Grandmaster Ricardo Murgel with his Eastern European Black Belts

Q: What is the Mission of the Union Team BJJ Headquarters?

A: Our Mission- Regardless of whether you are a kid, a teenager or an adult, our Mission is the same: Make you a Champion on the Mats, as well as in life.

Q: How do you accomplish that?

A: Through the teaching of a very updated, dynamic, customized Jiu-Jitsu & Submission Grappling Programs specifically developed for the age, gender and goals of the student.

We have programs for kids from 8 to 10 years old, for teens from 11 to 15 years old, and for adults from 16 to 30 years old, and masters (over 30 years old).

We combine conditioning & technical training and continuously emphasize the relevance of our rules of engagement and conduct. The Strength of Character, Loyalty, Teamwork, and Commitment are essential requirements for each of us.

Q: Who are you?

A: I am Ricardo Murgel, The Head Coach, Instructor, and Founder of the Union Team.

I am one of the few (less than 20) 9th Degree Grandmasters of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the world. I have a unique background, with no parallel to any other BJJ Grandmaster or Professor. I am currently 74 years old.

l started my Martial Arts & Law Enforcement Journey at the age of 12, back in 1957, in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

I am a Judo Black belt, with extensive training in Boxing, Muay-Thai, Luta Livre (Free Style Grappling), Submission Grappling, and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), as a competitor, Instructor, and Coach. I also have weapons expertise covering edged and improvised weapons as well as firearms.

I am the only 9th Degree Grandmaster of BJJ that also is certified by the P.O.S.T (Peace Officer Standard Training Council) as Guest Defensive Tactics and Firearms Instructor. I have been sharing my practical, hands on experience all over the world for more than four decades now. My full bio is available on our website.

In the field of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Submission Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts, my accomplishments speak for themselves. I have trained and continue to train and coach hundreds of competitors, including dozens of World, National, and State BJJ and Submission Grappling champions. I have also trained and coached MMA fighters in the Pride Championships and the UFC.

I founded the UNION TEAM BJJ ORGANIZATION in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1985. Over the years, our organization has grown, and we now have schools in Brazil, the USA, and several countries in Europe. Our UNION FAMILY is a Band of Brothers, with thousands of members and many affiliated schools, all linked with the same rules of engagement and conduct. Our Motto speaks for itself, “A True Warrior is Known by the Strength of his Character.”

As a Law Enforcement Instructor Trainer, with a specialty on Extreme Close Quarters Combat, and Science of Human Behavior (aka Management of Aggressive Behavior) I have been teaching Law Enforcement Agencies all over the world, including Elite Forces.

I have been living in Atlanta since 2007, and I am very proud to say that in 2015 my wife and I became American Citizens! From 2009 until recently, I was the head of the BJJ and Submission Grappling program at a multiple activity, commercial fitness school.

Due to philosophical differences with the school’s owner in regards to the vision and the future of the BJJ program, I tendered my resignation and decided to open my own school, which also serves as the Union Team World Headquarters.

I see the Martial Art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu not as a way to make money, but as a thought process, a way of life, and a helping guide through our ultimate journey through life. Our assistant instructors are experienced, high level BJJ competitors and are fully committed with our organization’s goals and ethical principles.

Q: Who are some of the BJJ, Submission Grappling, and MMA Fighters have you taught and coached over your four decade plus career?

A: Just a few of them that I can mention off the top of my head would be:

  • BJJ Black Belt World and Pan-Am Champion, Marcio Corleta
  • Current UFC Heavyweight Champion and BJJ Black Belt World Champion, Fabricio Werdum,
  • UFC Veteran, Nate Marquardt
  • ADCC Champion, Mark Robinson
  • ADCC Champion and No-Gi World Champion, Joao Assis
  • BJJ World Champion, Judo Olympian, and Wrestling Olympian, Rosangela “Zanza” Conceicao
  • MMA fighter Valdir “Kbeca”
  • Many other top competitors including; Lucas Cardoso, Guilherme Freitas, Rodrigo Barcellos, Alessandro Crema, Nicolas Crema, Joao Pedro Carazzoni, Everton Davila and many, many others.

We also have many outstanding Black Belt Professors in our organization, teaching our new generation of true warriors throughout the USA, Brazil, and Europe.

Q: What Training Programs are offered at the UNION TEAM BJJ Headquarters?

A: We are a full time, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Submission Grappling academy. Our Kids and Teens programs are a combination of sport-oriented Jiu-Jitsu along with Anti-Bully Preparation and Actions. They are designed to teach the students to handle the harsh reality of Bullying, which exists everywhere.

It is based on the renowned “BullyProof” developed by Gracie Jiu Jitsu. We have a complete program, including Parent Management.

This includes the rules of engagement along with nonviolent self-protection techniques that will give the essential self-confidence and the skills for children to protect themselves. We also cover the “Safety Essentials” for the prevention of child abduction, avoidance of drug involvement, street smarts, situational awareness, respect, internet risks, and emergency actions and escapes.

The Adult Programs have been designed for beginners, intermediates and advanced levels of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Submission Grappling students. We focus on the highly competitive sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and have a very strong competitive team.

But we also have available training in the Self Defense side of the Martial Art through seminars I have developed for law-abiding citizens and for Law Enforcement Officers.

In different modules, we address Management of Aggressive Behavior, Hand to Hand Combat, Weapons Defense, and retention, Justified Use of Force, etc.

The Motto of those Programs is “Always Be Justified!”

The meaning is simple: The use of any level of physical force must always be justified, due to the potential legal consequences.

We have daily Adult classes with specialty conditioning for BJJ and Submission Grappling, Drills, Techniques and Sparring.

We also have specific training classes covering takedowns and throws. These “Take-down” classes cover the attacks as well as defense and counter-attacks.

Remember, “There is no substitute for Experience!”

You are welcome to check our unique teaching and training System. Every school out there claims to be the best, but we believe that YOU must evaluate which one best fits your goals.

You are not a membership to us, you are a member, a teammate, and a Union Team Brother/Sister-In-Arms!


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