Gracie Santos academy operates in the Memorial Arena sports complex in Santos, state of São Paulo, Brazil. It’s been about a year since Jiu-Jitsu world champion Marcelo Nigue began heading training in the spacious dojo.
“I was called on to head Jiu-Jitsu and MMA training and, when I saw the project, I picked up and left with my whole family for Santos. We have a lot of talent that will provide a lot to talk about, whether it be in Jiu-Jitsu or in MMA,” says Nigue.
More than just a training center, Memorial Arena provides opportunity for athletes from needy communities looking for a better life through the martial arts. Besides Jiu-Jitsu, there’s muay thai, boxing and MMA training in a ring and cage. The training center and its integrants work hand in hand with the project aiming to spread MMA and the fighting arts throughout the country, previously reported here on GRACIEMAG.com (see here).
Major backers of the fighting arts, the center’s proprieters Pepe and his son Denys Altstut work hard for the cause. Mr. Pepe, 74, is an unconditional martial arts lover. Originally from Argentina, martial arts was a springboard to success.
“When I was a child, I lived in a lower-class neighborhood in Argentina and I had to learn boxing to defend myself. After entering the gym, I never fought again. I competed often and would become friends with my opponents. Martial arts is something wonderful and can improve the lives of many,” he recounts with excitement, after a boxing session at the academy.
The center is the training grounds for a number of great fighters, like muay thai world champion Cosmo Alexandre, Fabio Maldonado, Alan Froes and Diego Sebastião. One who recently paid a visit to lend support was Rodrigo Minotauro, who approved of what he saw there.
Check out some pictures taken of Minotauro training and the Gracie Santos Memorial Arena.