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Frank-and-Tril-in-Brazil

A couple of good mates of mine, Frank and Tril have been travelling around Brazil for the last couple of months. I caught up with them to find out how they’re going, and to get a quick and dirty of their thoughts of the country so far. If you’re planning a Brazilian adventure, these guys share some great practical tips for staying safe and getting the most out of your holiday time!

Which cities have you visited so far?

Rio, Arraial do Cabo, Guarapari, (Campos, Vitoria), Salvador, Recife, (Fortaleza), Caponga and Belem.

Safety tips for fellow Aussie travellers:

Try to stick to streets with lots of locals. Don’t go into Rio’s Centro on the weekend. Don’t turn right when leaving the museum of modern art in Salvador. Don’t bother taking any jewellery or equipment that you would miss if stolen.

Definite no nos:

Don’t flush the toilet paper, it goes in the bin. Don’t go to Brazil expecting a. People to speak English b. That people will want to help you if you speak Spanish at them.

Must see/do: 

Capoeira in Salvador, A show at Theatro Municipal in Cinelandia, staying in a favela hotel, Samba clubs in Lapa, people watching at the beach, drinking tropical capirinhas, churrascarias, riding buses in rio, meeting new friends.

Surprising things: 

The amount of sushi joints, how expensive one piece swimmers are, the amount of vendors on the beach, the amount of garbage everywhere, how hard the garbage crews work to get the garbage off the streets.

Essential Portuguese words: 

Cerveja, obrigado/a, por favor, banheiro, disculpe, onde fica la…, nao entendo, nao fala Portuguese, Tchau.

Parting advice: 

Take cash into small towns (no banks), always ask for help if you are lost, buy a phrasebook (even if you can’t say it, you can point to it), check opening hours, if you go and see a movie, look for the ones that say legendado or LEG because they are in the original language with Portuguese subtitles, carry change for the bus, try heaps of stuff!

This post was originally published on Vivacidade

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Liam Resnekov

I recently caught up with Liam Resnekov, a Sydney-based, award-winning martial artist, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) black belt, and all-round top bloke!

When did you get into BJJ? How does it feel to be a black belt now?

I originally was doing Judo and Karate. My parents were Karate teachers and they would have magazines lying around. In 1992 I read blitz magazine with John Will and he was talking about these Gracie brothers and their art. He talked of a position that one could use to beat a larger opponent and the only way out was to know the escape from Jiu Jitsu. It sounded like magic to me. Now I realise he was talking about mount.

In 1998 I finally found a coach, Christopher Deweaver under Ze Mario Sperry and it was love at first choke. I thought to myself, I’m a judo guy, I’m going to smash these guys. Apparently I was overconfident and I tapped a lot that day, but I never lost my smile.

To be a blackbelt is great, it’s one of the few arts where it still means something. When I was white belt, there was one purple belt in Australia, John Will, my coaches were blue belts and they were gods to me. I only ever hoped to achieve blue belt. Then I got it and my goal was just purple, then I would be happy. And so it went and now I look down and I get to wear a black belt. The best bit is I will never worry about belts again, it’s just me and the mats.

Have you been to Brazil?

I have been to Sao Paulo and Rio. I can’t wait to go back, I’ve never been to Florionopolis but I hear it is heaven, but I need to learn to surf first!

How has hanging out with Brazilians influenced your life?

Brazilian people, like all cultures, come in such a wide variety. My experiences have always been great and my Professor Bruno Panno has been a great influence to me on and off of the mats. One thing that rubs off besides the love of surfing and fun, is the sense of pride that seems inherent in Brazilians. The same pride that often forces them to take fights they cannot win, but no one will ever accuse them on having no hearts. So I think courage, pride and a love of life is something that’s rubbed off.

Fala Portugues?

Um pouco. My goal for 2012 is to speak Portuguese!

What is your sub of choice?

Jiu Jitsu is like fashion, it changes with seasons. As a judo guy it was always arm locks, then as a light guy triangle chokes. For the last few years it’s been a special variation of the bow and arrow choke I call the ladder choke, its specialised to my build and game.

Who is your fave fighter?

Royler Gracie is the classic, to me he was the best Gracie, the guy who never turned down a fight. Nowadays it’s Marcello Garcia and Michael Langhi for their technique and the way they carry themselves.

What has been the most defining moment in your BJJ career?

Using BJJ in Vale Tudo/MMA. I believe the art should always be able to cross over easily. My first professional fight I took with 4 days notice. From the Gi to the ring with no adjustments and Jiu Jitsu protected me and took me to the submission.

What do you think about female BJJ practitioners?

I think BJJ is the most important thing a female can learn. In terms of self defence it is absolutely vital as it covers the defences to the main assault positions, particularly those of sexual nature.

I think it is difficult for girls to find the right environment to train as a lot of BJJ schools are boys clubs and the girls are not treated properly and it’s the job of the instructor to ensure that their gym affords girls the proper respect and attention.

For sport I use to think there should be equality in BJJ for men and women, that the game is the same for either. I have a lot of female BJJ and MMA students and over the years I have come to realise that there is a specialised game for females. Their flexibility, pace and temperament is different and the game must adapt for fighting against girls with their own unique attributes. I think it’s difficult for girls to go from wrestling guys straight to wrestling girls, just as it’s different for a lightweight to wrestle heavyweights and then compete in his own division. So we developed a specialised program for girls to learn Jiu Jitsu to combat both males AND females.

What would your advice be to someone who is thinking about taking up BJJ (you can provide a link to your academy website here if you like)?

Be aware that you might be taking up something that will outlast all of your other vices, that may outlast all of your relationships, jobs and vices. It’s addictive as hell once you get your groove and you have to be prepared for that!

Seriously though, the most important thing is to ensure that you are happy with the environment you train in, the people you train with and the coach you train under.

Be aware the first 3 months, despite your instructor’s best intentions, will be frustrating as your body and mind orientate itself to something very unique and special.

Lastly make sure that your goals are clear to your instructor and that they have a program to suit you and help you achieve those goals.

Most importantly come visit us at www.vt1gym.com and get on the mat with us. Laugh, cringe and connect with interesting people. That is the biggest blessing BJJ can offer.

What are you plans/goals for the next 12 months?

Personally I want to get back into the cage and compete at the mundials. I want to learn to speak Portuguese fluently to!

For my Academy, I would like to send a student to Abu Dhabi and have one of our fighters receive a UFC contract, neither of which are far off the horizon.

This article was originally published on Vivacidade

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