Terere’s Padawan: the Rise of a BJJ Prodigy

Special feature written by Terere’s student Andrew Morris, aka Moz, who spent a year training in the mecca of Jiu Jitsu living it up favela style in the Cantagalo community alongside his hero, Fernando Terere. Read more from Moz on his blog Tales from Deep Half.

After spending an entire year training at Terere’s Academy in Ipanema, Rio, I felt very much part of the family. It had been a pleasure to train each day with the children and teens of the social project as well as my adult counterparts. So returning after a nine month absence I couldn’t wait to get on the mats and see the maturation of these young athletes. What I wasn’t prepared for, was spending an inordinate amount of time trying to kill one of them.
Terere’s social project has a Jiu-Jitsu protégé, Jhonathan Marques or ‘Moricano’ (mohawk) as he is affectionately known to his team mates and any unfortunate gringo who happens to visit the FT academy. He is a fourteen year old orange belt who lives with his Mum and sister in the Pavao section of the Cantagalo favela. The same community which raised his mentor and mestre, Fernando Terere as well as many other stars of the sport including Jackson Sousa and Alan Finfou and Bruno Matias.

During my first stint at the academy Moricano stood out as a young, hard working yellow belt who already possessed a ridiculously difficult Miyao brothers-esque guard. His guard retrieval was awesome and I used to love trying to pass this tricky guard using the appropriate amount of pressure for a twelve year old who weighs sixty kilos.
My first night back, I was straight on the mats to witness him obliterate competition level blue belts as well giving purple and brown belts a torrid time. I wasn’t able to roll with my young friend that night and due to a competition at the weekend (which he won), I had to wait until Monday to try to test his game. After seeing how devastating his game had become, my weekend was spent wisely discussing with prior victims how to pass this guard. Admittedly, I spent far too much time over those two days fathoming the game of a fourteen year old and how I planned to kill it.


When Monday came, I was primed and ready to go. I was then more than elated when I passed his guard to the cheers of onlookers in the academy. With the awareness he was essentially a child, I resisted the urge to jump up and bust out my victory dance. However the balance was truly restored when I spent the next five minutes trying to desperately avoid being swept in his Rubix Cube like guard game. Then the inevitable occurred in the last 20 seconds, as I posted to defend a sweep the little dude arm-barred me.
Whilst writing this, I worked out that I had rolled with him six times, each round lasting seven minutes, so that is forty two minutes of combined mat time. During that entire time, I have passed his guard on that sole occasion

Going back to that ‘appropriate amount of pressure’ I mentioned previously, that has not factored in at all. Each time we roll, I literally attempt to kill him, using every single bit of pressure I can amass but to no avail! He is unquestionably a phenom with an outstanding all-around game that doesn’t simply rely on this devastating guard, which he explains originates from studiously pouring over the game’s of the Mendes Brothers and Keenan Cornelius. He has rapid fire submissions coupled with tenacious passing which he has achieved by studying another of his favourite competitors Leandro Lo.

Moricano is a shining example of the incredible, transformative program at the FT Academy. He came up through the children’s program before training in the adults class. Furthermore he balances full-time schooling with a full-time commitment to Jiu-Jitsu. This hard-work has paid dividends as he has amassed an awesome amount of medals. This past April, he traveled to Sao Paulo and became a Brazilian Nation Champion at the IBJJF Brazilian Nationals which is one of the most prestigious competitions in the Jiu-Jitsu calender. This is in addition to a whole host of other titles including back to back victories in the last two weekends in the the FJJD Mineirio & CBJJO Mundials respectively.
The perils of the favela and the street life which tempts so many of its youth is not something which is a concern for Moricano. He sees his future as traveling the world competing in Jiu-Jitsu, his ultimate goal is to become a world champion. As well as one day settling down in his own academy. As a good looking and successful young dude, the only thing I could see standing in his way is the allure of the opposite sex. However when I questioned him on this, he reassured me that he was in a committed relationship with Jiu-Jitsu, this might be the best answer I have received for any question ever!

A special debt of gratitude to BJJ Hacks for putting this together putting this technique video of Moricano’s favourite technique the Berimbolo. 

Berimbolo Instructional
w/ Moicano and Moz

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Moleza on Competiting in Sao Paulo

Moleza, Mudinho, and Moicano back at the FT gym

We recently sat down with sponsored athlete Gabriel Barcelar more commonly known as Moleza to ask him some questions about his trip to compete in Brazilian Nationals.

Moleza recently traveled to Sao Paulo for 6 days to compete in IBJJF Brazilian National Championship with two teammates and social project administrator, Nico Ball. Through donations given to Terere Kids Project, we were able to raise over R900 to fund the trip to Sao Paulo! Seeing as this is the only IBJJF competition open to kids their age, Moicanoand Moleza put in some major work to make it down to Sao Paulo and add these medals to their curriculums! We want to give a big shout out to our sponsors who contributed to making this trip happen: Ball All Day LongDeus Fight CoI Aint No Saint Tattoo Studio, and Phoenix MMA

1. Have you ever competed in an ibjjf tournament? Why is this tournament so important to you? 

No, this tournament is different from others that I’ve competed in because all of the top guys go there to compete.

This tournament was important to me because competing for CBJJ/IBJJF Brazilian Nationals was one of my goals for 2015. I was able to realize my dream thanks to sponsorship from Nico Ball and Jimmy Johnston (owner of our FT England affiliate)

 2. Do you always train with the same people? 

 I train during with the adults so that my Jiu jitsu will evolve more.

Moleza with his teacher Fabricio and our host Vanderli Silva
aka Alemao (german)

 3. How long have you been training jiu jitsu?

 I’ve been training BJJ for 2 years. One of my goals, that I was just able to accomplish, was to compete in Brazilian nationals. Now I want to continue traveling and fighting outside of Rio and to get my Orange belt at the end of the year.

 4. Describe your trip to Sao Paulo. Fala um pouco da sua experienca em Sao Paulo.

Moleza and Moicano hanging out in Sao Paulo



The trip to Sao Paulo was a little exhausting. I took a bus with Jhonathan Marques (Moicano) and Nico Ball. Fabricio Silva (Birrinho) ended up missing the bus due to a denist appointment so we had to wait for him at the bus station in Sao Paulo. Once Birrinho arrived we went to Alemao’s house. Alemao is a friend of ours and a black belt under Terere. He picked us up at the bus station and we spent the week in Sao Paulo with him. He treated us really well!

Training Wednesday night

The next day (Wednesday) we woke up, ate breakfast and went to train in one of the gyms were he teaches BJJ. Then we went back to his house to rest until the PM training in a different gym. After training again at night we went to the store to buy food to take to the tournament.

Thursday we went to the first day of the tournament to watch Nico Ball in action. She started the fight good but ended up giving her back and being submitted. The stadium was really big and gave me a different idea of how fighting can be. Friday we went to train in the morning, rested during the day, and then rested for the competition the next day.

Moleza with one of his idols…
one of the Miyao brothers!

Saturday Birrinho, Moicano, and I all fought. Birrinho was champion and so Moicano. I came in 3rd place I got to see a lot of good fighters like Rodolfo Viera, Jaoa Miyao, Paulo Miyao, Renato Cardoso, Eberto Santos, and a lot more.

This trip was a dream come true and I have to thank God and my sponsors Jimmy Johnstone and Nico Ball for making it a reality!

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SJJSAF Results

This Saturday the FT team joined with Carioca BJJ to compete in the SJJSAF Rio Challenge tournament. 25 Athletes competed under the name FT Carioca, winning 7th place in the over all team rankings! We would like to give a special thanks to instructors Julio Nogueira and Fabricio Silva for taking such good care of our athletes as they prepared for the tournament!

Lucca Da Silva was somewhat dismayed to find out that we registered him in a weight class above his own so that he would have a fight, but he stepped up to the challange whole heartedly.

Lucca Guillerme com sua medalha de SJJSAF

Moleza also fought above his weight class and was unable to gain an advantage on the bigger opponents in his weight class. Either way, he stayed true to the Brazilian saying “never give up”, he fought his heart out Saturday and arrived at the gym Monday ready to keep training for the next competition!

Pezao on the bottom. 

Pezao, a yellow belt who recently started training at the academy, fought for the first time this Saturday. He won his first fight but was disqualified in his second fight for a small mistake!

Leo, one of the newer additions to the FT team brought home a gold medal. He won his first and only fight on points. Monday evening he was back on the mats focused on competing next Saturday at the FJJD Rio ranking tournament.

Jhonathan Marques, aka, Moicano came in 1st place after 3 hard fights. Going into his 3rd fight, the finals, he ended the time tied with a tough opponent from Nova Uniao. The crowd was going crazy cheering as they went into extended time, the first one to score points would take home the gold medal. Moicano was able to score 3 points with a torreando pass securing his place at the top of the podium. Now his goal is to earn the money he needs to travel to Sao Paulo next month to compete in IBJJF Brasileiros.

Nogueira on the Podium in his 
Deus Fight  Kimono!

Finally, we come to Professor Nogueira. Nogueira brought home a gold medal in the black belt super heavy weight division with his students from Terere’s Kids Projects cheering him on from the side lines. Now, Nogueira plans on registering for IBJJF for the first time ever to compete in some of the more prestigious Jiu Jitsu tournaments like Rio Open, Brasileiros, Sul Americanos, and Worlds (in California).

We would like to end by thanking our sponsors Deus Fight Co in California, Cascagrossa in Sao Paulo, and I Ain’t No Saint Tattoo Studios in England for their continous support of the athletes fromt he Cantagalo/ Pavao/ Pavaozinho community.

Moleza’s battle from last month’s FJJD Rio 
Ranking tournament 
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Meet Fabricio Da Silva

Fabricio Da Silva is a 30 year old brown belt and cousin of Mestre Fernando Terere.

He is a quiet guy that is known for keeping to himself. Most days he arrives at the academy with one or two small children in tow; he often has to juggle the responsibilities of caring of a new born child on top of handling our morning classes and kid’s program here at the academy.

Birrinho has been teaching Jiu Jitsu here in the Cantagalo community since he was an 18 year old blue belt. Naturally, coming from the Favela, life hasn’t always been easy for him, but Jiu Jitsu was a way for him and his friends to escape the drama in the favela. When his cousin, Terere, began to struggle with drugs and he also took a small hiatus from the sport.

He spent his days working to make ends meet, taking small jobs like parking cars for less than minimum wage and trying to stay out of trouble. When Terere re-opened his gym at the base of the Cantagalo favela, Birrinho starting training seriously again. Together with Terere, Birrinho began teaching Jiu Jitsu to the kids of Cantagalo/Pavao/Pavaozinho free of charge. With the help of donations sent from abroad the project is beginning to thrive. Birrinho arrives at the academy to find a wild bunch of kids waiting for him to open the doors so they can tumble onto the mats with soccer balls before class starts.

Now as Terere Kid’s Project continues to grow, Birrinho hopes that his career as a competitor and instructor will grow along side of it. His goal this year is to develop his Jiu Jitsu curriculum by competing in more high level IBJJF competitions. Birrinho will be representing FT academy this month at Rio Open as well as taking two of our sponsored athletes to compete  Brasileiros in Sao Paulo at the end of April. 
Birrinho rolling with HT from BJJ Hacks
Thanks for stopping by TerereKidsProject.com
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New Years News

Before breaking for the holidays, FT academy held their annual graduation ceremony. Friends from the community stopped by to watch and take pictures as students were called up to receive new belts or strips. We would like to give a special congratulations to our student Alexandre, who finally received his brown belt and to Professor Nogueira for receiving his first stripe on his black belt. 
Shortly after the ceremony, we had a special visit from Eduardo Telles, founder of  99 academy, who stopped by to visit his old friend and teacher. In 2002 when the Alliance team split, Telles and Terere formed the TT Jiu Jitsu team, unfortunately, despite their early success, the team broke up when Terere started to experience personal problems in 2004.

Since then, Telles moved to San Diego and started the 99 academy. The name 99 is symbolic of being one step away from perfection, or 100%, something that every jiu jiteiro strives to achieve in the endless hours that they put in on the mats mastering techniques. Although he is a successful gym owner, Telles has been waiting for the return of his long time friend and teacher, Terere, to graduate him and finally give him 3 stripes on his black belt. 

We also have to give a big thank you to Cascagrossa kimonos from Sao Paulo and I Aint No Saint Tattoo Studios, in England, for  providing kids kimonos for the academy. We received a total of 20 kimonos from Cascagrossa in Sao Paulo so that we can provide uniforms to kids in the Cantagalo community that want to start training Jiu Jitsu. Our sponsored athlete, Caue, has recruited in several of his friends from the soccer fields. 
Kids from the social project wearing new kimonos
for the graduation ceremony

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CBJJO RIO OPEN CHAMPIONS
Lucca, Moicano, Professor Nogueira, Vinicius, Gabriel

Although we are only 2 weeks into 2015, the FT team has already started competing. Thanks to donations sent from abroad, 5 kids entered into CBJJO’s Rio Open tournament that took place Saturday, January 10th, all of whom brought home medals!

Although it is summer time here, and kids are on break from school our athletes don’t mess around. MolezaMoicanoLuccaGabriel, and Vinicius have been training twice a day in order to prepare for the first competition after their belt promotion. They will be returning to the mats again with our younger students for FJJD Rio’s first ranking competition of the year on January 1st and February 2nd.

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Favela Jiu Jitsu

Lastly, we are proud to announce the release of the first set of technique videos, Favela Jiu Jitsu, that was filmed by Budo Videos. The first set of videos covers all of Master Terere’s guard passing secrets so be sure to buy your copy today.

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The Art Of Giving Thanks

Although we do not celebrate Thanksgiving here in Brazil, November is definitely turning out to be a month to give back and be grateful. We have had an amazing opportunity to work with international sponsors in order to provide more services to the students at Terere Kids Project.

We would like to thank all of the people that have been supporting the kids here in the Cantagalo Favela. 


Deus Fight Co

DeuS fight company is a religious, based fitness brand that out of California that puts their faith into action by supporting social projects in the favelas of Brazil. Find out more about the work they have been doing in the communities here in Brazil through their Favela Kids Project.

DeuS Fight currently provides on-going financial assistance from the sales of their products by giving 10% to social projects. This support not only provides our students here at Terere Kids Project with the equipment, food, and supplies they need to keep their programs going, but it also allows them to participate in local competitions here in Rio.

I Ain´t No Saint Tattoo studios is run by Iaint (pronounced Ian) a Jiu Jitsu practitioner who recently spent some time training with Terere in the Cantagalo community. Since his visit to Brazil, Aint has made several generous donations to help kids compete in the FJJD Ranking Competitions here in Rio and well as to start up our new kimono closet initiative that will allow us to keep a set of kimonos to lend out to new students here at the academy!

When he is not on the mats or generously donating to our kids here it Terere Kids Project, you can find Iaint tattooing in Abbots Langly just 20 minutes outside of London. Check out his website or Facebook page to find more information on how to get some of the best tattoos in the London Area.

You can also follow him on:
– Twitter @IAintNoSaintTat – Instagram @IAintNoSaintTattooStudio – Pinterest I Aint No Saint


Academy Fernando Terere recently had the pleasure of hosting Budo Jack and the Budocrew here in Rio while they filmed 9 technique DVDs and a new episode of Rolled Up. What started off as an amazing business endeavour ended up as a strong friendship with Mestre Terere! Even after completing their work here in Rio Budo videos continues to support the Terere Kids Project through charity events like this one!




BJJ Hacks
Last, but most definitely not least, we have to give a big shout out to Hywel Teague better known as HT  from BJJ Hacks. BJJ Hacks is a video company that tracks down and films some of the biggest names in Jiu Jitsu. Unlike normal technique videos, BJJ Hack´s objective is to inspire Jiu Jiteiros to “hack out” their own style of Jiu Jitsu by using the ideas, philosophies and favorite techniques passed on by the best athletes in the game.

HT came through the academy to film a 3 part mini documentary on Terere. He has since then offered his advice, his friendship, and his cameras to help support the kids from the project!

You can find the rest of the 3 part documentary series under 
the video section of the site!


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