Lotus Club, CETEPE Liberdade - Sao Paulo Brazil
Well, a little intro for this one, bare with me please.
Me and KFC trained there for 6 months. (I hope KFC will post a full rating of his own later) Before going to train there I tried a few big schools in Sao Paulo. I went to Macaco,Barbosa,Rocyan Gracie, to name a few. But Lotus CETEPE Liberdade is where I stayed and spend a big time of my life the last half year.
I will give some reasons for my ratings and then write a little bit on my own.
Aliveness - 10
You roll every class, the MT people spar and Raul prepares fighters for BJJ and MMA/Valetudo while Laerte trains the people in MT. Aliveness is there, nothing more to say about that.
Equipment - 6
Well, lets say if you ever had the luxury to train at a prime gym like me and then be dropped into Brazil, you will be a little surprised. The facilities (of most schools) are not prime, not any more and maybe never been in the first place.
I mean it is clean but that is about it. The mats are partially fixed with duck tape, the locker room is small, one of the vents is not working and in general this looks more like the down town boxing gym from the movies where rocky was fighting out of. But it is functional...
Gym Size - 7
4 pairs of people can roll at the same time, the rest has to sit out on the side of the mat. Not that good but for training it is okay. The locker room can be a little crowded, so can the one male and one female bathroom. But since you know everybody there, it is more like staying with your family over Xmas, it is packed but cozy.
Instructor/Student Ratio - 10
Though only one teacher is officially teaching each class, there are usually 2,3 or more BB around. Add some Browns and purples and the willingness of everybody to help you and you will never feel like you want more attention. If you have a question, it will be answered, one way or another.
Atmosphere/Attitude - 10
I felt like home. I spend 5 days a week there, about 5 hours training and some time before and after. I saw those people more than my family this year, more than my gf and I like them. They are funny, friendly and all. A few speak English and those who don't still try to make an effort, talk to you and help you. I can't think of a better place to train when it comes to the people. KFC called one of the guys almost every time when he needed some info on where some place is or what to do and he helped, where can you find that?
Striking Instruction - 6
To be honest, if you are in for striking, there are better schools to be found. If you want MT or MMA, go to Lotus Santana or go to a Sanda place or MT school around. Laerte tries hard but he lacks some skills (though he wins fights). The training is tough and all but that is not everything.
Grappling Instruction - 10
Raul (4th degree BB) won the mundials in the absolute and there are other World/South American or Brazilian Champions around to train with every day. Raul is one of the most complete teachers in BJJ I've seen and I've seen some in Brazil and NYC. Those people know what they are doing and they show it year by year, day by day.
If I had to criticize something, I'd say the takedown skills are not that good but it is BJJ after all, not Sambo or Judo and on the ground those people have the skills.
Again, one of the best teachers to be found.
To give it a nice finish, it is cheap (140R$ if you train once a day and 200R$ for 3 lessons a day mo-sa) and good BJJ with a great atmosphere, skill all over the place. You should go and train there.
The privates are more than worth it and the chance to roll with up to 5 BB a day is just too much. Oh and did I mention a feixa coral? Yeah that is right, they have one there and he rolls almost every day!
I answer questions and try to get KFC to post his own review.
Ok, going to post my review too.
We roll for the final third of the 1.5 hour class as is standard. I never participated in the MT class, so I can't speak to how much they sparred, but my review is based soley on the BJJ/sub grappling classes.
It's a BJJ school, so you don't need a lot of equipment, but the mat, the most important peice of equipment in a BJJ gym, was OLD. It has been used 4 times a day for the past 20 years and it sure as hell feels like it. I 'slept' on it for two nights and it was horrible. The gym has some other little things like a stability ball and some bands. It only has one heavy bag for the MT classes, but like MC said, there are better places to go for MT. In fact, the one guy in BJJ that was serious about his MT went to a Chute Boxe affiliate a few subway stops away.
One of the more convient things was that the gym includes a weight room. Unfortunatley, the weights are all leftovers from the 60's and 70's and a handfull of machines (leg press, leg extension/curl, preacher curl, tredmill). There were so few weight plates, that you can't do supersets on two major moves. Still, it was convient since I didn't have any other time to get to the gym.
Gym Size 8
The gym had room for only 4 fights at once, but I come from a gym that is twice as big and has three times as many people, so this was actually an improvement. The 'locker rooms' (actually just partitions next to the mat) were cramped but adaquet. They finally installed locks on the bathrooms too.
Instructor student ration 10
The classes average less than 10 people in the evening and 1 person or less in the morning. In fact, there was a whole week were no one else came, and I got a week of free private lessons! There are also two assistant instructors who are both black belts. Almost everyone there is a higher blet than me, so I get plenty of instruction.
Brazilians are the nicest people I've ever met. People were always willing to help with whatever and we were always joking around and having fun. It's very relaxed enviroment, but still with a lot of formality. They use the old OSU! greeting. All the gyms have little shrines to dead japanese people I don't recognize. Everyone is also very posative and helpful. There isn't much ego.
N/A because I never took the MT class.
Grappling Instruction 10
Raul is an extremely knowledgable instructor. He has lots of little details for the techniques. He's the reason so many people at the school do so well in competition. The only place I would criticize his teaching is wrestling. Wrestling isn't a schoolastic sport in Brazil, so there is a lot less knowledge. The wrestling in brazil is terrible. Single legs consist of grabbing someone's leg and pushing/pulling until they somehow go down. Double legs are basically football tackles with no hint of turning the corner. And everything is horribly telegraphed. But you're going there for BJJ, right? So it still gets a 10.
All in all, this is an excellent school. Lotus Club won the team trophy in the nationals by a huge margin, and this is the head BJJ Lotus Club. Raul is the main BJJ instructor. So if you're looking to travel to Brazil for a training vacation I think the Lotus Club in Liberdade is an excellent choice. I'm going back there myself in about a month.
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