Thomas Lisboa wanted to be able to defend himself when he was a kid, but not from bullies like most kids. Thomas was the bully and because he was smaller than most, he knew he needed to be able to handle himself. But somewhere along his Jiu Jitsu journey, Thomas went from being a bully to an amazing competitor, a great training partner, and a phenomenal instructor.
Thomas was always an athletic kid. He played soccer, was a skateboarder, practiced Karate and Judo, and as he puts it like every good Brazilian studied Capoeira. But none of these activities gave Thomas the confidence that Jiu Jitsu gave him. Even after only one month of training at the age of 16, he realized the benefits that Jiu Jitsu gave smaller athletes, technique and leverage, over size and strength. Soon, even as a Blue Belt Thomas was on the podium at some of Brazil's larger tournaments. Then he would become an IBJJF World Champion at Purple and Brown Belt.
Thomas's competition success afforded him the opportunity to train under not one but two legends in the world of Jiu Jitsu. First in Brazil with Alliance Jiu Jitsu lead instructor Fabio "The General" Gurgel and a man many consider to be the greatest grappler of all time, Marcelo Garcia. Thomas considers himself lucky to have trained with these men. However, these opportunities arose because of his dedication to Jiu Jitsu as a competitor and instructor.
Thomas received his Black Belt from Fabio Gurgel in 2012 after winning Worlds as a brown belt and in 2015 began instructing at Alliance Jiu Jitsu in Vancouver, British Columbia. Since being awarded his Black Belt from his mentor he has found himself on the podium at the biggest Jiu Jitsu tournaments in the world and has released several instructional videos for BJJ Fanatics. He is now head instructor at Alliance Vancouver and will soon be opening his own academy.