ABOUT US

GUI AND RAFAEL MENDES HAD THEIR FIRST CONTACT WITH JIU JITSU WITH THEIR COUSIN THIAGO MENDES, WHO AT THAT TIME WAS A BLUE BELT AT A SMALL ACADEMY IN THEIR HOMETOWN OF RIO CLARO, BRAZIL. GUI WAS 12 YEARS OLD WHILE RAFAEL WAS 11 YEARS OLD WHEN THEY STARTED TRAINING JIU JITSU UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THEIR COUSIN IN A SOCIAL PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN. AFTER ONLY 4 MONTHS, RAMON LEMOS ARRIVED IN THE CITY WITH THE OBJECTIVE OF GIVING CLASSES AND ESTABLISHING A TEAM FOR COMPETITION. AT THAT TIME RAMON GAVE CLASSES WITH PROFESSOR LEONARDO SANTOS. THIAGO THEN PRESENTED THE BROTHERS TO THE PROFESSORS AND SO STARTED THEIR INTEGRATION TO THE TEAM. IN THEIR YOUNGER DAYS, THE BROTHERS WOULD GO TO SCHOOL IN THE MORNING AND WOULD TRAIN AT AN ACADEMY IN A SHOPPING MALL DURING THE AFTERNOON AND NIGHT.

“WE REMEMBER THAT OUR MOTHER WOULD WORK AT A STORE IN THE MALL AND WHEN THE TRAINING WOULD BE FINISHED WE WOULD WAIT FOR HER TO LEAVE SO WE COULD ALL GO HOME TOGETHER.”

RAMON AND LEO ALWAYS ENCOURAGED THE BROTHERS TO COMPETE AND REINFORCED THAT THEY NEEDED TO DEDICATE THEMSELVES FULLY IN THEIR TRAINING. EVEN AS WHITE BELTS IN THE JUVENILE CATEGORY, THE BROTHERS STARTED TO COLLECT TITLES, USUALLY FIGHTING IN A WEIGHT CLASS HIGHER WITH ADVERSARIES MUCH HEAVIER BECAUSE AT THAT TIME THE BROTHERS WERE VERY LIGHT AND IT WAS DIFFICULT TO FIND CHILDREN IN THE SAME CATEGORY. AFTER 2 YEARS, PROFESSOR LEONARDO SANTOS RETURNED TO RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL TO DEDICATE HIMSELF TO COMPETITION AND TRAINING. RAMON TOOK OVER ALL THE CLASSES AND PROMOTED GUI AND RAFAEL IN ALL BELT LEVELS. THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE BROTHERS IN THE HEADLINES CAME WHEN THEY WERE PURPLE BELTS AT THE ADCC TRIALS IN 2007, WHERE AFTER BEING RECENTLY PROMOTED PURPLE BELTS, THE BROTHERS HAD GREAT BATTLES WITH WELL ESTABLISHED BLACK BELTS AND RESULTED IN RAFAEL ARRIVING IN THE FINAL OF THE TOURNAMENT. FROM THEN ON THE MEDIA STARTED TO FOLLOW AND HIGHLIGHT THE BROTHERS ON ALL OF THEIR FUTURE ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

“AFTER WE FINISHED SCHOOL, WE DEDICATED OUR ENTIRE DAYS TO IMPROVING AND PERFECTING OUR TECHNIQUES. SINCE THE BEGINNING WE KNEW THAT WE WANTED TO CREATE A LIVING THROUGH JIU JITSU.”

AS THE BROTHERS CONTINUED TO MAKE A NAME FOR THEMSELVES ON THE COMPETITION CIRCUIT, OTHER WELL-ESTABLISHED COMPETITORS MOVED TO RIO CLARO TO JOIN IN THE TRAINING. DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE BROTHERS WERE ALWAYS THE LIGHTEST IN THE ACADEMY THEY DEVELOPED A STYLE THAT WAS FOCUSED ON TAKING THE BACK.

“WE WERE ALWAYS THE LIGHTEST, AND MANY TIMES IT WAS VERY DIFFICULT TO ATTACK SUBMISSIONS LIKE ARMBARS OR ESTABLISH POSITIONS LIKE SIDE MOUNT OR FULL MOUNT. THE GUYS WERE ALWAYS MUCH STRONGER AND WOULD ESCAPE OR BE ABLE TO GET US OFF THEM WITH MUCH EASE. SINCE WE WERE KIDS WE WOULD ALWAYS TRAIN WITH ADULTS AND SO WE STARTED TO UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN WE ATTACK THE BACK, STRENGTH WOULD NOT MATTER AND WE WOULD BE

ABLE TO GET THE SUBMISSION. WE ENDED UP FOCUSING ON THIS IN ALL OF OUR TRAINING AND CREATED TECHNIQUES THAT ALLOWED US TO TAKE THE BACK. THIS EVENTUALLY DEFINED OUR STYLE AND BEGAN WHAT IS NOW KNOWN AS MODERN JIU JITSU.”

GUI AND RAFAEL WERE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH A LOT AT THE LOWER BELTS, INCLUDED WINNING THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN THE BLUE, PURPLE AND BROWN BELT DIVISIONS. THIS PROVIDED THEM WITH THE TITLE OF “NEW PROMISES” OF THE SPORT WHEN THEY ARRIVED AS BLACK BELTS.

“RAMON GRADUATED US TO BLACK BELT IN OCTOBER OF 2008; A FEW MONTHS AFTER WE WON THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN THE BROWN BELT. IT WAS A SPECIAL MOMENT SINCE RAMON WAS WITH US SINCE THE BEGINNING AND TAUGHT US EVERYTHING. OUR GRADUATION WAS VERY EMOTIONAL! WE CONSIDER RAMON LIKE A FATHER. HE PLAYED THIS ROLE IN OUR LIFE. HE TAUGHT US A LOT OF THINGS BOTH ON AND OFF THE MATS.”

IN THEIR FIRST YEAR IN THE BLACK BELT DIVISION, THE BROTHERS WERE ABLE TO WIN A LOT OF THE SAME TITLES THEY WON AT THE LOWER BELTS. THEY BEAT MANY ESTABLISHED COMPETITORS AND SHIFTED FROM BEING JUST “PROMISES” TO BECOMING THE NEW FAVORITES FOR WORLD TITLES IN THE BLACK BELT DIVISIONS.

“IN OUR MINDS THERE WERE NO FAVORITES. WE DEDICATED OURSELVES 100% IN EACH TRAINING SESSION AS WE UNDERSTOOD THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING PREPARED.”

TODAY THE BROTHERS HAVE EACH WON MULTIPLE TITLES IN THE BLACK BELT DIVISION AND HAVE CONTINUED TO DEDICATE THEMSELVES NOT ONLY TO THEIR OWN TRAINING BUT ALSO TO THEIR STUDENTS. IN THE SUMMER OF 2012 THEY CO- FOUNDED THE ART OF JIU JITSU ACADEMY WITH RVCA FOUNDER PM TENORE IN COSTA MESA, CALIFORNIA. SINCE THEN, THE BROTHERS HAVE BUILT THE BEST KIDS TEAM WINNING CONSECUTIVE OVERALL TEAM TITLES AT THE IBJJF KIDS PAN-AMS AND HAVE ALSO CREATED MULTIPLE ADULT WORLD CHAMPIONS AT ALL BELT LEVELS.

“WE AREN’T EVEN CLOSE TO ACHIEVING WHAT WE WANT TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE SPORT. WE ARE ONLY AT THE BEGINNING OF OUR JOURNEY. WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK GOD FIRST; FOR OUR HEALTH AND EVERYTHING HE HAS GIVEN US. OUR FAMILY WHO HAS GIVEN US TREMENDOUS SUPPORT AS WELL AS ALL OF OUR STUDENTS AND TRAINING PARTNERS WHO ARE NOT ONLY OUR BEST FRIENDS BUT ALSO OUR SECOND FAMILY.”

LINEAGE: MITSUYO MAEDA > CARLOS GRACIE > CARLSON GRACIE > ANDRE PEDERNEIRAS > RAMON LEMOS > MENDES BROS