I’ve had the pleasure of training at Ricardo Viera’s Fight Zone Academy in Copacabana for 3 weeks when I first arrived in Brasil. I was lucky to stumble upon the gym before I moved out to Barra da Tijuca, to train at Gordo’s for the rest of my time in Rio de Janeiro, and had no idea who “Rico” was or the reputation their team had. The first thing that struck my about Ricardo was his youth. For some reason I thought the head instructor would be a middle aged guy, but nope here was a dude a few years older than me not only running a successful BJJ school, but doing so with the utmost respect and admiration from his students.
Reminiscing now about being there and training on the mats, the things that stand out to me now are the youth of the team (most people training are 30yrs or less), their energy and passion for the sport and the small size of the gym. Despite the limited mat space and facilities, they have all you need to produce champions, proving it’s not quantity but quality. And faith in God, I remember in particular any sessions that Ricardo would teach would close with a prayer. I didn’t understand much Portuguese and still don’t but I think the gist of it was thanking god for what we have in life and to feel blessed enough with that.
Anyway do check out the video, it’s a good one. Here’s a snippet from the site describing the video:
Where does the passion to fight come from? If anybody knows this answer, it’s Ricardo Vieira. A nine-time world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, he and his brother Leo Vieira founded the Checkmat team. Known for their amazing success in competition, the team consistently places in the top three at major championships (such as the recent 2012 PanAms, where they took second in the team championship).
In this video from BJJ Hacks, filmmaker and journalist Hywel Teague goes inside the famed FightZone academy in Copacabana to investigate what it is that makes this team different.
Film by Hywel Teague for BJJ Hacks. Visit their website for exclusive blogs, including behind-the-scenes info and articles about how they make their videos!