Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champion opens Lawrence school

LAWRENCE, Kan., June 21, 2013 – Leo Peçanha, a Nova União Black Belt and three-time International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion, is continuing his evolution as the top instructor in the Kansas City area with the opening of Nova União Lawrence, a new school that will specialize in a variety of martial arts.

Peçanha, a native of Rio de Janeiro, moved to Kansas City at age 29 to take what he calls “a leap of faith.” He quickly grew his teaching career to encompass three area schools and, most recently, teamed up with Mike Phillips, Partner, to open Nova Unãio Lawrence.

The new school, which opens on June 22, will offer Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instruction, as well as Krav Maga, Muay Thai, MMA and Karate. Phillips says that the facility gives students a chance to train with one of the best.

“Finding a BJJ black belt from Rio here in the Kansas City market is very rare,” Phillips says. “Leo’s skills are truly on a different level than anyone else here in the metro area.”

Phillips speaks from personal experience. An interest in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu inspired Phillips to pursue lessons, which he took from Peçanha. During that time, Phillips not only honed his skills—he quickly realized Peçanha’s inherent talent and natural teaching inclination.

“Leo is a wonderful combination of teacher and participant,” Phillips says. “Just because you’re good at something doesn’t necessarily mean you can teach it, and Leo is an excellent instructor.”

Nova União Lawrence, located at 923 N. 2nd St., offers Lawrence martial arts students (and those in the larger Kansas City metro area) an opportunity to learn from a master. Phillips says Lawrence proved to be a natural choice for the school, given the number of students already in Lawrence who are training with Peçanha.

For Peçanha, Nova União Lawrence represents an opportunity to not only continue living his American dream, but to also pursue the thrill of victory.

“It feels great to open my new school,” he says. “I want to build a team here and win lots of championships.”

For more information about Nova União Lawrence, including class availability and pricing, visit or call (785) 830-8858.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mike Phillips, Partner Nova União Lawrence (785) 830-8858

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