¨We don´t cry for men, we cry for Jiu Jitsu¨ Marcy

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Dennis Asche 
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The best place to connect!


From Floripa, Brazil I said my farewells to a few friends. Popped back an anti-anxiety pill and got ready to board my plane to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was a short flight but I didn't want to have to worry at all; and I definitely had no issues at all :)  Of course I was      madly ripped off by the taxi service but there are better ways to    go about getting to Connection Rio. Dennis Asche can set up a ride where you'll pay nearly half the "gringo rate" IF you have a pretty straight forward itinerary with your dates and times. For me I was all over the place and actually a few weeks late arriving so I said screw it I'll just get there however I can.

I was welcomed by a few of the guys staying at the house and showed to my room. I was quite out of it still since my flight was only 1 hour, the effects of that pill hadn't even come close to wearing off haha. The night is still somewhat of a blur but I passed out nicely on my top bunk. In the morning I woke up, showered, got myself somewhat put together and the guys invited me to come along and watch a BJJ competition. The day couldn't have been any better. I show up in Rio de Janeiro and on my first day I not only get to watch the Brazilians go at it, but as well some of the guys from Connection Rio fight. 

At one point Nye Oakly (one of the guys who invited me along) came back to the tournament and as he was talking to me I remember looking at his lips and thinking, wow he's got purple lips, and about a second after he'd finished his sentence I asked "were you eating Acai?" Of course it was haha so he pointed me in the direction and I set out to grab some for myself.  Nye had quite the interesting background as well. He had been signed in a band called Lexington Bridge as well he was a professional Rugby player! He was recovering from a few serious injuries but decided to go ahead with his dreams which led him to Connection Rio. The idea he has is pretty wicked, he's going to practice a few different martial arts all around the world. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Brazil, Muay Thai in Thailand, he has plans of going to New York and I'm sure a whole list that I'm forgetting here. He's going to focus hard on each art and see how it comes together in the end where..who knows we might see him in the MMA scene one of these days!

Off to get some Acai.....that's where I met Stuart Cooper, the slowest eater of life. As odd as it was I honestly took a lot out of that 30ish minutes (or more). He'd obviously had a lot of patience, set his own pace, was relaxed and enjoyed the moment at hand and it spoke a lot to me. Little did I know he'd taken an interest in filming as a hobbie a while back...which it turns out he happens to have some unreal talent. We'll get to his work in a little bit.

The day passed pretty quickly and everyone had talked about going out that night (saturday evening) I rested and got myself ready for a night on the town and came downstairs where Nye set me up with a vodka and I was introduced to an extremely interesting character Joey Kuna..hahaha I still just smile when I think about all the crazy shit he does. He set me up with some pasta and a bizarre "doing the laundry dance"...What first caught me about Joey I think to be honest were his massive eyebrows...which look great on him, but otherwise it was the fact that literally in MID sentence while I was talking to him, he just burst out laughing....!!! and said sorry sorry..continue. I was so thrown off and from that moment I realized 1 very important thing from him. Here is a guy who makes himself laugh at whatever, he's a goofball and is going to have an amazing life for those simple qualities. The ability to laugh at yourself and keep yourself entertained are incredibly important. You just don't get the opportunity to meet someone like that everyday, and thankfully I had my chance.

Everyone I was meeting at the house had their stories. Everyone was so interesting and that's just it. The house attracted the craziest people from all over the world, everyone with different goals, plans and ideas of  how they were going to make the most of the trip. For me it was a bit of a strange time. I had just traveled for 9 months, visited 9 countries, this was my last destination and I had a bit of mixed emotions dealing with the fact that it was all coming to an end. I put all those worries in the back of my head but I mean to get to Connection Rio with 10 days left...it's bittersweet..it was a little heartbreaking! I had SUCH an amazing time and met INCREDIBLE people and knew i'd be on another plane saying goodbye to this great group.
A few other amazing guys and girls to name...Olga, Alexandra and Martina, Corey, Freddie, Rory, Allan, Santos, James, Nial, I'll put up a few links to some great work by Hywel Teague as well!, 2 of the best Polish fighters, Maciej Polok and Marcin Held, the unforgettable Camron Couch and his famous word "YEDDDDIRRRR" that spread through the house like nothing I've ever seen, Toly, Jeremy. I wish you all the best of luck this year, you've all got the power to turn dreams into reality so make it a big year with whatever you have in mind!! spread the love!

We'll start out with a few of the links for Stuart Cooper
The day we climbed Pedra de Gavea, sadly I did not make it to the top I had a bad freak out haha but I gave it a fair shot..and still managed to have my breath taken away by the views as well as the work out.

A day we spent going to the Christo Redemtor statue in Rio de Janeiro

After I'd left, the boys heading out for a day of surf xmas eve!

One of the days with Connection Rio, Stuart and Hywel were doing some filming for the Real Rio Show as well as getting some footage for a film done on Rousimar "Toquinho" Palhares  Here is the finished product!! http://vimeo.com/34626967 

Stuart & Me
Also one of Stuart's best video's with an amazing track to tie it all together was his work on this ADCC 2011 video that has spread worldwide!! I still get chills when I watch it!


Here's a quick link as well to Stuart's work and info http://www.grapplevideos.com/

The man behind the camera Stuart Cooper
Before our hike up Pedra de Gavea, basically our backyard

Connection Rio house goes out to watch UFC
Christo Redemptor
Learning Zouk with Joey!

Dennis Asche teaches the Connection Rio house @ Gordo Jiu Jitsu!

Great place to keep your Gi fresh
Anywhere to dry your Gi
Cam with sneaky polish assassin behind him!
Marcin Held Polish fighter amazing BJJ practitioner
Group with Dennis Asche outside of one of 2 CR houses

Stuart on the way up to the Christ statue

Freddie, Stu and Joey

These are a few of the moments captured..what went on in my short 10 days was just too amazing to properly explain. 

Connection Rio
Cam with Celsinho Venicius- house guest while we were there, awesome to spend some time with him and practice Portuguese!
Pimienta the house cat
Joey and Cam 
I came across a nice review of Connection Rio on Camron's hometown BJJ forum and it's the best way to get a real visual of just how you'd spend your time in Rio at Connection Rio.


check it out, it really is worth while to read.

In my own personal opinion...Connection Rio really hit home for me. I was explaining to Dennis how appreciative I am to him; to have found a place where not only do you get to enjoy rolling with "family" on the mats which are 30 seconds around the corner at the Gordo Jiu Jitsu school where Dennis also gave awesome classes..on top of that you come home and your there with everyone all over again. Whether it be cooking meals together, checking out funny videos or fighting footage on youtube, taking walks to local Acai restaurants, visiting the beaches, going out at night, or relaxing by the pool there are a 1001 ways to spend your time wonderfully at Connection Rio with the best of company. 

I had my fair share of crazy fun with Joey...playing BJJ games on the beam with the jiu jitsu belts hanging for our swings, hanging out side by side for 10 days straight laughing our heads off and doing the most ridiculous and simple activities to get a rise out of each other...

To have such a talented film maker at your side to make fantastic memories was just incredible it also helped that he was an amazing guy, and really good on the mats- a strong purple belt in the competition scene.. Thank you again Stuart for those videos they'll be with us forever and for dragging my ass for tooooo many bowls of Acai...so awesome! see you at the comps :)

That's the thing, you meet amazing people from all over the world. Some come to improve their BJJ game, some are just starting out, some people are even just there to chill and meet people...get to know Brazil ;) 

Here's a page from the Connection Rio website if you haven't taken a look check it out!!


“Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: “I am with you kid. Let’s go.” – Maya Angelou
Founded by Dennis Asche, an American black belt who has been living in Rio for close to ten years, Connection Rio helps visiting jiu-jitsu practitioners get the most out of their stay.
“I started Connection Rio because I knew first-hand how hard it could be to get everything straight,” says Dennis, who first visited Rio in 2003. “Back when I first came here, things were very different. The city has changed a lot and it’s a lot more accessible to visitors, but it’s still a crazy place sometimes. Connection Rio offers a helping hand to people looking to come to Rio, from accommodation and training to local experiences and expert inside knowledge of the city.”

Connection Rio founder Dennis Asche
“Some are really serious and just want to train twice a day for a few weeks, while others want to enjoy their stay as much as possible and see the city. We try to accommodate everyone and the living arrangements we offer seem to suit all needs, from professional fighters to two-week tourists.
The people behind the scenes at Connection Rio know exactly what visitors to Rio need because they’ve been in their shoes too. Connection Rio is unique because it’s a long-standing Brazilian company, but owned and manned by a diverse group of multinationals with a common interest in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, all of whom speak some level of Portuguese.
“You can guarantee, almost anything that someone wants or needs, we’ve been there too,” says Dennis. “We had to find it out the hard way, but now we’re in a position to help others out, and it makes everyone’s lives so much easier.”
From hooking guests up with hang gliding flights, steering them in the direction of the sight seeing spots, or leading the way to the top of the stunning nearby mountain Pedra da Gavea, the knowledgeable team are always on hand and able to help point visitors in the right direction.

So, guys! If you're looking for an amazing way to connect with great people and have the experience of a lifetime; no matter what your goals are for your stay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this is the way to go! Contact Dennis Asche and that's how your next adventure will begin! You can make this trip happen, no matter where you're currently located in the world..it's up to you if you want to CONNECT! 

CONNECTION RIO! Big thanks to Dennis Asche and all those who helped make my experience so wonderful. TODO BEM MUITO BOM ..muito obrigada!
http://www.connectionrio.com/ check out the website for more info as well as how to get in touch with the crew.

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