A chance encounter would lead Luis to Ricskon. One day when he was out surfing on the beaches of Brazil he decided to take a wave, somebody else was surfing that day and decided to take the same wave, they eventually would collide. The man that Luis collided with was Rickson Gracie. Luis refers to this day as lucky because he said Rickson was in a good mood that day. After apologizing about colliding and talking with Rickson, Luis was persuaded to train at their academy.
Luis happened to live very close to the Gracie headquarters and keep in mind this was in the 80’s. At the time that Luis started training BJJ he was able to learn directly from grandmaster Helio Gracie and Rickson. Helio and Rickson had a very different approach to bjj than many people do now. They emphasized the basics and the concept of “high level fundamentals.” Helio infamously told Luis “the only reason to play open guard is because you forgot to close it.” They loved the closed guard and stuck to the fundamentals.
Luis spent countless hours at the academy learning from the first family of jiu jitsu . On top Luis' game revolves around 1 term - pressure. He concentrates all of his weight into one point so the opponent can't use their guard. Back then belts weren't given out like candy like they are today. Luis had his blue belt for 7 years - that is training 4-5 times a week. Once Luis got his blue belt he met his initial goal: he could take care of himself in the street. But at blue he got some new goals: he started to love the art and he dedicated his life to it.
Luis received his purple belt in 1987, this was a time when being a purple belt was extremely rare. He would eventually move to America with Rickson and Ralph Gracie to help Royce manage and maintain the Gracie academies in the U.S. Eventually Luis would help Rickson separate himself from his family and open his own academies. He would eventually earn his brown belt in 1991 and then his black belt from the man, Rickson Gracie in 1995. Luis has stayed with his friend and mentor ever since.
Luis trained Jiu Jitsu with several people but was never to intrigued by it before his accidental surfing encounter with Ricskon. He was training with Carlson Gracie, Murilo Bustamante, and many other famous people who trained BJJ in the Copacabana area of Brazil in the 70’s and 80’s. Luis has been around the block and has seen everything and anything that there is to see in bjj. Not only does he also have an extensive competition resume. Luis has had his fair share of self-defense encounters as well. He has been in almost a hundred fist fights, this may not be something to brag about but it is something that allows him to develop proper self-defense knowledge. Many people today claim they understand self-defense principles but many of these people do not have experience. Luis has a little to much experience for his own good. He has been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for well over 30 years with the best in the world. He truly is a living legend.
Luis is infamous for having an absolute mastery of the basics. He was always said to have one of the best cross chokes in BJJ. Much like one of his original instructors, Helio Gracie, he loves the closed guard and again, more particularly, he loves the Cross Choke. Luis is also famous for having an abnormal amount of pressure. He has what people refer to as “heart attack” pressure. When he is in side control it feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest. His side control submission series is also excellent.