WHAT'S THE PROJECT?
Well the first question is, what is a “Mc Dojo”? According to the Urban Dictionary:
“McDojos are schools that are run and owned for the purpose of making money. Typically you are able to get a black belt in less than 2-3 years, and you are usually guranteed success on the black belt test. These schools charge outrageous amounts of money, have extensive contracts, and are sometimes cult like.”
Like the old Karate schools in the 70’s teaching imitation Kung Fu, or the Kung Fu schools in the 80’s teaching “ancient secrets" of the Shaolin Monks. With every era in the martial arts, pop culture tends to dictate what schools teach what, whether they’re qualified or not.
Today, it’s Jiu-Jitsu, more specifically, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), a powerful art form originated by the Gracie family. Why? Say "thank you" to the popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and the UFC worldwide. Now everyone is teaching some form of BJJ, even if they aren’t qualified, haven’t ever competed or don't even have a lineage to trace back to.
This documentary’s aim is to preserve the culture, the truth and the personalities of the living legends of Jiu-Jitsu. From names like Renzo Gracie, Eddie Bravo, Rafael Lavato Jr, Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro, Marcelo Garcia, the list goes on and on. The story: it focuses on an introduction to what BJJ is initially, takes us into the lives, practices and gyms of these individuals all over the world and finally, hones in on several competitions held throughout the world.
We’re here with this fundraiser to set things up for the film production crew, Festival fees, theater fees, filming nationally and internationally and for the final post production and distribution fees. So it’s a pretty hefty load, even for a small documentary project like this.
Most importantly, This is a NON-PROFIT affair. Meaning that while we’re raising funding for the production of the film, “This Is Jiu-Jitsu” will not be for sale when all is said and done with final production. The idea behind this entire project is that this film is everybody’s film; your contribution cements your place as a member of the vast Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu family and of course, guarantees yourself a copy either by funding or through availability from a number of BJJ schools worldwide.
BJJ’s legends and masters remain alive and well and the measuring stick to this day continues to be proving and improving your skills on the mat. The mat is the ultimate equalizer. We want to capture this spirit as a documentary feature film to preserve for generations of white belts to come.
THE TEAM MEMBERS
We have an ever growing team involved behind the production of this film. This list will steadily expand and we'll keep you updated on who joins and their roles within "This Is Jiu-Jitsu"!
PRODUCER: Emilio Novoa (former President of ADCC USA)
Emilio has been the American President of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club, the largest and most prestigious grappling organization in the world. In addition, he's worked within the Renzo Gracie Academy as Dir. of Sales and Marketing.
PRODUCER: Paula Romero (former Director of Operations, SEG)
The Original Queen of the UFC, Paula was the Dir. of Operations during the old school SEG era of the UFC. She's helped manage fighters, organize shows, publicity and so many other duties that came with the SEG's UFC operations right up until the Zuffa purchase.
DIRECTOR: Kahleem Poole-Tejada (Director and Cinematographer)
Director and Cinematographer for "This Is Jiu-Jitsu", among other films. He's delved into the New York scene with films such as "New York Mixed Martial Arts", "9-11: A Fighting Spirit" and has worked alongside martial arts promotions such as Strikeforce, M-1 Global, Take On, Bellator MMA and MSG Sports.
WRITER: Levan Reginald Hines
An incredibly talented screenwriter, "Reggie" has partnered with Kahleem on several projects. Including "New York Mixed Martial Arts", "The Salt of Life" and many other narrative and documentary films.