Luiz Alves passed away this Friday evening in Rio de Janeiro, at 53 years of age. Leader of Boxe Thai academy, producer of numerous standup-fighting aces and talisman to Rodrigo Minotauro, Alves suffered a cerebral vascular accident (CVA) while driving on the morning of January 26, and never recovered.
Born in the Brazilian state of Ceará, Luiz Alves moved to Rio de Janeiro at 12 years of age, when he began his training in judo at the old Saga Academy, in the Catete borough of the city, as reported on the Boxe Thai team website. Soon thereafter he was taken to train at Gama Filho, where he stayed until 1984. Taekwondo was one of the popular styles at the day, and Luiz Alves began practice in the art with his late friend Flavio Molina. With his quality in taekwondo becoming ever more apparent, he abandoned judo to dedicate himself entirely to the art. With discipline and natural knack for the style, he soon became state champion, Brazilian national champion and classified among the best in the sport at an event in Ecuador.
In 1979 pioneering master Nelio Naja called up some athletes in Rio to teach the then little-known-to-Brazilians practice of muay thai in other states. To stand out on the Rio team were Luiz Alves, Flávio Molina, Wellington Narany, Gueri, Roberto, Pelé, Cocada, among others. One year later Nelio Naja held his first muay thai championship: Rio de Janeiro vs Curitiba, where the team from Rio won by 4 to 2 with the help of Alves. After that Luiz began teaching alongside Molina and Narani, when they set up Naja Academy in the Largo do Machado neighborhood of Rio. In 1984 Alves founded Boxe Thai Academy. Through several international exchanges, he learned new techniques from the greatest heavyweights in Holland, and also traveled to Thailand to learn from the source by practicing at the greatest centers for the sport in the Asian nation.
He became president of the Brazilian Muay Thai Confederation, and coached, among others, Artur Mariano, Amaury Bitetti, Zé Mario, Vitor Belfort, Murilo Bustamante, Alex Gazé, Rodrigo Minotauro, Rogério Minotouro and Ricardão Moraes. Cordial and demanding of his students, Alves will be greatly missed, but his teachings and students remain.