Click on picture of an instructor to find out more about them.
Black Belt instructor Rodrigo Carvalho Silva is a great promoter of jiu-jitsu in Western Canada and throughout the Pacific Northwest, both as the Gracie Barra Western Canada Regional Director, and as owner and operator of Gracie Barra Vancouver, one of Canada’s largest martial arts gyms.
Rodrigo Carvalho was raised in the heart of the Amazon in the state of Roraima in Boa Vista, located in the north of Brazil. He moved to Canada in 2009 and has run Gracie Barra Vancouver as Head Instructor since October of 2011.
Rodrigo started studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 1994 and has won many notable competitions, including the Worlds in 2001 and 2005 the Nationals in South Brazil, along with being the five-time Roraima Champion and three-time Amazon Champion. He has also trained numerous World, Brazilian Nationals and MMA champions. He has utilized his knowledge of self-defence to train soldiers in the Brazilian Army in Brasilia, Brazil from 2006 to 2007. In 2008 to 2009, he taught self-defence to the Police Force in Boa Vista State, Roraima, Brazil. He is also a certified CBJJ referee.
His Master’s degree in Physiotherapy from Uniceub University in Brazil has proven essential to his understanding of the physical needs of athletes. Following a holistic approach, Rodrigo is fascinated with the formation of character and behavior in athletes, and strives to address both the athlete’s physical and mental health.
Jennifer Weintz | Rank Black Belt
Jennifer is first and foremost an ambassador for health and well being. She works hard to lead by example and inspire others to be the best that they can be. She believes that too many people settle in life, giving their power away and leaving themselves with a sense of un-fulfillment. “If we all pursued being the best that we can be, we would feel more fulfilled, happy and generally healthier”. In her own way, she tries to “make the world a more beautiful place from the inside out.”
Throughout her natural health journey, she’s acquired other titles, such as Registered Holistic Nutritionist (specializing in sports nutrition), BCRPA Personal Trainer, and a Nationally ranked Bikini Fitness Competitor. More diversely, Jennifer has also travelled to India to become a certified Sivananda-trained yoga instructor, and 13-year veteran make-up artist in the film industry.
As for brazilian jiu-jitsu, she is currently one of the highest ranked females in the province of BC, Canada and holds the following titles:
2005 3rd place budo challenge (blue belt)
2006 1st place Pan American champion, (blue belt)
2007 3rd place Pan American champion in my weight class and open (purple belt)
2008 1st place Pan American champion (purple belt)
2009 3rd place Pan American champion (purple belt)
2009 3rd place at the Worlds (Mundials) in my weight class and open. (purple belt)
Manuel Lopez | Boxing Instructor
Manuel “Madu” Lopez has been training in boxing for almost 13 years. First as a student in his hometown of Mexico City and then as a coach in Canada. His passion and deep understanding of the “sweet science” came naturally to him as a Mexican Canadian.
His love of the sport began as a fan but he didn’t begin training until it was recommended by a former World Champion, Filiberto Nava. Madu is a racecar driver by profession, so Mr. Nava encouraged boxing as a means of improving Madu’s reflexes, reaction time, peripheral vision, strength and conditioning. It did all that and much more.
After leaving Mexico Madu kept training in boxing under the tutelage of trainer, David Olajide. David is from a family of professional boxers and world champions. He instilled a traditional boxing style with an emphasis on total body conditioning.
Madu later trained with two time World Champion boxer, Vaia Zaganas.
To keep improving on his knowledge and skills, when Madu goes back to Mexico he trains under different coaches and at different gyms. Including Renzo Gracie MMA academy and other traditional mexican boxing gyms from where current world champions like Juan Manuel Marquez and Abner Mares (Mexican Olympian, current World Champion and Madu’s friend) have trained. He’s also trained at Freddy Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Gym in LA
Manuel has carried on a dynamic and disciplined approach to the sport. His highly technical expertise is appreciated by his many students, including several who are pursuing amateur boxing careers with a goal to eventually turn professional. He has also coached at a project called Queer Box Camp which makes boxing accessible in a very friendly atmosphere to members of the LGBT community in Vancouver.
Dan Slobodin | Muay Thai Instructor
Dan has been training in the Martial Arts for well over 10 years. He first started in Tae Kwon Do at 7 years old. Dan started resumed training again in Jeet Kune Do, at the Creative Fighters Guild. After developing a taste for the striking arts, he trained briefly at Kel Lee’s Academy before moving to Montreal to learn Savate, as well as train Muay Thai at the well known Gelinas Academy of Martial Arts (GAMMA).
In 2005, he moved to the West Kootenay region of BC, where he trained and fought Muay Thai under Brent Russel (Dam City Thaiboxing) until the closing of that gym in 2007. Since then he has continued to learn and train in the art of Muay Thai both in Vancouver and more recently, Thailand where he had the opportunity to train with some excellent instructors, such as Lumpini Champion Chinnarach chor. Watcharin.
He has also earned his certification as a Specialist in Sports Conditioning and continues to train at Gracie Barra Vancouver as a Blue Belt in BJJ.
KB-1 Fight Night (Vancouver)
Rage in the Ring (Lethbridge)
Kootenay Fight Challenge (Castlegar)
BC BJJ Championships (Bronze – White Belt Div.)
Black Belt under Duke Roufus
Certified Sports Conditioning Specialist – International Sports Science Association (2012).
Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario
Rank: Brown Belt
Gracie Barra under supervision of Professor Rodrigo Carvalho.
Favourite BJJ achievement: In 2012, he won 21 gold medals, 1 silver medal and 3 bronze medals at a total of 13 tournaments including the IBJJF World Championship, IBJJF Pan Championship, and IBJJF American National Championship.
On Tuesday December 20, 2012, he was considered one of GracieMag’s “Rising Stars: Our Bets on Who Will Build Their Name in 2013″.
“Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the way I found to build self-confidence, love and respect and to live a positive life. It’s not just a sport, it’s a commitment to yourself and others. It’s a way of life and an opportunity to help people to develop a sense of community from the ground up.”
Hometown: La Brea Village – Trinidad and Tobago
Fight style Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Boxing and Taekwondo
Rank: Purple belt
Affiliation Gracie Barra under supervision of Professor Rodrigo Carvalho.
Provincials 2010 – two gold medals
Local tournaments 2011, 2012 and 2013 – Multiple gold and silver medals
NAGA 2013 – Two gold medals
BC Open 2011 – Three gold medals
Pan-Ams 2013 – one bronze medal
Raz Chan | Rank Black Belt
Raz was born into a martial arts family and started training in martial arts at the age of 5. His father master James Chan ran one of the first martial arts school in Canada. As a child, Raz started his training under Am Lee Taekwondo followed by Sikaran under Dante Alambra. Although he enjoyed the martial arts it didn’t become a full time passion until he saw his first UFC and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He began to train under Dennis Wolfe in kickboxing, boxing, and submission grappling eventually becoming certified in Defendo, a military based self-defense system.
In 2004, he began his journey in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu where he eventually met his teacher Todd Nathanson, a 3rd degree black belt under Jean-Jacques Machado in Los Angeles. In 2011, he became a private student under Professor Rodrigo Carvalho. Their guidance has helped Raz quickly rise through the ranks in international tournaments.
Under the cooperation of Professor Nathanson & Professor Carvalho, Raz received his brown belt in Novovember 2013.
He is an top level competitor on the international tournament circuit. His achievements include:
2012 World Masters Seniors Jiu-Jitsu Championships Featherweight Silver Medalist
2012 American Nationals Jiu-Jitsu No Gi Championships Middleweight Tournament Champion
2012 American Nationals Jiu-Jitsu No Gi Championships Open Weight Bronze Medalist
2012 American Nationals Jiu-Jitsu Championships Light Weight Bronze Medalist
2011 US Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships Senior Light Weight Tournament Champion
2011 US Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships Senior Open Weight Tournament Champion
2011 Pan American Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships Bronze Medalist
2010 World No-Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships Silver Medalist
2010 Las Vegas Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship Senior Light Weight Tournament Champion
2010 Las Vegas Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship Senior Open Weight Bronze Medalist
Vieng Sihalathavong | Rank Black Belt
Professor Vieng’s philosophy in martial arts, is that of not only for competition or self-defence but also for the fitness and unification of the mind, the body and the spirit, and also the appreciation and respect for tradition and values.
Professor Vieng started training martial arts in 1981. He has extensive knowledge in Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, Wing Chun, Hapkido, and The Filipino Ikadan Kali.
He is a renown competitor, with over 18 years of experience, winning 16 BC championships, 6X National medallist and 3X International medallist.
He began training BJJ in 1992, but due to his major competitive commitment as a Tae Kwon Do competitor he could not pursue it full-time. In 2005, he began training BJJ full-time and he currently teaches one of the 170lbs. and under classes at GBV, under the tutelage of Professor Rodrigo Carvalho.
He has trained Tae Kwon Do under the tutelage of a variety of different instructors such as Master Kang, Master Sun S. Choi, Master Dennis Chan and Master D. T. Lim (former world champion 1981-1983).
His positive attitude and spirit are a great asset to all team members at Gracie Barra Vancouver.
Leonard Henrique Oliveira da Silva
Leonard Henrique Oliveira da Silva
Professor Da Silva started doing BJJ back in 1993 under his friend and Professor Flavio Ferreira in Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro. After moving to Salvador he continued training with his good friend and Professor Carlos Zuqueto Boa Morte. He has been active on and off the mats during the last 20 years due to injuries and his passion and love for water sports, namely surfing. Before moving to Canada, he was uncertain of what a new country would have in store for him and that’s when Professor Boa Morte told him to believe in Jiu-Jitsu. He began training under Professor Carvalho at GBV in 2011. Professor Da Silva can be found training and teaching the early morning classes at Gracie Barra Vancouver, where he continues to make a lasting impression on all those who train with him. He is the 2013 Worlds Master and Seniors Bronze medallist as a purple belt, and a great asset to the coaching staff at Gracie Barra Vancouver.