Head CoachesWorld-class Instruction
With twenty five years’ experience in the fight industry, Rafael is a world-class instructor and competitor, a two-time World Champion and European Champion. He currently holds a fourth degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which he received from the legendary Ze Mario Sperry.
Rafael started training jiu-jitsu when he was only 15 years old, at a time when BJJ was exploding in Brazil and becoming a popular national sport. Rafael had always been a sports fanatic, from surfing to judo to football; he did everything and that lead him to take on BJJ as well.
When he was 18, Rafael started to get sponsors and train jiu-jitsu professionally. “It became a lifestyle and took up all my time,” he says, adding that he was “eating and sleeping jiu-jitsu.” Rafael is widely known in the BJJ community and has won various different medals and titles, including the World Cup as a purple belt in 2002 and in 2003 as a brown belt in the adult division. He has also won several medals in competitions such as the European No-Gi, and achieved second place in the Pan Ams, second place in the Worlds in Abu Dhabi and recently brought home a gold medal from the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam.
Retiring from international competition, in 2013 Rafael founded Team Nogueira Dubai, investing it with the same energy and passion that he puts into the mats. He has trained with the Nogueira brothers, Minotauro and Minotouro, for two decades and developed a friendship with the fighters. With the support and involvement of Sheikh Tarik, to whom he introduced the Nogueira brothers, he was able to bring this internationally recognised brand to the UAE.
“I want to teach everything I know with discipline and respect,” says Rafael about sharing his knowledge with his students. He believes that the most important thing one must do is take care of their body and tries to pass that on to his students.
Anas Siraj 'The Moroccan Sensation' Mounir
Anas Siraj Mounir is the head of our MMA programme, and a veteran of many professional MMA bouts over the last few years. An experienced coach, Anas is dedicated to helping members reach their martial arts and fitness goals, both in and out of the cage.
Originally from Casablanca, Morocco, Anas moved to the UK to study and work, and it was there that he discovered a passion for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Spurred on by his progress, he started training MMA and kickboxing, and found early encouragement from his coach to compete professionally. Anas’ MMA debut began in 2011, and since then he has competed in many events, winning three MMA British titles and one K1-style kickboxing title. He has also achieved BJJ gold in Paulista Sao Paolo and double gold in the Edinburgh Scottish Open. Anas is currently competing for Desert Force, and fights as a lightweight with a pro MMA record of 5-1 and a pro K1 record of 5-0.
Mounir 'The Sniper' Lazzez
Mounir started practicing Muay Thai when he was 12 years-old, as well as other disciplines such as Kung Fu, Judo and MMA. Better known as “The Sniper”, this coach started practicing Muay Thai as a child as a form of self defence and to have a healthy lifestyle. He soon started training with professionals and discovered his own talent, and quickly learned that if he put hard work into training he really could be something special. “The talent was there, I just needed the hard work,” says the coach about his journey. “Discipline is the key to success,” he adds. Mounir has won several competitions and titles, one of them being the Desert Force Welterweight Champion.
He is still fighting and looking to grow as an MMA professional fighter. He is a strict coach who tries to bring into his training all that he learns outside while fighting, sharing his experience with his students.
InstructorsA Dedicated Team
Ricky has been practicing BJJ for eight long years, and it all started when he was still in high school. He had been a big fan of MMA and was especially fascinated by the ground fighting, so when his friends told him about a BJJ gym, he naturally headed there and the rest, as they say, is history.
He has always been a dedicated student of the martial art and trained extremely hard over the years, but it was in 2014 that he decided to turn his passion into a full time job. “I love to pass on my knowledge to my students and spread the love of the martial art. I make sure that new students feel comfortable with what they are doing and understand all the basics,” says Ricky about his coaching method.
He recommends BJJ to anyone, independent of their age or lifestyle and adds, “Often I see that as a result of getting hooked onto BJJ, people lead much healthier lives – in order to get better at the martial art.” Ricky has one message for anyone interested in joining the gym and taking on BJJ:
“Everyone has the potential to be good, as long as they are patient, persistent and hardworking. The best people on the mats are the ones who spent the most time there.”
Ricky achieved his BJJ black belt in December 2016.
Max trained gymnastics, then muay thai, and then finally decided to try an intro BJJ class and fell in love with the martial art. He has never stopped training since then. After only a year and a half on the mats, Max started competing and winning various competitions, both nationally and internationally. This led him to train even harder and he soon decided to make the sport his career.
He loves both training and teaching, and as an instructor he teaches in as broad a manner as possible, without emphasising any one style.
Max’s most important lesson is to train with passion. He says, “I think it’s very important to like what you do,” adding, “if you love something, you’ll do it with all your heart.”
Max received his black belt at Team Nogueira Dubai in December 2016.
Eric, 32, from Cincinnati, USA, joined the TND family in 2016, and is one of our leading coaches in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA, athletics and fitness. With a black belt in BJJ, Eric brings a meticulous approach to nurturing and growing skills in each student: “I break down all movements so that anyone can understand the technique. I apply the same method when teaching an armbar for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as I do when teaching the snatch to Olympic Weightlifting clients. All of my students and clients receive the coaching support needed in order to excel.”
Eric’s work in martial arts, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA are directly correlated with his work in fitness coaching, Crossfit, Olympic Weightlifting, and strength training, and he sees a lot of overlap between disciplines, which makes TND the perfect place to train.
Eric is very passionate about his students and clients and wants to see everyone succeed in meeting their goals. He adds: “Some strive to be competitive athletes, others love martial arts for the discipline, or seek out fitness coaching to boost their confidence. I feel strong in my ability to work with people in varying aspects of life. My students have always understood and admired the work and attention that I give to them.”
Mejdi practices and teaches boxing for fun, health and coordination. He enjoys being a coach in Team Nogueira Dubai because he believes in teaching people how to fight and become professionals, achieving something bigger than himself through his students.
“I like boxing not to fight: it’s for the spirit,” says Mejdi. He has practiced a few different martial arts and says that boxing is the one that requires the most coordination, “from upper to lower body, boxing works it all.” Having boxed for more than eight years, and competing professionally since 2007, Mejdi says ,” I win and I lose, but the most important thing for me is that I’m happy with what I have.”
“If it’s not me fighting, I hope I can help people fight and get what they want.” That is the coach’s philosophy and motivation. “I’m not the kind of person who pushes you too much to do what I want, I push you to do what you want,” Mejdi describes his approach. He wants to do for his students what he would like done for himself: he gives them the opportunity to express what their objective is and he helps them achieve it. If he believes his students have the potential to be champions, he’ll push them and let them know what they are capable of.
Amin has been studying and training martial arts for many years. His love for martial arts started all the way back in 1997, and he has been practising and fighting competitively ever since. Inspired as a youth by Kung Fu, boxing and his brother’s competitive Taekwondo successes, Amin’s martial arts career truly began when he started training Muay Thai. He is supremely qualified as an MMA coach due to his excellent grounding in a wide range of disciplines including Taekwondo, Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Karate. Over the years he has taught at many martial arts and fitness institutions across Dubai, and this wide experience range gives him a lot of experience which he is keen to impart on his students. He is also a personal trainer, and has been teaching fitness and conditioning across the UAE.
One of the standout areas of development for Coach Amin is his work as a pads trainer. He was the official coach of MMA fight Amit Thapa for his SFL fights and entrance to the UFC, and also put our very own Mounir “Sniper” Lazzez through his paces on the way to achieving victory in Desert Force, Phoenix 4 and Brave 16. Amin has also supported Boxing Coach Mejdi, our kickboxing and K1 Fighter champion, and most recently our MMA Head Coach and fighter Anas Mounir, also in the Phoenix 4 competition.
A competitive fighter himself, Amin has achieved notable victories in Taekwondo, and more recently has fought competitively in DFC Dubai Fighting Championship. He is looking forward to continuing to learn and achieve greater heights as a coach and pads holder for our professional fighters.
“I’m very proud of my achievements in MMA and as a coach. Mounir gave me the nickname “Pads Killer”. It’s a talent I have developed over the years, and I’m not satisfied unless the fighter is dead after a pad session with me… if they can do five rounds in five minutes they will be ready for any fight!”
Luc Edward Ntsama
Luc is one of the newer members of the TND team, but he’s not short on experience – his Judo career began at age three and it has remained his passion ever since then! Luc turned professional after leaving school and participated at a national level, representing Cameroon at various international competitions.
Luc’s international record certainly needs no introduction. As 6 x Cameroon National Champion (gold) , 2 x Gabon National Champion (gold), CEMAC African Champion, 3 x Belgium Open Champion (gold) and 2 x Dubai Champion (gold) he is a true veteran of the competition scene. But despite his podium success, he takes a holistic approach to coaching and always strives to be as personable as possible with his students, developing them according to their own personal objectives. Luc looks to the strengths of each of his students and adapts their training accordingly. He always aims instill the love of Judo into his younger students by mixing discipline with fun and games. All are welcome to join his class, whether aiming to achieve competitively or simply to meet personal goals.
“Judo improves your fitness and agility, but also your balance, coordination, strength, speed and reflexes. It is practiced as an Olympic contact sport and it is an inherently effective form of self defence,” says Luc. “But on top of that, judo develops skills that will help you approach life in a successful way. This includes things like the ability to think on your feet: anticipating your partner or opponent and reacting to the unpredictable; social interaction; accepting defeat; teamwork; and self confidence.”
Luc believes that one of Team Nogueira Dubai’s strengths is the sense of teamwork and family, and the opportunity to meet dedicated students and trainers who want to help you reach your goals. And the competition focus is there for those who wish to take the opportunity to push their own boundaries.
Regi started karate as a child when he decided to train in order keep his sister company during her karate classes, “after three months, when I received my first punch, I felt good!” Regi then decided that he wanted to continue training and make this his career.
“I love teaching kids, I love sharing what I learned from my masters,” he says with a smile. Regi is a family oriented coach and treats his students like his own, but that doesn’t mean he goes easy on them! The coach calls himself a “Dragon,” in the sense that he is very strict and wants his students to be disciplined in order to learn.
“My principle in life is that you make your own choices – and those choices you must live by.” Regi adds that in karate you don’t use any weapons: just like in real life, you can’t use weapons to fix your problems, and that’s why he loves coaching this discipline.
“I started teaching Aikido when I felt like I had something to share,” says Moataz about the beginning of his career as a coach. He has been training Aikido for 20 years and teaching the martial art for 15 of those.
“I cannot grow stronger and I cannot grow faster. I can only grow smarter,” he says of his learnings with Aikido. It is a sport that, as you grow older, still teaches you how to defend yourself. Aikido also enables you to defend yourself from multiple attackers, which is something he finds important.
Moataz doesn’t believe in pushing his students to the limit, but in pushing them to the perfection of techniques. He makes them train in class as if they were using the techniques in real life, as you never know when you’ll need them. “Maybe on your way home tonight,” he says. “I’ll give everything I have.”
Moataz believes it’s never too late to start Aikido: he has had students who started at the age of forty and went on to earn their black belts. “You can really make a difference; you can trust yourself more, you can push your limits and know your true worth by taking Aikido.”
Andrew has been training for 20 years. When he began, he had no idea it would one day become his profession. “I trained myself and I saw changes in my body and I had the idea of taking a course to see if the changes I experienced could help transform other people.”
Andrew has taken an American certification course, a personal training course and a group fitness instructor course. He is qualified to teach athletes, the disabled community, people looking to lose weight, body builders and anyone in-between, making him a well-rounded coach that knows what each specific type of person needs.
“Circuit training and health go hand in hand,” he says, stating that it can be the key for weight loss, reducing high blood pressure and simply leading a better life. “Most people who come to circuit training have been told by their doctor that they need to work out,” so he strongly believes this particular type of training is a crucial factor in improving one’s health.
Derek started training fitness when he was only 13. After leaving school he joined the British military and as he left school, he joined the military where he was trained and ultimately taught circuit training. The well-built Brit is passionate about teaching this discipline and is a little bit of a perfectionist. “A no-nonsense kind of coach,” he calls himself.
In his lessons, the coach finds it important that everyone tries their best, acknowledging that different people have different abilities, varying from flexibility to weightlifting, but as long as students are showing up to his classes and giving their all, he feels happy.
“Fitness should just be part of your life;” emphasises Derek, “hand in hand with nutrition, it should be part of one’s daily routine and a priority.” He adds, “if you have children, if you have a wife, it will allow you more time to spend with them if you’re fitter.”
In Dec 2016, Derek received his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Team Nogueira Dubai.