But Antelante gravitated toward Brazilian jiujitsu, a form of martial arts that was gaining popularity in his hometown at the time.
“In Rio de Janeiro ... jiujitsu is very famous over there,” Antelante said. “Soccer is very famous all over the country, but jiujitsu, in [that] neighborhood, is very famous.”
After progressing through the ranks of his local gym in Brazil, Antelante began teaching some children’s classes in 2001. He said his inspiration to open his own Brazilian jiujitsu gym came from influential instructors who first got him hooked on the martial art.
“I got in love [with] teaching people because I saw how many lives my professors changed,” he said.
Fast-forward to the early 2010s: Antelante moved to the United States and began teaching classes in Dallas.
Antelante said the martial art differs from others because of its real-world applications.
“Brazilian jiujitsu is [one of the] more efficient martial arts in the world because it’s coming [from] self-defense,” Antelante said.
Some of Antelante’s personal accomplishments include multiple American national championships in Brazilian jiujitsu and in No-Gi, a form of jiujitsu conducted without the use of traditional uniforms. Most recently, he traveled in January to compete in a European tournament and to hold seminars in Barcelona, Spain, and Budapest, Hungary.
MA BJJ Academy offers classes for all ages and skill levels.
“We have a fundamentals class, beginners class, all-levels class, advanced class and a women’s-only class,” he said.
The Brazilian jiujitsu gym also offers children’s classes, private lessons as well as competition-based classes and No-Gi classes.
Antelante said he sees Brazilian jiujitsu as more than a sport.
It offers lessons in everything from building meaningful relationships, practicing discipline and promoting healthy eating and exercise, he said.
“I don’t sell ... martial arts,” he said. “I sell lifestyle. I sell confidence.”
MA BJJ Academy
2108 Hurd Drive, Ste. 200, Irving
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 6 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. noon-3 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m.