Our Coaches


Mario Sperry

Sensei Mario Sperry is an icon of the Jiu Jitsu community.  He is a black belt under legendary Carlson Gracie where he was one of the main titleholders of the glorious Carlson Gracie competition team. He is a 3x Brazilian Champion, 3x World Champion and has won many ADCC championships and super fights.   He was also awarded in 2000 FIGHTER OF THE DECADE by NAGA (NORTH AMERICAN GRAPPLING ASSOCIATION).  As a coach he founded Sul Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Top Team (BTT) where he directly passed his technique to over 15,000 students of which 500 became black belts. BTT for many years was one of the top Jiu Jitsu and MMA teams in the world.  Currently Mario Sperry holds a 5th degree black belt in Jiu Jitsu and is also a black belt in traditional Japanese Judo.

Gilbert “Durinho” Burns

Gilbert Burns, commonly known in the Jiu Jitsu and grappling community by his nickname “Durinho”, is a 2nd degree black belt under the Nova Uniao team.  At only 30 years of age he is already regarded as one of the top Jiu Jitsu and grappler practitioners of his generation.  As a black belt Gilbert has won many titles despite his young age (World Champion 2011, World Pro Cup Champion 2010, World No-Gi Champion 2010, Brazilian National Champion 2009 CBJJE and a Brazilian National Champion 2010).  In addition to teaching and competing in both Jiu Jitsu and grappling, Gilbert is currently part of the UFC with a MMA record of 11-2-0.


Pedro Loffredi

Pedro is a Judo black belt under legendary Sensei George Mehdi (first non Japanese authorized to teach Judo in Japan), earning his degree 18 years ago.  Throughout the years Pedro had the opportunity to train with the Brazilian National team of Judo for over 2 years in the Projeto Futuro in Sao Paulo. While still in Rio de Janeiro (hometown), Pedro had the chance to teach kids and junior classes at Sensei Mehdi’s school as well as in the Vidigal Favela, as part of a social work project led by Sensei Mauricio Sabatini. A project focused on taking Judo to the impoverished.  In addition to Judo, Pedro worked for 20 years as a fixed income, currency and swap trader, based out of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, New York, London, Luxembourg and Miami, consequently allowing him the opportunity to train Judo and Jiu Jitsu in some of the best gyms around the world.  Pedro is currently a 3rd degree black in Judo and a black belt in Jiu Jitsu.  Pedro also holds an economics degree and master’s degree in finance both from Boston University.