Presenting our Family Staff

Meet Professor Filipe Costa

Filipe Costa moved to America in April of 2010, from Brasilia, Brazil to pursue his interest in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. After competing on the west coast for a year, he moved to Connecticut and has taught Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes at three different martial arts studios for both children and adults. His education in Physical Education at University Paulista, Brasilia D.F., Brazil has prepared him to inspire positive team attitude and training relationships with and between students while instructing classes for varying ages and skill level in fitness and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. His experience as a competitor and referee has helped him develop the communication skills needed to motivate, coach and mentor students. Whether a student is looking to compete internationally, or simply develop a better lifestyle, Filipe will take the time to individualize your training plan.


Meet Professor Paul Ciatto

Dr. Paul Ciatto, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt, has been training BJJ for over 10 years and is an active competitor in BJJ Tournaments. His greatest satisfaction is to see his students learning and happy to be in class. He is a well rounded athlete with awards and records in football, wrestling, bodybuilding and powerlifting. He is now the CEO of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation for NY and CT as well as one of the new owners of World Gym, Brewster. Dr. Ciatto combines his knowledge of medicine and physical fitness to design strength, conditioning and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training for all levels.


Meet Master Vlad Koulikov

In 1996, I immigrated to the United States. Upon arrival to the U.S., I couldn’t find a SAMBO gym. I started to go to a grappling club in the area where I was exposed to Jiu Jitsu. I fell in love immediately. It made sense to me and wasn’t a much of a departure from SAMBO. They are both grappling arts, after all.

Both SAMBO and Jiu Jitsu have their strengths. And both have plenty of restrictions. There are fewer restrictions in no-gi sub grappling, and I’ve always preferred it.

My SAMBO background has enhanced my Jiu Jitsu performance. I have learned to implement and adapt my SAMBO skills to the Jiu Jitsu rules. Just like in chemistry, you get a reaction if you mix two agents. It took some time to get rid of “bad” habits from SAMBO such as turtling once in a danger of being pinned. Also, it took some time to be comfortable to be on my back. I would willingly play off my back in practice but would try my hardest not to end up facing the ceiling in competition.

Here in the United States, I placed three times in the USA Open and represented team USA in combat SAMBO in the World Championship in 2008. I also placed and won multiple NAGA and Grapplers Quest tournaments and was awarded the most technical fighter in the very first Grapplers Quest competition winning all my matches by submissions.

I am fluent in Russian and English. I enjoy reading, music, and philosophy.


Meet Master Rafael "Formiga" Barbosa

Master Rafael “Formiga” Barbosa is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and a founding member of the Soul Fighters Academy with his good friend Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes .The team was founded in 2008 and quickly elbowed its way in the top spots of the BJJ world.He was born on the 8th of January, 1983 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Starting his journey in Jiu-Jitsu when he was 11 years old, after watching Royce Gracie in action at the first UFC. Just around the corner from his house there was an academy where he started and went through all ranks he was awarded his black belt in 2002.

Master Rafael Formiga (ant in Portuguese) can be seen on podiums at the major international Jiu-Jitsu events including World Championships, the Pan American Championships, all IBJJF Open Championships, ADCC Championships, Grapplers Quest and NAGA events. He will be at Soul fighters Brewster sharing all his knowledge with our new members of the Soul Fighters family.