Partnership with DreamRoot Leadership Institute

Partnership with DreamRoot Leadership Institute

A logo of Dreamroot Leadership Institute

We are super excited to be partnering with a new non-profit called DreamRoot Leadership Institute. DreamRoot serves to reverse the cycles of poverty by unleashing the potential of local leaders in under-resourced communities to solve local challenges and raise up others to do the same. The objective of this partnership is to expand the impact of our Jiu Jitsu outreach efforts which we have been implementing here in the U.S. and abroad in Brazil.

Our mission is to transform people’s lives through the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu — one student at a time — so that they can achieve more. We have a vision to see every person, regardless of their life’s circumstances, be given the opportunity to realize and achieve their dreams; where they are living out their fullest potential and all of society advances as a result.

Over the years, Team Passos has been involved in using Jiu Jitsu programs in the slums of Brazil and even here in Virginia as a way to reach children, youth, and adults to build life skills, mentor, and cast a higher vision for their lives. In addition to the regular gi donations, we have been training and mentoring several Jiu Jitsu Professors running BJJ initiatives in Brazil. With this new non-profit, we will be able to expand the reach and thus the impact.


These initiatives and the impact are the fruit of the collective action, heart and dreams of everyone here at Team Passos. Each of our students have been a huge part in bringing this to reality through your support and encouragement. I want to take this time to thank again everyone who has donated gis over the years. Here is a more thorough update about our gi drives.


What we’re working on in 2020:

  • In collaboration with DreamRoot, we will launch our first 6-month Jiu Jitsu Leader Incubator Cohort for several local leaders running programs in Northeast Brazil. These cohorts offer needed training, resources and a support network for leaders working in some challenging environments.
  • We are in the process of renovating one of the Jiu Jitsu academies we have been working with into a training center. The center offers additional programs like English, music, and entrepreneurial classes to students who would otherwise not have access to such programs.
  • In the near future we desire to roll out virtual leadership and entrepreneurial incubator cohorts for at-risk youth and underprivileged individuals.

I’d like to invite you to check out the DreamRoot website. If you would like to learn more about DreamRoot or would like to get involved, please let us know.

Warmest regards,


Professor Tony Passos
Labor Day: Reflections from a First Generation American

Labor Day: Reflections from a First Generation American

do something creative every day

Bom dia and happy Labor Day! This year we roll in the 125th anniversary of Labor Day becoming a holiday in the United States. It is a holiday honoring the social and economic achievement of workers and consequently their contributions to the world. As a nation, we celebrate the value and dignity of each of our work and what it contributes to the greater society.

Upon immigrating to the U.S. over 15 years ago, I began my initial years working odd jobs from raking leaves to singing as the mouse and then cleaning toilets at Chuck E. Cheese. While the work was not easy, the hours were long, and the language was foreign, I would not change this experience for anything. There is a beauty in working with excellence in anything we are tasked with. After holding on to the vision of one day teaching Jiu Jitsu for a living and owning an academy, my dream eventually became a reality.

The testimony of an environment that allows people to progress when they work hard and pursue their dreams is not an advantage that many around the world have available to them. I am blessed to have had this opportunity here in the U.S. and am grateful for all those who have helped make this possible. It is because of having received this chance in life that I am keenly aware of my both privilege in receiving it and responsibility to steward it.

None of us arrive on our own. We are standing on the shoulders of those who have come before us. And we have an obligation to lift others up to rise together. We are called to greatness and we are capable of achieving it.

As I reflect on the Labor Day holiday, it is my hope that we each, collectively, develop our talents and ideas to contribute ingenuity and progress to the world. That we spend our time on higher pursuits. To invest our resources in the advancement of society. And wield our influence to foster unity. This is not just a hope, but it is what we work toward every day at Team Passos. It is absolutely humbling to see how far we as a team have come and what we have accomplished in such a relatively short amount of time. And to think, it all started with a dream coupled with the willingness and ability to work hard, planted in an environment that allowed it to flourish.

The world needs your dreams and your work. I encourage everyone to go after their dreams and work hard until it is realized. You will greatly impact those around you. Together we can accomplish more than we could ever imagine possible.

Have a wonderful Labor Day!

– Professor Tony Passos

Does Training Jiu Jitsu Get Easier?

Does Training Jiu Jitsu Get Easier?

A match of two Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletesIt is challenging to train Jiu Jitsu. Those of us who have trained Jiu Jitsu for any amount of time know that training gives us a beating both physically and emotionally. It is important to understand, especially for those who are just beginning their Jiu Jitsu journey, that training does not get any easier. And this is the beauty of the art of Jiu Jitsu.

Often, we think if we train a little longer, learn a little more, or overcome an obstacle Jiu Jitsu will become less challenging. This could not be further from the truth. It becomes more challenging. Let me explain. The more we train, the better we become. As our knowledge and ability increases, the art of Jiu Jitsu demands more from us.  There should not be a time that we plateau.  Our goal is to continually push past previous limits and not remain in our comfort zone.  To expect Jiu Jitsu to become easier sets us up for discouragement and frustration.  By embracing and overcoming each new challenge we continually progress which becomes a source of encouragement.

Jiu Jitsu is a complex art. There is more to it than may initially be apparent. Much goes on under the surface and behind the scenes.  Time and experience will reveal these undercurrents and give you the ability to see the details and complexity of a match.  One of the fascinating aspects of Jiu Jitsu is the more you progress through training the more you appreciate the art.

When you attend class and train consistently you will progress and improve. Your training partners will also be improving. In this environment the margin of error becomes smaller so you must become more precise. The smallest opening can give your opponent the advantage.  Simply a grip misplacement could cost you the position. As both you and your opponent improve you are required to think and act faster. As you grow you will recognize and react to small mistakes made by your opponent.  You are able to focus on the details of each position and have a deeper understanding of the art.  While it does not get easier you will appreciate and enjoy the training even more.

The misaligned expectation that Jiu Jitsu will get easier leads to disillusionment when it does not become a reality. This is usually when people quit in their Jiu Jitsu journey. They give up on their training and forfeit their own development process. Too often I hear students second guessing themselves and their abilities. They think that they should have attained a certain level of expertise within a predetermined timeline and become frustrated. They compare themselves to others, put pressure on themselves to perform a certain way or burden themselves with unrealistic expectations.

Again, it is not easy to train Jiu Jitsu.  Easy should never be the goal of our training.  It is about improving, growing, learning and having fun. It is about living a lifestyle that is fit and prepared mentally, physically and emotionally.  It keeps you engaged in your own development and progression. One of the incredible aspects of Jiu Jitsu is that there is always more to learn. And this brings new challenges that further our growth and keeps the journey exciting.  The need to continually learn and improve should not discourage you.  Rather, it should excite and encourage you.  This is what personally excites me the most. Why? Because it pushes me to higher levels. I can see a correlation between my Jiu Jitsu growth and my personal growth.

Understanding the challenges of Jiu Jitsu, let’s be gracious toward ourselves and take off the pressure to perform.  Jiu Jitsu has so much to offer. It is a rich source of personal transformation.  Jiu Jitsu can build our confidence, strengthen our character and keep us in shape.  It is an opportunity to be part of a caring community.  It is such a beautiful and fun art. Let’s enjoy the journey.

– Professor Tony Passos

Andre Galvao Seminar 2019

Andre Galvao Seminar 2019

We had an amazing seminar by Professor Andre Galvao today. It is always a privilege and honor to share the mat with him and learn from him. He dropped some incredible knowledge about Jiu Jitsu, competing and life. He truly embodies courage and leading by example through serving and treating everyone with integrity.

Congratulations Professor Josh Pike on receiving his black belt today. This is a huge milestone accomplishment. The end of one cycle and the beginning of another. Here’s to a mind blowing new season.

A special shout out to our affiliates. To Professor Louis Armezzani and the Armezzani Jiu Jitsu crew, Professor George Wehby and the Lionheart Jiu Jitsu crew, and Coach Heriberto and the 804 JIu Jitsu RVA crew for making the drive/flights here from such long distances. To Professor Jeff Gordon and Infinite Fighting Concepts for hosting. And The Winchester Jiu Jitsu Academy for coming out to represent so well as always.

Thanks to every single one of our students whom made it out today; for your support, commitment and trust in what we do and making this such a special BJJ community and family. There are no words to describe how grateful we are to each of you. You all make this truly a special place.

Check out the seminar photo album here.


andre galvao jiu jitsu seminar

Team Competition with U.S. Grappling

Team Competition with U.S. Grappling

Our kids did another amazing job yesterday at the U.S. Grappling competition in Richmond! Each of them fought well, had great results, and showed incredible sportsmanship. We couldn’t be more proud of them!

And a huge thanks to the parents and all of the Coaches who came out to support these little warriors. As Coaches it is our role to support not just the students but also the parents to enjoy the competition experience. Days like yesterday, in watching how the kids interacted so humbly, seeing how well they fought, and how appreciative all the parents were truly touched our hearts and taught us a lot. We are super grateful for you all. We love our team!


A group of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes on stage