I came across this list of top 8 BJJ Academies to visit in Rio made from Gameness. It’s hard to single out just 8 academies in Rio. I spent 2 months training there in 2002, and I was amazed at how mainstream Jiu-Jitsu was over there. You should check out my article: Everyone that does Jiu-Jitsu needs to visit & train in Brazil at least once in their lives!
Basically almost every main street has a BJJ academy. In every BJJ academy you will find top training partners and lots of black belts to spar with. Get ready to tap a lot because you will be rolling with guys who have been black belts longer than you’ve been training. I would just add a few academies that should be visited:
– Alliance Jiu-Jitsu Headquarters
The academy is run by Alexandre “Gigi” Paiva, 5th degree black belt and is located in the very nice neighborhood of Leblon. This was the academy where I trained in when I was in Rio although it was located in Ipanema back then. You will cross such BJJ players as Leo Leite, Fernando Terere or Victor Genovesi.
– Gracie Barra Headquarters
This is the academy where Gracie Barra was founded before the Headquarters was moved to Irvine, California, USA. It is run by Jefferson Moura, 3rd degree black belt and is located in the neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca (Zona Oeste [West Zone]
-Carlson Gracie Academy
This is the legendary academy of Carlson Gracie Team. Marcelo Saporito, 5th degree black belt now runs the academy.
-Brazilian Black Belt
Felipe Costa’s new gym in Ipanema.The address is: Rua Visconde de Pirajá 151/201 – IPANEMA – Rio de Janeiro
Top 8 academies to train in Rio from Gameness’s article
GF Team is known as one of the most intense schools for training in all of Rio de Janeiro. Julio Cesar runs a tight ship and guys are always preparing for competition. In addition to top athletes like Rodolfo Vieira, Gabriel Marinho and Jake McKenzie, you will meet various others who are not as well known, but will give you an awesome training session. The gym is located in the Northern area of Meier in Rio.
Fight Zone (Checkmat HQ)
Fight Zone is the home base of Checkmat in Rio de Janeiro. It is run by Ricardo Vieira and houses many top athletes like Marina Ribeiro and Jackson Sousa. This is not to mention the many other Checkmat stars that stop by when they are in town. This gym is located at the end of Copacabana close to Ipanema.
Upper Academy Flamengo (Nova Uniao HQ)
Upper Academy is a full workout gym with a fight area on the second floor. This fight area is the headquarters for the international Nova Uniao team. Although many of its legends have moved to live abroad, Nova Uniao still has a strong BJJ program and one of the best MMA programs in the world, housing UFC champions Jose Aldo and Renan Barao. This academy offers a variety of classes to help both your BJJ and MMA game.
For many, Gordo is known as the man who invented and popularized the half guard. His school is located in Barra da Tijuca and is known to be one of the friendliest gyms for foreigners, although all the others gyms listed here are quite welcoming as well. Gordo’s academy often houses top Gracie athletes when they are in town, like Roger and Kyra. Barra is in the west zone and is a long ride away from the main downtown area of Rio de Janeiro.
X-Gym is a professional MMA facility run by the illustrious Rogerio Camoes. Rogerio is considered an “old school” judoka and BJJ black belt. He is also one of the best MMA and BJJ conditioning trainers in Brazil, having worked with names like Anderson Silva, Ronaldo Jacare and members of the Atos team. It is a three-floor undergound fortress with a full workout gym and several MMA training areas. The BJJ program is run by Master Sylvio Behring.
Brazilian Top Team
BTT is another classic MMA gym with a rich BJJ history stemming from Carlson Gracie Sr.. The gym is now run by Murilo Bustamante, a former UFC champion and runs a strong camp of fighters including the berserker, Rousimar Palhares. Another great place to visit and get a good roll in. The school is located in Lagoa, a higher-end area of Rio de Janeiro.
Gracie Humaita is Helio’s original school in Rio de Janeiro. After moving back to Petropolis to relax in his older age, Helio left the school to Royler and Rolker, but now it is just run by Rolker because Royler moved to the USA. Besides the training, this is a must visit as a sort of jiu-jitsu patronage to Helio and the history of the sport.
Equipe 1 (De La Riva BJJ HQ)
Everyone knows the name but not many know the person. Ricardo De La Riva is one of jiu-jitsu’s classic legends and was an impressive competitor, being one of few to beat Royler Gracie in his prime. He now runs his headquarters out of Equipe 1 gym in Copacabana. Equipe 1 is a full fitness gym with a tatami room for jiu-jitsu.