Jiu jitsu has spread around the globe, and almost every continent has some jiu jitsu hotspots creating top-level competitors. So why should you still go to Brazil? Didn’t all the top guys move to South-California anyway?
The main arguments for going to Brazil fall into two categories: the country itself and the jiu jitsu.
Brazil is the largest country of South-America, and has something to offer for everybody.
Climate Being such a large country, Brazil has quite a wide variety of climates. The south can be cool, whereas the northern part of the country is a humid, tropical rainforest where temperatures don’t go below 20 degrees Celsius. Rio de Janeiro can get very hot during summer, whereas São Paulo is a bit cooler because it’s located on a plateau. For every taste (unless you really love snow) there's a comfortable climate in Brazil.
Food Brazil has some great food. Especially the fruit and meat are awesome. Of course it’s the home of acai, and you can have a coconut water for 4 reais, which is less than 1 dollar or euro. Meat is also cheap and of good quality. It’s possible to have a huge lunch with rice, beans, meat and veggies for under 3 dollars or euros.
People Brazil has a population of over 200 million people, and though it’s hard to describe a stereotypical Brazilian, they are generally very open, friendly and hospitable. Some speak basic English, but only a few Brazilians are fluent. Most are patient enough to help you out using a combination of Portuguese, English, hand gestures and google translate. They are very open to visitors and will be genuinely interested in you and your story.
The Brazilian culture is very collective as opposed to the more individualistic culture you can find in northern Europe. This might take some getting used to, but in general, it will be a great thing for people traveling to Brazil to train. Even though you came by yourself you will soon find yourself to be part of a group of friends.
Sights Brazil is home to some of the world’s most majestic sights, both manmade and natural. Christ the Redeemer is probably the most famous one, and on a clear day it will blow you away. Other great sights are Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio, the illustrious beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, the waterfalls of Foz do Iguaçu, the Amazonian rainforest, and the Pantanal. Manmade highlights include the MASP, a beautiful museum in São Paolo, the coffee museum in Santos and the architecture of Niemeyer in Brasilia.
The jiu jitsu
Now for the jiu jitsu in Brazil. This was the main reason I made the trip in the first place.
Top competitors at all belts are still training in Brazil. Even the ones moving to the US have probably made their way to the top by fighting in the highly competitive Brazilian circuit. The person that wins the Brazilian championships probably wins the worlds too. Especially at the lower belts. Of course, some of the top black belts have moved to the US, but you would almost forget that Buchecha, Leandro Lo, Felipe Pena, Nicolas Meregali, Isaque Bahiense, Felipe Andrew, Gabriel Rollo and many other elite competitors still do most of their training in Brazil. Just like MMA stars Demian Maia and Michelle Nicolini. Coaches
Not only does a large part of the elite competitors train in Brazil, so do some of the world’s most successful coaches. Among many others, Cicero Costha, Fabio Gurgel, Rodrigo Feijão, Melqui Galvao, Mario Reis and Rodrigo Cavaca run successful gyms out of Brazil and continue to create champions.
One of the biggest reasons to train in Brazil is the competitive circuit. There’s no place in the world that can compare to Brazil in this area. Depending on where you’re staying and how long you’re willing to drive, it’s very possible to compete every single weekend against tough opponents. Even small local competitions will be often visited by world champions looking to pick up the cash prize or get into the competition rhythm.