Monday, April 16, 2018

Profile: Bruno Silva

Bruno and his new Koral Gi that he will use for upcoming competitions in 2018

I first met Bruno Silva when he was training at AriFight, which is a very small Martial Arts school located at the top of Rocinha. The school was started by Aritano Barbosa who also has a school in Botafogo. The school in Rocinha is overseen by "Ari" but is run by Alexandre Gomes and Bruno is now teaching there. The school provides Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai classes for adults and youth and children.

 Aritano "Ari" Barbosa director and owner of AriFight

I visited the project about 8 months ago and took these photos of the adults training Gi and No Gi Jiu Jitsu.

When observing class, I noticed this one guy who was a brown belt dominating many of the students. I ended up talking with him after class and he gave me the information about the school. I also got info from Alexandre Gomes too.

I found out that Bruno competes in No Gi Jiu Jitsu. In Brazil they have a separate sport called Luta Livre which was started by Hugo Duarte who had a falling out with the Gracie's. Hugo was a specialist in Luta Livre or No Gi Jiu Jitsu and decided to start his own Sport.

I made friends with Bruno on Facebook and started following his career. I noticed he was competing a lot and always placing in the tournaments. Many of them he was winning. As our tours get more popular I want to be able to help athletes who need it. We can help by purchasing equipment, entry fees into competition or other things they need to compete. With Jiu Jitsu players I thought about helping by getting Gi's. In Rio Gi's can be expensive costing from 200-400 reais for these uniforms. For many in favelas, this is half a monthly salary.

I thought about ways I could help Bruno as I was impressed with how disciplined he was with his training and competitions. So, the idea of getting him a good quality Gi came to me. I had these guests come to visit. Darren Tinsley and his wife took a tour, but Darren also had the opportunity to train some Jiu Jitsu in Rocinha. I used some of the money from that tour and was able to buy a Gi for Bruno. I never told Bruno my plans as it was going to be a surprise.

Bruno wearing his new Koral Gi, thank you to visitors who support our work.

I contacted Bruno and found out his schedule and I wanted to get a little more background about him. We organized a time to meet and this was Saturday (two days ago). So, I gave a little interview with him.

Bruno where do you live?
I live in Rocinha in a area called 99 with my wife and two boys aged 2 and 4.
I am 29 years old and have lived in Rocinha for about 20 years.

Do you work?
Yes, I work at a private school called PUC in Gavea which is very close to Rocinha. About 10 minutes by bus. I work as a chemistry technician. I also help teach at Instituto Reacao which is in the Sports Complex at the bottom of Rocinha.

When did you start Martial Arts?
I started Luta Livre when I was 14 training under Mestre Aritano Barbosa. I also started Jiu Jitsu at 15, a year later but then stopped because I enjoyed Luta Livre more. But when I was 23 years old,  I returned to Jiu Jitsu training under Marcos Antonio "Marquinhos" and Paulo Caruso. Aritano decided to open this small school in Rocinha which I now teach at with the other instructors. Our school needs help as it is very small yet there is big demand for adults and kids that want to train but we don't have the space.

Why do you train?
I have always trained but I think it can change your life when you are involved in any kind of activity, especially sports. Without sport/training, my life would be incomplete. Also I remember watching on television this fight between Bob Sapp and Minotauro Nogueira in Pride Fighting Organization. After watching this fight on television, this inspired me to enter into this sport.

Who are your heros?
Minotauro of course and my instructors Aritano, Maquinhos and Paulo.

What are your dreams or goals?
I would like to see my children involved in Jiu Jitsu or some sport and watch them compete. My personal goal is to someday compete in the ADCC No Gi World Championships.

Bruno  with Alexandre Gomes (in the yellow shirt) receiving their Black Belts November 2017.

Below are some photos that Bruno sent me of his No Gi (Luta Livre) competitions.

Jiu Jitsu photos

The photos below are the of the Instituto Reacao where he also teaches in the evenings after work. Every Friday is No Gi day. Otherwise the Jiu Jitsu classes require you wear a uniform (Gi). These classes are free of charge for anyone that lives in Rocinha.

Bruno is second to the left and in the Blue Gi is Judoka Flavio Canto the man who created Instituto Reacao and he won a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens Greece. His projects exist in several favelas including City of God which is the home of Gold Medalist Rafaela Silva from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

And of course some photos of the Quadra Rua 1 in Rocinha where Bruno teaches with a group photo with kids and a few adults. In the back row is Waldney wearing his new Blue Gi. He teaches there every Saturday from 10am until 12 noon. Depending on his schedule during the week, he is also there.

If you are interested helping with the project or sponsoring Bruno, please contact us. Bruno also teaches private lessons. AriFight school in Rocinha has an open door policy and anyone is allowed to train here, so visitors are welcome.
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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Donations 2018

I have been more focused on improving my health and losing weight than contributing to the blog lately. I need to start writing more.

In March of this year, I went up to Andre's project Crianca do Futuro to drop off some donations that I had here in the house.

I brought some wristbands which everybody loves and wants. Everyday when walking in the community at least 10 times I get asked for wristbands. I have run out so I need to get more of them. The younger kids (kids aged 8-13) play on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-8:30pm so I decided it would be a good idea to bring a bunch and hand them out.

I have been visiting Andre's project for a few years and noticed a big guy sitting there cheering on his son. I recognized him from the Jiu Jitsu project that they have in the back of this building. When he was training I noticed that he didn't have a Gi top. I know that he is a big guy at (6'2 100 kilos) and it's not easy to find sizes that fit bigger people. I asked him what size he was and he said A4.

So, I kept this in mind for this visit. When I returned on this day, he was there. I brought the A4 blue Gi top. His name is Waldney and I gave him the Gi top. He was so happy.

After talking with Waldney I noticed he was cheering on his son Davi. Davi is 9 years old and loves Football but Waldney keeps his son active in Jiu Jitsu and Capoeira as well. I had a small Football jersey that I was looking to give to someone and it fit Davi perfectly.

Football is like religion here and even the girls/women take part. Vitor Alexandre is the head coach of the girls team and unfortunately they don't get as much help or sponsorships as the boy's teams get. I had received a pair of football shoes from one of the tourists that had visited Rocinha in December of 2017. I wanted to make sure that they were given to a girl who was in need. Vitor told me aboutRafaela Silva who plays both field and futsal (indoor football). She was so happy to receive these brand new football shoes.

I want to thank all those visitors that makes this work possible and enjoyable.
We will always be helping people in Rocinha in any way that we can.

Tourism making a difference for the local people.

To learn more about our work, contact us at: