History of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)
BJJ is a style of martial art/combat sport that incorporates many different elements focusing on grappling and ground fighting. It originally grew out of the Kodokan Judo ground fighting techniques practiced by only a select few at the turn of the twentieth century. Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese prizefighter, was one of these artists that helped spread martial arts worldwide. Maeda performed self-defense and fighting exhibitions around the world. His performance at the American Circus in Belem, Brazil inspired Carlos Gracie and Luis Franca to become his Judo students. Carlos passed his knowledge to his brothers and this style evolved into what is now known as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
History of Nova Uniao
Nova Uniao was created by Andre Pederneiras and Wendell Alexander in 1995 in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. It has grown to become one of the most recognized MMA/BJJ teams in the world, fielding champions like UFC's BJ Penn, Renan Barao, and Jose Aldo. Pederneiras trained initially under Rodrigo Vieira, a Rikson Gracie student, and received his black belt at the age of 22 while training with Carlson Gracie. He started his own school and then took the unusal step of joining teams with Wendell Alexander to better compete with Brazil's bigger teams. This proved to be an intelligent move as Nova Uniao quickly established itself as a dominant force in Brazil's highly competitive BJJ world. Pederneiras also focused on bringing BJJ to the favelas, the slums. training underpriviledged kids and providing them a rare chance to train and improve their lives at little to no cost to them. His dedication was successful in not just supporting forgotten communities, champions also came out of those slums to find success with Nova Uniao on the mats and the world stage. Prior to Pederneiras' revolutionary idea to train students without payment, BJJ was almost exclusively for Brazil's more affluent athletes. Pederneiras continued his unconventional strategy when he began to train non-Brazilian MMA/UFC fighters.
Pederneiras has built Nova Uniao into a global BJJ juggernaut. BJ Penn became the first American to win the World Jiu Jitsu Championships. Penn went on to compete in MMA at the Featherweight, Lightweight, Welterweight, Middleweight and Heavyweight Divisions. His UFC career has been marked by continued success as a former Lightweight and Welterweight Champion, breaking the all-time Lightweight title defense record, and is one of three UFC fighters in history to win titles multiple weight classes. Penn was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2015. Current champions Barao and Aldo exemplify the deceptively simple-looking style that Pederneiras has developed with the help of UFC champ Pedro Russo. This style incorporates Muay Thai elements with a devastating "ground" game; Nova Uniao fighters are known for their takedown successes.
Despite Nova Uniao's success on the mats and in the ring, many feel what really sets the team apart from the BJJ crowd is the incredibly tight-knit bonds and family atmosphere promoted throughout the teams. Pederneiras believed from the beginning that working as a family and not being afraid to break BJJ traditions would be how Nova Uniao would succeed. One of the young students Pederneiras supported in the slums of Rio was future champion Jose Aldo. The training at Nova Uniao is tough and fierce but tempered with humility and emphasis on hard work and personal dedication.
Nova Uniao Team Hawaii
Nova Uniao was founded by Renato "Charuto" Verrisimo. He has 32 years experience and is a 4th degree black belt under Nova Uniao founder Andre Pederneiras. He has fought in the UFC and Elite Xtreme Combat. The 2010 book "The Cauliflower Chronicles" by Marshal D. Carper details Carper's training at the BJ Penn Academy in Hilo, HI mostly under Charuto. Charuto continues to teach and hold seminars throughout the US.
Andrew Sabens - Sabens Martial Arts
Andy Sabens is a 2nd degree BJJ Black Belt, Jeet Kune Do Instructor and Filipino Kali Instructor. He runs Sabens Martial Arts in Carbondale, IL. He received his brown, black and first degree black belt under Charuto Verrisimo and has been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since 1997. Andy has competed in Pan Am Jiu-Jitsu Championships, World Jiu-Jitsu Championships, Chicago Open, NAGA and EGO. Andy also has extensive Jeet Kune Do/Filipino Kali experience training since 1991, and has been giving martial arts instruction since 1998.
Sam Burns - Arsenal Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Sam Burns holds the rank of Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Andy Sabens and the Nova Uniao Team Hawaii flag and is a Certified Personal Trainer. Sam brings together his real world experience in training and competing with book knowledge and theory to provide a unique training experience. He has a passion for fitness and martial arts that has kept him training over three decades, always seeking to better himself, his clients, and students by combining his experience in training and competition across the country and in various fitness and martial arts disciplines with the newest techniques and science in in the sport. Sam has been instructing self defense and various martial systems for the last fifteen years and has been a student of the martial arts since age seven. He has been involved in competitive powerlifting Strongman competitions, amateur boxing (with a record of 12-3), undefeated amateur mixed martial (with a record of 5-0) and competed in numerous Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments. Sam is also an Instructor for the S.P.E.A.R. System used by much of the Special Operations and S.W.A.T. community to effectively handle dangerous combatants and predators. Sam is proud to partner with the We Defy Foundation to support the veteran community and is a veteran himself of the United States Army (75th Ranger Regt-HHC, 82nd Airborne-3/504PIR, 1/508th ABCT-SETAF Vicenza, Italy). He is currently a Boot Camp Officer with the Illinois Department of Corrections.