Currently occupying the absolute throne, Rodolfo Vieira is in the US state of Colorado for the final stretch in training for the IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu World Championship, for which sign-ups end this Wednesday.
The GFTeam black belt is fully convinced the high-altitude training in a semi-arid climate will prove worth his while, and now he has a new ally to help him hang on to his title: cast-iron lungs.
“I’m training hard here, man. We’ve got a great camp going here at Amal Easton’s academy. Training is grueling. I think I’ll be going a thousand miles per hour this Worlds,” he said, with his usual good cheer and serenity.
I asked what the climate is like up there. The 22-year-old athlete broke it down:
“Look, the first week here I thought I was going to die from the lack of oxygen. It was horrible. I’d take a breath and felt like nothing was going in, so different from anything I’ve ever been through before. My friends here told me the heat was sinister, but I had no idea until I got a taste of it. It’s much worse than in Méier in Rio, or in Abu Dhabi in the Emirates,” Rodolfo pointed out in comparison.
“But now my lungs are used to it, so you know what that means, right?” he said.
Despite all the heat and suffering, the Julio Cesar student hasn’t been going it alone. There with Rodolfo are training partners Vinicius Marinho, Luiz Eduardo Dentinho, Jake Mackenzie, Rodolpho Bomfim, Patrick Gaudio and Vanessa Oliveira.
Rodolfo also believes other teammates of his will be putting in first-rate performances come competition time. Training buddies like Victor Honório, Lucas Laet, Max Gimenis, Jaime Canuto and Robson Mau-Mau.
“And there’s also my sister (Ana Carolina), who won the Brazilian Nationals at blue belt and will kick butt at the Worlds. We’re few in numbers but we all have a chance of making it onto the podium,” he said in closing.
Can you doubt anyone who tries beating them will be left breathless?
* To participate in what looks set to be the biggest Jiu-Jitsu World Championship to date, secure your spot by signing up at the IBJJF website here.