Partnership with DreamRoot Leadership Institute

Partnership with 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

Why Jiu Jitsu is so Transformational

Why Jiu Jitsu is so Transformational

Jiu Jitsu has proven to be a catalyst of transformation in so many people’s lives. Over and over we hear one inspirational success story after another. From the underdog rising to victory, being able to overcome physical, emotional, and mental barriers, to Jiu Jitsu being the vehicle out of poverty. The transformation in people’s lives through the art of Jiu Jitsu is undeniable. I have experienced such transformation in my own life and have the privilege to continually witness it first-hand in my students and coaching team. But what is it about Jiu Jitsu that is so transformational?

Jiu Jitsu by nature throws us into vulnerable and uncomfortable positions where we wrestle head-on with our own limitations. It is on the mat where we come face-to-face with our personal challenges and push past what has previously held us back. But what makes Jiu Jitsu so extraordinary is the community and BJJ family you find there. It is in a supportive BJJ community that allows us to consistently come to that place of vulnerability where we learn and progress. Essentially it is relationships that transform.

Coming to the U.S. in 2004, with my family living in Brazil, I found myself without an immediate community and attempting to navigate a new culture and customs all alone. I lost no time in finding a gym to continue my Jiu Jitsu training. It was there that I met many friends who helped me learn the ropes in this new city and encouraged me to go after my dream of teaching and coaching Jiu Jitsu for a living. They are still my close friends today, 15 years later. Jiu Jitsu connects us with lifelong friends to go through the ups and downs of life together; celebrating the successes and helping us to keep going through setbacks.

As much as I appreciate the time on the mat in a gi, it is those moments outside of the class time that are the most critical. Where I have seen the most incredible transformations take place in people’s lives is on the benches off to the side of the mats and in the locker rooms. It is during the side-talks 15 to 20 minutes after class. There is no denying that when we fall into an unfavorable position while rolling, we are offered an effective tool to grow emotionally and physically. However, it is a supportive training environment with encouraging teammates that facilitates the beautiful art of Jiu Jitsu to truly shine. It is in this collaborative culture that allows us to face challenges, grow stronger and progress further in the face of adversity than if we were to go it alone.

The academy is a place to connect with others and make friends. It is a place where students and parents come to leave behind the stress from their work day and decompress before transitioning home for the evening. With busy schedules where it often requires weeks of scheduling in advance to find a time to meet up with an old friend, the academy is a constant place where you can walk in and meet-up with friends any day of the week.

The art of Jiu Jitsu and the community at the academy has a huge impact in our own lives and the lives of our family members. But you also have a huge impact in other people’s lives at the academy. Every time you walk through the doors, you have an opportunity to be a positive influence for someone else. Just a simple “hi, how are you?” can be the one interaction that transforms your teammate’s life. It may not necessarily be the technique I taught in class that day but rather a small gesture of acknowledgement that has the power to unlock a smile.  And it is amazing that in the process of reaching out to others we ourselves are also blessed and transformed.

This is why I encourage all of my students to hang out after class. I see a huge difference in the students who stay a little longer.  It is in those 15 to 20 minutes before, but even more after class, once you have the chance to decompress and leave it all on the mat, where relationships are built and breakthroughs happen.

The theme of our academy is that it is not about Jiu Jitsu. It is about the connections and relationships made through Jiu Jitsu. I have seen little else rival the mats of Jiu Jitsu in creating an environment that transforms lives. This is the Jiu Jitsu experience. And I guarantee that this will be a game changer for your life.

– Professor Tony Passos

Learn Something New

Learn Something New

Choose to put yourself in a situation that you know you are not yet competent in. Try a technique that you are not use to. Focus on just one. It will be uncomfortable initially You may “fail” at first. But in the end, sooner than you think, you will have gained a new competence and build a new habit .

– Professor Tony Passos

Gi Drive for Atos PE

Gi Drive for Atos PE

Here is a video of the Gi donation from our students in the US to the students at Atos Pernambuco in Brazil.

The month leading up to this seminar Team Passos students in the U.S .donated gis to surprise our bothers and sisters in Northeast Brazil. Our students donated a total of 62 gis, two belts, and two pairs of shoes. These were received with gratitude and tears. Thank you so everyone who participated in blessing some very special people.

And a huge shout out to our sponsor ONDA Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for donating several of their Recife Limited Edition kimonos. It’s amazing to see the love circle back around to the city that inspired this line.