The city of Rio de Janeiro has many great jiu-jitsu masters, and if you want to train BJJ in Rio you will be spoiled for choice. Hidden in plain sight is the esteemed yet relatively unknown Fabricio Martins. While many visitors focus on the big name teams and famous fighters, they are missing an opportunity to directly train with a red and black (coral) belt 7th degree master of BJJ.
Located right on the central avenue and main thoroughfare of Copacabana, Fabricio Jiu-Jitsu is easy to spot thanks to it’s large yellow signs, just one floor up from street level. In a city where many jiu-jitsu gyms are tucked away and often difficult to locate, Fabricio’s gym is incredibly easy to find.
The head coach at the gym is Fabricio Martins, a 7th degree coral belt graduated by 9th degree grand master Osvaldo Alves. Fabricio, even at 47 years of age, still teaches a couple of nights a week, including the MMA sessions. He shares teaching duties with a team of three other instructors, which he holds to very high standards. Fabricio has graduated over 100 black belts across the world, with representatives in Korea, Jordan, the Philippines and Europe.
The mat space is ample for the number of people in a class, and the matted walls allow for almost non-stop rolling. The two rooms allow for multiple classes to run at the same time, though unusually they are actually separated by a hairdressing salon! Each studio has it’s own changing area and toilet.
A Typical Class
Warm-ups are your usual mix of bodyweight exercises and some partner drills, done in reps of 10-20 and directed by the teacher. The pace is higher than some gyms, but doesn’t quite stray into conditioning territory.
The technical instruction is detailed and you will be shown a position or technique multiple times, before being partnered up to get a feel for it. Instructors roam the room correcting any details or mistakes. Usually you will be shown between one to three techniques before being partnered up to roll. Techniques range from basic fundamentals through to modern competition-effective tactics.
Rolling is competitive yet not crazy. The instructor will match up partners to roll based on size, grade etc. The high number of black belts means sparring is of a good level, though most of the black belts are part-timers with dayjobs, so it is not a room of high-level competitors. There are fewer coloured belts on the mat, but they appeared to be of a higher level on average than you might find in some other gyms. During a 7.30pm class, there was only one white belt (a visiting foreigner).
It’s said you can find jiu-jitsu on almost every street corner in Rio de Janeiro. It is worth remembering how deep the talent runs here in Rio. With a team of experienced black belts and many years of history, Fabricio Jiu-Jitsu warmly welcomes visitors.
Academy fact file:
Head instructor: Fabricio Martins, supported by Onofre Ribeiro, Emanoel Morreira, Joaquim Malta,
Price: R$180 / month
Matspace: Room 1: 60sqm, Room 2: 120sqm.
Facilities: Two rooms matted wall-to-wall, small changing area / shower.
Average numbers of BB’s at training: 10
Av number of people per class: 20-25
Speak English?: Enough
Location: One floor above ground level, located on and directly facing main street in Copacabana
Suggested transport: Walk / bus / subway
MMA / no-gi: MMA
Other martial arts: Karate, female MMA
Years open: 21
Titles / champions / championships: Black belt adult state champions
Av. Nossa Senhora 1017 (201-203)
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro RJ
Highly visible from the street, just two blocks back from Copacabana beach. Enter through the glass door, pass the porter and go up the stairs to the left.
Equipe Fabrício Jiu Jitsu
Mon: 8am-10am, 10-11.30am, 4pm-6pm, 7.30pm-10pm.
Tue: 8am-10am, 6pm-7.30pm, 7.30pm-10pm.
Wed: 8am-10am, 10-11.30am, 4pm-6pm, 7.30pm-10pm.
Thur: 8am-10am, 6pm-7.30pm, 7.30pm-10pm.
Fri: 8am-10am, 10-11.30am, 7.30pm-10pm.