Unity Jiu-Jitsu’s Ana Lowry: ‘The Miyao Bros are Excited About Moving To New York City & Will Keep on Training Just as Hard’

Unity Jiu-Jitsu’s Ana Lowry: ‘The Miyao Bros are Excited About Moving To New York City & Will Keep on Training Just as Hard’



The Miyao brothers have made a big step in their career: They  are moving to New York city to teach Jiu-Jitsu at new academy Unity Jiu-Jitsu!

Paulo & Joao Miyao will not be a lone in this adventure as they will be joined by the Cicero Costha tam mates Ana Lowry, & Yago De Souza as well as Murilo Santana from Barbosa.

The opening date is set for January 31st, 2015.

BJJ Eastern Europe talked to Ana Lowry, an American brown belt who has spent the past 6 years training in Sao Paulo, Brazil at Cicero Costha’s academy with the Miyaos, Leandro Lo, Luiza Monteiro and many others. She will also be teaching at Unity Jiu-Jitsu and is part of the project.

Ana, please introduce yourself

I’m Ana Lowry, I will be in charge of teaching the Kids and doing the Introduction Program at Unity Jiu Jitsu, starting January 31st, 2015. I’m a brownbelt no gi world champion, pan am champion, and brazilian national champion. I’m originally from Maine, and just recently moved back to the US after living in Brazil for about six years.

Ana on the left with Luiza Monteiro and Joao Miyao

Ana on the left with Luiza Monteiro and Paulo Miyao

Ana, tell us about how you ended up training at Cicero Costha’s?

Well, I moved to Brazil because at the time, there weren’t many girls competing in the US, and I thought I could get better training if I moved. So I did. I started out training at Barbosa Academy, which at that time was where Cicero Costha was training, too. I was also training nights with Murilo Santana in his classes at a fitness gym called BodyTech. When Cicero went with his Social Project (PSLPB) on his own, the Miyaos were a part of that, and Luiza Monteiro was coming over, so Murilo talked to Cicero and I was invited over to train there as much as I wanted. After that, I was there every day training hard from 12-2pm, and I was getting my butt kicked, and it was wonderful. And I was still going to classes at night with Murilo Santana, to get more drilling and technique in. It was basically a dream situation I’d put myself into, and I’m now spoiled for life.

What do they do different from other academies?

They train, hard, every day. And I don’t say this like other places don’t train hard, and don’t train every day, but from what I know of training at other academies, they take this to a new level.
They have Cicero, who is the most hands-off professor I know of. It causes every single person in the Academy to step up and be accountable for the quality of training, and the whole energy of the place. Cicero is there, he’s available, he’s a great energy, and he will teach anybody anything they want to know. But he basically shows up to the noon class and laughs a lot, gives shit to anybody taking a rest, and does his own training. Written down that might seem like a bad thing, but I’m telling you, it’s magic. He sets the tone for everybody to be happy, humble, not take themselves too seriously, but all the while, the vibe makes you WANT to train your hardest, and train ALL the rounds.
This way has appealed to a lot of people, and the gym is growing fast. They have a great group there, and every single person is there because they want to make a life for themselves out of jiu jitsu. It really is a Social Project, and it’s a successful one, without any money to speak of. It just organically became that way because of the people involved and because of Cicero.



How important is drilling for their team and how do they drill?

Like I said, it’s a hands-off place. Cicero eventually started telling people to drill only passes one week, only sweeps another week, only submissions the next week, to make sure nobody was becoming too one-sided with their games. But we drill every day for an hour before sparring, and you drill what you want. It’s a beautiful thing, too, because you get to lean over and ask the Miyaos “Hey, how do I drill that?” or somebody visiting could have a cool sweep and everybody studies it, and gets to modify it on their own, to fit their particular style. It’s like a jiu jitsu lab every day, with a bunch of highly motivated people. But yeah, people drill how they want. That’s what makes it work.

What was the whole idea behind unity jiu jitsu?

The idea behind Unity Jiu Jitsu, and I don’t want to speak for the other guys, you can look on the website for the “official” idea, but the whole idea from my understanding of it, is to have a place where all of us can come together, despite what teams we want to be affiliated with, and get the best training possible. Doing that, we want to create a jiu jitsu hub for our students, and for friends visiting, with the best possible training. Murilo Santana is the head instructor, because yeah, we just all understood from the beginning that he was the one for the job. The Miyaos are resident athletes, along with Yago De Souza, so they will be there to train with our students. Leandro Lo has commitments in Sao Paulo, so he will be coming up just for training camps, and to visit. And we hope a lot of our other friends who can’t make it up for the first week will be coming up to visit shortly afterwards!
The idea is to take what has been working for us in Sao Paulo, and a few new ideas that we think will make everything work even better, and bring it all to New York City to share with our (hopefully numerous) students/new training partners.

Tell us more about the Unity Jiu-Jitsu project and how you plan to make it work

The project is what it is, we have put a lot of thought into it and everybody has roles that fit their personalities and goals. We’re going to have the Pro Training sessions, morning classes, kids classes, self-defense classes, no gi classes, a truly innovative introduction program that takes a more inclusive approach to a beginners program, in addition to awesome just straight up Jiu Jitsu classes. We have a women’s program that is totally different, designed to integrate women into regular classes, and prevent any of the common problems associated with them being a minority in the sport. We are also hoping to add Homeschooler Classes for the kids as soon as we can get it set up. All around I think we’re different enough, inclusive and integrative enough, to where we will appeal to a lot of people just by being ourselves. What we want in and from jiu jitsu seems to be what a lot of people want in and from jiu jitsu.

Ana at Cicero Costha's

Ana at Cicero Costha’s

Tell us about the facilities

Well, they’re not open yet, first of all! Haha but we will be located at 37th and Madison Ave in Manhattan NYC. We have a space we really like, we like the location and the layout. We are all super excited to be moving to New York! But yeah, it’s going to be a big open room totally covered in mats, because our top priority is to be training as much jiu jitsu as possible. We will have showers, a reception area, and otherwise just mats, everywhere! Haha

How do the Miyao bros feel about the change and how is it going to affect their competition goals?

They’re excited! I mean, I’d say you should ask them, but they don’t talk much. I know they’re excited, because they told me. Just from knowing them, I can tell you, this doesn’t change their goals whatsoever. It quite possibly won’t even change their training routines. Only their location is changing, they will still be training as hard as ever, and competing as much as always. Leandro will be around, Murilo will be around, Yago, Alemao… this is their everyday group of training partners as it is. Plus, they have each other. They could train all the way here if they wanted. On the plane. And they might, in some form or another. Wrist locks!

Any last words?

Yeah, spaces are limited for the Grand Opening, so everybody should RSVP on the website. We will be doing some promotions for Christmas, and during the opening as well. Everybody who RSVP’s gets a free shirt when they show up, and it should be a nice one, too. Other than that, just keep an eye on the social media for the gym, and we will keep you all updated! Thanks very much. Hope to see you all soon!