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Help us save the stories and wisdom of these martial arts masters, before it's too late!
Hywel Teague
Video / Web
Rio de Janeiro
1 Team Member

The Red Belts of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

There are very few 9th degree red belt Grand Masters in the world.

We are making a documentary film about their many decades of experience in the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu: their history, their stories, and their wisdom.


While most historical accounts of jiu-jitsu focus on the famous Gracie family, these men were their trusted students. They followed them, fought for them, and helped deliver the message of jiu-jitsu to generations of grapplers, from world champions to part-timers.

Now mostly retired, they've sadly been largely forgotten. Most exist outside of the knowledge of those within the jiu-jitsu world. The attention is firmly on current world champions, but we should be careful not to forget the lessons these masters can teach us.

We want to honour the work of the grand masters by recording their knowledge and telling their stories – before it's too late and they're gone forever.


Who are they?

They are teachers and fighters who began training before most of our fathers were alive. Men like João Alberto Barreto, a direct student of Helio Gracie who was a referee at UFC 1 and trained bare-knuckle vale tudo fighters throughout the 60s and 70s, while acting as a sports psychologist to the Brazilian national football team. Men like Oswaldo Alves, who has graduated hundreds of black belts and who is the only Brazilian jiu-jitsu master to have taught at the Kodokan (the home of judo) in Japan. Men like Renato Paquet, who was a two-time Brazilian boxing champion in addition to being an expert grappler.

We aim to include as many as nine Grand Masters (depending on their availability) in this film.


Who are we?

At BJJ Hacks, we've made a number of very successful short films about Brazilian jiu-jitsu, featuring some of the biggest names in the game - check them out on YouTube. We're taking it to the next level with this project, which will be a full-length 90-minute documentary. 

The plan, and what's in it for you

Our plan is to make this video FREE and available online to anyone who wants to watch it. But to do so, we need financial support.

The Grand Masters deserve something that reflects their lifelong commitments, and making a film like this will take many months of work. We're going to have to devote our entire time to produce this film, and we estimate it's going to take a least 3 months to complete.

We're not trying to sell anything. We want as many people as possible to see this movie, which is why it's going to be hosted online across multiple video-sharing websites like YouTube and Vimeo.

In the sidebar you can see the different funding options and corresponding rewards, which range from credits in the film and a private link to the movie before it's released, to some really amazing, limited-edition special items from some very generous people who have decided to pitch in and support us.

If the funding goal isn't met, the film will still be made and all rewards will be honored, although the whole process will take longer.

We're also going to produce a coffee-table book featuring photos and quotes fro the Grand Masters. Only 22 of these will ever be printed - 9 will go to the Grand Masters, 3 to the authors / filmmakers, and the rest will be given to people who donate to the project. 


The Budget

We're aiming for 100% transparency in this project. People might think we're being overly-ambitious, or that we're funding some lavish beach-going lifestyle.

Where will the money go?

If the target of $15000 is reached, here's an estimate of how the funds will be used.

Perk manufacture and shipping costs: $4874
Production costs:
Camera Operator $2000
Translator $1500
Equipment hire $2000
Travel expenses $500
Website for film $628
Book designer and production: $1700
IndieGoGo processing fees: $1539.24

Total: $14811.24

We'll round it up to $15k and spend the leftover on celebratory coconut waters and acai for the crew once it's complete.

What if we raise more money than we're asking for?

Well, that means more money to spend on production, meaning a better quality film completed sooner. Which would be awesome.


Show me (some of) the things!

Meerkatsu signed print

One-off Scramble gi

Connection Rio jiu-jitsu hostel



Fantastic! What else can I do to help?

You can 'Like' the BJJHacks Facebook page, where we'll be posting regular updates during production.

If you feel like sharing this page, or just the campaign video, on your social media networks, blog, or by email, that would be a big help.

Thanks in advance for your support!

Where can I find more information?

Head over to our website! http://www.redbeltbjj.com

Find This Campaign On
raised by 178 people in 2 months
116% funded
No time left
$15,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on July 19, 2012
Select a Perk
  • $25USD
    Thank you, credit & link

    For $25, we include your name on the website and in the credits of the film as a supporter. You get a private link to the video emailed to you one week before it goes public.

    84 claimed
  • $49USD
    20% off at Manto

    Get 20% off at Manto's US or EU sites and buy some awesome fightwear or training gear (on orders over $100). You also get a credit in the film and the private link as in the $25 option.

    6 claimed
  • $75USD
    Ltd edition USB card cont film

    Limited edition 'Red Belt' USB memory card containing a HD copy of film mailed to you! Plus a private link to the video one week before it goes public and a thank you on website and in credits of film

    32 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2012
  • $89USD
    Connection Rio T-shirt & eBook

    Get a limited edition Connection Rio T-shirt from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and an eBook with advice on training in Rio! Plus everything else in the $75 option

    10 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2012

    Kyra Gracie signed photo

    Get a signed photo from the most famous female jiu-jitsu fighter on the planet! Plus everything in the $75 package.

    20 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2012

    Signed Meerkatsu A3 print!

    Get a special one-off limited edition signed A3 poster from BJJ artist Seymour 'Meerkatsu' Yang! Plus everything listed in the $75 option

    1 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2012

    Scramble gi, totally unique!

    Super-rare, LESS-than-limited edition Scramble gi. This was a prototype for a run of gis that was never made. Only one exists in the whole world! Size A2. Plus everything listed in the $75 option

    1 out of 1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2012
  • $399USD
    A week's free stay in Rio!

    Train in Rio! You'll get one week's accommodation at Connection Rio in a shared dorm (travel not included, a Connection Rio T-shirt and the eBook on training in Rio. ALSO, you'll be featured as an Associate Executive Producer in credits. Plus everything listed in the $75 option

    1 out of 4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2012
  • $599USD
    Exec Producer credit & book

    For this project we are producing a coffee table photo book featuring photos and stories from the masters – only 22 will ever be printed! You'll be listed as an Executive Producer, plus everything listed in the $75 option

    3 out of 4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2012

    Secondary Sponsor (Business)

    Have your business become a secondary sponsor of this video. You get your logo on screen for 4 seconds at beginning and end of video, as well as... -- a copy of the limited edition Red Belt book -- 5 copies of film on the USB memory card -- Listed as sponsor and logo displayed on website -- Private link to the video one week before it goes public

    4 out of 4 claimed

    Primary Sponsor (Business)

    Your business will be listed as Primary Sponsor of the film. Your logo will appear on screen for 6 seconds at beginning and end of video, AND... Have your logo INSIDE the limited edition Red Belt photo book PLUS -- a copy of the limited edition Red Belt book -- 5 copies of film on the USB memory card -- Listed as sponsor and logo displayed on website -- Private link to the video one week before it goes public

    3 out of 3 claimed
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