Gordo Jiu Jitsu, Barrinha Rio de Janeiro

12084135_10207285613916446_570841281_nThe very next day after arriving in Rio de Janeiro I ventured to the first academy on my itinerary; Gordo Jiu Jitsu. This was to be my first session after abdominal hernia surgery so as you can imagine I was fairly nervous about stepping back onto the mat. Nevertheless I had decided, in spite of my current abdominal dissection, I would join my fellow housemates in the class that night. I had asked one of my housemates Isaac, a purple belt from Devon, England, how far it was from the house to the academy. He told me it would roughly take us a minute or so to walk there. I hurriedly pack my gi, belt, water bottle and tape into my backpack. As I ran out of the house to meet everyone I noticed that they were not carrying backpacks as I was, they were actually wearing their Gis. “You guys wear your Gis when you walk to the gym?” I asked to which Isaac replied, “Yeah it’s literally less than a minute walk from here.” And it literally was. In fact I would say that after a cup of Connection Rio house brewed black coffee, or “Schwarz energia” as Isaac called it, you could make it to Gordo’s academy in 20 seconds via Havaiana.

Arriving at the academy I was amazed to see the attendants of the class. Of about twenty people on the mat twelve of them were black belts. I had never seen so many black belts in one room at one time before. Even at competitions. And they were not new black belts either. I saw many stripes of various numbers on each belt that I saw. “There is a lot of knowledge and experience in this room” I thought to myself. Another thing I thought was, “Why the hell is everyone in this room f*&^ing gigantic?!?!?!” I’m used to being the smallest guy in the gym… and everywhere else… Heck I’m the smallest guy in my family. But this was ridiculous. All I could see were monoliths wearing worn out black belts as I faintly heard my hernia scar crying much like I did when I was a fat kid and my mother would make me wear a pair of tight black and yellow Speedos to swimming club. “Just shut your mouth and soldier on Cristiano!” I quietly whispered to my self as I scanned the room for the smallest drilling partner available. The technique we went through on this occasion was a transition to knee on belly followed by a choke. You could imagine the look on my face at this point. The same look of fear I had as a child when I had to sprint on my white jiggling fat legs from the change rooms to the pool wearing those damn speedos. Luckily enough the professor Weber and the black belt I was partnered with understood my situation and allowed me to drill the technique at my own pace without having it done to me. I was much appreciative.

12083662_10207285613956447_1305802061_nAfter some time I returned to Gordo’s and was able to participate in a class held by Gordo himself. I was very happy to take part as Gordo taught some sweeps from half guard, his specialty, that I had been having some troubles with in the past, pointing out some finer key details to certain reactions by the opponent in that position. Well worth the visit believe me.

One point I would like to mention about the style of play at this academy is the level of control from the top position that each member of Gordo JJ possesses. What I found as a common factor in everybody’s game there was a good solid control from top position. Whether it was passing guard or consolidating mount or the 100 kilos position. Everyone possessed a good solid knowledge of the foundation of positions in Jiu Jitsu.
Aside from Gordo teaching at the academy there are many other black belts, with varying games and styles that take classes on a regular basis. Two of which are pictured with me in the accompanying photos. The larger gentleman is Professor Weber, who instructed the initial class I took part in. And the other is Professor João who also provides a vegetarian food delivery service to the Connection Rio house and other nearby businesses. I highly recommend the Lemon juice and the Banana pie!

A monthly membership at Gordo’s academy will run around R$330 on the Connection Rio discount. Classes are held morning and night catering for different levels of Jiu Jitsu. And it’s quite common to see various visitors on the mats.

While in Rio I heard of guests such as pro skater Bob Burnquist, Jacob Harman of Church Boyz Wrestling and the legendary Zé Mario Sperry to name a few.

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