training with Helio Soneca


White Belt
May 16, 2008
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Hey guys, I am about to start taking bjj classes. Helio Soneca teaches in my area and I am thinking about joining that gym. I was also thinking of another gym that is a Pedro Sauer affiliate and Pedro does like 4 seminars a year at this other gym. This other gym also has 3 blackbelts. Soneca's gym is a little more in cost but I know that he is a 4th degree blackbelt and some consider him a legend. What do you guys think? Should I train with Soneca and if so why?

thanks for the responses.
soneca is amazing, I had a seminar with him and his joy jitsu is incredible

I know exactly where you are bro. I grew up in Louisville, I first started training there in 1996 when no one was around but a blue belt (the Pedro Sauer affiliate) and I've also trained at Helio Soneca's place.

In fact I've pretty much trained with just about everybody in Louisville. I'm in the Air Force right now (about to get out and come back home) and I'll say it like this I'M going to Soneca's to train. Yes it is a little pricier (last I heard it was $115 a month) but its definitely worth it.

Helio is just the shit. The guy is awesome, his credentials far exceed the other guys in Louisville, and even his dvds are good. Plus, he's just hilarious. I swear everytime the guy talks he just makes me laugh. There are a lot of guys who train there of every rank and the training atmosphere is pretty good. He teaches both gi and no gi, as well as no gi for MMA.

Also, if you go train at the center where Helio teaches, they also offer judo there. The old Toshi Dojo Judo Club just moved into CORE, and dude, its like the best judo club in Kentucky. The head instructor of the judo club, well here's his credentials:
Yodan (4th Degree Black Belt)
Judo & Jujitsu
National Competitor
US Masters National Silver Medallist
8 time Kentucky State Judo Champion
Indiana AAU Greco-Roman Wrestling Champion
Police Defensive Tactics Instructor
Promotion Committee Member - Kentucky Judo Council (USJI)
Former President - Kentucky Judo Council (USJI)
Promotion Committee Member - Toshi Dojo
Over 25 Years in Judo

Its just a great training environment in general man, personally I thin it'd be foolish for you not to go.

As far as the Pedro Sauer affiliate goes, I've gone to several of Pedro's seminars when I was attending that school (I actually trained at the old school in J-town), just train at Soneca's and whenever you hear that Pedro is in town for a seminar, sign up. Pedro is an incredible teacher and his seminars are great, its not like the affiliate guys have him on lockdown or anything, guys would come from as far away as Tennessee and Indiana whenever Pedro would come down to Louisville.

Hope that helps, and hopefully I'll see you on the mat at Helio's when I get back home in September.
Because I have such a ridiculous man crush on Helio Soneca I thought I'd post this vid of Soneca breaking some guy's arm in competition. Its old and there is no sound, but Soneca is the shorter guy with the big patch on his back.

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he just did a seminar up here. i didnt get to go, but ive only heard good things.
Soneca is THE MAN.

I lived in Knoxville for a while and he had a school there.

He is a very detailed instructor, at the time he handled most of the classes himself.

he comes from a great competition team and iirc he is one of the few men to defeat Royler in a BJJ comp.
hey guys, thanks for the responses. I really appreciate it. I did think about doing judo and bjj. Its like $140 to do two programs. I have heard great things about Helio. I have went and watched a couple classes and he is really funny and it seems he knows his stuff. The judo program seems pretty sweet as well. I know two guys who train at Core and they both seem to like it. i am planning on signing up this week at one of these gyms. I appreciate your responses. any other thoughts?
dude ur spoilt for choice

sonneca is class though
did you mean spoiled for choice? I went by the gym this morning to check things out again. The place is sweet. Helio was not there so I watched a muay tai class. It is a really nice facility. I think I am going to try and train there. I just don't know that much about Helio.
The gym i go to is affiliated with him and he comes every month and does classes. He is an awesome instructor. I am glad to see him getting some attention on here.

Here is a link to his youtube videos...

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

The second video on there is actually two guys from my gym who decided to roll at a gym party.

EDIT: If you don't know much about him check out his website...
Helio Soneca - About Soneca
I just don't know that much about Helio.

Here you go dude:

Since his beginning in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu back in 1981, Helio "Soneca" Moreira has won several championships from his home country as well as around the world. This is just a short list of some of Helio "Soneca" Moreira's championships:

* 1995 Pan-American Championship - California
* 1996 World Championship - Brazil
* 1997 Brazilian Championship - Brazil
* 1999 International Championship - Brazil
* 2001 NAGA - North American Grappling
Association Champion - Miami
* 2002 Worl Fighting Champion (WFC) - Texas
* 2003 COMBATE EXTREMO (NHB) - Mexico

Helio Soneca is one of the major contributors to the successful development of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu across the world. Soneca has taught and coached several championship teams within the United States, Turkey, Thailand, Australia, Italy, France, Japan, Arabic Emirates and England.
He might not remember me because its been so long but tell him that Pete, the guy that used to manage the Golden Corral in Knoxville, said hello!

I trained at his school and I would see him about 2-3 times a week at the restaurant for about a year.
Divorce forced me to move ..yada yada and I trained with him only about 9 months but MAYBE he recalls.

I am sure he has had thousands of students though!

I cant say enough good things about this guy:

he is very detailed, motivating, intense and funny. Overall one of the best coaches in any sport that I have seen.

Train with him and listen to what he says and you cannot go wrong.
the soneca seminar that i went to was one of the best i've ever been to. his regular classes are probably very enjoyable.
did you mean spoiled for choice? I went by the gym this morning to check things out again. The place is sweet. Helio was not there so I watched a muay tai class. It is a really nice facility. I think I am going to try and train there. I just don't know that much about Helio.

spoiled/ spoilt/ which ever is correct-- :D

good luck training
Well, today I signed up for Helio's gym. My first class will be tonight at 6. It is a Gi class. Helio is actually out of town until mid June because he is in Brazil. One of his blackbelts, Mitch Mcelroy, is teaching his classes while he is gone. Anyways, I am excited about the classes. Any words of advice for the first class?