Born in the heart of Brazil, more specifically in Goiânia city, jiu-jitsu fighter Jonatas Gurgel has landed in Miami to make a big personal dream come true: to open his own gym. At age 30 and away from professional fights, the Brazilian is managing one of the most renowned mixed martial arts gym franchises, American Top Team (ATT).
nomado e faixa preta de jiu-jitsu. Dois anos depois foi convidado por ninguém menos que o rei da Jordânia, Abdullah II, para dar aulas de arte marcial e defesa pessoal aos guardas reais, às forças especiais e à família real. Após a incrível experiência no Oriente Médio, ele se mudou para Miami no ano seguinte quando convidado para ser atleta da American Top Team. Em terras norte-americanas começou a sua carreira no MMA. Apesar das vitórias de sucesso nessa luta, decidiu que queria mesmo era dar aulas de jiu-jitsu na principal academia da equipe, onde já treinaram mais de 50 lutadores do UFC. “Foi um período de aprendizado, principalmente para entender como a academia, o público e o mercado funcionam nos Estados Unidos, bem como a parte administrativa”, conta. Quando surgiu a oportunidade de abrir a ATT, Jonatas tinha 26 anos. Como a maioria dos negócios, os primeiros anos não foram nada fáceis. Além dele, o local contava com apenas dois funcionários: um na recepção e outro professor. Porém, com perseverança, empolgação e foco, o jogo se inverteu. Hoje, sua academia conta com 500 alunos de todas as idades e nacionalidades. No geral, 70% deles são americanos e os outros 30% variam entre brasileiros, latinos e europeus. Com vários planos para o futuro, Jonatas assume que, no momento, sente-se realizado por estar à frente da maior academia de artes marciais de Miami. “Fico muito feliz e grato em ver o esporte sendo valorizado e cada vez mais praticado por crianças, adultos e famílias, e por eu poder fazer parte disso e viver do que eu amo”. American Top Team Aventura, 2148 NE 164st, North Miami Beach, FL 33162 Tel.: +1 (305) 454 0830 – www.attaventura.com
Located in Aventura, the branch has about one thousand square meters and is considered the biggest one of the type in Miami. Besides offering jiu-jitsu, muaythai, boxe, MMA, crossfit, wrestling, submission e self-defense classes, ATT offers the After School program, in which an exclusive transport gets children from all ages at school after class to spend the rest of the day at the gym, doing homework with assistance of teachers, activities and of course, practicing martial arts. When he was on tatami, Jonatas received the nickname “chatty” from his first coach, Cristiano Costa. As the adjective already says, he was an agitated kid who couldn’t stop talking. By the way, fight has appeared in his life as an alternative to spend his excess of energy. In Anápolis city, Goiás state, he had his first contact with jiu-jitsu at age 11. “I moved in to Brasilia city the year after and I heard a lot about teacher João Roque, a renowned jiu-jitsu and MMA athlete. Because of him, I fell in love with the sport. He was a great mentor and an inspiration to start competing”, he remembers.
He started to take part in competitions at age 12, but only at age 15 he stood out nationally and internationally. At age 18, he was already famous and a black belt jiu jitsu fighter. Two years later, he was invited by the king of Jordania, Abdullah II, to teach martial arts and self-defense to royal guards, Special Forces and the royal family. After this incredible experience in the Middle East, he moved in to Miami the year after that, when he was invited to become an athlete at American Top Team. His career on MMA has started on American lands. Although he had victories and success in this path, he decided he really wanted to teach jiujitsu at the main gym of the team, where over 50 UFC fighters have already trained. “It was a learning period, specially to understand how the gym, the public and the market work in the USA, and to understand the business administration as well”, he says. When the opportunity to open ATT came up, Jonatas was 26 years old. As it usually happens with most of business, the first years were not easy at all. Besides himself, the place had only two employees: a receptionist and another teacher. However, having persistence, excitement and focus, he turned the score. Nowadays, his gym has 500 students of all ages and nationalities. Overall, 70% of them are American and the other 30% are Brazilians, Latinos and Europeans.
Having lots of plans for the future, Jonatas admits that, right now, he’s feeling fulfilled for being the owner of the biggest martial arts gym from Miami. “I feel very happy and thankful for seeing the sport being appreciated and more and more practiced by children, adults and families, and also because I can be part of this and for making a living doing what I love”.
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