Gym 11 – Cia Paulista, Melbourne

Another gym I’ve been in touch with in central Melbourne over the busy Easter weekend, is Cia Paulista.

The day after reaching out, I get this great response from 4th degree black belt, head coach of Cia Paulista, and and multiple Brazilian, European, Pan American, Pan Pacific, and Victorian champion, Carlos Vieira.

Hi Craig,

Of course you are welcome to come in and train with us no problem. First class is free.

Monday will be a 2 hour Gi session at 18:30 as it is a public holiday – so will see you then!

You are welcome to any class and happy to lend you a gi.

There is no problem in taking photos.

Look forward to meeting you tomorrow and having a chat.

Regards
Carlos
Head Coach
Cia Paulista Australia

The gym is a convenient 5 minute walk to where I’m staying in central Melbourne, however I can’t seem to find the building! I can’t even find the number for the address and there are no signs either that I can make out.

I give up my stereotypical, male, map-reading pride (only joking…I’ve never had pride about map reading ability….or map reading ability) and switch on google maps. I should be here, but the only signs I can see are for various pole dancing classes.

Alternative to BJJ?

Alternative to BJJ?

“Well, if I’ve got the wrong address,  I’ve almost run out of time to make the class anyway now – maybe I can write about a drop in class to a pole dancing school instead?………. In theory, they should require a very similar skill set…… strength (especially core strength), technique, flexibility….who knows, it may even help my BJJ!?”

I walk up the stairs and am quickly assured (maybe slightly disappointed?) that I’m in the right place and it won’t be a metal pole that I’ll grapple with tonight.

Cia Paulista

The gym is located on the 3rd floor and is absolutely packed. A very professional setup with large matted area, reception desk and large space as a waiting area. The walls are fully utilised with accreditation certificates of the gym, merchandise and MMA memorabilia.

Carlos spots me walking in through the crowd and comes over with a massive smile. “Welcome ”, he says, shaking my hand, “You found us!”

“Thank you for getting back to me and inviting me down”, I reply, “Although I thought I may have had the address wrong and was preparing myself to try and pole dance for the night”

“Yeah, we are having a small poster battle”, Carlos tells me. “Every time I put a poster on the window downstairs I find it’s either been moved or covered over…..it’s not a big deal, I’ll just keep putting them up” he laughs.

Carlos Vieira

Cia Paulista

I’m amazed by the number of people who have come to train on a bank holiday Monday night.

“It’s the Victoria State BJJ championships this weekend”, Carlos tells me. “As it’s being held in Melbourne, we have some affiliate gyms who have travelled down here to compete so we have opened up our gym for some joint training.”

I wanted to give Carlos a hug right then and there! Now knowing how much Carlos and his gym already had on at this time (and in particular this night) and he was still making time for me to drop in…..I was so grateful! I make a mental note to keep my Camera and GoPro away for the session and only take a few snaps towards the end……..today definitely wasn’t about me so I didn’t want to disrupt the flow of the class any more than necessary by trying to get rolling footage.

I thank Carlos again and take the spare gi Carlos has brought over to me and go and get changed. I think this is the first black gi I’ve worn and….I just can’t help but feel like I’m a part of the most evil Karate team in history:

Kobra Kai

The class starts with a set of standard warm ups, followed by BJJ warm ups with a partner. The warms ups are extensive as the main focus of the class is rolling practise for the upcoming tournament.

We take a drink break and start to partner up. Before we start, Carlos switches my partner around. I think he’s a bit concerned that a lot of people will be going hard this session and bringing their ‘A’ game for the upcoming tournament….and he wanted to make sure that I’m not going to get throttled :-). I pair up with one of his purple belts who I’m pretty sure has already been given the brief to ‘take it easy’ on the visitor!

The rolling is great and we switch partners in 5 minute rounds. Occasionally I see Carlos keeping tracks on where I am and letting my partner know to go for a light roll.

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Class Photo

Class Photo

At the end of the session, when it’s time for the final roll, Carlos shouts me over. This was the only point where I was absolutely gutted that I did not have my GoPro already set up to film this – It was an amazing experience! Carlos was more steps ahead then I could count and I could feel that he was putting no energy into it. Every time I moved, my guard was passed, and passed multiple times in a matter of seconds.

Every movement I made, and BAM! – Passed to the side, knee on belly, rolled over to side control, mount, spin…..I got hit with about 5 bad positions in as many seconds until Carlos decided to stop in one for a second.

“Hello!” I hear Carlos say as my back is taken for the 2nd time in 10 seconds and he has paused for a second, only to speak to me. “How did we get here?”

“I…..wish….I…..knew!” I reply, my hands still tucked around my neck as a choke could come any second!

“Let’s go”, Carlos smiles and waits for me to move before I get hit with another combination of positional changes – all of which are bad for me :-)

…..it was brilliant!

Me and Carlos Vieira

Me and Carlos Vieira

Thanks again for having me down, especially at such a busy time. Before the class began I took a note of the class rules on the wall, and in this class I definitely followed the last one!

The Rules!

The Rules!

 

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