Most jiu-jitsu fans will be well aware of the Dream Art Project and the importance of this workgroup in our sport’s international circuit. For those outside the BJJ bubble, DA is a professional jiu-jitsu team founded in São Paulo, Brazil, in October 2018 with the purpose of helping a selected group of highly talented young athletes from impoverished backgrounds and arming them with the weapons necessary to see them fulfill their full potential. An All-Star cast to whom the program provides housing, high-level jiu-jitsu instruction, strength & conditioning, nutritional advice, and even language teachers to help these athletes communicate with media and students at international workshops. To learn more about the team’s inception, BJJ Heroes ran an interview with one of the team’s founders, Isaque Bahiense, back in 2019 on this topic, which you can read by clicking here.
From day one, the Dream Art Project has been closely associated with Alliance, the most successful team in jiu-jitsu’s sporting history, representing the famous Grappling Eagles on the global competitive circuit. That partnership has very recently come to an end, with the formal announcement taking place via social media two weeks ago (September 7, 2021) through the team’s coaches, Isaque Bahiense and Gabriel Figueiró. We reached out to the team’s coaches to learn more about the recent break, who replied to our questions as a team.
According to the Dream Art Project’s management, “the choice to join forces with Alliance early on was the right one to make. That meant we were included in the network of the biggest team in the world and one of the few major clubs whose headquarters is located in São Paulo. They were the perfect team to empower our athletes to broaden their horizons see the bigger picture, look towards the future, particularly that time when they will transition from athletes to coaches/managers” they explained.
So what changed? The answer here seems to be that Dream Art is growing and with that growth comes a natural desire to expand and gain more autonomy for the projects ahead: “Our structure and the way we do things is different from the Alliance business model.” Said the Dream Arts team management, “we always tried to complement one another, even with the aches and pains that naturally come with these mergers, we believe we worked well together and managed to support each other a lot over the years, but with the growth of our team, we have plans to expand, we have ambitions that follow our ethos and need to be undertaken independently. Nevertheless, we will be always very grateful to the friends we made there.”
Currently, the Dream Art Project features 45 athletes. 11 women, 34 men, out of which 28 are colored belts and 17 are black belts (many developed in-house) who came from all corners of Brazil. “We will keep believing in our system as a way to educate athletes on and off the mats in our country. Brazil is a huge talent stable with a bright future despite the social inequalities that exist here, and we want to take charge on these issues. We want to face them and help where we can.”
The team only allows new team members in accordance to any vacancies or weaknesses they find in the squad, in any given belt or weight class. Although most of these spots are filled out by talent they spot at the national tournament scene, Dream Art does have an open channel to the general public through their email ([email protected]), where they will receive athlete curriculums and study these as possibilities.
With the aforementioned break from Alliance, Dream Art is now also focussing on its branding. Once strictly running a closed pro-training room, the management has recently opened its doors once per week, on Saturdays, allowing non-team members and hobbyists a chance to train with the pros at the open-mat session.
Another big part of this new stage of the Dream Art brand is the future launch of the team’s seminar tour as well as a website that, according to the team’s leaders, will not be a techniques-driven hub, but a new experience that will focus on a range of topics, although the timeline is not yet fully defined on that.
Whichever way they take it, Dream Art has already left its mark in the sport as one of the most professional approaches ever undertaken in jiu-jitsu, a glimpse of what the future might hold for this ever-growing activity.