Closer Look at Grand Master Aloisio Silva

Master Aloisio Silva was born in 1953 in the small town of Laguna in the south of Brazil.Aloisio always loved two things most; fishing and fighting. Johnny Weismuller in his role of Tarzan was his childhood hero because he was a man who not only fought against men weaponless, but also against lions.Aloisio always wanted to learn to fight, but since he was from a small town there were no academies for him to learn and train at. When Aloisio was around 6 years of age he traveled to Rio de Janeiro with his family and during those travels he bought a Judo book.Upon his return home he began to study the Judo book and would practice the moves and techniques on his friends. house.jpgsc011e97b3.jpg

When Aloisio was nine years old he moved to Rio de Janeiro to attend the boarding school Colegio Sao Jose. It was there that he met Fernando Britto (Ceguinho), a friend who’s family at the time held one of the most important names in Judo in Brazil. Ceguinho showed Aloisio some techniques before the official judo season started in school and as a result of this,Aloisio began to train in Judo with the Master Osvaldo Duncan.It was during this time that Aloisio befriended Sergio Buffara (Tasca), a fifteen year old, who could crack a green coconut with one punch.Since Aloisio was living in an all boys school there were no girls to distract him and Aloiso was able to focus full time on training Judo and Karate with Master Osvaldo Duncan.He trained with Master Osvaldo Duncan who was a pioneer of Karate in Brazil for 3 years and learned a lot.Yet, Aloisio was never able to crack a coconut like his friend Tasca.

Once Aloisio left the boarding school he continued living in Rio de Janeiro. Wanting to continue training he started training at a local school close to home on the corner of Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana and Paula Freitas under the guidance of Master C. Alberto.At fourteen, the young Aloisio loved to fight and was always open to learning new arts.It is during this time that he began to hear about Capoeira, an art that at that time was known for its music and kicks and not much for its rules.Interested, Aloisio went to meet Master Preguica and he quickly fell in love with the art of capoeira. Aloisio was a dedicated student of capoeira, training every day until the day that Master Preguica moved away. Master Preguica moved to San Francisco and became the first master to introduce the art of capoeira to the United States.After Master Preguica’s move Aloisio continued training with another great master of capoeira, Master Caixote.

When Aloisio was 18 years old a weekend in Buzios, Brazil intended for diving and fun transformed itself into one of the greatest adventures and fights that Aloisio remembers to this date. Trying to impress some girls that were waiting for him on the shore, Aloisio was out free diving for lobsters.He remembers that the water was murky and unclear, and as he tried to look under a rock for lobster the actual rock itself moved! It was at this point that he realized that the rock was actually a black sea bass of 220 lbs.Aloisio quickly speared the fish but the fish dragged him until it tired. Once the fish tired, Aloisio with his friend Fernando A. Moura, pulled it to shore.Aloisio remembers this unexpected battle with the 220lb black sea bass as one of his greatest fights and one of his greatest adventures.He reminiscently jokes about thinking at the time that it should be enough to impress the girls waiting on the shore for him.

Aloisio and Fish 3.jpgAloisio and fish 2.jpgAloisio and Fish.jpg

During Aloisio’s college years he was introduced to Luta Livre Olimpica (submission wrestling) through the influence of his friend Celsendino (Dino).He started to learn Luta Livre with Fausto Brunno Cilla and his son Carlos Brunno Cilla.At that time, Aloisio was the smallest fighter on the team weighing only 150lbs when the next smallest fighter was 220lbs.Due to the significant difference in weight and size the Professor Fausto paid Aloisio extra attention by showing him techniques that allowed him to fight against his teammates successfully.During this time Aloisio also started training boxing at the Boquerao boxing gym that was very popular at the time with professional fighters.He also continued his Judo training with Master Marco Vinicios who was a coach at the University of Rio de Janeiro.

Graduating from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, by the age of 22 Aloisio was married to his first wife and was establishing himself as a successful businessman in Rio de Janeiro.It is during this time that Aloisio was introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu through his wife’s cousin Nelson Graca Couto.As Aloisio trained with Nelson he realized that this was a new martial art that he needed to learn more about.At that time Nelson’s brother-in-law was Crolin Gracie and this is how Aloisio was introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and to the Gracie family.Aloisio began training jiu-jitsu with Crolin Gracie and boxing with Ruben Dias at the Gracie Ipanema Academy. He trained with Crolin and Rillion Gracie for eight years and during this time he learned a lot and built good memories and friendships with the Gracie family.

sc011e1980.jpgAt that time they use to all get together during the weekends to train in a small house that they called “casinha”, literally meaning small house, that was located in Barra.During one of those weekends Aloisio suggested to the group that instead of training in a small house overcrowded with people that they should begin training next door.Next door was a dancing studio that was much larger and at that time not being used.From that moment forward they began to gather at the dancing studio on the weekends and would train a lot better. Eventually Jean Jacques Machado and his brothers began teaching jiu-jitsu during the week at the dancing studio and eventually it became known as the Gracie Barra Academy.

SCAN0115_JPG_crop.jpgThe Gracie’s, being a formidable family, and like any great family they had their own internal politics which Aloisio always tried to stay out of.As a result, he had the pleasure of meeting most of the Gracies and during these years Aloisio had the opportunity to build good friendships with many members of the Gracie family and has many fond memories of the times shared on and off of the mat.

Aloisio received his Black Belt from Master Carlos Robson Gracie, a teacher and friend that was close to Aloisio for many years.Robson Gracie is the president of the Rio de Janeiro Federation that Helio Gracie created in 1967.Robson and Aloisio shared many memories and in fact even hosted a t.v. show together in the nineties.

Aloisio had the great pleasure and honor of being friends with both Grand Masters, Carlos Gracie and Helio Gracie.Carlos Gracie was a friend that Aloisio says “he use to call me ‘meu principe o rei da castanha’” which meant ‘My Prince, the King of Cashews” because Aloisio use to host business seminars in the north of Brazil and during these travels he would bring him cashews as a gift.Carlos, while enjoying the cashews would share his great stories with Aloisio.

helio alo lake.JPGsc011dd76e.jpgsc011deb2b.jpgWith Helio Gracie, Aloisio found a master of life who also became a dear friend.Aloisio loved hearing the stories that Helio loved to tell him. At that time Aloisio had a house in Petropolis, a small city in the outskirt of Rio de Janeiro.At that time Helio Gracie lived in Petropolis in a farm where he spent most of his time focusing on his new passion, koi farming and he would let Aloisio dock his lake boat in his lake. Because of this Aloisio had the opportunity to develop a better friendship with Helio and he had the privilege of learning many techniques directly from the Master Helio Gracie.Helio use to tell him that the techniques he taught him were gifts because they were his secret techniques.He always told Aloisio that he didn’t create Jiu-Jitsu, but rather that he took the art and made it his own, adapting it to the needs of his body as he focused on leverage and not strength.

At that time Aloisio was married to his second wife who loved animals.At a circus they saw a lion cub and Aloisio, to please his wife bought the young cub.Aloisio remembers that Helio loved the lion and use to comment on how impressed he was, not by the physical strength of the animal but by the internal power of the lion.Helio use to have a kennel of Fila Brasileiro dogs and during an evening stroll with Helio, Aloisio and the lion cub the dogs were fully excited by the nearby cub.Suddenly the cub faced the kennel and roared and the dogs were immediately silenced and they cowered into their homes.Aloisio remembers that Helio turned to him and said, “Now that is power, a true king”.

Aloisio says that having the opportunity to know Carlos and Helio Gracie had an enormous impact on his life and in his family.In the early eighties Aloisio was a successful businessman with two young children and he was married to his second wife.Yet, because of his success he was away a lot and he often found himself in different states of Brazil hosting business administration seminars.He didn’t feel that he had enough time with his own family and he compared it to the lives of Helio and Carlos that together had 33 children yet they were such a big part of their children’s lives.He remembers thinking to himself that if they could do it with that many children then he should be able to do it with two easily.

dojo.JPGIn 1986 Aloisio began to teach jiu-jitsu in an academy in Rio de Janeiro, Laranjeiras called Mazda.It was here that he began to build his team of champions such as Cleiber Maia, Arthur Ignarra, Fabio Vinelle, Bruno Vinelle and many many others.By 1989 Aloisio was ready to open his own gym so he began searching for his perfect location.The perfect place was the perfect coincidence for him because it was the same place where he had learned Capoeira with Master Preguica. Aloisio took this coincidence as a sign and without a second thought he opened his own academy, Dojo Jiu-Jitsu.

Meaning of Dojo: What is DOJO?

Do we all know meaning of dojo? Let’s start from how Japanese write dojo in kanji.

DojoLogo.JPGDojo is written “a place of the way” in Japanese. Therefore, it is used to express a place to train martial arts such as kendo, judo, aikido and jiu-jitsu. However, I want you to know some other definitions.

·A place under a bo tree where it is said that Sakyamuni (Buddha) attained spiritual enlightenment.

·A place buddhist monks practice Buddhism such as a temple.

·A place where a group of people stay mainly to discipline themselves

·A dojo is where you practice and train the way of anything, as long as the way leads you to enlightenment.

·A dojo is a place where we discipline ourselves and improve ourselves to be a better person.

It was with that understanding of the word Dojo that the name Dojo-Jiu-Jitsu came to be.Aloisio felt that it was perfect because he wanted to create a space, a school where everyone was welcome to visit, to train and to learn.He understood that an academy often times became a second home, if not a person’s only home and that many times people were drawn to jiu-jitsu as part of their path in finding themselves.Because of this he wanted to create as welcoming a space as possible.He often times found himself being like a father to his students, his relationships were passionate and filled with love because he loved many of his students like sons.

sc011d2e3c.jpgAloisio’s academy was unique because Aloisio’s own knowledge base was and continues to be unique.His childhood passion for martial arts allowed him to openly explore and learn many different arts and in turn he took that knowledge and wove it into jiu-jitsu, creating not a new art but simply a more complete jiu-jitsu.

His students were taught more take-downs because of his knowledge of Judo, they were taught to move with more mobility because of his knowledge of Capoeira and because of his knowledge of wrestling his students had techniques that allowed for easier access to their opponent’s back.

Within a short time Aloisio’s students were winning many of the big tournaments and Aloisio and his academy received a lot of attention within the jiu-jitsu arena due to its rapid success.For many years when Aloisio’s students were competing the opponent’s coach would scream, “E Judoca”, meaning that he was a Judo fighter because they knew that if they stayed standing they would be taken down due to the knowledge of Judo that Aloisio would pass down to his students.

sc011dc71d.jpgHis academy was the first to have a female jiu-jitsu team because Aloisio wanted to keep his daughter, Patricia Silva who was one of the first women black belts in jiu-jitsu, close to him. At that time women did not yet participate in the competition teams of jiu-jitsu because they primarily focused on learning self-defense through jiu-jitsu. Aloisio saw the potential that women could have on the completion level and felt that it was important to create that opportunity. He began something that had never been done before, he opened a women’s class.At that time many of the Gracie women along with many others came to train at his academy.

Leka Vieira came to Aloisio’s academy during this time and when she first came to the dojo she was a handball player who actually mentioned to Aloisio that she did not like jiu-jitsu.But after watching one of Aloisio’s classes and seeing the potential that jiu-jitsu provided for a smaller individual to defeat a larger opponent she became interested.Leka immediately stood out in her training and she eventually became Aloisio’s first female black belt and the first woman to be a World Champion Black Belt.

dojo sport senter.JPGDuring this time Aloisio decided to open a training center and in the 1990’s he opened a second academy, Dojo Sport Center, in Itaipava, Petropolis. Located in the mountains, Aloisio felt that the training would be better because of the better air quality and the higher altitude that allowed for more intense training.This academy was one of the first to provide its students with a fully equipped center that provided different martial arts to its students.It was at this time that Aloisio’s champion team grew as champions such as Maquino Orelha, Tonhao, Marlon, Tadeo Botelho, Oscar “Japa” Neves, Zuca, Anderson Goncalves and many more emerged from the Dojo Fight Center. Aloisio was fortunate in that his Dojo Sport Center was located near to Helio Gracie’s farm and Helio often visited the academy with his son and grandsons.


The academy in Petropolis brought many friendships to Aloisio and many amazing memories were created during this time.His third child, Rickson Silva was born in Itaipava in 1995 and named after Aloisio’s friend Rickson Gracie.It was here that he met Pastor Roberto and to this day Aloisio considers him his father in faith.Aloisio attributes in faith in god to this pastor and believes that God has guided him ever since.

sc011cd25f.jpgscan0136.jpgDue to the economic crisis that Brazil encountered in the 1990’s the academy in Itaipava was eventually closed and many of its students continued training in Rio de Janiero at Dojo Jiu-Jitsu.Dojo never became the biggest team in Jiu-Jitsu although it is widely accepted that Dojo created many champions such as Galego, Fabrine, Samurai, Fafa, Bruno, Luana, Fabiana, Cacau, Rafael, 2Pac, Ricardo Pires and even World Champions such as Artur Ignaha, Leka Vieira, Alechandre “Café” Dantas, Aloisio Silva himself and many more.

SCAN0056_JPG_crop.jpgIn 1998 Aloisio found himself traveling between Japan, Brazil and the United States where he was giving seminars in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. During his travels to the United States he realized how underdeveloped Jiu-Jitsu still was and saw the opportunity that this country provided.At that time it was only his friends, Joe Moreira, the Machado brothers, Pedro Carvalho, Rickson Gracie and the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy that were teaching in the United States.It was with this knowledge that Aloisio decided to move to the United States.

In 1999 with the help of his friends who were already situated in the United States Aloisio together with his family and a small group of his students moved to California.Although the time was filled with much excitement at the potential that this new country provided it was also with sorrow because he remembered the pain he had felt when he had lost his Capoeira master to the United States. He knew that many of his students in Brazil were hurt by his decision to come to the United States.In turn, he was also experiencing his own sense of loss as he adjusted to a new place that was far from his familiar dojo and his loved students.

silvalogo.JPGWith the mixed emotions of excitement and also the sorrow of the familiar left behind he began his new adventure.There has been much change to the original small group that came, many experienced success, others loss, some returned to Brazil while others have moved on to other states and countries as they pursue their own success.The different paths that were taken by the original group led to Aloisio beginning a new team fully originating from the United States.

Aloisio quickly realized that many academies used the word Dojo such as Dojo Karate and Dojo Kung-Fu so he decided that this team would incorporate his name.This is how Aloisio Silva Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu came to be.In the early 2000’s Aloisio was teaching in Costa Mesa at the Joe Moreira Academy and from there champions such as Joe Camacho, Alechandre “Pavilhao” Sachi, Tony Larson, Frederico “Bichiga”, Aldo Filho and many more emerged.

In 2002 Aloisio with his son Joao Silva and daughter Patricia Silva opened their first academy in Hawthorne, California. Within the first year the goal they had envisioned for the Aloisio Silva BJJ Team began to be realized as the Silva Team won first place in the USA International Jiu-Jitsu Tournament.New champions such as Samuel Aschidamini, Bruno Aschidamini, Vinniscius Aschidamini, Ronaldo “Tinguinha” Ofilada, Miguel Olmos, Vanessa Mariscal, Kevin McCoy, Kevin McKoy Jr., Daniel Moon, Ben Tamaya, Pedro Tamayo, Daniel Tamayo, Mike “Indio” Mirales Salar Kung Fu, James Smith, Dennis Mellon, Eric Kelly, Dwayne Kelly, Donald “DJ” Bolts, Doncel Bolts, Kazaushy “Fujita” Yamauchy, Lance Roman, Paul, Giar Sunking, Cleon Joseph and many others emerged.

By 2003 Aloisio Silva BJJ moved to Lawndale, California to a larger facility that could accommodate their growing student base. During that year the Silva Team were the National Champions, a title they maintained throughout 2004.From 2005 to 2010 the Silva Team have been the North American Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Champions and they are the 2010 All Americas Team Champions.Today this location is the Aloisio Silva Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association’s Headquarter where Aloisio’s son, Joao Silva is the primary instructor.

Today, Aloisio Silva is based out of Lomita, California where he is on the mat teaching students and creating new champions. There are over 10 Aloisio Silva Academies in the United States with thousands of students and many other schools and students around the world that either represent the Silva Team or have learned from Aloisio Silva. Aloisio is appreciative of the many people who have helped the Silva Team become what it is today and who continue to help build and grow the Silva Team.The road thus far has been full of hardships and amazing success yet today the Aloisio Silva BJJ Team stands strong and continues to grow.Aloisio Silva has always created champions and the Silva Team will continue to uphold that tradition.

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