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“Dedicated to enriching the lives of our students through world class, integrative Jiu Jitsu programs and instruction.”

We run a top-notch Jiu Jitsu academy in the heart of midtown in New York City. All of our instructors are still actively and successfully competing at the highest levels of the sport.

Our dream and goal is for Unity Jiu Jitsu to be a school where, male or female, a serious student training only at our academy can become a World Champion; where a student in their early teens can come and experience all the benefits of a martial arts lifestyle; where a hobbyist can come and enjoy themselves while exercising and learning; where everyone comes together in a family-like atmosphere, with the mutual goal of improving their Jiu Jitsu, and allowing Jiu Jitsu to improve their lives. Learn more about the Jiu Jitsu we teach.

The Studio

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From Sao Paulo To New York City

The Ultimate Hub of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Inclusive and integrative, we have no politics here. Everyone is welcome to come and train, no matter what team they’re affiliated with. We always bring in friends and training partners from all over the world to stay and train for months at a time. We offer free Pro Training practices for blue belts and above three days a week, free Sundays for women, free Saturdays for kids, and there are no limits to how many times you can take advantage of this. We love Jiu Jitsu, we are still actively competing, and we built Unity Jiu Jitsu to be a place we would want to train at. We made it our mission to provide everyone with the best possible environment in which to learn and practice Jiu Jitsu.

Be respectful, be positive, be honest, train hard and fight the hardest.

Come and train with us anytime!

Instructors & Friends

Murilo Santana

Murilo Santana was born in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He started training with Mario Yamasaki (the famous UFC referee) in Sao Paulo, earning his black belt training with the Yamasaki Academy. When Yamasaki moved to the United States to open an academy and later referee MMA events, Santana decided to move to the Equipe Barbosa, a team led by Marcos Barbosa where Murilo already had many personal friends. Under the Barbosa banner, Santana’s Jiu Jitsu flourished.

A world-renowned Jiu Jitsu competitor and instructor, Murilo Santana has fought all over the world, winning some of his sport’s most prestigious titles. He has also taught Jiu Jitsu all over the world for more than 15 years, attaining a reputation for his knowledge and attention to detail. He is an Open Weight World Champion, and a coach of numerous other black belt World Champions and vice-Champions.

  • World Champion No Gi (2013 open weight)
  • World Cup Open Weight Champion – CBJJE (2007)
  • Brazilian National Champion (2007, 2010, 2012, 2013)
  • Sao Paulo State Champion (2007 weight & open weight)
  • ADCC Brazilian Trials Winner (2011)
  • Brazilian National No-Gi Silver Medallist (2010)
  • World Championships Bronze Medallist (2014, 2008, 2007)
  • Brazilian National Open Weight Bronze Medallist (2008)
  • World No-Gi Bronze Medallist (2010)
  • ADCC 4th Place (2011 open weight)

Ana Lowry

Ana is responsible for the Kids Programs, Women’s Program, and Introductory Program.

Originally from Maine, Ana began training Jiu Jitsu in 2006, managed a world famous Jiu Jitsu academy in the Washington, D.C. area before relocating to Sao Paulo, Brazil for five years of hard training and relentless competition. Training and competing under Cicero Costha’s PSLPB Social Project (a project that brings underprivileged children into Jiu Jitsu), she became a 2x Brown belt No Gi World Champion, as well as a No Gi Pan American Champion and Brazilian National Champion in both the Middleweight Division, and in the Open Weight Division.

She created the Able Approach Introductory Program, an innovative solution to all the common setbacks faced by those first learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Using her experience teaching women’s programs and seminars, Ana designed a cutting-edge women’s program for Unity Jiu Jitsu, leading the way in a training environment for women that is designed specifically with them in mind, and for the good of everyone’s training.

Paulo & Joao Miyao

Paulo & Joao Miyao are black belts in Jiu Jitsu under Cicero Costha. Considered prodigies of the sport since their teens, they virtually closed out all major competitions around the world in the lower ranks. What’s more, they won medals at the top tournaments in the absolute division (a division in which all weight classes are allowed to compete), including the World Championships in 2013. Their accomplishment is especially impressive for fighters of 64 kg (141 lbs). They represent the paradigm of a new generation of Jiu Jitsu fighter.

The two began martial arts through Judo, but found their calling in  Jiu Jitsu at the age of 16 and never looked back. The Miyao brothers’ first teacher was Adriano Carvalho, who early on recognized the talent these two men possessed and encouraged them to train and fight more regularly. With their passion for Jiu Jitsu growing, the two brothers decided they wanted to become Jiu Jitsu fighters professionally and as soon as they were of age they moved to São Paulo (against the wishes of their parents) to pursue their dream.

In São Paulo, the Miyao brothers found a home to train and focus on Jiu Jitsu full time. They joined Cicero Costha’s PSLPB or Projeto Social Lutando Pelo Bem (Fighting for Good Social Project) and their success grew exponentially. Living within the academy along with other eager athletes, the brothers began winning many championships by modeling many of their techniques after the Mendes brothers (Rafael and Guilherme). The Miyaos’ sharp and bendy guards and the fact that they were consistently receiving medals in the absolute divisions brought the curiosity of the media to the Parana duo, and with this newfound recognition came the sponsorships needed for the siblings to showcase their skills in the top competitions of the world. Once they began competing at the  top competitions, they proved their dominance, and that their recognition was well-deserved.

Although Paulo Miyao has received a brown belt before João, João caught up with his brother and the two ended up getting the desired black belt together in August 2013.

Paulo is the 2015 & 2016 light-feather World Champion and 2015 No Gi World Champion, and he was recently ranked #1 in the world.

Joao is the 2014 & 2015 No Gi World Champion, and currently ranked #6 in the world.


They train in the Pro Training, and evening classes, as well as on the weekends when they’re not competing.

Leandro Lo

Leandro Lo Pereira is one of the top Jiu Jitsu competitors in the lightweight division who often ventures successfully in the middle weight and open weight divisions. A black belt under Cicero Costha, Leandro Lo became an overnight sensation after he defeated Michael Langhi – April 2011 – (who was unbeaten for 3 years) on his way to the top spot of the World Pro Cup in Abu Dhabi. Since the win in the Middle East, Leandro Lo has cemented himself as one of the best ‘Pound for Pound’ in Jiu Jitsu with wins at the World Championships, the prestigious Copa Pódio and Pan American Championships.

Leandro Lo do Nascimento was born on the 11th of May, 1989 on the east side of São Paulo – Brazil. He started practicing Jiu Jitsu through the “Lutando Pelo Bem” project for underprivileged children in 2004, a project led by Cicero Costha.

Leandro was a natural athlete and won many important titles as a junior, such as the Mundial in 2005, medalling again in 2006. In 2007 the world’s biggest organization (CBJJ/IBJJF) shifted its tournament – the Mundial – to the United States seeking world wide recognition. With the change many Brazilian competitors (Leandro included) lost their main tournament as they did not have the means to travel to America. These fighters were left with the considered smaller events such as the World Cup – CBJJE, the World League Pro Jiu Jitsu and the World Pro Cup all of which were won by Leandro Lo.

It was on April 14th of 2011 that Leandro finally turned a few heads his way. After winning the South of Brazil trials in Gramado, Lo went on to defeat two legends in the tournament’s final stage – Celso Vinicius and Michael Langhi. Langhi was widely considered the best lightweight in the world, and hadn’t lost a competition in 3 years. In 2012 Leandro Lo became widely recognized as the best lightweight BJJ competitor in the world, after wins at the Mundial (World Championship) the Pan American and the Brazilian Nationals. Leandro also established himself as force to be reckoned with in the open weight divisions with a win at the Brazilian No Gi Nationals and a second place at the No Gi World Championship.

Leandro is kept mainly with his responsibilities in Sao Paulo, but joins us in New York City for training and competition as often as he’s able to.

Yago De Souza

Yago was born in Bahia, Brazil. He moved to Sao Paulo and began training at Cicero Costha’s as a teenager. A world-class brown belt, Yago is currently a multi-time European Champion, Brazilian National Champion, NY Open Champion, Boston Open absolute Champion, and now World Champion at middleweight.

Yago trains with us when he’s in the country. Currently he’s focusing on competitions in Brazil, and settling in to his new team, Brotherhood.

Devhonte "Bones" Johnson

Devhonte started his Jiu Jitsu career in December of 2011, training at Edson Carvalho BJJ where he remained training for three years. As a blue belt, he won the 2014 No Gi World Championships, double gold at the 2014 No Gi Pan Americans, and multiple IBJJF Open Championships.
“One of the most interesting moments in my Jiu Jitsu career was when fighting and beating an Eddie Bravo black belt in an absolute bracket as a blue belt. I ended up losing in the final, but the experience was valuable and generated some entertaining social media and exposure.”
In January 2015, shortly after being awarded his purple belt, Devhonte decided to start training with us at Unity Jiu Jitsu.
“I fell in love with the class structure, schedule, and instruction of Murilo Santana. Not to mention the level competition among my training partners such as the Miyao Brothers. Since coming to Unity, I’ve competed as much as possible all over the country, won my division at the No Gi Worlds and took third in the absolute.”
What Devhonte works on while he’s not training is a new personal training facility that he just opened with some friends in Totowa, NJ called Sync Health and Fitness.
“It’s actually given my life balance because before the training facility, all I did was Jiu Jitsu – I had no other hobbies. But now, when I’m not at Unity training, I’m at my facility doing my second love – personal training.”
Devhonte commutes from New Jersey every day to train with us in the Pro Training, and evening classes. He helps out instructing some of the 5:30pm Open Drilling Classes, and competes in just about every competition available to him.
Some of his Accomplishments:

2016 Abu Dhabi World Pro Champion (Purple belt)

2016 IBJJF Pan American Champion (Purple belt)

2x IBJJF No Gi World Champion (Blue belt & Purple belt)

2x IBJJF No Gi Pan American Champion IBJJF (Blue belt)

2016 IBJJF World Championships Silver medalist at Medium Heavyweight, and Bronze medalist in the Absolute Division (Purple belt)

2016 IBJJF New York Spring Open Champion at Weight & Absolute

2x NY Pro Champion 2014 & 2015 (blue belt & purple belt)

2015 IBJJF Pan American Bronze medalist (Purple belt)

2015 IBJJF Boston Spring International Open Champion at Heavy Weight & Absolute – Purple Belt

2015 New York Spring International Open Champion at Heavy Weight – Purple Belt

2015 Boston Summer International Open Champion at Heavy Weight & Absolute – Purple Belt

2015 Chicago Summer International Open Champion at Heavy Weight & 3rd in Absolute –  Purple Belt

2015 Chicago Summer International Open No-Gi Silver Medalist at Heavy Weight – Purple Belt

2015 New York Summer International Open Champion at Heavy Weight & Absolute – Purple Belt

2015 Atlanta Winter Open weight and Absolute

Edwin "Junny" Ocasio

Edwin “Junny” Ocasio is from the Bronx, New York, but grew up in Bushkill, PA. At an early age he was interested in wrestling and in high school Junny was on the East Stroudsburg North wrestling team. During a wrestling match, Junny tore his ACL and was no longer able to compete on the team.
After completing surgery, and two years of physical therapy, he joined Ronin Athletics in pursuit of Mixed Martial Arts. In training for MMA, he found his true passion for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Determined and motivated to make the most of his time, Junny put everything into his training regiment, and slowly started taking measures to live solely off of his training, and teaching. He made a name for himself in the local scene by winning and placing in competition, and then in 2014 he received his Purple Belt.
He moved on from Ronin in 2015 to join Unity Jiu Jitsu, and train under Murilo Santana. After he began his training at Unity, with the world-class training partners and instruction, Junny began to win at the larger scale championships.

Junny recently fought in the Kasai Pro 8-Man Invitational as a Purple Belt, 2 weight classes up, against some of the highest level Black Belts in the sport, without losing a match (all draws). He earned his way into the Invitational by winning the qualifier against competitors both heavier and higher ranked than him.

In December of 2017, he earned his Brown Belt under Murilo Santana.


Some of his latest credentials are:

2017 No-Gi Pan Ams Champion in the Purple Belt Light-Feather Weight Division

2017 New York No-Gi Summer Open Champion in the Purple Belt Light-Feather Weight Division

2017 Kasai Elite Grappling Championships 155lb Pro Qualifier Champion

2017 Toro Cup Super Fight Champion

2016 UAEJJF New York International Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship Gold Medalist at Purple Belt 136lbs
2016 UAEJJF Canada National Pro Jiu-Jitsu Championship, Montreal Silver Medalist at Purple Belt 136lbs
2016 IBJJF Atlanta Pro – Silver in the Light Open, Bronze at Light Feather Purple Belt
2016 BJJ Tour in Connecticut Gold Medalist at Purple Belt Feather Weight
2016 IBJJF Boston Spring Open Gold Medalist at Purple Belt Featherweight
2015 New York BJJ Pro IBJJF Champion at Featherweight and 3rd place in the Open – Purple Belt
2015 No-Gi Pan Americans Bronze Medalist at Featherweight Purple Belt
2015 BJJ Tour Connecticut Featherweight Champion
2015 IBJJF Chicago Spring Open No-Gi Champion at Featherweight Purple Belt
2015 IBJJF New York Spring Open No-Gi Champion at Featherweight Purple Belt
2015 IBJJF Boston Spring Open Champion at Featherweight Purple Belt
2015 IBJJF Boston Summer Open Champion at Featherweight Purple Belt

Junny trains in the Pro Training every day, and in the evening as much as possible. He also teaches our 7am Classes on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (at 7:30am), and the 5:30pm Class on Wednesdays.


Levi Jones-Leary

Levi Jones-Leary is a 19-year-old, purple belt competitor from Sydney, Australia. He started training locally at the age of 15 and within a few months decided to commit himself to the sport full time. He left school and starting working odd jobs with the dream of getting himself to one of the best gyms in the world – a place where he could have the training he needed to become a world champion.

“When I saw that Unity Jiu Jitsu was going to open, I couldn’t believe it. I knew straight away that I was going to get there no matter what. Professor Murilo and the Miyaos have always been heroes of mine and big influences on my Jiu Jitsu. Being here and training with them is a dream come true for me.”