From a two-week trip to a two-month stay, people come to Rio to train jiu-jitsu for only as much time as they can get away from the ‘real world’.
For those with jobs, two weeks is usually the maximum amount of time it’s possible to duck out of work. For those leaving college or university or between opportunities, a couple of months in Rio suddenly becomes feasible.
But how much time you spend in Rio can affect your jiu-jitsu in different ways, so what’s right for someone might not be right for you.
How long should I stay in Rio?
First off, what are you looking for?
- Do you want to sharpen up your skills for an upcoming tournament?
- Do you want to sample the jiu-jitsu lifestyle in the cradle of the arte suave?
- Or are you looking to get promoted?
The Short Stay: sub-2 weeks / The Quick Fix to Your Game
People come to Rio to train BJJ for anything from a few days to a few months. Most short stay trips fall in the 10-day to two-week range. For those with responsibilities back home, this is about the maximum possible time they can get away.
If you’re here for two weeks, you’ll want to train twice a day to really make the most of your time in Rio. An AM and a PM session with a trip to the beach in-between sounds like a dream, right? The only problem is, training at a level double of what you’re used to back home for a sustained period of time isn’t realistic. After about two to three weeks, your body will start to give up on you.
A two-week stay is perfect for someone who wants to drop into Rio, hit it hard for a short period of time, then go back home and kick ass. A few weeks among the sharks in Rio will do a lot to tighten up your game. The guys back home won’t know what hit them when you return. Their pressure will feel like nothing in comparison, and they’ll be moving in slow motion.
Guys who come to Rio usually train hard and party hard while dashing around the city checking out all the sights before disappearing home in a cloud of dust. If you’re going to be here for 2 weeks or less, be prepared to make the most of it – it’s a big city and there’s lots to see and do.
Medium Stay: 2-4 weeks / The Full Rio Experience
Lucky you, you managed to wrangle a few weeks away! Great, you can use the time to dive completely into the whole Rio experience, right?
Woah there a second – not so fast, amigo. You one-monthers are going to need to pace yourselves. I can’t tell you the amount of times we’ve seen guys arrive in Rio full of energy and enthusiasm only to get chewed up and spat out two and a half weeks into their trip. The spend the rest of their time broken, sick, or just burnt out and plain fed up, and go home with an overall bad taste in their mouths.
The problem is they try to match the short-termers, training session for training session and all-night party for all-night party.
If you’re here for about a month, then ease off the throttle a bit. Don’t be afraid to take a day off when you feel sore. Missing one training session is not as bad as missing a week because you’ve ignored the signs of over-training or you tried to train around an inconvenient injury that blossomed into a chronic ailment.
Use your time to get to know the place, a month is a long time and you don’t need to spend it all in a smelly gym. Hit the beach, see the sights and unwind – after all that training, you’ll need to.
Medium stay: 1-3 months / Becoming A Local
This is about the perfect length of time to really get the feel for the jiu-jitsu lifestyle. You’ll be able to fully experience the way of life in Rio, BUT this actually doesn’t mean you’ll see or do more…
What you’ll probably notice is that the longer you stay in Rio, the more you’ll find yourself slowing down. The pace of life in the city is infectious. Brazil is general is very laid back in comparison to life elsewhere, and Rio is an extreme example of this.
If you’re not careful your training will slow down, you’ll settle into a routine that means you’ll miss out on what’s happening in the city, and you’ll end up seeing less than someone who is here for two weeks and full of motivation.
Take care not to sack off those morning training sessions because you can “always make up for it in the evening class”. Keep doing that and your training will likely unravel and you’ll be on the mat no more than you were back home, spending the rest of your time on Facebook. Urgh.
Long term: 3-6 months / Getting Promoted
Of course, not everybody has got the funds to come out for such a long time but if you do then a long-term stay in Rio has many different benefits than a short trip. You’re better positioned to learn the language, make friends and get a look at the ‘real’ Rio de Janeiro.
A three-month stint is about the minimum you should put in if you’re serious about getting promoted, as that’s how long any self-respecting coach will want to take a look at your and see how your game is progressing.
Don’t make the mistake of just coming out here looking to tap everyone and prove how good you are – this won’t exactly endear you to your training partners, as it’ll only prove you’re an overly-competitive egomaniac.
Getting promoted in Brazil isn’t just about your performance on the mat. Consistency and attitude are more important. A coach will want to see you in the gym on a regular basis, and he’ll want to see you doing more than just collecting arms. Helping out your fellow grapplers is high on their list of expectations, so be prepared to be a contributing member of your gym if you really want to get promoted.
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