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My Training in Brazil and Why To Go Visit – By Danny Ives

By March 26, 2015 June 27th, 2018 No Comments
danny ives travels to brazil for training in bjj

Yup, it’s my birthday! I turn 42 today, yeah I know I’m an old fart.

In honor of my bday I wanted to talk about my training in Brazil and give you some pointers to help if you plan on making the trip yourself.

Training in Brazil is awesome and it’s a fun place to visit, no doubt about it.

At this point in my life I’ve been to Brazil 8 (maybe more) times. I’ve stayed for as little as one week and as long as a few months.

Most of my trips there I stayed with Scotty Nelson, who owns OTM.com, one of the largest online MMA supply websites and retail store chains in the world.

Scotty was awesome and thanks to him my trips, training and overall good times have been awesome as well. Thanks Scotty!

Why visit Brazil?

Okay so first thing first: Yes, the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training is really that good. That’s what most people reading this blog would be traveling there for I’d think.

The other really stuff about Brazil is the food, including amazing fruit smoothie drinks, the beaches and the nightlife.

If you’re there for training I strongly advise not getting too caught up in the night life. That stuff will derail your training fast!

I know for me, my trips to Brazil always centered around BJJ training. So staying on track was never a big issue.

With that said, I still enjoyed the nightlife, just not on the highest level because the #1 goal was to get better at BJJ.

Where to train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)?

Every time I went to Brazil I tried to check out different places to train BJJ. After the first few trips I pretty keep my training limited to the following academies:

  • Gracie Barra
  • Brazilian Top Team
  • Behring BJJ
  • Brasa


The above listed four places had the best training I thought. I did check out some others but again, these were the best and where I felt most comfortable.

Through my travels I’ve lucky to have not only trained/learned in Brazil but also to have worked with some of the best fighters on the planet.

People always ask me which gym/academy I liked the most. To be honest I really enjoyed my time at Brazilian Top Team (BTT) more then the rest.

At BTT, they always treated me well, despite the fact that I was an outsider. And the training was absolutely fantastic.

BTT taught a bit more more technique, especialy during the morning sessions, then most other places.

The other academies didn’t teach much (if ever), it was mostly live rolling the whole time. Which I liked too but it was nice to learn some new tricks here and there as well.

When it comes to training with the Brazilian’s my advice is simple: Be humble.

Try to learn as much as you can and be very humble in your training. Don’t try to act tough or be the big man on the mats cause the Brazilian will surely try to beat the crap out of you.

I always took the humble approach and it worked for me. Even though I was humble and did the right things the Brazilian’s still came at me hard and the training was tough that’s for sure.

That’s just how it is there. Tough training in really hot weather. If you’re not a fan of this type of workout then maybe it’s better you stay out of Brazil.

Yes, Brazil is very dangerous! Be smart when visiting

The one thing everyone should know about traveling to Brazil is that it’s a hardcore place. That means it’s not always safe and bad things do happen to nice people…a lot.

Lucky for me I never has anything bad happen to me. A few close calls sure but nothing else. I did however witness a few other americans end up not so lucky.

Those stories can wait for another day but trust me when I say be careful when in Brazil or any other 3rd world country.

I highly recommend staying as far away from the slums (favela’s) as possible. Every now and then we’d see some dumb american college kid go in there…it never worked out well.

Go to Brazil, train, have fun and be safe!

So if you’re thinking about hitting up Brazil for training, fun or a little of both I say go for it.

Just be careful and keep a look out for thugs trying to take advantage of americans on vacation. As fun as South America can be it’s also one of the most dangerous places on earth.

Have fun. Oh and check out some really cool BJJ videos I posted below. If nothing else they should inspire you to make a trip at some point down the road.

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