Most of my life’s orgins are in the North East. I grew up for the most part in a small, one stop light town in Maine. Boothbay Harbor. My life, up through my second year in college, consisted of basketball and weightlifting. I thought that was all of the fulfillment I needed. I was direly wrong.
Spending three or four hours at the nearest basketball court or weight room was common right through my second year of college. In the summer of 2003 my friend Dan Thompson walked by the local YMCA’s weight room and askied me to go try Jiu-Jitsu down the street. Not knowing the rarity of having an academy so close, I refused several times. Well he kept persisting, and eventually he won. Needless to say it was the biggest slice of humble pie I’d ever been served. I was around 240lbs then. I was amazed at the leverage these little guys were generating and how they were isolating the attack. Being an engineering student the physics of fighting fascinated me. Soooo long weight room and sooooo long basketball court. I started training.
Long story short, Master Joe Moreira started traveling to Maine Jiu-Jitsu Academy, and that is exactly how we met. On Master Joe’s second or third trip out he asked me if I would like to come to California to train and live with him. No brainer. I was addicted at this point. I traveled out to California three or four times for several months at a time to stay with Joe and learn. During these trips I was afforded the opportunities to train with the likes of Marco Ruas, Pedro Rizzo, Antoine Jaoude, Jeremy Williams, Justin Levens, Debi Purcel, Kimo Leopoldo, Cub Swanson, among others. Needless to say I earned where I am today through the beatings I received from these gentlemen.
In 2006 I made the decision to leave my small one stoplight town in Boothbay Harbor, Maine for good. I was determined to start my own academy. I did a solo drive from the northeast corner of the US to the southwest corner in three 18hrs days of driving. I rolled up to a photo shoot Master Moreira was doing with Prof. Ed Beneville, author of “Passing the Guard”, and Boran Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Ed handed me a camera and said start shooting. That is how my California life began.
After helping Joe run his school for a year I was given the opportunity by Kurt Winn to lease a corner of Iron Bodies Gym when it was at the original LA Boxing location at 2380 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA. In 2011 Iron Bodies moved out of the location and Tomacelli Academy and my team renovated the living S*** out of the building inside and out (Click for FB album. This is where it all started) after I spent three months developing a killer business plan with sudo-cofoounder and great friend Zeke Covarrubias.
In late 2015 Master Joe Moreira closed his school down in Irvine and combined forces with Mike and “Team Moreira International HQ” was born.
In early 2016 Marco Ruas, long time best friend and training partner of Joe, also joined the team of instructors at Tomacelli Academy.
Little did Joe and Marco know that this has been my plan for the past seven or eight years. The plan to assemble one of the most elite and experienced team of trainers under one roof is almost complete! 2016 watch out.
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