Projects for Life

Cantagalo Favela

There was a point in the early days of the project where a local ranking competition would come up and naturally, our kids would want to compete. Terere would ask with a certain degree of hesitation if we would be able to sponsor 7-10 kids.

Local competitions cost about 15-20 dollars per kid, an expense that Terere would put up out of his own money to sponsor a few kids every now and then.

Almost everything in the academy comes straight from Terere. He has never been a selfish person, in fact, selflessness seems to be one of the most salient characteristics of people from the favela. They have nothing, but they will give you the little that they can to make you feel welcome.

It’s the spirit of overwhelming solidarity of the projects unique form of favela jiu-jitsu that attracts so many “gringos” or foreigners to come and train at the project despite the lackluster facilities that major gyms like alliance and De la Riva have that cater to the influx of international athletes.

Sponsored athlete Caio helping out with a favela tour

It was the visitor’s willingness to contribute to the cause that paved the foundation for Terere Kids Project. Faith and Facebook got the project through the first tumultuous years of formation.

Facebook posts got us money for snacks from France, Kimonos from California, and registration fees from Wales.

Now three years after the inception of Terere Kids Project, we don’t just sponsor athletes for local competitions, we are giving kids an opportunity to travel and compete in major national and international competitions.

In 2015 we sent Jhonathan Marques to California along with Alister Shirazi to compete in Pan kids. The project was able to sponsor his passport, visa, flight, and registration thanks to the support sent by jiu jitsu enthusiasts.

This year Jhonathan was able to travel to Portugal to compete in IBJJF Europeans and from there he traveled to the U.S.  to spend 6 months with the Mendes brothers. Fabricio Silva, Terere’s cousin and the teacher of the kid’s class at the project was also supposed to compete in Europeans but at the last minute, he had a problem with his plane ticket.

Professor Fabricio teaching class

It was definitely upsetting when Fabricio wasn’t able to make it to Portugal. It would have been his first time leaving the country and the second time the project was able to sponsor an international trip.

Caio, Fabricio, Walter, and Faby
4 of the 6 athletes that will be competing in Brazilian Nationals

A few weeks later, Terere decided he wanted to send Fabricio AND Walter to London to compete in UAEJJ Grandslam. He was able to get tickets from a friend and the project was able to pay for their registration through the sale of the new Projects for Life t-shirts.

Buy yours here!

In March, Fabricio and Walter will travel outside of Brazil for the first time thanks to the support sent to the project from all over the world. Taking a prior trip outside of the country will hopefully make it easier for them to apply for American visas so that they can potentially compete in IBJJF Worlds in California.

Next on the agenda is IBJJF Brazilian Nationals. The project is now starting a campaign to raise funds to sponsor 4-6 athletes to travel to Sao Paulo compete.

The kids taking pictures of their medals for their profiles in a 
dark gym because the power went out at the Project. 

To help contribute you can send donations via PayPal to or you can purchase a Favela Jiu Jitsu Projects for Life t-shirt. Proceeds from shirt sales not only fund project expenses, it also our new initiative to teach kids how to fundraise and other creative ways to finance their upcoming competitions.

2017 IBJJF Europeans in Portugal

As many of you probably know, we were able to sponsor Jhonathan Marques (Moicano) to travel to Lisbon to compete in IBJJF 2017 Europeans. Unfortunately, we had an issue with securing a plane ticket for Fabricio Silva, a black belt instructor from the project that was supposed to travel alongside Moicano.

Adjusting to the cold for the first time. 

Moicano won gold after three tough fights. Jhonathan recently received his blue belt in December and aged into the new division this January so this was his first time competing out of the kids divisions. In the final he faced against Jansen Gomes, another athlete from the Cantagalo Favela.

Thank you to everyone that helped bring this trip to fruition. A special thanks to Thomas Ozaryun for making sure Moicano was on point and ready to fight and showing him a good time in Lisbon.

Next up, we will be sponsoring Caio Marques, who will compete in IBJJF Belo Horizonte Open that will take place in early March.

Moicano and Caio training together at the academy. Caio is also
would like to travel to the U.S. and compete in IBJJF World's alongside
Moicano this year. 

Live From Lisbon
Moicano and Mastwo in Portugal

Fight For A Cause: Toro Cup 4

Interview conducted by Andrew Morris (Moz) a Purple belt from England who is currently living and training alongside Mestre Terere in the Cantagalo Favela. Read more from Moz on his own blog Tales From Deep Half

On September 10th Cageside MMA in North Carolina played host to the Toro Cup 4 – a card of invitational jiu-jitsu super-fights. Whilst this event followed in the footsteps of submission-only events that are fast becoming the norm within jiu-jitsu, this one was special, with proceeds from the day being donated to Terere Kids Project. This event was the brainchild of the owner of Toro BJJ & Cageside MMA, James ‘Boomer’ Hogaboom and CJ Murdock, a black belt under Jerry Moreno and student of Terere. We had a chance to catch up with both guys:  

CJ, you just spent 6 months living and training in Rio. How was that experience?

CJ: It was amazing, life changing and overall extremely humbling of an experience.

There are many world-class academies situated in Rio, why did you choose to train with Terere?

CJ: Well, the main reason I went to Terere’s was, of course, to train with Terere. When I first got to Connection Rio, I immediately became friends with a fellow housemate called, Arthur who trained there and as soon as I heard that’s where he was training, I said “he’s there, like I can go train with him?” Arthur said, “yes” and from then I was hooked!

Terere to me is the secret Michael Jordan of our sport. He’s a world champion, one of the best jiu-jiteros of all time and I had the opportunity to go and play with him! Of course, I was going to take it. I was young, 15 or 16 when I started to get into jiu-jitsu and my brother and I would watch this video called, Arte Suave and they visited the original TT (Terere and Telles) camp, you saw Galvao and Cobrinha training there, and those guys were my idols. Terere taught those guys so I had to learn from the master himself. How could you not play basketball with Michael Jordan?

With so much time spent on the mats with Terere, can you provide any insight into what it is like training with the legend? And what you were able to learn from him?

CJ: Other than amazing, it was a humbling experience. I don’t use this word enough, but it was an honest blessing. I am such a big fan of his and seeing just how humble and honest he was, was an experience that I will never forget.

He gave me a huge hug when we met, shared his tea with me and we even trained together on that first day. I think the first day I was there, they signed me up to compete and I was like “I guess I am training here all the time now!” His academy was welcoming and everyone was down to train, so how could I not go back?

Having spent a lot of time in the community, you have seen what life is like for the children there. How has this influenced you?

CJ: It makes me just want to work harder and stay even more humble, it’s insane some of the circumstances that people are forced to live in, in the favela. I am very glad that Terere is there to help them because there aren’t too many out there trying to.

In your opinion is the FT Kids Project a success?

CJ: Yes, because every kid on the mat says that it is. Every gi on the kids who without the project would not have had one, says so. The snack program, everything. Mestre Terere and professors Fabricio and Noguiera definitely give their hearts to these kids and it is truly inspiring.

Boomer, how did you get involved? What made you think this cause was important?

Boomer: I became familiar with the project because of CJ.  He told me what a great cause it was and that it directly helps children. There are not “admin” costs like with so many charities.   Jiu-Jitsu is so important to me. Jiu-Jitsu can turn someone’s life around and have such a positive impact.

You can up with the original idea of combining a super-fight card with a fundraiser. How did this come about?

Boomer: Jeff Shaw came up with the idea of the Toro Cup.  A day of Jiu-Jitsu super-fights which raises money and awareness for positive charities.  To date with have raised/donated $6650 for 4 different charities. 

Can you tell us a little about the Toro Cup – how were the matches structured? Strictly Gi? Submission only?

Boomer: Toro Cup matches feature the area’s best and most exciting Jiu-Jitsu competitors. The format is simple – we have a 10 or 15-minute submission only round. If there is not a submission – we immediately go to a 5-minute points round, following the US Grappling standard rule set.   IF we are still tied after the 5-minute points round (keep in mind there are NO advantage points or ref’s decisions) – we immediately go to sudden death – first point wins.  EVERY Toro Cup match has a winner!  

What was the process of organizing something like this? Were there any issues getting a fundraising project off the ground?

Boomer: The process is a labor of love. We love jiu-jitsu and bringing jiu-jitsu people together is the best.

How was it received by the jiu-jitsu community in North Carolina?

Boomer: I feel like NC loves the Toro cup – we have a lot of fun and give great competitors a chance to showcase their skills in front of friends and family.

What were the highlights of the day? Any matches or submissions that stick out?

CJ: I competed but I lost unfortunately. I fought Glayton Melo from somewhere in Northern Brazil. He is here training in Charleston, SC. He was a stud. Unfortunately, all the awesome submissions I saw were against my teammates at Great Grappling.

My brother competed against Deandre Corbe, an insanely good brown belt and their match was crazy, my brother got him in a super deep toe hold but was not able to finish and after some crazy scrambles, Josh got caught in a wristlock.

Finally, CJ, can you tell us any funny stories or anecdotes about your time at the academy?

CJ: Watch your neck, protect your elbows and bump fists fast, from the beginning of the session to the end you best be ready to train hard. Prepare for some singing and dancing as well! Oh and have fun trying to pass the guard of Pan Am Kids green belt champion, Moicano. A fellow teen competitor, blue belt, Gabriel will snatch your arms up if you let him. Be careful and don’t think you are getting one up on anyone because the pace can turn from slow to fast in a heartbeat!

Editors note:
Toro Cup for was able to raise 1,250 dollars for Terere Kids Project, one of the biggest donations to date! Since then Terere has been able to fund some much-needed renovations to the gym: replacing the academy door, fixing the fans, getting covers for the mats, and mending the furniture. We have also been able to keep up with our snack program and provide competition fees for 3 students that will be competing this November in the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tournament. 

TKP is an unofficial NonProfit Organization that relies on the support of private donations sent through Paypal to fund our daily activities. Before TKP the project was funded exclusively by money that Terere himself earned from seminars and private lessons, now after 3 years of hard work we are able to count on support sent from jiu jiteros worldwide!