Claudio França Pires
Claudio França pioneered the teaching of BJJ in Santa Cruz, California – coming to us from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1995. He has studied BJJ since the age of seven and holds a 5th degree Black Belt from Master Francisco Mansor, who is a 9th degree red belt certified by the Confederation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Rio de Janeiro. Professor França also holds a black belt in Judo from Gama Filho University in Rio de Janeiro.
Professor França has more than 30 years experience teaching and competing in BJJ. He took a Silver Medal in the 2001 Mundials (World Championships), in Rio de Janeiro, and was a two-time Pan-American Middleweight Champion (’97, ’98), four-time Lightweight Brazilian Champion, and three-time Lightweight State Champion.
Claudio has coached several students who have won in the Mundials and Pan Americas. Since 1995, Master França has hosted one of the most lauded international Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments in the country, held right here in Santa Cruz: the U.S. Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament.
Matt Slatter was awarded his Black Belt in December of 2011 under Master Claudio França Pires. Matt began BJJ at the age of thirty three. After signing his kids up for classes and hanging around the Dojo for six months he decided to give it a try and has never looked back. Matt and his son have been training in BJJ for over twelve years. Matt has won gold, silver and bronze medals in the US Open and Silver and Bronze medals in the Pan Ams. “Jiu Jitsu is not just about self defense, fitness and competition though those are important aspects for me. Jiu Jitsu is about family. It’s about life. It is a great environment to raise my family in and I want to share that with others. There are many lessons I have learned in training that I apply everyday to life and to business.” Matt also owns a successful local construction company in Santa Cruz.
Raul Quintero was awarded his Brown Belt in December of 2012 under Master Claudio França Pires. Raul is a skilled competitor in the BJJ community. He has several Gold, Silver & Bronze medals from the U.S. Open, American Nationals, American Cup, All Star tournaments along with many other local and distant tournaments that he has competed in. He loves to teach and coach the BJJ children in our schools. We look forward to some exciting changes that he will be bringing to our school. More information coming soon!
Thomas Rumsey was awarded his Brown Belt in December of 2011 under Master Claudio França Pires. Thomas began BJJ at the age of thirty eight. A simular story to Matt Slatter, after he signed his three daughters up for classes and was hanging around the Dojo for a year he decided to sign up and join his daughters. By Claudio’s continued determination that BJJ can be the only sport required to get you into physical shape, from then it’s been a permanant part of his life. He has been training in BJJ for over thirteen years and was awarded his Brown Belt in December of 2011. Thomas has won Gold & Silver medals in the US Open and Silver medals in the Pan Ams along with tournaments in Southern California like Copa Pacifica Jiu Jitsu Tournaments. During his travels in the United States, Thailand & the Philippines he has persued meeting & training BJJ with great people. At the age of 52 he is determined to share what he has learned and to teach others how to apply these simple aspects of BJJ for conditioning, self defense & confidence. His goal is to use & share his knowledge and life experiences to make children and adults better people in the world we share.
In his travels for work and life he has also trained and earned his purple belt from Tim Cartmell founder of Shen Wu Academy. Tim is a second degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Eighth Degree Black Belt (Master) in Kung-Fu San Soo and holds black belts in several other styles, and is a lineage holder in the Chinese Internal Systems of martial art.