were provided with as much free Coke and Guarana as our bladders could handle. In addition to sandwiches, in fact two separate lots of sandwiches. Props to Copa Podio as they went all out with cheese and ham on white bread for the full junior school packed lunch experience!

If your interested, I’m sure you’ll check the full results so I’m not gonna provide a breakdown of the event which was crazy long clocking in at 5 and a half hours but was hella dope nevertheless.

But here’s a  few of my musing from the show:

I. The show began with a full rendition of the Brazilian National anthem. This was my introduction to what must be one of the longest pieces of music ever. Long enough in fact for me to notice Leandro Lo having a cheeky dick scratch. I also noticed Rodolfo was the only one singing, I don’t know if this was a ploy to intimidate his opponents but seeing the man belt out a tune was enough to send shivers down my spine.

 

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II. Poor UFC fighter Alan Belcher had a tough day at the office getting a good beating off pretty much everyone – he was a good sport to it all though. For some reason he’d made the decision to borrow a white belt’s kimono which was about 3 sizes to big for him.

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III. Lloyd Irvin representative Timothy Spriggs received no applause whatsoever as he came out to fight. Ethically I’d question the Copa Podio as an organisation and their decision to invite an athlete from a team led by a ‘failed’ rapist in the first place.

IV. Match of the night in my opinion was Luiz Panz vs. Leandro Lo in the semi finals. Super technical fight going back and forth between both fighters.

V. Rodolfo Veira’s completed a campaign of destruction. He finished 5 out of 6 fights this included finishing Leandro Lo in under 2 minutes of the final. Watching him on video cannot compare to seeing him do his thing live. He really is a scary ass dude whose guard passing is unbelievably relentless. I was also impressed at the amount of sweat homeboy manages to produce, a waterfall cascaded off his nugget throughout each of his fights. As someone who is proud of their own levels of sweating, I’m but a padawan to this Jedi Master of sweat. Dude is a fortified beast.

A Dumb-ass New Year

My Macbook decided to completely die mid December hence no blogging, no nothing really, it has absolutely sucked, worst part no pro-wrestling. Thankfully due to some kind Brazilian technicians, a large sum of money and a unnecessarily long wait, I’m back up in this.

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Not much Jiu-Jitsu related, my chick was visiting over the Christmas period, this limited the amount I was training & allowed me to gain a whopping 9 KGs! My experience of the festive season here was somewhat different to the norm. A change of scenerio switched my sweaty dorm-room to an appartment on an Island. Living that Island life business, getting a boat to and from the spot, crazy wildlife and ridiculous 40 degree temperatures. Christmas dinner was created using a camping stove, I say Christmas dinner quite loosely, I actually mean a steak and egg sandwich. The day itself was pretty much spent eating serious quantities of brigadeiro cake and sweating a lot. We tried to watch Home Alone but even big Kev doing his thing was hard to enjoy when your afflicted with dripping back sweats without even moving.

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New Years Eve was an experience I won’t forget in a long time. Copacabana beach is host to one of the largest NYE celebrations in the world, hundreds of thousands of people all dressed in white celebrating and bringing the new year in together. Well that’s what I’ve heard anyway, I wasn’t there. My tale begins as I dropped the chick off at the airport, this was at 7.30PM, the idea was to jump on a direct coach and be back at the gaff by 9.00. I jumped on the coach that I believed would take me to Barra. I didn’t even think anything of it when I didn’t recognise the direction we were going, as traffic was being re-routed due to the beach celebrations. Although I became slightly concerned when we pulled into a coach station which I’d never heard of and the driver turned off his engine.

No big deal though, there was plenty of buses around so I’d just jump on one of these bad-boys. The trouble was I’d just received my deposit back from the Island apartment and also had money I’d taken out for the next couple of week’s survival, so I had the equivalent of about 500 beans on me all in large bills. I spotted a bus that I had been on before and knew it stopped at Barra Pasarela, this was 5 minutes from the gaff, so it was all good. I was on said bus a good while before I began to worry that I hadn’t recognised anything, it really became brown trousers time when the bus stopped just outside Recreio favela and I was informed it was the last stop. I’d managed to get on the bus doing the opposite loop, you’ve really got to be a dumb-ass to get on back to back wrong buses!

I was more than a little concerned that I was packing hella cash, an iPhone, a Macbook (albeit broken one) and in the ghetto. I saw the main road from where I was dropped, so rather than walking calmly I just took off like The Flash. When I got to the main road I thought I’d just jump on another bus and ‘boom’ back to the spot and celebrate new years! However whilst waiting at the bus stop a car pulled along side me and 2 dudes jumped out, based on prior experience I knew I was about to be jacked, dudes were packing some serious screw faces. There was no way I was gonna give up all my shit so I launched into Sidney Prescott survival tactics and literally ran as fast as I’ve ever ran, I might have even screamed a little too! My first bit of luck was I’d picked the right side of the road to run as the car wasn’t able to reverse, I just jumped on the first bus that came past, which somehow took me all the way to Barra.

I finally got home at 11:50 feeling pretty traumatised, watched some fireworks from the garden and then went to bed. Worst new years ever!

The Agony of Defeat

* Due to some slight computer issues videos and pics are missing from this weeks blog – this will be resolved soon….. I hope

Everything was going to plan competing at Copa Alfabarra as I had made it into the final. The match began, I pulled guard, swept from deep half and attained side control. I ended up back in deep half but I’m 5-0 up with 90 secs left, I could have ridden the bad boy out to the gold. BUT I decided in the spirit of an interesting fight, I’d sweep again. As I came up on top, I put my foot ON his hip, his team (a large & influential Jiu-Jitsu organisation which shall remain nameless) begin screaming at the ref. The ref then DQs me for reaping the knee. Decide for yourself based on the video. Then the dude that I had been soundly beating proceeded to jump up and celebrate like he’d won the mundials, this nearly pushed me over the edge and dude nearly got a mandatory dick slap. At this point I had to have a little breath, before I managed to maintain enough composure to shake hands with both my opponent and ref as I didn’t want to look like a penis hole myself. I mean silver is all good but the verdict is I’d been gringoed!

The following day our academy had a special guest instructor for the evening session, none other than ‘The General’ himself Fabio Gurgel, what an awesome privilege to train and meet one of the original founders of Alliance. The problem was I wasn’t actually there. In my infinite wisdom I had decided because I’d competed the day before, I would take a day off the hazardous bus travel and do a bit of training at the gaff. So instead of picking the mind of four-time world champion and one of the most renowned teachers of all time I rolled with a blue belt from Grimsby!

Based on the now infamous Barra screw job I was hella determined to win the Copa America when I competed again a couple of weeks later. I trained so hard for this badboy putting in 2 sessions of rolling and a drill session everyday, taking private classes and really working on my passing. The comp itself was the usual crazyness, hundreds of Brazilians screaming at the top of their lungs, arguing every decision, multitudes of chemically enhanced male bodies and the ‘BOA’ used more than any other word in the history of speech. It was a long ass day which was livened up quite nicely by a violent incident which broke out in the stands. Where our team were situated on one side, we could see the opposite stand split into what appeared to be two warring factions. I’m thinking‘wow this is some old school team versus team business’ maybe GF team were putting the beat down on Nova Uniao or Gracie Barra and Alliance were settling some old scores. The whole tournament literally stopped for this, what become clear very quickly, it was some chick and her dude having some sort of domestic incident. The chick didn’t look like she wanted to put the gentle art into practice that’s for sure, she looked ready to unleash all kinds of hell on homeboy!

I finally stepped on the mats around 7PM – I was feeling good and I had the entirety of the FT team supporting me including Professor Terere. It started according to plan; guard pull, sweep from deep half, then something didn’t feel right and I was being choked! I’d managed to ignore the fact he had got his grips, rather than deal with this first, I’m thinking ‘DEEP HALF SWEEP SON!’. I’ve been submitted in comps before but this one sucked soooooo bad. I felt like a young Gordon Bombay missing his triple deke in front of Coach Reilly. I was genuinely upset, losing was one thing but doing it in that fashion infront of someone you look up to as a rolemodel was very difficult.  After mopping around a little bit, Terere came and dropped some Jedi Master knowledge on me. Amongst other things he explained that whether you are in your own academy or in competition everyday on the mats is learning, he was right I seriously learnt a lesson that day! His words did help me reconcile with the situation. Live by deep half then die by that biatch, I guess.

Fortunately there is some happiness to my tales of absolute despair. I attended a seminar held by Professor Terere, we looked at some super serious grip details when passing the guard and taking the back. After the seminar Terere gave a little speech prior to presenting someone with a stripe. The more he spoke, I’m thinking could he be talking about me? Then he pulled me out to the front, so it turned out he was. I’ve been a blue belt for 26 months completely stripless, I thought they didn’t really matter and wouldn’t impact on my game or progression. BUT getting one from Fernando Terere was a different thing, a stripe from Terere was straight up gangsta shit! He made it clear that I was one of his students, which was super cool, I’m not just another pale-ass dude passing through his gym!