Gracie Barra brown belt Rafael Ferraz, 27, has faith in his belief that Jiu-Jitsu can change the behavior of people and serve as a way of life. He knows it; he’s felt it himself.
“I speak from my own experience. Before training Jiu-Jitsu I was a troublemaker and, when I started training, when I got addicted to this gentle art, my behavior changed completely. Now I live a disciplined life and embrace all the philosophy this sport has to offer,” he says.
However, the fighter and lawyer’s mission now is much greater. For some time, Rafael has been teaching the Gentle Art to needy youths, children removed from their parents’ custody by the courts for having suffered abuse.
“I’ve never had any backing; I do it all out of my own pocket. I was helped out by Gracie Barra and managed to get some cheap gis, as well as donations of used gis,” he said, further remarking on how the in Campinas, Greater Sao Paulo, is going.
“They are kids and teenagers waiting for adoption, and receive this support until they turn 18. But now I’m going to work with a much greater number of students. At the institution there are trade courses and I feel Jiu-Jitsu will be another tool to help these youths on their way with opportunities,” he adds.
Rafael hopes to transform his project, which he dubs “The Art is Gentle,” into a non-profit organization to serve a greater number of needy children. In the meantime, anyone interested in helping out with gis, mats or belts can contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org