Born in 1973, Andre "Dedeco" Almeida began his Jiu Jitsu journey in his early teens. At that time, he suffered from low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and extreme anxiety attacks. Dedeco was seen by several doctors and eventually was seen by one who practiced Jiu Jitsu. This particular doctor suggested to Dedeco's parents that their son try Jiu Jitsu to help with his anxiety and confidence issues.
Although he was terrified when he first stepped on the mats, Dedeco was welcomed by the legend Ricardo De La Riva, and through Master Del La Riva's guidance, Dedeco fell in love with the martial art. He now gives credit to Jiu Jitsu for everything he has accomplished in life.
Master De La Riva took everything that Dedeco felt was negative in his life and put a positive spin on it. De La Riva began transforming Dedeco from a child that was afraid to walk down his city's streets, into a confident and self-assured teenager. A teenager that went on to become a high-level Jiu Jitsu competitor, Jiu Jitsu instructor, and successful businessman and family man.
Dedeco was given an opportunity in 2004 to move to the United States from his Brazilian homeland. He was offered a position with American Top Team by its co-founder Ricardo Liborio. Dedeco took Liborio up on his offer and moved to Florida. After a short period, he decided he wanted to branch out on his own and took an opportunity to move to the Boston area and start his own academy. Dedeco and his new wife moved from Florida to Massachusetts and began to make a new life. He struggled at first, needing to work as a landscaper and bouncer, as well as teach Jiu Jitsu, and his wife worked 12 to 16-hour shifts at Dunkin Donuts to make ends meet.
This work ethic led Dedeco to where he is today. He is a 5th Degree Black Belt under Ricardo Liborio, the owner of multiple Jiu Jitsu academies, he is the head of New England United Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which has over 20 academies as members, and is co-founder of two BJJ apparel companies that are enormously successful. Dedeco has gone from a terrified teen who suffered from debilitating panic attacks to living the American dream and he believes it is all because of what Jiu Jitsu has given to him.