The Rio Open Finals...

On the final day of the 2010 Rio Open I went with my Aussie friends, who are from TP Gym Sydney. We went to the Rio finals after my first day of training at Gracie Tijuca. No matter where I am, I love to watch the black and brown belt finals. It's always a treat to see the legends in Brazilian jiu jitsu execute their technique against each other. I learned so much and of course, it is even more dynamic than seeing them on video!

I especially enjoyed watching the black/brown belt women compete. I dream about the day when I will be in this division. Sure, it will take a tremendous amount of work, but I know I will get there eventually.

The women's division is always a bit more exciting, especially the absolute division. Not all of the legends made it to the 2010 Rio Open, but as usual the amazingly talented Beatriz Mesquita won the leve division. As if the day couldn't get any better, I later had the opportunity to meet and hang out with Ida Josefin Hansson from Denmark. She took the médio division and second in the absolute!

I was also pleasantly surprised to run into my old friend Leo. He was the first jiu jitsu black belt from Brazil that I had ever met back in 2001. My instructor Phil Cardella brought him to Austin to train at the time. I wasn't training then, but instead got a firsthand introduction to jiu jitsu when I photographed him and Phil rolling on the docks of Lady Bird Lake.

It was great catching up with Leo after all this time. Meeting new people, finding old friends and learning from the legends in Brazilian jiu jitsu have been part of my fantastic adventures in Rio! More to follow...


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