GYM: Carlson Gracie BJJ in Rio
While in Rio, I made it my mission to get better at Brazilian JiuJitsu. And, where better to do this than the oldest, still running BJJ gym in the world: Carlson Gracie's BJJ in Copacabana.
First, it took me a while to find the place, so I'll start of with the directions. You can find rough directions on their website here. And by rough, I mean, an address and a map. This is their address for the lazy ones by the way: Rua Figueiredo de Magalhaes, 414, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro.
Now, this is a very major street, so you'll have no problem finding the location, but here's where it gets tricky. If you're like me, you'll find yourself looking at a bunch of street level shops and dumbfounded that the oldest BJJ gym in the world has absolutely no sign. You will also be shocked that you cannot see any stairs and from the progression of the sporadic numbers you'll feel kind of sure you're in the right area.
Fret not! You're doing great. Walk past the shops and turn onto the side street. Note: The entrance is NOT on Rua Figueiredo de Magalhaes! You will hopefully see a door that has nothing but stairs. Go up. You may hear some singing from the church that's located on this floor. Keep going up.
Now if you're lucky, they're open and you just walk in. If you're not, you will see a large wooden door with the Carlson Gracie logo on it. But there you are! You've found it.
Now the experience. I walked in after the afternoon class and found a couple guys lying on the mat. When they saw me Alan Moraes ran up to me and signed me up. It was that easy. The people training there may not know much English, but the instructors generally have a working knowledge. You will also get a few people who are fluent.
I found that the night classes were the most difficult, while the day classes were a lot more fun and friendly. To each their own. If you go at night you get a treat though, Carlson Gracie's widow is there quite often.
As for costs, it wasn't that much as I said in the video. About 75USD which felt like nothing after how shocked I was to realize how expensive Brazil was. Many fitness gyms were asking for 2-300USD a month.
Sessions were dominated by sparring and it was a great time! It didn't matter if you were a complete noob or a pro. The people at this gym would make sure the level would be around where you felt comfortable. If you go hard, they go hard. If you're new, they take it easy. This is a good place for beginners and the advanced.
Finally, other gyms. I did have a chance to go to one or two other gyms. Unfortunately, it was to meet a girl so I went to their Muay Thai classes, but I was seriously disappointed. Everywhere I went, Muay Thai was more of a cardio fun time. Their BJJ on the other hand was comparable. Feel free to float around from gym to gym. They're everywhere. Or, stick it out at one location like I did. Either way, you wont be disappointed.