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!

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.

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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!

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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.

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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’!

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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.

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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.