Gracie Barra Charlotte is one of the newest members of the Gracie Barra community. Lead by head instructor Diogo “Lacerda” Silva de Souza is a Brown Belt under Adao “PQD” Januario. His accomplishments are many, and his belief in the Gracie Barra way of life is unwavering.
Professor Diogo gives us a look at how he got started in Jiu Jitsu
I began to train Jiu Jitsu at the age of 16 because I wanted to get into shape. I began competing with friends at the academy for fun and found that training Jiu Jitsu and competing was a passion of mine. After eight months of training, I was awarded my blue belt in 2004.
As a blue belt I began to assist my Professor in teaching kids classes at the academy in Macae, Brazil. I began to compete more often in 2007 because I wanted to challenge myself on a physical and mental level. Around the same time, my Professor asked me to learn how to teach Jiu Jitsu as a sport and lifestyle before I was awarded my Purple Belt. It was around the same time that I began to compete professionally as well as teach professionally. My training became more rigerous and included training with military and police.
In 2008 my Professor asked that I teach special classes for professionals who had special schedule needs. I also provided personal training in homes to professionals under the supervision of my Professor. In 2008, my Professor opened another studio to train people at the Macae Airport, where he asked me to teach. My life consisted of training, teaching, and studying over the years.
In September 2009 I was awarded my Brown Belt and my Professor began to prepare me for a trip to the United States of America to learn how to teach the new system that Gracie Barra was implementing in order to bring the knowledge back to Brazil where we could also expand and grow our profession.
In March, 2010 I came to the U.S. to learn English and the Gracie Barra Premium System. I also spent my time training professionally with some of the world’s greatest Jiu Jitsu fighters and with Master Carlos Gracie Jr. himself. After six months of training, and learning, I returned to Brazil to teach the Black Belts how to introduce the new system in their academies. I decided I wanted to return to the U.S. to continue my career and training with Gracie Barra and returned in January, 2011.
To learn more about Gracie Barra Charlotte and how to get started. Visit their official Facebook page here.