Back in the old days, training at multiple academies was very much frowned upon. Attitudes have changed (somewhat) but it’s still a sensitive subject for some.
During the boom period of the 80s and 90s, jiu-jitsu in Rio was serious business and team affiliations ran deep – you fought for your flag and training anywhere else other than your home gym was an act of treachery. To do so would see you branded as a ‘creonte’, or a traitor.
BJJ black belt world champion Felipe Costa once said in an interview that as a high school student he wasn’t even allowed to train with his friend from school because he training at a different gym.
Things have mostly changed nowadays. There are many competitors who represent multiple teams or academies, or who train at multiple gyms with friends from different teams.
As gringos, we mostly get a free pass when it comes to training at more than one gym. It’s not unusual for visitors to visit many academies during their stay here, and we encourage you to try out as many as your can.
With so much high-level jiu-jitsu in Rio, there are many different options to choose from. You may know in advance exactly where you’re going to train, but we still recommend trying out a few different places to gauge the particular teaching methods, techniques and style of training.
If you’re an active competitor, it’s a slightly different matter. For example, if you’re coming to train BJJ in Rio and you’re going to compete at the same time, it would be disrespectful to visit a rival academy and train with guys who you may well face in the upcoming competition. After the event is a different matter: still, it’s worth checking ahead to see if you’re going to be welcome or not.
Many gyms have an open door policy to recreational players, but competitors should always try and check in advance if their presence is going to cause any problems.
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