Ok guys, here it is. All seven pages. Sorry it took so long but I tried to be as complete and honest as possible. This honesty always seems to get me in trouble with the Jiu Jitsu police and there are always some of you that seem to think you need to e-mail me and tell me how it was different for you. If you think I made some serious errors please e-mail me and let me know, but I have been here for some time now and think you will find this FAQ very helpful whether you have been here before or not. If you have any other questions or if you would like to contribute some more helpful info, please PM me. Scotty What do I need to do before I come? Get a Passport: http://travel.state.gov/passport_services.html Get a Visa: Brazilian Consulate ttp://www.brazilsf.org/other_consulates_eng.htm You have to get a visa to get in to Brazil. Do not even try to come without one. BTW you only need one because the USA requires that all Brazilians have one. Most other countries are not required a visa to come to Brazil. You want to get a 90 Day visa and you can renew it for up to 180 days. The consulate can answer all your questions because things tend to change all the time. Like the price for example. Since the good old USA doubled the costs of tourist visas for Brazilians, the price of a visa for you to come to Brazil has now gone up as well. Why the USA raised the cost I have no idea? I think it is $100 now. Get your visa form from the consulate page. What address should I use on my visa? I don’t care but not mine. I used a hotel I found on the internet. Get a plane ticket. I suggest you leave the U.S. Tuesday through Thursday. The plane will be packed on other days and flights Tues.-Thurs. are the cheaper days as well. A whole row of seats in the back makes for a much better trip. So do sleeping pills and Portuguese books. Brazilians are very friendly people and beautiful too. So perhaps you can find a tutor on the plane to help you get started on your Portuguese. People do get bored on planes you know. I have met some really cool people on the long plane trip. For Rio you want to fly in to GIG airport. My guy – Tours To Brazil Ask for Ricardo and tell him you are a friend of Scotty’s. (310) 771-0604 Phone (866) BRAZIL9 -Toll Free www.tours2brazil.com http://tickets.priceline.com/ http://www.kasbah.com/ http://brol.com/ http://www.travelocity.com http://www.hotwire.com/ If people know other places to get cheap tickets please let us know. What should I bring? Sunblock! If you are in to supplements, bring more than you think you will need. They are unbelievably expensive here. If you are used to any particular body care products or hair stuff, you better bring that too. Only bring one gi and buy more while you are here. Make sure you bring your cameras and video cameras. Some places will let you plug in your laptops as well. Just be careful where you bring them and don’t be a dumbass or be flashy with your equipment. Hibiclens This soap kills everything and there are lots of creepy things in Brazil and all over the mats that you might want to kill. It is good to take a shower after going to the beach & training right away. Brazilians are already numb to stuff that makes gringos sick. Clothes? Leave all your Jiu Jitsu and Vale Tudo gear at home unless you have to have it. You don’t want to wear it out much. Girls don’t dig JJ gear and some guys might not too. You can always buy new stuff here in Brazil. In the Brazilian summer (the North American winter) it is hot here and it rains some too. When it does rain, it tends to be hard. I don’t suggest bringing expensive tennis shoes especially Nikes. Leave your Rolex and bling bling at home. Preppy crap is always hip here and so is surfer / skater gear. Oh and you European guys, your Football Club jersey no matter how cool it is, will not be cool here. Oakely glasses are hot here along with Arnette, still and of course Guccis. How long should one stay? I would suggest staying as long as you can. But it really takes a month to get the feel of the place. After that you will want to stay longer. It might be uncomfortable the first few days or week if it is your first time out of the country. You are on the other side of the planet, so you might feel a little upside down. And, you might find some things here backward. It’s ok, we all did. How long should I train for before I come to Brazil to train? I think you should grasp the basics and be rolling around before you come. The are always white belts training at the big schools. At any level the chance to really improve is always here. How can I stay longer? To do this you will need to look at all the different visas available to you and figure out how you can make that happen. Student visa is one-way and your school may have a study abroad program. PUC ( the local university) has big groups of international students you might try starting with them. Once you have been here for six months, you’ll love it so much you will figure out a way to stay. You never know. You might meet that special person for your life and get married. You can also buy a house and get a residency card. How much money will I need? This depends on you. You can do Rio really cheap. Cheaper than at home in the USA or you can RockStar it hard and spend a lot. It also depends on the exchange rate so check here: http://www.x-rates.com I would guess $R900 – $R1500 a week will cover your trip well. How do I figure that in dollars. Check the web site above and do the math. Can’t figure out the math. Don`t come to Brazil, please. How should I bring my money? Cash is good. I think you should bring some but also your credit cards work well and are safe. There are ATMs that will work with your bankcards here. Citibank gives the best rates but HBSC and Banco do Brazil also will take international cards. BTW, here in Rio, the Banco 24hr (ATM) closes at 9:00pm due to safety reasons. So get all your money you need out during the day. Don’t bring travelers checks because they will kill you with the rates. When changing cash, CitiBank has been the best. The Amex office in Copacabana is good and “Cambios” which are the tourist agencies all over the city can be good and bad. It is best to check the rates online and then go change your money. A word on cost of things here in Rio. Right now the Dollar is trading very high over three to one. This has caused inflation here and the cost of living has gone up about 25%, gas by about 35 centavos (Brazilian cents) per liter. Imagine going to the store tomorrow and finding that everything has gone up by 25% but your salary is the same. Ouch, so expect things to cost a little more down here. So the high dollar makes it a great time to come but there is some balance. The cost of many things here is negotiable and it is customary to do some negotiations so feel free to try and bargain. The Simpsons? If you have not yet seen the episode where the Simpsons head to Rio, you need to before you come. That way when Brazilians get angry with you about it you will have an idea of what they are talking about. I hadn’t and I was very confused about this. OK get off the plane, show your passport & visa to be stamped. Keep that little green paper they give you in a safe place because you will be screwed when you try to leave if you don`t have it. (If you lost it show up at least 3 hours before you plane leave to straighten it out) Go get your stuff & you will now need to go through customs. You will either have a person standing there picking people at random or you will press a buzzer red you get searched green you don`t. How to get searched by customs. Bring a lot of stuff. If you pack in boxes and not bags you will get searched all boxes will be x-rayed and opened. If you bags are huge they might want a look. How much can I bring? A lot, the record for us is 7 boxes, 2 bike boxes, and two huge duffel bags. They of course searched everything. But, we paid no taxes. What can`t I bring? I have no idea. I mean guns, drugs and crap but other than that they have let us in with everything so far; computers, tvs, vcrs, microwave, video cameras, and even a motorized scooter! Ok out of customs, this is here you will feel the heat, you will be attacked by gringo hawks immediately. Don`t be scared and just ignore them. Shoe them away like bats! The will not hurt you! They will try to get you to change money and get you a cab. If you do either you will get ripped off. If you don`t have any Reals ($R) then walk to the three cab counters and pay by credit card. If you have Reals go up a level and get an incoming cab that has to leave the airport anyway and insist on the meter. This is your cheapest option. Here are your general costs: Barra $R35 – $R60 Copacabana $R25 – $R45 Ipamina / Legoa – $R35 – $R60 It is good to get directions in Portuguese to where you are going before you leave. Getting around. Do I need to be able to speak Portuguese? Before, I moved here I could only say maybe 10 words, so you can do what you need here without any Portuguese. Don`t not come just cause you can`t speak yet. You can get around and in some areas better than others. Barra. Ipanema, Leblon seem to the most English friendly to me. Copacabana is where the most Gringos go but it also seems to be where the most crime is. Trouble can always be found in Copacabana 24/7 don`t stray from the beach unless you know where you are going. I would avoid staying there if you can. On the other hard if you like a little trouble Copacabana is the only place to stay. The more Portuguese you know the more you will get out of your trip and the more fun it will be. As you learn more and more this Brazil just gets better and better. Can I get by without Portuguese and a little bit of Spanish? Yes guys who come hear and speak Spanish pick it up much quicker. At the schools you will be amazed at how many guys do speak English and they are very helpful. If you are in Brazil long enough you might feel dumb cause you only speak English. Transportation Transportation is very good in Rio. The buses run all day and night very frequently they are very cheap and relatively safe. I would avoid very crowded buses and ask around where you are to see which lines head to bad areas. Unlikely that you will need to take them anywhere you want to go. There are also larger “tourismo” buses they are a few Reals more but are nicer and have AC too. There are also what we call terrorist vans, they are little VW vans. They are everywhere and go everywhere. They could be scary maybe sometimes, but I have never had a problem and take them quite often. Cabs are cheap too they will try to give you the run around but there is not much you can do about it. They like to get grouchy sometimes but there are a lot of cool guys that are good people. Only tip the nice guys. Try to get them to always run on the “metro” or the meter. There is a subway here in Rio too. But it only goes to Central if you need to go there to renew your visa or something go by bus or Cab. It is just easier and safer, but I have never been on the subway so I can`t really tell ya much about it. Where should you stay while training at the various academies? A good idea is to contact the school before hand maybe you can stay with one of the guys. This is the best because they help you out a lot and you can help them out with some money. They also know the best places for you to stay in the area. Can you help me find a place to stay? Sure just send us an email and let me know what your budget is and what school you want to train at.* I have moved back to the USA so i don’t have the housing connections i once did. Weather. The weather in Rio is always comfortable. You might in the winter time (July & August) want a light jacket or a sweatshirt. In the summer (January and February) it will be hot hot hot! All the rest of the year you will find things very comfortable. It does rain a lot so you might bring something water proof to wear. Food The food in Brazil is great. Healthy low fat usually and lots and lots of it. You can always find good stuff around and it is pretty safe to eat most things. You must try acia but don’t eat too much after you fall in love. You can get sick from it and I suggest you get banana in it too it seems to help. You have to try the Brazilian barbecue called Churrasco, the juice bars are not to be missed either. There are all kinds of great fruits that they don’t have anywhere else. There is great seafood and other local dishes to be had as well. If you need to have any supplements in your diet you need to bring them because they could be hard to find or expensive. OTM Favorite Restaurants: Barra Juice Co. Ave Olegario Maciel Rialto Above Barra Gril on Ave Das Americas Gula Gula Ave Das Americas Guadna Mania Ave Olegario Maciel – These guys sponsor a lot of fighters so we like to support them. Bebe Succos Ave Olegario Maciel – These guys sponsor a lot of fighters so we like to support them. The Loft Ave Das Americas – These guys sponsor a lot of fighters so we like to support them. Barra Grill Ave Das Americas Torrao Proquao Leblon / Legoa / Ipanema Natual Gormet Bebe Succos Polish Succos Gapaloco Safety. I live in Barra and it is really safe here. I have however been from end to end of this country and have always found people to he very friendly and always helpful. You should have some street smarts however. Being flashy, loud and stupid can get you hurt or robbed. No cop is going to come running up to help you here in fact you should avoid cops at all costs in my experience we have been robbed by the cops more than the people here. Do not carry your passport around. Get a copy before you leave and carry it around. I keep a nice crisp Ben Franklin in my wallet. It will get you out of most any trouble you have with the cops and a good back up it you ever need it. (Everyone takes dollars everywhere.) It is best to just pretend that cops are not there and don’t make eye contact with them. Most important don’t be stupid and get yourself in a situation where you might have to deal with them. They are not like American cops and don’t play by the same rules. In fact there are no rules and you really do not want to end up in a Brazilian Jail. Hide the bulk of your cash and keep a little cash in one pocket just in case you get robbed. For the most part I think you will find Rio to be a safe and fun place. However from time to time, especially in Copacabana you might get robbed. Sao Paulo on the other hand to me is much scarier, but I have not spent a lot of time there yet. Training The level of training here in Brazil is on a different level than in the states. The shear number of black belts is amazing. You will get to see performances on a daily basis by world-class fighters who are pushing the level of the game everyday. It is great fun to play with the super technical guys and tap tap tap. That is the biggest difference between Rio and the USA. There are so many brown & black belts training along with many more tournaments sometimes weekly. This makes the games evolves much faster here technically, but the basics are always the basics and it is good to polish them up here too. Try to leave your ego at home. You will beat some guys and not others. Here it is not about who you can tap, it is about getting better. It is not cool to sit around the school and brag about who you tapped. You are a guest at these schools don`t just go in trying to kill everyone your first day. Work your way in to classes and then pick up your training. Too many times I have seen guys come down and try and train like mad men. Many guys get hurt in their first week and miss training for the rest of their trip. If you get hurt here you will not be a happy person and you will feel real stupid. Sitting around the school talking about who tapped who is considered rude, gringos tend to do this a lot. I did. Training at multiple schools. There is something’s about this that can be hard for us as foreigners to understand. Teams here are very important here and they are a tradition that goes with the sport and culture here. If your instructor recommends you train at a certain school I would stick there and respect his wishes. If you are down here to check out a few schools you should not try to train at different school at once. Meaning, do not train at one school at night and another during the day. Go to one school for a week and then another school for the next week. Also don’t run your mouth about where you have been training. No one wants to here “Well they taught it to me this way at bla bla bla school.” More and more people are training at multiple schools here. It not as rigid as it once was. If you plan to be here training for an extended period then stick to one place or you could find trouble down the road. Talk to the master at the school do not try to be sneaky. And, don’t wear patches from one school to another school. Tournaments There are tournaments year around but not from Christmas till after carnival usually. The big events are in June, July, & August. The summer has more no-gi there are always small events going on but finding them can be hard. You have to ask around a lot. We will be working on listing as many as we can find out about. I will do my best to fill these in as i get more info on the other schools. Barra Gracie Main instructors are: 9:00 AM Class Gordo 11:00 AM Marcio Feitosa & Carlos Gracie Jr 6:00 PM Feitosa 7:30 PM Carlos Gracie Jr Avenida Comandante JÃºlio de Moura No. 300 Academia Express Fit – Barra da Tijuca Rio de Janeiro – RJ Cep: 22620 Telefone: (21) 2493-1188 firstname.lastname@example.org Carlson Gracie Rua Figueredo Magalhaes 414 Suite 300 Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro Telefone: (21) 2549-1465 Brazilian Top Team Main instructors are: 7:00 AM Pedro Vianna 11:00 AM Olavo Abreu & CarlÃ£o Santos 1:00 PM Bebeo Duarte, Murilo Bustamante, Mario Sperry 7:00 PM Alvaro Ramos Avenida Borges de Medeiros, 829 Academia AABB Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro Telefone: (21) email@example.com Oswald Alves Main instructors are: Fredson Paixao & Master Oswaldo Alves Rua Veveiros de Castro #51 Suite 204 Copacabana, RJ 22250-060 Nova Uniao Main instructors are: André Pederneiras & Wendel Alexander Praia de Botafogo 122 sobrado Botafogo , Rio de Janeiro Tel.: (21) 2551-3438 / (21) 98613762 AndrePederneiras@Ig.com.br Alliance Jiu Jitsu Av. Botafogo, 300 This is on the boder of Copacabana and Ipanema in the Masters Gym. Class times are Monday – Friday 4:30 pm & 7:30 firstname.lastname@example.org Gracie Humaita Main instructors are: Royler Gracie Saulo Ribero Rua Humaita, 52 Botafogo, Rio de Janerio Tel: (21) 2266-6094 Masters Team Main instructors are: Rodrigo Comprido Ricardo Vieira Felipe Costa Rua Francisco Sa, 36 Copacabana, Rio de Janerio Class Times: 7:00 am, 10:30 am, 16:30 pm, 20:00 pm De la Riva Av. N. SÂª. de Copacabana, 702 Copacabana, Rio de Janerio Amaury Bitetti Rua: Raimundo Correa, 60 suite 202 Copacabana, Rio de Janerio 2547-7265 Gracie Ipanema Main instructors are: Marcelo Yogue Alexandre “Café” Dantas Bruno Severiano Darrel Gholar Darrel does not have a school really. He currently teaches classes at BTT 3 days a week and at a private Gym 3 days a week. Contact us about setting up times to train with him. After Training What things are there to do when not training around the academy? Most schools are inside gyms so you can take advantage and work out. Also many classes in Brazilian dance or gymnastics. You can do a lot of the same things you do at home. The malls here are more fun than at home and the beach of course is the best! Try some kite surfing or hang gliding. Where can i get gis? The cheapest place to get gis is straight from the factories. However the factories are not easy to get to and usually are not it rich nice neighborhoods. So if you can make your way out there you will save some money but chances are the cab fare alone will make up the difference. Your best bet is ask around at the academy and find guys that have sponsors to get them for you. You can also get gis at the malls but you will pay way too much for them there. Generally the prices range from $R100 to $R250 depending on the gi and where you get. Can you get a gi and send it to me? If you buy 20 or more gis and can get them and send them to you for a small fee, other wise no. It will also depend on the brand you want. Stores to get Fight Gear. Barra Shopping has a few places they are all on the bottom floor near and around CYClone which has great prices BTW. When you go to CYClone ask for Jorge and tell him Scott sent you for a little break in costs. Waves has Bad Boy and some Red Nose. Albertacao is also in Barra Shopping a long with Vitamins n Minerals but they are on the second floor towards the same end as New Your City Center. New Your City center also has a new store on the second floor called Team Sabotage they sell fight gear as well and there is a new skate shop there with some fight gear. SurFight is in the Aprador mini skate & surf mall. Gameness Retail store seems to have closed? But you can still get all the stuff at http://grapplergear.com/. BadBoy is sold all over and I believe they have a store in Ipanema. Rio Sul Shopping has a few good stores on the top floor. Surfing in Rio Lots of beach breaks in and around Rio. You will never need a wetsuit here unless you are a real pussy. Not really, some days the water comes up from the south cold and you might want a shorty this is not the norm. Water stays warm year round it is rare to see anyone with a suit on here. To the south of Brazil the water gets colder and you might want a light suit. Check the waves here: http://ricosurf.globo.com/ Aprador between Ipanimia & Copacabana Prainha – out past Barra Meio da Barra – Which is about post 6 or 7 Floripa has some great surfing too as does the south of Brazil. Skating Rio is loaded with skate parks there are everywhere here and some are very very nice. All the parks and _ pipes are concrete too so they are plenty fast and smooth. The Butofogo (or soul bowl) bowl is in front of Rio Sul Shopping and it is in the middle of the street. Great bowl with loads of vert and a beautiful smooth transition. In Flamengo there is a huge skate park with _ pipes, mini ramps, rails and all sorts of other fun stuff. The is a nice bowl in La Goa too almost in from of AABB where the Top Team trains. Barra has both a decent bowl, in front of the beach between post 2 & 3 in the park, there is also a big _ just past Barra Shopping on the left side in the middle of the circle you drive around to return to Barra. Can`t miss it, it is huge. Speedos & Board shorts The norm by far is the sunga or speedo on the beach here for sure but there are more and more people wearing board shorts all the time on the beach. They are very popular with the surfers but they usually run the speedos under the shorts. Always wearing shorts is a good way to stand out as a gringo. Being a Gringo in Rio Brazilians have been very nice to us the whole time. From time to time people have no problem with letting you know their unpleasant feelings about old GWB. No one is happy with him at this time here, but for the most part no one here will blame you personally. Brazilians are rightfully emotional about the our politics in South America and the Iraq war. There can be some friction at times but for the most part people are very very nice. Do your best to respect them and remember it is not their duty to speak English. Girls in Rio. Boy! talking about the girls her really gets us in trouble. We try to help you guys here but it is hard. All we can say is this. There are a lot of them, more than anywhere else I have been. They are all for the most part in very good shape. They are very nice to talk to. Some like Americans some don`t. They are much nicer than American girls. See Mr. Beans article for more help. OTM’s PUA Guild to Rio Girls. – http://otm.ninjitsuhosting.com/onthemat/articles/The_Rules_of_Engagement_09_04_2004.html What is the nightlife like in Florinopolis? I was not really impressed but I went there for New Years. The place was too crowded there were too many guys and the traffic sucked. However just an hour from there is Praia da Rosa with place is loaded with chicks and better waves. I swear we were the first Americans there by the way people were acting. Some people accused us of lying and being German others that we were Brazilians pretending to be Americans? This happened a few too many times. Weird,?!? I think we must have caught Floripa at a bad time cause everyone raves about the place. I really want to go back and check it out and the waves in the south are really nice. Worth the trip there for sure. Clubs and Bars – There a lot of fun clubs and bars here and with the exchange rate at more than 3 to 1 you can have a good time inexpensively. It is between $R10 – $R60 to get in clubs the cost is usually a minimum consumption. This means you have to pay $R60 no matter what but you get to drink that amount in drinks too. So it is not really a cover charge. A lot of clubs also offer a good dinner so taking advantage of that helps cover the entrance fee as well. Bars are cheap and fun too. Beers can be had for as low as $R1. Don’t drink Skol it will give you a nasty hang over. You don’t see as many Jiu Jitsu guys out in the clubs tearing shit up anymore. So you can safely go party at any club in Zona Sul. No guy is going to beat up a gringo over where you train. Every Jiu Jitsu guy I see I talk too and most are very cool. There are fights and I do suggest that you do not fight if you can avoid it. If you head to Lapa or Club 6 be sure to be extra cool, there can be hot heads there and a lot of fights. Don’t expect the cops here to stop fights either and don’t expect them to protect you or even be on your side even if you didn’t start it. The same goes for the beaches. You can go to whatever beach. Praia Pepe is where a lot of fighters hang out. It is not uncommon to see BTT and Nova Uniao buys there and of course Gracie Barra pretty much owns the beach there. Getting to the Amazon is not as easy as you might think. It is an eight hour plane ride that is about $R800 -$R1200 but well worth the trip. It is not a good weekend trip or anything plan on having some time if you are going enjoy it. The Jiu Jitsu up there is awesome too, the guys there are not as technical as Rio but, they fight 100% all the time. A lot of tough guys there. Getting hurt.