Although I was born in Brazil, living in Australia for most of my childhood meant rugby and surfing were part of growing up. My father brought me along on his trips to Hawaii as he prepared to compete in the Eddie Aikau.

When rugby season finished I was searching for a summer sport outside of the water. A sign for a new academy offering MMA, muay thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu caught my eye. I decided to start the MMA class once a week, which eventually grew to training three times a week in BJJ.

I really found my passion for jiu-jitsu when I went to live with my dad at Bells beach, one of the best waves in the world. I could have easily focused on surfing but the jiu-jitsu academy was calling to me and before I knew it, I was training 7-8 times a week! It clicked that this is where I wanted to go in life.

After I finished school my mom called me about affordable flights to Brazil during the FIFA World Cup. Less than a month later I returned to the country I was born in!

Kanan Clarke-Jones

Despite all the time in gyms, I was still ignorant to the roots and history of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Being in Sao Paulo finally gave me the opportunity to understand the art I was devoted to. I was fortunate enough to have some local connections that got me learning under great instructors and champions like Fabio Gurgel, Demian Maia, Michael Langhi, and Thomas Lisboa.

I fell in love with the lifestyle of jiu-jitsu here in Brazil. Brazilians live, eat, breathe jiu-jitsu. After each tough training session, everyone stays on the mat talking over different techniques and sharing a laugh. It’s a different culture and atmosphere than anywhere in the world. Which as an outcome produces the best fighters in the world and if you want to be above the rest, this is the place to be. 

What originally turned out to be a five-month trip turned into a permanent move. Brazil is my home again.