Thursday, January 21, 2010

Turtle and Shrimp

DAY 12

First thing today we got it together and headed out to Project Tamar. It was amazing – but I’m not 100% sure if it is exactly as I had billed it – a turtle rescue and rehabilitation centre. Turtles are sometimes accidentally caught and brought there for tagging and biometrics before being re-released. I’m not sure if there is really any hospital or rehab work. It’s part of a larger project all along Brazil’s coast. They employ former turtle hunters to protect nesting sites (they know best where to find them,) and create jobs through eco-tourism and by hiring recent biology grads for fieldwork. Project Tamar employs 1,300 people along the coast. It seems to be something of a cause celebre here and they even have Gisele Bunchen as a spokesperson. Pretty amazing. Sort of depressing that nothing like this is going on in Canada or that we don’t have that sort of star support for places like Hope for Wildlife that are operating on shoestring budgets and volunteer labour right in our own backyard.

There were probably a dozen or so turtles onsite. Mostly hawksbills and olivas. Aya was thrilled as usual to see them and we got a few decent pictures – though the turtles rarely co-operated.

We headed into town for an early lunch. I had an 11:30 appointment with Glenio. Besides being a BJJ blackbelt, Glenio is also a barber and I could use a haircut. I told him to make me look like a typical Brasilero. That caused some confusion – so I just told him to give me the same haircut he has. Glenio’s been cutting hair longer than he’s been practicing BJJ – 25 years versus 14. He says he can’t make a living teaching jiu jitsu here. I can understand. It’s a small town. Jiu jitsu para couracao nao para carteira – jiu jitsu for the heart, not for the wallet.

The haircut looks decent. Glenio does it old school – with a straight razor shaving the back of the neck. Glenio explains that every day he cuts hair until noon, then shuts down for lunch. He teaches an afternoon jiu jitsu class until about three. Then he goes back and cuts more hair. He gets home around 7pm and teaches another jiu jitsu class from 8pm – 10pm. Then he has a beer and goes to bed. It doesn’t come as a surprise to hear it. A few days ago, he told us he dug his basement by himself with a shovel. The ground here is all clay. Glenio works his ass off.

An hour after the haircut, it’s time for another private with Glenio. This time I’m by myself. Glenio asks if I have any duvidas – doubts, uncertainties, positions where I don’t know what to do. “Escaping knee on belly,” I reply. I have to pantomime it before Glenio understands.

We work three different escapes – in the order of Glenio’s preference:

• Both hands on the belt. Extend your arms and escape your hips to create space. Turn your hips to the mat.

• Get a grip on a the sleeve with on hand and a grip on the panst with the other. Escape your hip a little and bump his knee off your chest with your thigh/knee. Try to get the shin across his belly and enter the other shin to his bicep. From here you’re set up for a spider guard sweep.

• Reach under the shin of the leading leg. Grab the belt if possible – or as high a grip on the kimono tail as you can get. Escape your hips. Drive towards your opponent and use the palm of your free hand to push into his chest. If your time it right he just falls right over. This was my favourite of the three – but it requires just the right timing.

After this we went over some ways to break the grip on the armbar. It was interesting to see Glenio’s preference compared to Marvio’s. Glenio is old school and prefers a good ol’ heel in the ribs. He also showed me the same breaks Marvio used. We also reviewed some tip for keeping your opponent flat on his back in this position (spider web.) Keep your feet flat on the mat you can lift your hips just a little every time your opponent tries to sit up.

When it’s just me and Glenio, something always gets lost in translation – but we do our best. At the end of the class we talked about our country’s respective obsessions with soccer and hockey. I think hockey is sort of mystery to Glenio. From what I can tell, all he knows is that it’s played on ice and the players fight a lot. I think Glenio invited us to a BBQ at some point down the road. At the very least, he wanted me to know he is the churrasco mestre.

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