Joao Crus – Founder of the Grappler Game Program®

Joao CrusJoao Crus was born in Brasília, Brazil, and moved to Rio de Janeiro when he was 17 years old. In his youth, he was very active and athletic in swimming. He started his initial Martial Arts training with Karate at the age of 22 and earned his way to a brown belt. Just before he was about to test for his black belt, he stumbled upon Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and began secretly attending classes while he was still training Karate. In his competitions in Karate, Joao won 5 State Tournaments and was 2nd place in a National Tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Once Joao had a taste of BJJ, he no longer had the desire to complete his black belt in Karate, and began training BJJ full time in 1998. Before he came to the United States, he earned his blue belt under Leonardo Castello Branco in Rio.

In addition to his martial arts training, Joao was a strong competitor in Wind Surfing and Sailing in Brazil. He won the amateur circuit 3 times in the Caribbean competitions.

Joao was a part of the sports and nutrition world as a top sales representative for Optimum Nutrition and started his own store in 1999. During this time, he developed a friendship with world renowned Carlson Gracie. Carlson would visit his store regularly, just to visit and talk about life. Little did they both know that they would be working together down the road.

He came to the United States in 2001, and quickly found a place to train BJJ again at one of Relson Gracie’s schools in Austin. The further along he trained, the more he realized he wanted to teach others, especially kids. His vision became clearer and clearer, and soon Joao searched for and contacted other Brazilians in Texas and in the United States who were teaching BJJ. He soon found, Carlos Machado, Helio Soneca, Rodrigo Medeiros, Leka Viera and many others to share what he had in mind. They were all supportive and encouraging.

Joao CrusIn 2004, Joao turned his dream into a reality. He met Carlson Gracie in United States and Carlson invited him to have a class with him, after seeing Joao’s technique and skills on the mat Carlson Gracie awarded him his Purple Belt. Joao was given his teacher certification for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by Carlson after demonstrating his ability to share the art and technique of BJJ. Joao was awarded his brown belt by Master Ricardo De La Riva in March 2006 and recently was awarded his black belt by Marcelo C. Monteiro in September 2007.

In this same year Joao founded the Texas Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, an affiliation of Jiu-Jitsu schools across Texas promoting sportsmanship and cooperation in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Its mission is to improve cooperation state-wide and promote the image of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a safe and effective sport.

Joao has participated in a few tournaments while living in America:

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