Lightweight athlete can't train the same way with another lightweight and a +30kg heavyweight. Felipe Costa set up a training team in Copacabana reserved for lightweights. People weighing more than 74 kg just can't participate. There is a scale to spot cheaters.
BJJPix: "You've hurt yourself with heavier guys?"
Felipe:. "I only hurt myslef with heavier guys, I never hurt myself with a guy my weight or around my weight, unless a finger, those times when you get stuck. So it will lessen the chances of you getting hurt and I think that is the most important for both the athlete and the teacher. "
BJJPix: "Have you ever had to stop training for a long time because of an injury?"
Felipe: "I've hurt my shoulder, this was the biggest injury I had in Jiu Jitsu. I dislocated my shoulder five times. Every time I stayed at least three months without training..."
BJJPix: "Tell us how you started training with Master De La Riva."
Felipe: "When Comprido moved to Chicago I became an orphan, you know, without a place to train and at the time I was teaching blind children and another friend would visit. These were my training partners. Sometimes, some foreigners came to Rio. In 2007, a couple of purple belt came from Belgium. I was only training about six months with them. Then the man, who came from De La Riva, said to me... "Why don't you go to De La Riva? the training is great there. "
I said: "I don't know, I've only talked to De La Riva once before." I met him at the airport and I said hi, as a fan really.
Anyways, it was a foreigner who brought me to the De La Riva, and introduced me and the first day I came to De La Riva and he rolled with me. What I thought at first was, he did what many people do. When the teacher has a visitor, he goes there and train with the new guy. We had a super cool roll. Later I realised, it is a super rare thing because he is not there all the time training with everyone. He chooses well, understand? So, man, I've had the honor to train with him, maybe because I'm a lighter guy and everything.
We already started a friendship there. And I know I've trained more with De La Riva than most of his former students have. Because of the face that I'm a lightweight and not have the danger of hurting each other, you know? I was lucky in that. Then I started to go often to De La Riva's. "
BJJPix: "How did the idea of a trainging just lightweights came?"
Felipe: "When I got married I moved to Tijuca in 2005. Comprido moved to the United States in 2006. He was teaching were the Checkmat team now trains at, at Posto 6, in Ipanema. When Comprido left... I stoped training there too. So this is why I say I became an orphan. Then I met the guys at Soul Fighters and started training there. This was very good for me because I got to meet new people. I always trained in the same gym, so at that time, I began to visit many academies, make many friends I got to be welcomed in many places this opened my mind in another way, which is why I advise this so much. At that moment I began to suggest:... Gee, what if we put up a class only with the lighter guys?
That's was how it started. Then I commented to the De la Riva and I asked: I was thinking of doing a training with lightweughts, can I invite some of your students?
And he replied: "Sure you can. You can even do it here in my gym. "
This story that he would make a farewell fight came up so he became part of the training too. And there we went.
Then the thing was gaining fame. Today I think our training is well-known, you know. People don't come because they think they will gas out. But it's not how it is. Each one goes to its one pace. "
BJJPix: "You said earlier you taught blind kids?"
Felipe: "I taught for seven years at the school for the blinds. They had mats. We put them to compete in regular tournaments. Once, we put up a tournament there open for all children, they fought as equal..."
BJJPix: "But how did they do, they first got a grip on the gi?"
Felipe: "Yes. We would come up to their opponents and asked: "Do you mind?" No one said no. They would get a grip and went for it. They fought on equal terms..."
BJJPix: "How do you explain a technique to someone who can't see?"
Felipe: "You have to show one by one. I would explain the technique and others were listening. Then they would come and feeling the position with their hands. They began to feel what you were talking about. So we were showing... "Put your hand here, hold on to the heel." then after a while I had ten children around me so I'd say. "Now I'll show you. You already did it, show to another and you will teach each other. They would teach each other. It was very cool. Some got promoted to blue belt. They had between 12 and 20 years old. They were getting good."
BJJPix: "Do you think they learned the techniques faster?"
Felipe: "It depended. I don't think they had any disadvantage from a normal person. They understood the same way that a normal person would. They were equal.
When I went there I thought: "Poor kids, right. How will I deal with them?. "After you get to know them, you see there is nothing to feel bad about, they aren't sad. They kids are normal, they don't victimize themselves. It was really cool , a very good experience. Then the school closed. Too bad it ended. But they continued training, they went to other gyms. I think Jiu Jitsu is perhaps one of the sports that these guys can participate and be at the same level. "
Felipe Costa: "I have no doubt that training with heavier people as I was evolving helped me, helped my technique, because you put yourself in the situations of various weights and sizes, all this gives you an array, a possibility to try several different techniques. "