All posts by TFDH

Brasileiro Sem Kimono Stylee

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Whilst this blog has been written many times before by Jiu-Jitsu dudes, I guess but this this is my take on the obligatory “gringo competes in Brazil”. This was my day competing at the CBJJ No-Gi Brazilian Nationals. I’ve been putting in the work on the mats, since arriving in Rio and I’ve trained twice, sometimes three times a day. The only issue with this, has been that I was competing in a No-Gi comp and all my training has been in the Gi. I’ve probably done 4 No-Gi sessions, going ‘sem kimono’ is not really a big thing here in Rio. I was basing my training on the principle that if I’m not doing No-Gi then my opponents won’t be either. That was the theory anyway!

I was competing at 80KG masters division, now I’d arrived in Brazil as the fatter version of myself weighing around 87KG as a result of a multitude of goodbye meals, drinks etc. So I had a bit of weight to get rid of but I’d been eating super clean for the last 3 weeks, which really sucked ass when everyone else is eating acai every day and I’m eating Broccoli.  I was hoping to wake up on the day at around 79kg so I could eat some breakfast, I wasn’t going to be competing until 3PM which means serious hunger.  Anyway I hit the scales in the morning to discover I was 77.8KG so perhaps I could have eaten that piece of bread my heart longed for.

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We arrived at the spot at around 9AM as some of the dudes were competing early but this meant that I had a long ass wait until my fights. Competing in Brazil for the first time was always gonna bring out the nerves but the competition was held at the Tijuaca Tennis Club which is pretty much the most famous venue for Jiu-Jitsu. This is the spot where classic matches & feuds have taken place, world champions have been crowned and legends have been created. So you could say I had the nerves like I was peeing next to Dirk Diggler! And damn did I have some time to sit around and worry!

Time rolled around, I managed not to be a dumb-ass and miss my category when it was mumbled out of the speakers in barely audible Portugese. I was seriously hoping to pick up some magical black belt powers left over from classic mat battles. The first dude I fought trained at Carlson Gracies so I had already decided that he was gonna be a beast. Thankfully my nerves couldn’t talk me out of it and the match went according to the Mozineo gameplan, I swept from deep half, came up on top, passed his half guard and submitted the dude with a kimura from side. The rush of adrenaline competing on those mats was like nothing else. There was at least 500 people in that piece and Brazilians don’t seem to do anything quietly, so the noise was crazy.

In the final, homeboy was a strong ass dude, whilst I won 17-2 on points which sounds like a beat-down, it was still tough. It was seriously awesome to have 20 something of my Connection Rio homeslices there supporting, it wasn’t quite Rocky 4 crowd conversion but I had my own peoples cheering for me. Special thanks to my dudes Mike and Jimmy for cornering me.

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Boom I won! I can legitimately say I a Brazilian National Champion which is something I am going to tell every single person I ever meet for the rest of forever! What made it even more sweet, I stepped off the podium to see Professor Terere, I got a massive congratulatory hug. At this moment the realisation hits me ‘I won a gold medal in Brazil in front of Terere, this is the best moment of my life!’. Celebrations involved the immediate consumption of acai and demolition of 21 slices of pizza, keeping it classy but gangsta!

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There is an epilogue to this celebratory tale, come Monday morning any notion that an am indeed dope as hell was shattered abruptly. Some killer dudes came over from Sao Paulo to train at the academy and I was unceremoniously triangled in roughly 20 secs by a 16 year old blue belt – bubble burst!

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Oh and check the sweet new mini doc on Professor Terere and the inspiration dude he is

Kicking it with Terere

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As i said in my first post it is not very often that a person gets to spend time with their hero, so I certainly feel privileged that I get to train with Professor Terere on a daily basis. Last week this got even more awesome when I got to kick it with him. We finished another badass morning session, putting in the drills and rolling like lives depended on it. I was buying a new Gi from the club but Terere had forgot to bring it from his place, so he was like ‘come to my house after training’, maaaaaan I was like ‘oh shit I am going to Terere’s gaff!’

When we first got out of the gym whilst we waited for our lift, Terere was giving me tips how to pick up Brazilian chicks. Whilst I didn’t quite get all of his advice, I have the distinct feeling even if I needed it, I would not be able to run game as successfully as him! He is seriously one of the happiest people I’ve ever met, so after briefing me on how to mack on hotties, he began to leisurely sing and dance. Bearing in mind we are in the middle of the street, but I’m not one to be left out, so I started busting out my white boy moves as well, anyone that has ever seen me dance knows the deal. In a rare moment of clarity at least a third of a second into my ‘dance’, I thought ‘dude what the hell are you doing?’. Terere has got crazy ass rhythm and looked dope as hell, (check the 0.50 of the video to see his skills) myself on the other hand have no rhythm to speak of and I just looked like a nob.

Walking through the favela together, it became clear just how loved he is by his community. We stopped and spoke to everyone we came into contact with; adults, old people and children, everyone has got love for him and he reciprocates it right back. We passed a group of 7 or 8 little dudes, their faces light up when they saw Terere and he made time to speak to them all and drop some knowledge. 

It became pretty surreal when we arrived at his spot, so I’m sat chilling at his house watching the football with his Dad, drinking a smoothie Terere made for me. I seriously had to check myself, I’m drinking a smoothie that a 2 time black belt world champion and in my opinion the greatest Jiu-Jitsu fighter of all time made for me, this shit was straight up gangsta.

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After grabbing my Gi and chilling for a bit, we took a tour through the social project ‘Espaco Crianca Esperanca Cantagalo’ which translated means Child Hope Space . First stop, we hit up a sowing spot as Terere needed to get his Gi amended. He puts on his Gi to show the chick what he wants doing but realises he has no belt, ‘Moz have you got your belt’, I’m like ‘yeah sure’. I give Terere my blue belt and he puts that bad boy on! If I ever washed my belt, I definitely wouldn’t now! We had a joke it’s been a long time since he wore Faixa azul; 1997!

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As we were walking through the social project I notice this muriel of Terere himself, according to my good friend Nico translated this say’s “This is Fernando Terere, from Conta Galo, 6x world champion in Jiu-Jitsu, an inspiration in this sport and the community and worthy of this great contribution, may God bless him”. How cool is that shit? It shows shows just how inspirational the dude is, not just to the world of Jiu-Jitsu but the huge favela community he was raised in here in Rio. The reason I wanted to come and train with him was due to him being the a multiple time world champion and the owner of the sexiest Jiu-Jitsu known to man. What I have come to see today has made me revere him as an amazing human being who gives freely to his community and provides inspiration for the many that really need it.

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A little epilogue to this tale, when I left Terere, the lift of the social project was obviously on the blink, so I had to hit up the stairs, we are like a thousand feet in the sky. These stairs are on some crazy ghetto shit business, there is no light, so I feel I’m descending into Freddy’s boiler room. I hear foot steps and any second expect Mikey Myers to come at me brandishing a butcher knife, however I get a very angry Brazilian vocalising to me or maybe themselves what I can only guess is how pissed off they are at 15 minutes worth of straight stair climbing!

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How to get jacked in Rio… twice

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I had an unfortunate incident last year whilst training in Rio, some kind young gentlemen relieved me of my iPhone. Surely the same thing can’t happen again? You have got to be a super dumb-ass to get robbed twice in successive years!

The beginning to this tale of woe begins at Friday’s session at the academy. Training was on some beast mode business. There are some real killers at the lower belts at Terere’s, young, athletic & technical dudes, I lack at least the first two of these qualities. Thus rolling has consisted of pulling deep half like my life depended on it and slowing their game down to mine. There is not an incredible amount of black belts on the mats daily but I discovered last year there is only so much you can learn by being abused by 100kg black belts.

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During the session, we had been using my phone to play music through the speakers, I was pretty impressed that I was already trusted enough to provide the dope shit. I feel when training it is imperitive to keep it straight up gangsta, so we were drilling on that Straight Outta Compton tip. The session finishes, knowing that lots of the young guys in the gym are from the favela, they all seem like good dudes but being the sensible dude that I am, I unplug my phone and take it to the toilet to get changed with me.

So I get changed out of my Gi, get dressed and leave the toilet. I’m shaking hands, doing my thing, ready to leave, until I realise ‘where is my phone?’. I search my pockets and bag and start to panic, ‘did I leave it in the toilet?’, I go back and check, of course it isn’t there, now I’m like ‘oh shit!’

So I alert everyone to my situation, eventually the gym starts being torn apart looking for my phone, everyone was being super helpful. After 10 minutes of not finding it though, I’ve got my head in my heads fully going under, the realisation that it has in fact happened again and I am indeed the world’s biggest penis.

Then there is some ruckus in the corner, I look over and my homie Caranguejo is seriously angry and looking like he is about to hand out the beat down to one of the young blue belts. Carenguejo is a brown belt and assistant coach, dude has some of the most beautiful Jiu-Jitsu! Whilst he doesn’t speak much English and I speak even less Portuguese we have become homies real quick, he is an awesome dude.  The day before he had taken me to the top of the favela to sample some of that Brazilian Eddie Bravo, that’s another story though… Anyway he is in the corner and looks like he is going to give this dude a good kicking. This is eventually split up by one of the black belts and I get handed back my iPhone!

I’m so relieved at this point, I’m going around and hugging everyone I can see. Everyone is so apologetic and seem genuingly embarrassed by the whole situation. In reality the dumb-ass gringo left his phone in the toilet, the kid is from the favela and probably has very little, what is a dude gonna do! I’m so thankful to everyone that helped, I am a dumb-ass, they are all seriously awesome. The kid apologised and we shook hands, defo no hard feeling BUT I am looking forward to rolling with him this week.