I spend a lot of time writing about training on this blog, and as of late the culture and nuances of Brazil as well. Part of the reason I started this website was to write and keep track of my training and adventures, but the other part was to get some thoughts out of my mind, onto paper, and in a form that I can reflect on. Lucky for you guys, I won’t bore you too much with that but I did want to mention a few things that have happened over the past week.
First off, I’ve been a ghost. I haven’t been hanging out much or really leaving my room. A big part of that (and the reason it’s taken me so long to get a blog post out) is that I’ve been doing work for grad school. I’m finally caught up, but we’re just ramping up a big project so that will take a big part of my leisure time here. I’ll still manage to get in trouble and have something to write back on, but I have to focus there. The other part though is that I’ve been really thinking a lot about where I’m going in life.
Again, I’m not going to bore you with my life plans. If you’re a good friend of mine I’m sure I’ve done that a million times with a million different plans anyway. The good thing is I’ve made some headway with my book which is a huge life goal for me. When I say that, I don’t necessarily mean that I’ve finished a huge chunk of writing, because this is going to be a slow process. I did, however, somewhat decide on a layout of the book. I’ve done a ton of things in life, and it’s really hard to keep a specific focus. That has been one of the biggest problems in writing a book for me.
I’ve decided to keep the blog more about the culture and my experiences, and save a lot of the philosophy for my book. I’ve also decided that I’m going to put most of the more personal details in the book as well. It allows me to still write here, but have good content for the book that won’t just be my blog in paperback. If you want the real juicy stuff, I guess you’ll have to wait until I’m published! Don’t worry though; there will be plenty here for you to read.
With that said, I’m going to move on to more important things. First off, training was going well for a few days but has slowed down for me (see below). I actually did my first two-session day last Friday, and surprisingly I felt great after. I was a little sore, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. I’ve been learning a ton from everyone I roll with from blue belt to black. I really enjoy rolling with higher belts. Even though I get tapped much more often, I just feel like my learning curve goes way up. I learn a lot of the little details that are missing in my head. This past week I’ve learned quite a few passes, sweeps, and setups from different positions. I had my first class in which we actually worked spider guard, which I would really like to incorporate into my game. I’m still focusing on closed guard and half guard for now (baby steps), but it’s nice to throw something new in the mix.
The past three days I unfortunately haven’t trained. It wasn’t just my schoolwork, although that was part of it. The main reason was my laundry. Bare with me here, it’ll all make sense in a minute. I have to say one of the things I really don’t like about Brazil is washing clothes. We have a washer at the other house, but it’s easier for me to hand wash in the washing sink near my room. I guess I don’t actually mind the washing part, but more so it’s the drying. We have to hang dry everything, which again isn’t horrible, but the big problem is the humidity. I only brought two gis with me to train in which I thought should be enough.
The problem is I washed them both this Sunday, and apparently that’s a big mistake. The humidity is so bad that they just don’t seem to dry. After about 3 days they feel ok to train in (it’s about 2:53am here as I write this Thursday morning) but they are still a bit damp. Being here at Connection Rio does have some nice perks though, and one of those is that we were offered a sale on Pride Fightwear gis. I wanted to pick up an extra one anyway, and so I’m getting a new gi tomorrow. With three I should be able to have a nice rotation and not have to miss training anymore. In the event that I don’t have a dry gi though, I’m looking into kickboxing classes here at the academy for a backup plan.
As for the social life, well carnaval is over but we still have been getting out here and there. I’m only going out on Friday or Saturday from now on which is all I should be doing anyway. This past weekend I stayed in Barra and went out with some housemates. We did try to go to Gavea on Friday but it ended up being dead. I think I found my new favorite bar here, it’s called 399. It has a nice outdoor area with tables and usually gets pretty packed. We went a few other places too, but I have a feeling I’ll be going here quite a bit when I do decide to venture out.
I’ve noticed lately I’m becoming more frustrated at not knowing the language here, and it’s causing me to be a little shy. It’s my own fault for not studying, but I just haven’t had the time for it. I’m learning a lot just by listening to people, but it’s starting to really bother me when I can’t say what I want to, especially when I know the words to say I just can’t think of them. My mind just blanks. Apparently with a few drinks in me I’m a little more apt to throw whatever out there, but they don’t call alcohol a social lubricant for nothing. While I’m on spring break from school, I’m going to focus the next two days on my phrases and hopefully I can use them this weekend.
Another thing that has somewhat bugged me lately is the weather. I knew it would be raining some when I came, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. The past few days it’s been on and off showers. The forecast shows the next week being pretty nice, and I’m hoping it sticks. I haven’t been to the beach since Sunday, and I actually didn’t enjoy the beach but instead ran there and then up and down it to punish myself for going a little too hard the night before. Even with the rain though, it’s been in the 70s and 80s, so I can’t complain too much.
On a more positive note, last night we actually went to some live MMA fights here in Rio. They were in one of the favelas at a place called Castelo das Pedras. There were three guys from Gordo Jiu Jitsu/Evolve MMA fighting (the gym I’m training at). All three of them won their fights, and it was an exciting event overall. For a 5 or 6 fight card it only cost R$20 (which is about $13 American dollars), and better yet one of the black belt instructors Rommel got us all bracelets and in the VIP section. We were in the third row from the cage. I’ll include some pictures below.
To finish the blog up, if the weather is nice this weekend I plan to get out to some of the more touristy spots of Rio to get some more photos. It’s not an excuse, but the rain puts a damper on getting out there. I know photos are one thing the blog is terribly lacking, and one thing I’ve been slacking on as well. There are plenty of sights to be seen here, and while I’ve still got a little over two months I need to take advantage of every moment. I also will possibly be doing an interview this weekend and it should be a great story I think many of you will enjoy. The next update will be much quicker than this one was. That’s all for now!