Woke up a little tired but super excited to finally be back in Brasil. I decided to leave the house early to allow myself time for a little walk around Ipanema before the 10.30am class at Fightzone. About 3 mins walk down the road from the house you can catch bus number 557 which takes you directly to Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana and almost past the doors of several Jiujitsu academies including Ricardo Vieira's Fightzone and De La Rivas. The bus costs R$2.75 and takes about half an hour to Rico's but you should allow about a hour during busy times.
Travelling on Rio's buses is truly an experience in itself and not for the faint-hearted. Although in some places there are bus stops in others there is nothing to mark where the bus stops you just need to "know" where to get the bus. Even if you are at a bus stop you have to flag the bus down but be careful to get your arm in quick when it actually pulls up. Riding on the bus itself is a fantastic balance, strength and grip training session even if you get a seat you will probably find it necessary to hold on with both hands firstly to stop you being thrown from your seat as the bus twists and turns and the driver makes liberal use of the brakes. Secondly out of pure terror as it speeds around the cliffs inches from the edge with only a very low wall between the bus and a long drop. (on my last trip once the bus had to reverse as it had misjudged the turn). Standing up is even worse and unfortunately that's what I had to do for my first ride on the bus this trip. At the end of the journey my arms and hands were aching from holding on so hard. I did get my walk through Copacabana and Ipanema before training but mainly because I had completely missed my stop and realised when I went past De la Riva's. After my third trip on the bus I realised that it was not my terrible sense of direction for once, but that the bus route had actually changed since I was here last.
When I finally got to the academy it was great to be able to catch up with friends I hadn't seen since my last trip and meet all of the new people who had joined since I left. It was good to see there were a lot more girls training now with another 6 girls on the mat including top black belt Marina Ribeiro and a number of extremely tough blue belts. I was thrown straight in the deep end as they were doing all sparring sessions that day. A combination of the heat, lack of sleep due to jetlag and being extremely unfit and overweight due to not training much recently ment I was dead within 5 minutes of the warmup. Glad to say I pushed myself through getting my a'se thoroughly kicked everytime and even came back for more of the same in the evening session. Despite being completely smashed I totally fell back in love with Jiujitsu in that first session and I'm looking forward to getting my training back on track and competing again while I'm here :)