Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor Marcus Soares is offering youth free classes at his training academy in Maple Ridge. (Special to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News)

Brazilian jiu-jitsu offered as part of ‘bully-proof’ program in Maple Ridge

Marcus Soares is an 8th degree black belt

After nearly five decades of teaching Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a Maple Ridge coach wants to pass his skills on to kids for free.

The Marcus Soares Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy is offering youth a chance to learn how to defend themselves as part of a “bully-proof” program.

The academy namesake, Marcus Soares, has been teaching the martial art since 1970. Born and raised in Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he moved to Canada in 1997.

“Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a natural anti-bullying martial art, I didn’t invent anything,” he said.

READ MORE: High school teachers hope jiu-jitsu will instill discipline, confidence in students

Soares has been practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu since he was 13years old. An eighth degree black belt, Soares trained under the infamous Gracie family who has been credited for developing the martial art.

The 63-year-old said the idea for the program came after several parents contacted him because their child was having problems at school or home.

“When that child starts to see some success in class, it carries over into their daily lives including school and more importantly their home life,” said Soares.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is different from other forms of martial arts, it doesn’t entail punching or kicking. Instead the program teaches students how to avoid strikes, escape out of holds and learn takedowns.

“We often find that it takes just a positive environment with some structure and finding that the kids can express some of that energy in a focused way,” he said.

In the past the academy has offered one week of free classes to children, however this year their Maple Ridge location is offering one month of free classes for kids in September and October.

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Also, outside of those two months of free class time the academy has reserved spots for children whose families cannot afford the scheduled classes.

“This year we have opened our doors to offer up to 10 free spots in our youth and teen programs for those who find that cost is a barrier to ‘bully-proofing’ their kids, or those families who feel that their kids need an outlet for difficulties they are having at home or at school,” said Soares.

The academy is hosting an open house on Saturday, Sept. 21 where a special class for both kids and adults will be held at 12 p.m. at the Maple Ridge location at 11517 Kingston St.

“To see the changes in kids who come in shy, or even the kids who perhaps are the bullies and see them being humble and their attitude change, that has been some of the most rewarding experiences in my 50 years of teaching [Brazilian jiu-jitsu],” said Soares.

Parents looking for more information can contact the program direction, Dana Adams at 604-725-9797 or email

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