Rogério “Minotouro” Nogueira will probably wrap up his career without a Pride belt, a UFC belt or a gold medal in boxing. But his legacy as a martial artist is set in stone, for his posture as a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu and initiatives like the one to take place this Thursday the 4th, when he’ll share his charisma and teachings with some half-pints with a future.
Minotouro will be holding a lecture on “Producing future champions” for the students at Clube O’Surfe (a Rio de Janeiro-based volunteer project teaching surfing). The idea is to illustrate and demonstrate the importance of sport in child and adolescent development, as well as to promote social integration among them. According to Berto Filho, vice-president of the club hosting the fighter, this effort can only enrich the students’ understanding – mainly those in situations of greater risk.
“Having an athlete as brilliant as Rogério opens the way for a joint effort that can go much farther along in the direction of completely integrating surfing and boxing, adding value to the volunteer projects of our club and the “Fundação Irmãos Nogueira” (Nogueira Brothers Foundation), both of which are linked to Rio City Hall’s “Projeto Rio em Forma” (In-Shape Rio Project). The Fundação Irmãos Nogueira arose in 2008 with the aim of producing champions in Olympic boxing and sport Jiu-Jitsu, following the Nogueira brothers’ visit to Cuba one year prior.
“I was in Cuba with my brother (Rodrigo) to compete and we noticed how kids there start in sports really early, mainly in boxing. At just 12 years of age they already had 70-bout records. So the idea is to produce champions by starting early so that by 17 our athletes can make it into the Brazilian national team – and with ring experience,” stated Rogério.
Besides the Nogueira brothers, the social benefit project counts on the backing of another champion, boxer Kelson Pinto (silver medalist at the Winnipeg-1999 Pan-American Games), who has been teaching for three years.
According to Rogério Minotouro, their intention with the project is to do good and transform the lives of these kids who often end up get swept up into the criminal world. “The parents have noticed that their childrens’ behavior has changed for the better; they’re doing better in school, they concentrate more, and their more obedient at home as well,” said Minotouro.
“Our goal is to produce athletes who will stand out in boxing and Jiu-Jitsu; we already have one São Paulo state runner-up and one Brazilian national runner-up. The most important thing is to know we’re doing our part to provide these children with incentive to strive for a better future as well as to help the people in the community and encourage them to take our professional athletes as role models. And now everyone is even more dedicated and serious about the job, since the sport is growing and we’re targeting the podiums,” said Rogério in conclusion.