Nathan Mendelsohn’s American Jiu-Jitsu Player in Brazil Blog Entry #8: My time with Italo Lins and Coming Back Home

 Hey everybody!


This past week was my last in Brazil before coming back to the states and I spent it with my good friend, black belt Italo Lins of GFTEAM, and his family in the neighborhood of Caxias near the international airport. Italo Lins had just arrived in Brazil after spending six months in the United States, two of which he spent at my house in Santa Cruz. He competed various tournaments while in the US and came back with many new titles, including Champion of the recent Las Vegas Open.


Mostly healed from my hand injury, I was looking forward to getting one more solid week of training in, even though Italo was out for the moment due to a severe knee injury that he suffered while competing in the United States before his return to Brazil. Still, he was making an effort to watch training, lift weights and teach classes at the academy that he shares with his brother, Brown Belt Douglas Lins. They run their jiu-jitsu program out of their uncle’s weight lifting gym, Academia Armagedon. Their uncle ran us through some heavy weight lifting routines that left me sore like I’ve never been before!


On Monday I went out to a place called "Rei do Bacalhau" for a party called "Furacao 2000" a famous Brazilian Funk music party that cariocas love. Furacao 2000 is a party thrown at various locations every week throughout Rio. For this particular rendition of the Furacao 2000, they set up the gigantic Furacao sound system in an open air area beside the "Rei do Bacalhau" restaurant. Everyone orders small wooden tables to keep their drinks on that the waiters set up in the middle of the dance floor which ends up making things a bit congested, but overall the experience is a good one. Brazilian Funk is much different than the American Funk of the 70s, so don’t be expecting any George Clinton at the Furacao. It’s more like a mix between Reggaeton and hip hop with some Brazilian flare. It’s one of the most popular styles of music in Rio and many of the best parties are Funk parties. However, I was already starting to feel a cold coming on and wanted to train the next day so we just checked out the party for a bit and went home early.


I was able to get a few good days of hard training and weight lifting in before falling victim once again to sickness. A wicked fever coupled with a sore throat and a strange pain in my chest every time I tried to eat left me nearly bed-ridden and without eating for the remainder of my trip. Italo’s family treated me like on of their own through my time of pain which made the experience much easier and I am really grateful to them for that.


Now I’m back in Santa Cruz California and feeling much better. I really enjoyed my time in Brazil this year, though injuries and sickness plagued trip there and didn’t allow me to clock as much mat time as I had hoped. Still, I was able to make significant improvements in my game and compete various competitions so it ended up being well worth it.


I’m mostly healthy now and back to training hard for the US Open and No Gi Worlds and maybe even the Miami Open before the year’s out, so stay tuned to my blog from now on as I continue to post some more Brazil related things for you traveling gringoes as well as keeping you posted on my experiences as an American Jiu-Jitsu Player in the US and around the world! Questions and requests on things you might want to know for those of you planning a trip to Brazil are welcome as well, just shoot me a message and I’ll be happy to answer you with a blog post! Other jiu-jitsu related questions and/or comments are also welcome!! Thanks a lot everybody!


Stay Tuned and I’ll Keep You Posted!!

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About the author

Nathan Mendelsohn