It’s not difficult to find a BJJ academy in Rio de Janeiro. The city has more world-class jiu-jitsu than anywhere else on the planet! BJJ academies in Rio de Janeiro are much like you know back home, as the vibe and method we know was exported around the world when jiu-jitsu became known worldwide in the 80s and 90s. But there are some things that are found only in Brazil; read on and find out what.
What are the major differences between a BJJ academy Rio de Janeiro and one back home?
1: The Sheer Number of Black Belts
Outside of Brazil it’s common for most BJJ academies to have one or two black belts, some higher belts and a lot of coloured belts. In Brazil, when you walk into a BJJ gym it’s more likely you will see anywhere from 10-15 black belts, a large number of higher belts and only a handful of white and blues. But people of all levels are welcome. If you’re new to the sport, a black belt will usually work with you until you’re ready to join in the main class, and many gyms are now introducing dedicated classes for beginners.
2: Less Instruction, A LOT More Rolling
In Rio de Janeiro it’s common to only drill one or two techniques before sparring starts. People are often shocked by how little instruction there is. Instead, you’ll likely go through round after round of king of the mat and rolling. Some large academies, such as Nova Uniao and De la Riva, will only teach one move before sparring starts, whereas others (inc Terere and Carlson Gracie Academy) will teach up to three inter-connected moves.
3: Things Are A LOT More Laid Back
If there’s one piece of advice we can give you, it is this: don’t expect anyone or anything to be on time. Sure, the class will start at the scheduled time, but there may only be two or three people in it. People will filter in for the next 20 minutes or so, conveniently time enough to skip any warm-ups or technique, so they can get right to the sparring! Cheeky, but nobody bats an eyelid.
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