His alarm went off for the second time in 10 minutes ensuring that I would never be able to get back to sleep.
I slammed my fist against the thin wooden wall that separated our beds.
“PARAGUAY” I yelled, not really caring who else I woke up. It was 5 A.M., only an hour before I’m normally tossing in turning in bed. Sleep is not something that comes easy to me, so I cherish it.
15 minutes later Paraguay was out of the house leaving behind his student that was sleeping undisturbed on the floor and Sorriso an 18 year old kid spawned from Baixada Fluminese, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Rio. There is one other occupant of the house, a black belt in Muay Thai, who is in charge of keeping Sorriso out of any trouble.
I capitulated any desperate efforts to resume the peaceful sleep I had been woken from, grabbed my laptop, and went downstairs to make some coffee and start working.
It was Saturday and it was way to early to be awake, let alone working, but work and training is all I know.
Later in the afternoon Paraguay returned, with his Paraguayan girlfriend in tow. Apparently his early morning expedition was a quick trip to the airport to pick up his girlfriend who would be moving in with him (and now we are 6!). Paraguay arrived in Curitiba three days ago to train for an MMA fight. About two days ago it was decided he would just move to Curitiba. At someone point it was decided that we would all leave Curitiba, Mestre is going to Rio das Ostrias. So, like yesterday I guess, Parguay’s girl packed up her stuff and moved here so she could follow him and mestre.
Through thick and thin right? The good and the bad?
My survival in Curitiba is based solely on two factors: faith and obedience.
It’s the PRVT methodology really. You train when your told to train, you fight when your told to fight, at what weight your told to fight at, in what style your told to fight in, and when you don’t have money to pay rent, you live where you’re told to live. Which is exactly how I ended up in this trap house in the suburban favelas of Curitiba!
I’m not going to lie, it seems like a cult like mentality, but with the expectation of me who enjoys an incredible amount of autonomy, most of the fighters here rely on mestre for everything from finding fights, to get jobs, to securing food. If he were not doing what he was doing I’m positive that within a week the majority of the team would either be hungry, unemployed, or engaged in some sort illegal activity.
So when mestre says jump, we are all waiting outside of his house to pack up the pieces of an octagon into a truck, drive it into the city, and assemble it, even when some of them have to step into the very same cage to fight within a few hours.
I fight because I love fighting, because I love martial arts.
Mestre’s fighters fight because they have exhausted all other options in life. Nuce has over 100 fights under PRVT with a mediocre record that will keep him from major events like the UFC. Just last week he lost another MMA fight after receiving a hard hit to a rib injury that he had been suffering from previous to the fight. He accepted the fight despite the injury, and showed up ready to fight despite having been in an accident early that day. All of the odds were stacked against him but he fought anyway. Because of his pride and because he has a son he needs to feed. Win or lose the US85 he would gain would go a long way for him. (he owes me US60).
Curitiba has definitely been an interesting stage in my life, but I’m happy this will be my last month here. Afterwards I plan on spending a month in Cantagalo, and then what? No clue, but I have 5 more months til I com home…