The Amazon! When Master Alves invited me to go I jumped at the chance I had always wanted to go there. Like most ignorant gringos the first time I can to Brazil I thought I would make it up there, no problem.
The Amazon! When Master Alves invited me to go I jumped at the chance I had always wanted to go there. Like most ignorant gringos the first time I can to Brazil I thought I would make it up there, no problem. Not understanding that Brazil is much bigger than the United States. That you couldn`t just get in a car and drive up there. Getting to the Amazon is not as easy. It is about an 8 to 10 hour trip from Rio alone.
The trip from Rio was fun. I met Fredson, Master Oswald Alves, Luca Atalla (Gracie Magazine), Pe de Pano, Terere, and Robson Moura all at the airport. It seemed weird to me that guys that would be fighting each other would be right there on the plane sitting together. Especially since competition here in Brazil is so intense. But not these guys they were all really cool. In the airport while waiting for the plane they were attracting a lot of attention people listing to their stories and coming up to say hi. These guys are real stars here in Brazil.
People had already told me the passion of Jiu Jitsu had left Rio and moved north to the jungle. I didn`t really know what people meant by that but when we got off the plane and there were over 20 people waiting to great us late late in to the night I started to feel it. Once off the plane we were greeted with great warmth and love from everyone. Taken straight to a great restaurant and served many of the local dishes of fish and other things I don`t even know what they were. All the food was great and they would not let us pay for anything. I slipped a tip on the table as we left because I was very grateful.
That night I stayed at Fredson`s house with his mother, sister and other family members. These people do not have a lot but they do have big hearts. They treated me like a king and were very kind good people. I look forward to going back and seeing them again.
The next day I was toured around Manaus with one of the Black Belts from Master Alves school Elvys (Elvis). This guy is the epitome of cool. He knows everyone there and everywhere we went people were stopping to ask us about the big event and about his students. He has two students that everyone wanted to know about "PityBoy & Ninja" these two kids are already known as terrors in Manaus. Ninja was on the card to fight in the event and I had already heard of PityBoy from the recent children`s Mudial.
Fredson is a rock star in Manaus. Everywhere we went people came out to see him. It was like being in the Rocky movies. Kids, adults and girls everywhere were calling out to him "Oi Paxiao". It is obvious he has worked hard to get where he is and he is respected for it.
Back at the hotel, which by the way was the most expensive hotel in Manaus and is absolutely amazing. Three pools including a wave pool, waterfalls, a huge zoo and even a helicopter pad to take you to the jungle. It was right on the Black River one of the tributaries of the great Amazon River. I spent three hours just wandering around exploring it was fantastic. See how obvious it is that Jiu Jitsu is huge here in Manaus. What promoter in Rio these days would pay $600 a night for rooms for fighters and press? I would like to thank the Olivertour Viagens and Orley Lobattofor taking such good care of everyone. The hole time I was there I was treated like a king.
To add to the excitement of the event the local newspaper ran a huge article on the event with the headline " Married Fights are a huge attraction in Bergao!". The article covered all the fighters and events. They even mentioned little old me coming from America to cover the event. They really seemed to get a kick out of the fact that Jiu Jitsu there was of interest to Americans. Every time I told people how much my plane ticket was they looked at me a little puzzled. Hard to believe but I thought it was worth every penny. I let them know that we love Jiu Jitsu wherever it is from! And, that I would make sure to let everyone in America know that Amazonian Jiu Jitsu is on fire and full of passion.
The Event was amazing! You could feel the passion in the air there. There were two bands of drummers there battling each other to make the most noise where their teams here fighting. The arena was full I heard over 2000 people were in attendance. The major teams seemed to be Gracie Barra / Oswaldo Alves and Nova UniÃ£o. Nova UniÃ£o guys were going nuts climbing on the fences that surrounded the mats and cheering chats like crazy. Everyone fought tough as hell. It was sweltering with heat in there and I could not imagine fighting 10 & 15 minutes matches in a kimono. I was also impressed with how many kids there were there. There were loads of them cheering on their instructors and teams for hours on end.
It was obvious that there was a lot of pride on the line in all the matches no one was there to stall out a win. Up north they come to battle and with 2000 people screaming and chanting all the fighters were pumped. I was even getting pumped! "Give me a gi I`ll fight anyone!" ya right. LOL Anyway, I was impressed by all the matches. Jacare was amazing. He is one mean guy at one point when he was a little frustrated he even tough his opponent off the mat! He didn`t fight a slouch either Fonseca (from Elvys`s school) was giving up a great deal of weight but still gave him some trouble. But, in the end Jacare got him with a sweet choke. Fredson vs Robson was a good technical match but Fredson was just too much for him and was all over him. Pe de Pano vs Terere, this match was the grand finale. The CBJJ Absolute Champ vs CBJJO Absolute Champ this was the battle to see who was the best in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and it was all Pe de Pano. He was just man handling Terere. Pe was really big for this fight and I think his size was just too much for Terere. There was a lot of movement but Pe de Pano keep hold of him and pulled off them win.
This was an amazing event with some huge names and some new names from the Amazon. All the matches are of real good jiu jitsu guys. The tape had to be edited down to make room since the matches were up to 15 minutes but we didn`t miss any of the good stuff.
Lutas de Casadas 2002 - Amazonas
Janio Rodrigues vs Alan Silveria
Jacare vs Fonseca
Marcos Patricio vs Alcenor Cordeiro
Bibiano Fernandez vs Alex Muceda
Anderson Faria vs William Couto
Tony Ferreira vs Marcos Valle
Vanderlan Alemeida vs Rodrigo Piero
Fredson Paixao vs Robson Moura
Marcio Pe de Pano vs Fernando Terere