Those of us who’ve trained in Rio know that you need to keep your wits about you while on the mats as much as when you’re in public. I probably don’t need to tell you that Rio de Janeiro can be a dangerous place. The favelas (slums) are not outside the city but found in pockets and in close proximity to areas where travelers stay, including those who want to train Brazilian jiu-jitsu alongside the originators of the sport.
This week a Washington Post article called “In Rio, Death Comes Early” (registration required) appeared that highlights the dangers that the favelas bring the city and its inhabitants. It’s not pretty.
From 2002 through 2006… in Rio de Janeiro, 1,857 minors were reported murdered, according to the Institute of Public Security, a state research center.
When you’re on the beach and look like FightWorks Podcast cohost Dan and I, sitting there with your towel (which you’ll never see local guys do) and sunburned (also not common among locals, lol) you tend to stick out like a sore thumb and risk drawing the wrong type of attention. While we never experienced anything personally, we did witness a mugging.
While I may paint a grim picture in this post, don’t worry. Rio is a great place with lots to offer. I’ll be posting a bit more about all the great things to see and do on and off the mats in Brazil soon 🙂