MMA plans in the works for Silva, Pensacola

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The Corsair

Mixed Martial Arts is taking charge in popularity all over the world, and Desiree Cicale believes “Pensacola is going to produce fighters like nowhere else.”

Cicale and her partner, Alex Silva Ruas, own a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA, and Muay Thai training camp on West Gregory Street in downtown Pensacola. As of now, their 1,500 square foot training building is lacking enough space for the growing sport, which is why they have, in blueprints, a newly designed 10,000 square foot training facility and a possible merger with former World Champion, Wanderlei Silva.

“We are hoping to partner with Wanderlei Silva,” Cicale said. “There are just a lot of things that have to be fined tuned, but I really feel confident.”

Ruas, 33, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is a fourth degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. His life has consisted of 27 years in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and 15 years teaching it.

“Jiu Jitsu, explained in Thai, is where a smaller person can get a bigger person on the ground and submit them,” Ruas said. Submission is known in MMA as making the opponent give up on the fight or tap out.

“No matter how good you are, you have to have ground game. Ninety percent of fights always end on the ground,” Ruas said. His training is for men and women of all ages to gain the confidence to be able to defend themselves, when necessary, against a bigger and stronger adversary.

Ruas and Cicale feel the south is 10 years behind, and want to “bring the south up to par with this sport.” They plan on training their athletes for competitions throughout the U.S., and are eager to ship those, who are ready, to move forward more professionally in Las Vegas.

Ruas encourages people seeking training to find a teacher with experience and not someone who makes their students pay for their belts.

“I believe a belt is a gift from the instructor to his students; they have to earn it,” Ruas said. “The biggest role in our camp, Desiree and I, are protecting our athletes. Students have to train with us for six months before they can enter a competition.”

Ruas knows the business as a trainer. He understands that if a student loses a match then it will look bad on him, but if a student wins then he or she gains the recognition.

“Every tournament I can get into I will go,” Jamie Delarosa said. “I take my rage out on mats, instead of the streets.”

Delarosa is a two striped white belt in Ruas and Cicale’s training camp. There are six colored belts associated with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; they are in ranked lowest to highest: white, blue, purple, brown, black, and red. Each belt has four levels or stripes, except black, which has 10.

Delarosa is also a student at PJC who is studying to be a physical therapy assistant. He says that physically participating with other people helped him with his classes, and he is the only person in his family that doesn’t take medication for anxiety. “If you exercise your body then you exercise your mind,” Delarosa said.

Cicale and Ruas want to offer a future step program for the community. Cicale has been teaching education for 30 years and takes the opportunity to push kids to make good grades for the exchange of free classes.

“My dream is to teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to the city of Pensacola for free,” Ruas said. “I believe that if you get the kids off the street and put them in a gym with practice, training, learning the philosophy and the art of respect… you can change the DNA of the system.”

For more information and to contact Ruas and Cicale’s training camp call Brandon Mendez at (850) 377-2019.