The motto “Only Jiu-Jitsu can save you” can be used in a thousand and one ways. And it fits the story we’re about to tell like a glove. Our character is the black belt Eneás “Tato” Alves Colaço of São Paulo State, who thanks to the gentle art’s help managed to get past the worst period in his life and tap out his chemical and psychological dependence on drugs.
“Because of some slip-ups in life, I fell into a depression and ended up on drugs. Ramon Lemos helped me get out of it,” Tato Alves recounted. “What saved me was that at Atos Jiu-Jitsu Ramon didn’t just see me as a fighter, but as a person, which is why he always gave me advice and helped me when I needed it. He showed me it was possible to make a living in Jiu-Jitsu and make that dream come true. Then I was given the opportunity to teach at Projeto Morumbi, a Presbyterian church located in Sorocaba, but drugs were still present in my life. The folks at the church encouraged me to check in at a clinic,” said Alves, who became certain of what he wanted when watching a UFC.
“When I was at the clinic I saw a fight of Cigano’s, another athlete trained by Ramon. At that moment I realized that Jiu-Jitsu really was my world, not drugs! It was a reality check. I have a wonderful family, the opportunity to show students the ropes, support from the church, and I was throwing it all away; I didn’t know how to make the most of it,” the professor of Jiu-Jitsu reflected.
During his six months in rehab, the fighter relied on the affections of his friends and teammates. A businessman who trained with the team paid for his treatment. The teammates donated furniture for his new home. Today, Tato lives in an apartment his companions arranged for, furnished entirely with donations from the students.
“During his time in rehab, a lot of friends from Jiu-Jitsu went to visit him and give him support,” recalled Januario Cazerta, a friend from church who encouraged the black belt. “During treatment, another important factor was that his family became close with him again. A lot of them had become distant during his time as a drug user.”
Today, Tato has won the war and gained everyone’s confidence. The black belt heads the Atos branch in Sorocaba, won local championships, and helps Ramon Lemos train youths at Corinthians soccer club’s Jiu-Jitsu class.
“Now I have the Sorocaba branch of the Rio Claro unit. Thank God and Jiu-Jitsu, once again the sport has shown me that money isn’t everything and that practicing a wholesome activity is important for every aspect of our lives. Today, I can see what’s going on around me, the opportunities God has given me, and I’m thankful for it. More and more, I want to use Jiu-Jitsu to share what I’ve learned in life with those in need,” concluded the champion, who is now 36 and has two kids, Vinicius, his two-year-old son, and Sofia, his one-year-old daughter.
At GRACIEMAG.com’s request, Tato Alves taught the following leglock attack from hook-guard. Get an underhook, lock down the back with the lapel, and learn from this champion of overcoming adversity.