Colosseum Kimuras

I found myself this week, on our way to a BJJ Globetrotters camp in Sardinia.

We flew into Rome using a Portuguese airline with a layover in Lisbon, which allowed me to practice my Portuguese… Frango. Vinho tinto. Obrigrado. Chicken. Red wine. Thank you. You know, the essentials.

The original plan was to spend a night in our room and head to Sardinia the next morning, but Hillary in her usual wise manner told me that we would need an extra day to explore. She was right.

We arrived at the Leonardo da Vinci Airport, which is south of the city, and made our way to our hotel by shuttle. Once we settled in we walked around grabbed lunch. This might sound odd, but I love deli meats. So while most people might seek out the pasta or pizza in Italy, I had been looking forward to prosciutto for literally weeks. I would be in the middle of working and one word would float into my mind, halting everything: “Prosciutto.” 

I found it. I ate it. It was amazing.

The next day, we visited the Colosseum, satisfying my childhood infatuation with gladiators. Yes, we love Ben Hur in Chile too. We also hit the Roman Forum, which was more impressive than the Colosseum in my mind. The magnitude of the ruins was astounding, and the weight of history towering in front of you has a strange way of shifting your perspective on greatness and your place in humanity.

And then a selfie stick almost pokes you in the eye and ruins everything.

With warrior history all around us, we wanted to train. I had several friends tell me that if I was in Rome I had to go visit Frederico Tisi’s school. They were right. I contacted Frederico through WhatsApp and he gave me the address and schedule for the day. We took an Uber 15 minutes outside of the touristy area of Rome and Frederico gave us a quick tour. Tribe Jiu-Jitsu—Frederico’s gym—shares a space with another gym, and the jiu-jitsu area is on the highest floor. As we climbed the stairs, Frederico said he liked being on the top floor because it felt like being in a Bruce Lee movie every time they trained.

He was right. It was awesome.

After a quick warm up, Frederico showed some technique. I was blown away by the amount of details he packed into the class. He showed a drop seoi nage, but the details he showed for the set up and finish were intricate and unique. I have been playing around with that throw for 10 years, and I had been missing these points. We continued by linking the throw into a proper pinning position that would lead into a Kimura and a choke if the Kimura was defended. Again I was familiar with both techniques, but Frederico had all these small details that I was missing.

The reputation that inspired my friends to recommend training with Frederico in the first place was well founded. Here, tucked away from one of the biggest historical attractions in the world, is a jiu-jitsu treasure.

Founded in 1999, Tribe Jiu-Jitsu was the first BJJ school in Italy and one of the first in Europe. In its own way, Frederico’s work is a part of history as well.

While I know that not all of my readers will have the chance to travel to Rome to Frederico, definitely drop into his school if you’re in the area. On a larger note, however, you should remember that gems like Tribe Jiu-Jitsu are all over the world. There are so many great instructors and great gyms out there that it’s worth dropping into a school whenever you are away from home. You never know what you’ll find.