There and Back Again Part II

I have recently discovered the darkside to travel here in Rio. Only a couple of weeks ago we drove past an industrial vehicle which had run off the road and smashed straight through a wall, it was twisted beyond repair and looked like serious bodily harm had been caused. In true Brazilian fashion the workmen on the scene stood around without a care in the world, doing very little and having a good laugh with the boys. Then on the way back from the same journey we saw a stationed bus that had collided with a lamp-post and completely knocked it over, what really sucked ass was this added 2 hours onto our short trip. The same week witnessed some messed up business as we drove past someone who had been knocked over on the side of the road, surrounded the emergency services and onlookers. Traffic in Rio is defo not all fun and games.

6.  An innate skill I have observed from bus commuters is their ability to sleep on any given journey. This is no easy feat, as explained previously, journeys are far from smooth with the crazy ass driving that goes on. One particular trip home I’d started to doze when I found myself being De La Souled 3 feet high and rising from my seat. The Brazilians are impervious to this, it must be something handed down from generation to generation, as I have seen mothers with multiple children balanced on their knees gently snoozing away. I’ve even witnessed the fabled stand up and sleep technique.

7. The common occurrence of the ‘Suco de bunda’ is something that brings a smile to my face on a daily basis. Given the jam-packed nature of the bus there is a fair amount of farting. It’s awesome when someone really lets loose the bootjuice and it just brings everyone out in a chorus of laugher. The U.K could learn a thing or two from this attitude, bootjuice should be embraced and revered for the comical relief it provides rather than condemned and looked down upon.

8.  I’ve witnessed death by door on a number of occasions. This one dude made the unwise decision to stand directly behind the doors, I don’t know how many times dude has been on the bus but those things always open inwards. Homeboy got squished like he was Harry and Marv. A really scary incident happened when this young girl got her shoulders and backpack caught as she jumped out. The driver had already started to drive away, it look as if she was about to be ripped in half until she was saved by her fellow passengers screaming at the driver.

IMG_2372

 

9. Work is definitely an interesting concept over here. From the bus I have observed many examples of ‘work’, a lot of this involves standing around having a good crack with work mates, smoking cigs, drinking coffee and on a number of occasions having a quick kip. By far my favorite example of workmanship came one morning as we stopped at a stop sign. It was at this moment that a number of workmen decide it was the appropriate time at fix a hole in the road. It’s a bit difficult to make out fully in the picture but the guys literally walked in front of the bus, lifted up the board and began to fill the road in, now that’s efficiency!

10. It is a rare occurrence when I get a seat on the way back from training at night, at 10:15 its super rammoed which isn’t exactly what you need at the end of a long day of mat related torture. This one particular night myself and the homeboy Nabas found the whole back row to ourselves which was seriously unexpected and awesome. I was intrigued as a women got on wearing a workman’s hard hat carrying an ironing board and a bucket, this really should have set the alarm bells ringing! This excentric lady then proceeded to speak with herself whilst randomly walking up and down the bus. Then she made the decision I had been solemnly dreading for the prior 30 seconds and came and sat next to us. I did the only thing that any good friend could do and put my headphones in and let Nabas deal with her, nudging him every now and again to provoke laughter as she proceeded to air her grievances to him in Portuguese. Her ironing board fell over as we hit a bend at the usual 500 MPH, this really set her off and she proceeded to scream ‘boom’ over and over again and the top of her voice. Her final crescendo was to stand at the door and scream in passenger’s faces as they exited the bus.  I love meeting new people!

Today got my homie, drill partner and berimboling ass whizz kid Nabas to show a tasty technique if your opponent defends the arm-bar.

Check out the homie doing his thing

Celebrating in Style

Myself and some of the homies had the pleasure of being invited to Professor Terere’s birthday, this past Saturday. I still haven’t got over my total fanboyness, so this was definitely a pee myself with excitement kind of event!

The first part of the celebrations involved a spot of Jiu-Jitsu. This training session was slightly different as the adults and children all trained together. We had a technique section with guest black belt Eduardo Castro from Barbosa Jiu-Jitsu, looking at some dope details on the leg-drag. Then we rolled, I was paired up with this little dude, now he can have been no older than five and about three-foot something in his massive Gi and white belt. It was truly a humbling experience, we were rolling, he was putting me in arm-bars and throwing up triangles. He had an incredible level of natural movement, imagine just how good this little guy will be in ten years, just hope he sticks with it. Really sucks that I didn’t get any pictures. I was matched up with a variety of different people who I wouldn’t normally have a chance to roll with, it was hella interesting to see Jiu-Jitsu in a variety of different forms across age, gender and body type. I also had the opportunity to see two black belt who were arguably already steaming, go to war with one other and I mean WAR!

IMG_2428

Then it was BBQ time, there is a serious love of meat in Brazil and maaaaaaan was there some meat put away over the day. During the course of a four-hour session, that’s four hours of continuous eating, I consumed mass quantities of steak, chicken and fish. It’s crazy, meat is so good that over here even the liver was mad delish. Red meat combined with the sweltering heat of the Rio afternoon ensured that I was literally leaking protein! Convention was thrown out of the window too, why bother with the main course then dessert. The birthday cake was cut and there was a whole host of other crazy delicious dessert business going on but there’s still steak flying round and being forced onto your plate. I was eating an amazing chocolate fudge type birthday cake which was plonked next to thick slices of steak oozing blood, I thought to myself ‘this is some real man shit!’I eventually had to give up when I had the sensation that my belly button was about to force itself outwards.

IMG_2451

Aside from the abundance of food there was dancing and singing, fortunately I managed not to get involved in either. At the risk of propagating a stereotype, everyone can dance, I was witness to some serious hip based moves which have made me reconsider my own poke my fingers in the air and nod my head technique. One of the major highlights of the day was singing happy birthday to Terere. Now this was on some dope-ass remix shit, first the gringos sang happy birthday in English, which was cut into by happy birthday Brazilian stylee which is definitely the more hype version! This then led straight into a chorus ‘whoop whoop Terere’ from the 50 of so guests at the party, it was seriously awesome!

Aside from how badass it was to actually be at Terere’s birthday we got a chance of check out his medals. It was amazing to see so much Jiu-Jitsu history in front of my eyes. I had so many questions to ask the professor about all of these great achievements, ‘How did it feel to win the mundials at black belt?’ or ‘which championship win are you most proud of?’, pretty much all I could muster was ‘please can I have a picture?’ and ‘your a beast’!

IMG_2500

It was such a sweet day and a serious pleasure to even be there, there is this incredible sense of family around everyone connected to the academy and I feel very privileged to be part of it.

IMG_2516

I also competed again last weekend, fought and won three tough matches and took the gold. Whilst it wasn’t a big a competition as the No-Gi Nationals, it felt super awesome to win in the Gi here in Brazil. I’ve included the video of my final, although I wouldn’t advise anyone to really watch it unless you are a family member and then are compelled or you have a particular interest in incredibly dull Gi matches which have very little action. The match itself which ended 2-2 points, 1-1 advantage, 1-1 penalty. The highlight of rewatching the match was seeing the referee’s face as he was forced to give me the decision based on a last-minute attempted brabo choke, there is a definite begrudging look as he holds up my arm, read into that what you will! Learnt some valuable lessons from the comp, as the atypical blue belt guard player, I pull guard and managed to mess up three guard pulls out of three, so there’s something that needs a bit of work.

Got a new technique for you this week, being berimboloed sucks serious ass! Thus my homeslice Vlademir Alves is showing some slick defence to counter it.

There and Back Again

IMG_2200 IMG_2272

I’m currently spending between 3-4 hours on the bus traveling to and from the academy each day. There are  benefits to this bus travel, it gives me hella time to read, listen to podcasts and peep multiple albums each day which is pretty sweet. However there are some glaring negatives, anyone who has visited Rio knows these aren’t any old buses, to get on the bus, is to take your own life and put it into the hands of people we can loosely call ‘drivers’. Coupled with this, buses are the main mode of transport for the less affluent people of Brazil, which make up a large percentage of the population, to define them as massively overcrowded would be a serious understatement. At 7.45 AM you have to be comfortable with small spaces, confident with your own sexuality and have some serious grip strength!

IMG_2204

Here is a list of observations / experiences that I have compiled so far on my bus adventures:

1. It is not an overstatement to say the bus drivers are some crazy ass dudes. I would go as far as to say that many have suicidal or maybe homicidal tendencies. They think nothing of overtaking on blind bends, besides oncoming traffic there is the potential of massive cliff drops into the ocean, this does not appear to bother these dudes one bit. The work ethic seems to be based around the principle ‘increase the speed’. What I struggle to understand is, no matter how quickly they get us to our destination, they just have to do the same loop again, so what’s the point in trying to kill everyone in the process? One incident that sticks out, involved over-taking another bus and near head on collision with a car coming the other way. After narrowly escaping potential death hearing someone scream very loudly from the car that the bus driver was a ‘puta’, there’s a word to google for you!

2. It appears that Brazilian men are the exception to the rule and can indeed multi-task, well bus drivers anyway. Due to the incredibly crowded nature of the morning bus, I’ve spent a great deal of time near the driver, perched precariously on the bottom step next to the door, usually on one leg, to the point if the driver broke to hard I would fly backwards through the front window! Anyway I’ve witnessed drivers having a chat on their phones, I’m assuming talking to their homies as they are having a good laugh. Multiple drivers sending text messages. My personal favourite was when I driver pulled out some sort of form and decided it was the best time to complete a written task!

3. The Entrepreneurial spirit of the Brazilian people can be seen whilst travelling by bus. It’s not uncommon for dudes to get on and sell you sweets and other sorts of tasty snacks, I guess who doesn’t want a delicious last meal before they plummet 50 feet to a fiery death! The biggest surprise however, occurred when a particularly charismatic salesman got on and began to sell sets of pads and pens. The real shocker came when people were actually buying them! Now don’t get me wrong they were super cute, pink and covered in glitter and at the bargin price of 3 real (less than £1) but at what point does someone who is traveling home from work decide ‘I really need that pink pen set to make my day complete’.

4. Old Brazilian women crossing themselves. I have witnessed this phenomenon on two separate occasions and each time it confirmed to me that I was indeed about to die a horrible death. If a women who has been traveling this way her entire life is so scarred she is relying on God to save her, what hope do the rest of us have!

5. The bus gets crowded like nothing else I have ever experienced. The Brazilian people deal with this so calmly, respectfully and really go out of their way to help each other. People will always make way or give up seats for the elderly or women with children, scream in unison if the driver has missed someone’s stop and there is also the incredibly helpful custom of holding people’s bags. There is very little room in the walkway between seats, there is simply no space to hold a bag on your back or shoulder, so some very kind people take your bag and put it on their knee for the remainder of your journey. Here’s where the issue arises, I use my bag to carry my dripping wet Gi to and from training each session, so not only is my bag usually wet, it smells non too delicious! I very so bad for the poor women who has the bag that smells of spicy aids perched on her knee for 45 minutes!

Part 2 of this badboy coming………

I’m gonna start a little technique series hitting you up with something new each week. This week we have Cobrinha purple belt and all around kickass dude Andre Khabbazi showing some serious details on the knee-cut pass, if the opponent has a reverse Dela Riva hook.