In a shock announcement, the Mendes brothes (Rafa and Guilherme) have announced on Instagram that moving forward in 2020 they (and by extension AOJ) will not ‘represent any team or association’ – in other words, Art Of Jiu-jitsu is going to split from Atos.
In the comments they confirm that the split is amicable and will not affect their relationship with Angelica or Andre Galvao. They indicate that the decision is predominantly a business decision rather than the result of a relationship breakdown.
If nothing else this shift is the end of an era. Gui and Rafa Mendes were staples of the original Atos stable, building the early reputation of the team as lightweight technicians. Over time their connection to Atos remained strong even as they moved in different directions following the opening of Art of Jiu-jitsu.
This is exciting news for AOJ however, and not entirely unexpected. For a long time AOJ has been heavily focused on developing youth talent and building a squad of young killers like Jessa Khan, Tainan Dalpra, and the Ruotolo Brothers. The larger Atos affiliation meanwhile has been centered predominantly around well-established adult athletes, building a powerhouse of world champions and ADCC veterans. The mixing of the two streams of competitors ensured Atos would consistently be able to dominate team competition in major events, though the relationship between those streams didn’t always seem clear.
We’re excited to see what direction AOJ will head in after the split from Atos and a new-found freedom. Regardless of affiliation their squad is chock-full of champions and up-and-comers alike and we can’t wait to see what developments this change may bring.