Monica Vanessa Silva is a pioneering figure for women’s jiu jitsu, being the first Portuguese woman to achieve the rank of black belt in this sport/martial art. A former world champion, European Champion and Abu Dhabi World Pro qualifiers champion, Monica Vanessa Silva has led the classes at the “2 Brothers” academy in Portugal since her Master, Sandro “Bala” left the country in 2009. Monica Vanessa Silva Jiu Jitsu Full Name: Mónica Vanessa Fonseca Da Silva Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Carlson Gracie > Banni Cavalcanti > Julio Lima > Sandro Lima > Monica Vanessa Silva Main Achievements: World Champion (2006 purple) WPJJC Trials Champion (2012, 2011 black, 2010 brown) ADCC Trials Champion – London (2007) European Champion (2009 black & brown absolute, 2007 purple, 2005 blue) Portuguese National Champion (2007 purple, 2005 blue) World Silver Medallist (2009 black & brown, 2007 purple) European Silver Medallist (2010 black & brown, 2006 purple) ADCC Trials Runner Up (2009, 2006) Favourite Technique/Position: N/A Weight Division: Peso Medio (69kg/152lbs) Team/Association: 2 Brothers Monica Vanessa Silva Biography Monica Vanessa Silva was born on the 4th of June, 1985 in Lisbon, Portugal. Her sporting life started through Athletics at the Sporting Clube de Portugal, one of the most prestigious athletics clubs in the country at the age of 9. She trained and competed consistently until she turned 17, at that point as she turned senior, Monica struggled to achieve good marks that would allow her to compete at the highest level. Predicting a grim future for her Athletics career she gave up, just about the same time as jiu jitsu appeared in her life. She found jiu jitsu through a friend who was already training and asked her to join in a class. Monica Vanessa Silva was very impressed with the technicality of the sport and decided to take it seriously. For that purpose she moved from Lisbon to Almada to get instruction from Sandro “Bala” her coach since the she started. It was Sandro who awarded her all belts from their on. In 2009 a great scandal emerged in Portuguese media regarding Monica Vanessa’s trainer, Sandro “Bala” Lima. Sandro was a known bouncer who worked in some of Lisbon’s most dangerous night clubs, and about whom, rumours started emerging regarding possible gang activities. The fact that Sandro’s nickname was “Bala” which means bullet in Portuguese (a name he got due to his quickness on the mats) and that he lived in Almada, an area known for its gang violence, raised the eyebrows of the headline thirsty media. Soon stories started occurring almost daily regarding Sandro Lima’s supposed criminal activities. “Bala” always denied the allegations, many of which were proven to be false. Around the same time, Julio Lima, Sandro’s brother and head instructor of the 2 Brothers academy in Brazil suffered an attempted robbery in Brasilia (capital city of Brazil) and was shot twice on the back of the head. He narrowly escaped death, but as a consequence, Sandro decided to return to his home land to help with the family’s dire situation. After he arrived, as a consequence of the rumours and media pressure, Sandro “Bala” opted for staying in Brazil and handed the leadership of the class to Monica Vanessa Silva, his most dedicated student. Monica Vanessa Silva was a brown belt when she was handed the responsibility of the class. She kept it with a firm hand and the moral support of her coach. Monica Vanessa continued visiting Brazil on a regular basis (every 2 months) to keep her techniques sharp, while competing in the top tournaments of the world; placing regularly on the podium, as a consequence of her hard work, Monica earned her black belt on January 2011.