The great thing about Manaus, is Jiu-jitsu. It’s not the beach, there is none. There are no distractions from training. After a 6 hour flight from Rio de Janeiro, I found myself returning to Manaus once again this past summer. Each year, I attend the Alliance Jiu-jitsu camp in Buzios, spend some time in Rio De Janeiro than go to Manaus to meet up with my girlfriend and spend time with her and her family.
The great thing about Manaus, is Jiu-jitsu. It’s not the beach, there is none. There are no distractions from training. If I didn’t have a family to spend time with, I would be totally focused on my jiu-jitsu training. After all, what else is there to do?
Anyways, I’ve had the pleasure in my three past trips to Manaus to visit several different academies and last year I gave a little report on it. http://onthemat.com/articles/So_you_want_to_train_in_Manaus_11_17_2005.html
This year, I went straight to Clube Pina.Home of World Champions Bibiano Fernandes and Carlos Holanda. Unfortunately “the flash” Bibiano, hurt his foot at the mundials (which he won, AGAIN) so I was unable to roll with him, but there were plenty of tough guys at the academy. I don’t want to reiterate too much of what I said last year, but imagine this training atmosphere. A small tatame. Enough space for only three pairs to roll. I commented that the mat was kind of small in a joke to the instructor and he explained to me that if you have a big mat, you are succeptable to get sloppy with your technique. You relax, and you don’t feel pressure to get a better position. With a smaller area and with people coming close to you, you feel pressured to execute your techniques and constantly improve your position.
Manaus is known for being extremely hot and this year was no exception. The academy had one fan which they put on from time to time. No Air Conditioner, No window, just hot air and Jiu-jitsu. Now getting back to the guys to train with, the academy has more than 15 different black belts, and an army of tough brown and purple belts. Clube Pina is hard to miss if you drive by but once you enter, its a jiu-jitsu players dream.
Everyone at the academy was super nice and very willing to correct my mistakes. My first roll was with Carlos “ESQUISITO ” Holanda. I have seen footage on him and knew he had a sick open guard, so I kept that in mind once I was on top, but it didn’t matter. He swept me at will and once his 140 pound frame got on top of me, he made himself feel heavier than I could imagine. To be honest I was kind of intimidated by Carlos but he was very willing to correct my moves. I attempted an omoplata on him and he showed me an awesome way to counter than proceeded to tap me quick, again and again.
I rolled with another protégé of the team, Diego Ferreira. This kid is a little bigger than Bibiano but super fast and extremely technical. Diego recently submitted Nova Uniaos rising star Eduardo Pessoa at this years Copa Do Mundo. I was very impressed with Diegos skills on the mats and Diego was also very humble and willing to help anyone on the team, even this fat gringo. Diego was very very fast as well but and was very good with his attacks on the back.
The main instructor is Maestre Pina. Pina is a man of few words but very nice. He kept watching me spar all week and when it was the technical class one day, he pulled me aside and pretty much gave me a private to correct my mistakes. The open guard games of these guys were insane. As soon as the guard opened they attacked, giving no time to set up or begin passes as your balance was constantly being rocked. Some of the guys I train with use open guard but not like this. They transition from open guard to X-guard to sweeps that I don’t even know where they come from. I once saw a guy set up a foot on the bicep sweep from underneath side mount. It was nutz.
The classes at Club Pina run Monday to Friday. They have the technical class at 7:30 AM, yes that’s right, AM. This class is where you learn the new positions and techniques. Than there are regular classes at 4PM and 7PM I believe. Now when I say regular class I mean, you walk in, stretch out, chit chat a bit, than start sparring. That’s it. And there are up to about 7 rounds some days. Its intense. The best group seems to go at 4PM. Some of the other guys who are off work go to the later class at 7PM. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend those but I heard they were alright too.
Even though I wasn’t able to train with Bibiano, I was able to hang out a bunch with him. He is honestly like a star in Manaus. Every place we went to, people came up to him and congratulated him on winning the mundials or just wanted to say hi. Bibiano will be back and forth from the U.S. and Brazil this year conducting seminars and is always up for competing in jiu-jitsu or submission wrestling events. As a matter of fact, he also hinted the fact that he wants to make a return to the MMA ring. His first fight was in Jungle Fight 3 and lasted only 31 seconds with Bibiano submitting his opponent old school jiu-jitsu style, REAR NAKED CHOKE!
For last years Amazonas Training report click here: http://onthemat.com/articles/Catchin_up_with_Bibiano_the_FLASH_Fernandes_04_19_2006.html
Clube Pinas address:CLUBE PINA JIU-JITSURua Polivalente n.437-Japiim 1
Fone: (92) 3613-2375 Manaus, Amazonas Brasil
If you do decide to go to Manaus to train with Clube Pina, my advice to you is be ready to train hard with a great group of people who will be able to help your game improve as long as you are willing to allow it to.
Also, Manaus is relatively a safe place. You don’t see many machine gun carrying policemen everywhere like in Rio. There is crime, but like anywhere in the world, as long as you keep discreet and don’t TRY to attract too much attention to yourself, you will be fine.
Have fun and see you on the mats!
Also check out: http://www.amazonastravel.com.br/ for more info on Manaus