More than BJJ: a REAL Grappling and Self Defense Center

alpharetta self defense classes

When you start learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and step on the mat for the first time, you realize that's just the beginning of a life long journey to shape your body and mind with "The Gentle Art". Its beauty lies in the way many techniques can interrelate to create a more complete Martial Art.

By request of our members, our UNION TEAM BJJ in Alpharetta is expanding its curriculum to cover all aspects of Submission Grappling, from stand up to ground. According to Master Ricardo Murgel, the idea is "to become a REAL Grappling Center focused on REAL Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, REAL No Gi Submissions Grappling and REAL Throws & Takedowns".

The reason for using the word REAL for each discipline is to assure that all students will learn the full range of techniques, from white belt to black belt. With that in mind, as your Jiu Jitsu progresses under the instruction of Master Murgel, you will find that you have a more complete game for both Jiu Jitsu competition and real life self defense situations.

All classes are taught by Master Ricardo Murgel himself. His resume, with an 8th Degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a Black Belt in Judo, world class Instruction and Coaching on Submissions Grappling and many other contributions to Martial Arts and Law Enforcement, speaks for itself.

Join our team and learn how to defend yourself in extreme close distance combat situations, from stand up to the ground. Come train at the most complete REAL Grappling Center!

Check our revised schedule and book a visit to see us in action!


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Ricardo Murgel Brings the Life Changing Benefits of Real Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to Atlanta

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Alpharetta

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a martial art that teaches how to subdue a larger opponent through the use of body mechanics and leverage, is unquestionably the most effective martial art for real life self defense situations.  It is also the fastest growing. Over the last 20 years, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has exploded in popularity throughout the United States.  During that time it has moved in two different directions; one being toward the highly technical strain that is necessary for success in today’s competitive landscape and the other toward a simpler, more realistic version that is suitable for real life self defense situations.  It’s this second strain that is closer to the authentic core of the original martial art that Helio Gracie developed in Brazil almost a century ago.

            “Originally Gracie Jiu Jitsu was focused only on three things:  throws, traumatic strikes and ground fighting,” says Ricardo Murgel, 8th degree Jiu Jitsu black belt and BJJ legend.  “It is about defending yourself in real world situations and it is the most effective martial art for defending yourself against a larger opponent in a hand-to-hand combat situation that has ever been devised.”  He continues, “The goal of my new gym is to save the spirit of this original Jiu Jitsu philosophy.  We offer our students the full spectrum of what real Jiu Jitsu can provide. We provide everything necessary from the highest-level competitors to people who may never find themselves in a Jiu Jitsu Tournament, but want to focus on self-defense on the street. It will all be taught here along with the unmatched benefits of Jiu Jitsu for health, stress relief and character development.”

            Master Murgel’s new gym location is 5925 Atlanta Hwy, Suite 400, Alpharetta, GA 30004. “Returns dedicated students to the noble origins of the Art Suave that the Gracie Family developed in Brazil almost a century ago,” he says. With over 1,400 square feet of Jiu Jitsu mats, Union Team BJJ will soon be the home of the most elite Jiu Jitsu programs in the Southeastern United States.

            Murgel says Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has many other powerful benefits in addition to self-defense for those who practice it diligently. It is a great way to get in shape. It reduces stress and helps prevent bullying in both children and adults. In addition, since it's principals are based on leverage rather than strength, it is the best martial art for women to learn to defend against larger stronger men in rape prevention programs. Master Murgel, who has devoted over 60 years of his life to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, can testify to the many ways BJJ can improve a person’s quality of life and develop their character.   “If a person is too passive then Jiu Jitsu will make them bolder,” he says.  “If they are too aggressive then Jiu Jitsu will calm them down. More than just a fighting system, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a tool for building a better life.”

                        Murgel, who is one of the highest ranking Jiu Jitsu experts in the world is so confident in what he’s offering at the new school that he doesn’t insist, as do most other martial arts schools and fitness gyms, that students lock themselves into restrictive long-term contracts.  He says that when people experience the quality of his instruction and the life changing benefits of his authentic brand of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, many students will be happy to stick with the program and develop their skills. “Our memberships are built around our student's lifestyles, budgets and level of committment to thier training.  Our students are not going to be pushed for three years or two years or anything like that because we don't want them tied with us only because they are paying for it. We want them with us because they love the quality instruction, they love their teammates, they love to be a member of the team and are as proud to be one of us as we are proud of them.”


Next Time:  Master Murgel Shows How His Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Will Protect Your Child Against Bullies. 

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Inside the Mind of Master Ricardo Murgel (Q+A)

Master Ricardo Murgel with his Eastern European Black Belts

Master 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) 8th Degree Masters of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the world.  I have a unique background, with no parallel to any other BJJ Master or Professor.  I am currently 70 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 8th Degree Master 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 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 competition 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 take downs 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 member, a teammate, and a Union Team Brother-In-Arms!



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