Our Work

Jiu Jitsu Tribe's mission is to inspire, impact, and improve the lives of at-risk children and young adults in impoverished communities worldwide, utilizing jiu-jitsu as a personal and social development tool. The 501 C3 Nonprofit organization was founded in 2010.

🔗 Our organization operates in three interconnected areas:

🧠 Mental Health

We've partnered with the behavioral center, Resilient Health @resilienthealthaz, and AZ BJJ League @azbjjleague Schools in Arizona to utilize jiu-jitsu as part of their treatment for anxiety disorders, depression, and more. Patients identified as potential scholarship students are offered a six-month membership and a uniform at a nearby academy. The results have been incredibly positive.


🔄 Social Project Sustainability

Each year, numerous nonprofits close due to a lack of support. Jiu-Jitsu Tribe aims to change that. Through our partnership with @brausfight BRAUS, every JJT Kimono sold funds for a new gi for a child in the project. Providing construction improvements and mats; plus, our ADOPT A SOCIAL PROJECT program supports coaches' monthly salaries, further ensuring the sustainability of our work.

🥋 Jiu-Jitsu Tribe Institute

@institutojiujitsutribe Our dedicated institute in Nova Hartz, 70km from Porto Alegre in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil provides free jiu-jitsu classes under black belt Leandro "Leo" Gonzaga.

In addition, starting in January 2024, we'll also be teaching an empowering personal development curriculum from the accredited Instituto Ascendendo Mentes @ascendendomentes. The content includes social-emotional learning, financial education, and professional certificate programs to prepare youngsters for the market.

💙 If you believe in the power of jiu-jitsu to make the world a better place, join our mission. Do you want to get involved? Click here.


Meet the Social Project 'Higher Ground' - Tucson, Arizona, United States

The nonprofit organization Higher Ground was founded in 2011 by Jansen Azarias, a jiu-jitsu brown belt. Since then, it has offered judo and jiu-jitsu classes in its after-school programming for youth in an economically-disadvantaged area of Tucson, Arizona.


The population served by Higher Ground is predominantly of Latino/Hispanic/Mexican descent. Approximately 90% of the public school students in this area qualify for free or reduced lunch. There is an alarming rate of in-school and out-of-school suspensions due to discipline violations, such as fighting, other minor aggressive acts, defiance/disrespect toward adults or authority, disorderly conduct, possession of drugs, tobacco or combustibles, graffiti, and trespassing. Additionally, over 70% of the population served by Higher Ground has experienced at least two, and often more, traumatic life events just in the last year alone.


Higher ground aims to empower one life at a time to REACH, TRANSFORM and ELEVATE their community through love and character-building with many different after-school programs, one of them being jiu-jitsu.


In the Fall 2018 semester, Higher Ground began implementing a judo/jiu-jitsu program in replace of a regular P.E. class for a select group of 6th-grade students at Hollinger K-8, a school in the Tucson Unified School District.

Higher Ground SW Classic

The judo/jiu-jitsu program will utilize a customized research-based Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum, focusing on three critical domains of SEL practice: Emotion Management, Problem-Solving, and Initiative.


These three domains seek to develop a young person's self-awareness and ability to handle positive and challenging emotions constructively. Additionally, the curriculum is designed to improve their abilities to plan, strategize, and implement complex tasks and their capacity to take action, sustain motivation, and persevere through challenges to meet identified goals.


Combining judo/jiu-jitsu practice with an SEL approach has been seen to deliver positive behavioral development in a fun and engaging manner, translating to improved attitude and performance results well beyond the judo/jiu-jitsu setting.


Meet the Social Project 'GADITAS' - Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

"It's not about you; it's about others."

Do you believe this statement? I want to share a story with you, but first, let me ask you this: Do you remember when you were 12? What was happening back then? Was it a healthy childhood?


What if, when you were twelve, you started to use drugs, and next thing, you're dealing drugs and in trouble with the law for the NEXT ten years of your life?


What person would you become after these ten years? What are the chances of you saying: "It's not about me; it's about others."


The odds are very low, however, as the motivational speaker Les Brown says: "'It's possible!" 'People can turn their lives around, and martial arts can be an incredible personal development tool for those on the wrong path.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners like to say: "Jiu-Jitsu saves lives," and it did save the life of 35-year-old Eduardo Oliveira from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.


Eduardo grew up in a rough, impoverished community in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul. And in Brazil, usually, drug dealers start carving a career plan for the young kids who start as "watchers," they watch if the police are coming and let the drug dealers know.


For this kind of work, a 12-year-old can make more than their mom and dad together, plus flashing the new shoes and jewelry. It's very tempting for those kids.

Gaditas Fachada

The Jiu-Jitsu projects located inside these impoverished communities can LITERALLY save lives, and Eduardo was saved by Jiu-Jitsu and achieved his black belt by his coach Guto Campos.


Eduardo realized that it was not about him; it was about others and decided to start a BJJ social project to teach kids around the age that he began to get in trouble. At first, he used some old beat-up mats and started asking for donations for the 'gi's, and the project began to grow.


In 2023, Projeto Gaditas will serve at least 200 students in two locations for free and at the H.Q., which is attached to his house where he lives with his wife, two of his kids, plus 16 adopted kids. You heard that right, 18. Gaditas became an orphanage.


They used to have one big room full of bunk beds, and his goal was to create more spaces to split the boys from the girls, and the little from the big ones, build extra bathrooms and a new kitchen, which he did!


He started the construction with no money, and through Gaditas supporters' donations, they began to make progress; however, due to a lack of funds, the process was paused.


That is when the jiu-jitsu tribe and its donors came into the picture. We helped speed up the process with the help of donors who believe it's not about them; it's about others and raised $10000, almost 50000 Reais in Brazilian Currency, to finish the construction.

Gaditas Geral

They arrange school tutors and local doctors who donate their time to check their health: Physicians, dentists, personal trainers, psychologists, and anyone who can help with their health and development, and mainly believe that it's not about them; it's about others. The project survives by a minimum wage salary sponsored by the Jiu-Jitsu Tribe and donations;


We met Eduardo through Jose Luis, the co-founder of Jiu-Jitsu on the road with his wife Aline, and they visited over 50 projects around Brazil traveling by Van. He said:


"Gaditas is not just a jiu-jitsu social project; it's an orphanage! They have an incredible program with a lot of expenses."


Unfortunately, Jiu-Jitsu is an excellent personal development tool that is not accessible to everyone, especially to kids and young adults from impoverished communities.


Eduardo's purpose is to change lives through jiu-jitsu. Despite all the difficulties and struggles, he woke up for life and envisioned living for others to prevent more kids from experiencing what he lived.


Now we would like you to reflect on your purpose. Do you think about it at all? I believe we all have a purpose in life, and it's your job to find yours and do your best to live in unity with the vision of your life because life is short, so you might as well live a meaningful and fulfilling one.


"It's not about you; it's about others."


If you're already supporting a nonprofit organization, congratulations, and keep it up! If you're currently not, it's never late to begin; learn how to get involved by clicking here


Both organizations and their donors are committed to serving others. What about you?


Our Process

Project Selection


One of the most critical aspects of our work is project selection.  While there are many well-meaning social projects around the world, few projects contain the necessary elements for continued success. 

We believe the most critical long-term success factor is good local leadership.  We first look for leaders that we feel confident that we can invest in.  These leaders are vetted to ensure they share the same vision and values as Jiu-Jitsu Tribe and our donors. 

During project selection, we also consider additional factors such as need, community, political factors, and how many lives can potentially be impacted by our investment.



Once we have identified the project costs that become our fundraising goal. We kick off our fundraising campaign and diligently work with our existing and new donors until our goal is met.

We don’t begin the rehabilitation phase of the project until a minimum viable fundraising goal has been met.


Cost Estimation

cost estimation

Once a project has been selected, we begin the process of estimating the costs of the rehabilitation project. Every project has different needs, so the costs range from project to project.

Our objective is to ensure that every project has a minimum of the following:

• A safe and functional training room with adequate space for current students and the potential for additional students.
• Quality training mats
• Proper sanitary environment including functional bathrooms, showers, and cleaning supplies.
• Clean kimonos
• Adequate compensation for the project leader to stay solvent and keep the project running (if necessary)



Once the funds are secured, we identify trustworthy contracts in the local community to begin the rehabilitation process.

We believe that it is important to use contractors and suppliers in the local community whenever possible, as this furthers our goal of improving the community.


Milestone Reporting


Jiu-Jitsu Tribe is committed to being 100% transparent with our donors and partners.

We will provide detailed updates on the construction process complete with photos and stories of the lives affected.

Update emails will be sent on a monthly basis as a minimum but may be more frequent if we have additional exciting milestones to report.



The longevity of the programs we support is high priority. To accomplish this, we provide access to consumables or supplies that are required to maintain a clean, safe, and accessible learning environment.