Master Joe Moreira
-C0-Head Instructor at Tomacelli Academy
-Head Coach of Team Moreira World Wide
-Coral Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 3rd degree Black Belt in Judo
-Ruas Vale Tudo Black Belt
-40 years martial arts experience.
-Fought in UFC 8 and 14
-Founder of United States Federation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
A respected Jiu-Jitsu master, Francisco Mansour, awarded Moreira his black belt in 1984. By competing in the most important Jiu-Jitsu tournaments of the 1980s, such as Copa Company, Copa Lightning Bolts and Copa Cantao, Moreira’s collection of titles grew. His participation in such events garnered Moreira’s respect and recognition as one of the toughest fighters of his time.
By 1986, Moreira was a black belt in both judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Receiving his Black Belt in Jiu-Jitsu in 1979 and His Judo Black Belt in 1984. The next step in his evolution came in the form of internships at Terry University, in Japan, and at Kobukan Academy, the traditional judo academy established by judo founder Jigoro Kano. After four months of training with the Japanese Olympic team and completing a course with more than 1,000 black belt students, Moreira became vice champ in an international tournament: the Judo World Cup.
After a year of invaluable training in Japan, Moreira returned to his Brazilian academy in Rio de Janero and produced his first tournament: the Atlantico Sul Cup, which saw the debut of world names such as Ryan, Renzo, and Ralph Gracie, SHOOTO welterweight champion Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro, UFC veteran Jorge Patino, Antonio Schembri and Marcio Feitosa, Cleber Luciano, Wander Braga, Wallid Ishmael, Jean Jacque Machado, Fabio Gurgel, Murilo Bustamante, Mario Sperry, Alan Goes, Liborio De la Riva, and others who helped to establish it as a premier tournament. Nine Atlantico Sul Cup events were held between 1986 and 1994, produced with the help of his partners and friends, Claudio Franca (Claudio Franca Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Santa Cruz, California) and Marcus Vinicius (owner of the Beverly Hills Jiu-Jitsu club).
In the early 1990s, an invitation from Reylson Gracie prompted Moreira to sell all of his possessions in Brazil and travel to the United States to be a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor. “He promised me everything,” Moreira remembers, “but when I got there, it was pretty different.” Because of some financial disagreements, he decided to go it alone and forge his own path.
Moreira also founded the United States Federation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and played a major role in the dissemination of the art in America. As president of the Federation, he created the first international Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament, the Joe Moreira Cup, and organized the first edition of the Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu tournament with Carlos Gracie, president of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Confederation. Those events launched the first top representatives of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in America – names like BJ Penn, Garth Taylor, Egan Inoue, Mark Kompayneyets, Chris Brennan, Eddie Bravo, Javier Vazquez, Ricco Rodriguez, and many others that later transformed the United States into the second Jiu-Jitsu power of the world.
Following the appearance in the UFC, Moreira encountered his first controversy with the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world. At a time when there was an unwritten rule that black belts were prohibited from teaching Jiu-Jitsu techniques to non-Brazilian Vale Tudo fighters, Moreira started to teach his good friend, Kimo Leopoldo (who lost to Royce Gracie in UFC 3). The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community was shocked by his breach of protocol and labeled Moreira a traitor.
Eighteen months later, following his first UFC victory over Uri Vaulin at the UFC 14, Moreira shocked the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community again by revealing that he trained with Marco Ruas to fight the Russian boxer – without the help of the Gracie family or any of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community. Seeing the good ground technique presented by Ruas, who trained in Jiu-Jitsu for 15 years, Moreira gave him a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and caused a commotion among his fellow Brazilians. These two important decisions helped pave the way for his cross training to take its now-prominent role in fight training.