Recently, in the last 4 years, the state of Amazonas (Amazon) in Brasil, has been gaining popularity in jiu-jitsu as it has been producing champion upon champion in the grappling and MMA competitions.
AMAZONAS TRAINING REPORT!!!
Recently, in the last 4 years, the state of Amazonas (Amazon) in Brasil, has been gaining popularity in jiu-jitsu as it has been producing champion upon champion in the grappling and MMA competitions. With fighters like Ronaldo Jacare, Saulo, Alexandre Ribeiro, Bibiano Fernandes, Fredson Paixao, Wallid Ismael and many moreâ€¦.The Amazon has been getting a lot of recognition lately because of the fighters and its training. So, what makes it so different in Manaus than let`s say, Rio de Janeiro OR Sao Paolo or any other place???
Well, for starters, it is hot as S*?T!!! From the moment you get off the plane, you are sweating! I am serious. You will find it very normal in Manaus, to be showering more than 3-4 times a day! What does this have to do with training? Well, most of the academies I visited, don`t have any nice, air conditioned training areas. Some of them didn`t even have a fan or even a window for that matter. I went to one academy where there were 30 students in class and there was only enough room for 3 pairs of people to spar. No A.C., no fan, just a door to go outside and enjoy more hot air!!!
So what does this heat have to do with training and becoming a good fighter? Well, here`s what multiple time Champion Bibiano Fernandes has to say "Manaus is extremely hot. We are used to training in burning temperatures. When we go to Rio, where the main Jiu-Jitsu events take place, we consider the weather there fresh. Everybody knows that Rio is a very hot city, but for us, from Manaus, Rio is a fresh place. That`s a great advantage during a bout' says Bibiano Fernandes, , who got the gold medal in the last Jiu-Jitsu World Championship.
So the people in Manaus are training in extreme heat and it`s hard training therefore they get tougher. So what else? Well, a lot of the academies I visited, seem to have scholarship programs as well for the kids. Ronaldo Jacare`s academy A.S.L.E., has a lot of youths which train very hard both in judo and BJJ! And a lot of the other academies had A LOT of youths training who were all trying to be the next Ronaldo Jacare or Saulo Ribeiro. I went to a Nova Uniao academy and the kids there were learning half guard stuff I had never seen before. Just imagine when they got older how good they are going to be become!
Okay so now you`re thinking, Manaus is HOT, with tough kids who train jiu-jitsu. So what else? Well, Manaus is very different from Rio. In that the lifestyles are very different. Rio, everyone is relaxed, they train go to the beach, go outâ€¦..But in Manaus, there is no beach! Just hot air, work and jiu-jitsu! There is no time to be lazy and hang around and do nothing. People who train jiu-jitsu, train hard. People who work, work hard! Not saying that nobody else does, but the people in Manaus seem to have a different work ethic.
Okay, so now I`ve told you that Manaus, is really hot, with tough kids training who work hard. What else? Well, Manaus has a federation for jiu-jitsu that sends it`s fighters to the major international competitions such as the mundials etcâ€¦ Every year, the federation has a schedule set that all the instructors in Manaus abide by and contribute to. I think this is something that a lot of people can learn from to help with the growth of jiu-jitsu. From my understanding, as the owner of an academy in Manaus, it is an obligation to go to all the regular federation meetings, to discuss topics on the sport and other things. The federation has a tournament at the end of the year and the winners of the tournament are given sponsorship by the State and the Federation and have a trip to Rio in hands to compete at the mundials. So, whenever you see the name FJJAM as a club, know that you are fighting someone who fought very hard just to be on the mats to fight against you! They qualified at another tournament just be on the mats and flew 4 hours from Manaus to beat your ass! There are some in Manaus, who don`t have to qualify as from my understanding they are sponsored anyways, but usually those are the ones who have exceeded in all competitions or were previous world champions. As well, all of the academies in the federation each store a set of mats and bring them to all of the tournaments throughout the year.
So, now you know a lot of stuff about Manaus, but now youre probably wondering about where to train? To be honest, it is pretty easy to find jiu-jitsu schools in Manaus. Everyone I asked, either had a friend who trained jiu-jitsu or trained themselves. Mostly all knew who Ronaldo Jacare was and all thought I was the whitest person they have ever met. Anyways, there are a lot of academies in Manaus. The 3 most predominant teams I found of was Gracie Humaita, Nova Uniao, and Gracie Barra.
There are a ton of Gracie Humaita academies I found. Actually, down the street from my girlfriends house, there are like 3 Gracie Humaita affiliates. Some have broken off from Humaita and are now independent, but most come from the Royler Graice school in Rio.
Here are the ones I discovered:
LUIS NETO ACADEMY-Trained there last summer. Real tough guys at this academy, and some of the hardest training I ever had. The school is run by 3 brothers and now have expanded to several locations. The brothers, Chrisitano, Luis and Rogerio, (Royler Gracie Black belts) were some of the nicest instructors and very willing to help me out while I was in Manaus. Christiano is a very very tough dude. He is now training for MMA very hard but is a multiple time world and brazilian champion. Very strong and fast. His brother Luis is the main instructor of the academy. Unfortunately I didn`t really train with him as he was very busy last year running for a political position in Manaus and had his hands full. But he attended a tournament I competed at and helped me out a lot! The younger brother Rogerio, is a wiz on the mat. Smaller looking and not so intimidating, Rogerio Is super technical and loved to beat me repeatedly with the same moves! The Luis Neto academy has been competing and winning a lot of MMA events in Manaus as well and have some tough up and coming fighters such as Jean Capoeira and Risley Cavalcanti. Check out the website:( www.luisnetojj.com.br ) The site has some pictures from past tournaments and some techniques.
MONTEIRO- I never trained at the Monteiro academy but from what I understand, they are the one of the best clubs to train at! Saulo and Alexandre Ribeiro originally trained there and recently Monteiro has produced some recent lightweight champions who were victorious at the last 2 mundials , Gabriel Moraes and Fernando Viera. Monteiro seems to be the school who cleans up at all the Manaus jiu-jitsu competitions.
COMBATE CENTRE- This club is run by Rigoney Junior. He`s a black belt under Royler Gracie and Omar Salum, who has competed in the last couple mundial events and is a tough cookie. He`s kind of short and stocky guy but super strong and really nice. Actually I met him on the plane going to Manaus last year. Him and his students sat behind me and were really disruptive during my 4 hour fleight into Manaus from Rio. When I turned around to ask them to stop I saw the ears on them and knew I was in deep shit. But, he opened up the conversation asking me if I trained jiu-jitsu and invited me to train at his academy for free!
PAULO COHELO and OMAR SALUM also have there own academies, and are also Humaita students and have some successful academies as well around Manaus. I never trained with them but heard a lot of good things about them.
The Nova Uniao academy I trained at for a couple days was run by two black belts named Daniel Freitas and the other guys name was Kareca! The academy was located on Rua Castelo Branco near the Centro, and it`s kind of hidden but if you are fortunate enough to train there, you will be in luck. Tough workout and some cool technical instruction. Nova Uniao has another 2 academies I believe in Manaus but I didn`t get a chance to train there. I know SHOOTO fighter Marcos Loro trains at the other academy though.
GRACIE BARRA/OSVALDO ALVES
The Barra club I trained at this year was Clube Pina. Thanx to OTM`s Scotty for giving me the hookup with World Champ Bibiano Fernandes, as this is where he trains at! Definitely gonna hit Clube Pina again next year when I go back to Manaus. The club was stacked! Like I mentioned before, had like 30 fighters in one class, and actually had 8-10 black belts all willing to roll! It was amazing! Bibiano was super nice and and introduced me to everyone! The main instructor is Pina. I think he`s a black belt under Osvaldo Alves. Anyways, by far one of the best clubs in Brasil I ever trained at! Every guy I sparred with had a completely different style and was eager to help me with my game as well as spank my fat white ass! I am pretty sure Osvaldo Alves has other clubs and affiliates in Manaus but I wasn`t able to check them out. Osvaldo Alves is one of the most respected jiu-jitsu instructors out of Brazil and is Fredson Paixaos instructor and has also taught Amaury Bitetti and Vitor Belfort. He was also one of the only 5 black belts to get graded from legendary Rolls Gracie! Osvaldo hosts a tournament at the end of the year every year named the Copa Osvaldo Alves. Last year I competed in the tournament and had a blast! Definitely check out a tournament if you can in Manaus. The fans there are crazy! Last year at the Copa, a fight broke out and hundreds of people jumped the cages surrounding the tatames to get in! INSANE! Hopefully when OTM`s Jungle Brothers gets released, we might get to see some of that footage as OTM`s Scotty and Danny DoNothing were also on hand to film the action!
There were a lot of other clubs I heard of in Manaus. But right now the most famous one has got to be ASLE! ASLE is where multiple time jiu-jitsu world champion and now ADCC champion Ronaldo Jacare trains at under the watchful eye of Sensei Henrique Machado (No Relation to Jean Jaques).
From what I understood, Sensei Henrique teaches a mix of Judo and BJJ! There are classes 3 times a day Monday thru Friday. This place is the hot spot right now! From the outside it actually looks like a little garage but when you get inside, the place is all jiu-jitsu. Right now, ASLE has another young prospect up and coming! His name is Ary, and is a 2 time mundial champion as well as multiple time brazilian champ. Apparently this kid is the second coming of Jaca so look out!
There is also the Anibal Fight Club, who now hooked up with A.S.L.E. and are one team. This club recently had some young fighters get the gold at the last mundial and I had a chance to watch some of their fighers in action last year! VERY INTENSE!!! http://www.anibalfight.com/
There are a lot of other smaller academies in Manaus. Take a trip one day and look around and I`m sure you will see some. I know there are a ton of other independent jiu-jitsu clubs as well as a Artur Mariano, Muay Thai affiliate and a Luta Livre academy as well.
If you do plan to go to Manaus, you might wanna check out the site http://www.portaldaluta.com.br/index.htm, it is a brazilian site run by Greci Fernandes. Shes like Manaus` unofficial jiu-jitsu reporter party chick! The site always has cool updates about the Manaus scene but is only in Portuguese. So get started on those lessons.
Other than jiu-jitsu, Manaus has a lot of cool things to see. There`s the hotel Tropical, which is right on the Rio Negro, and of course the Amazon jungle, you got to check out. I camped out there a couple nights and it was scary! Also if you do go to Manaus, Stock up on your deet, and you might have to get a yellow fever or malaria medication as well. The malaria medication gives people nightmares when you take it but according to the doctors here, it`s necessary!
Anyways, if you go, have fun, train jiu-jitsu and be ready to train hard! Also, you might wanna look as less Gringo as possible as Manaus is not as famous as Rio for tourism, so when a bald white gringo like me walks the streets, the girls want me, but the dudes wanna kill me! Just kiddin! No but seriously get a tan!