Full Name: Pedro Lucas Aguiar Araújo
Nickname: Pedrão, meaning “Big Pedro” in Portuguese.
Favorite Position/Technique: Open Guard
Weight Division: Peso Pesado (94kg/207lbs)
Team/Association: Gracie Barra
– PEDRO ARAÚJO
Pedro Araújo was born on October 15, 1989 in in Belo Horizonte – state of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
As many children before him, Pedro’s initiation in martial arts was made through judo, a sport he played throughout his childhood, competing on a regional and state level.
In 2009 Araújo decided to give mixed martial arts (MMA) a try, influenced by the sport’s boom at the turn of the decade. After 3 months of MMA practice, the gym where he trained cancelled the classes, leading Pedro to pick up on jiu jitsu. He knew very little about grappling, but it was the only martial art left on the time-table for which he was curious about, particularly since a few of the jiu jitsu students also participated in the MMA training.
Pedro’s first jiu jitsu coaches were Marcelo “Uirapuru” and Sérgio Benini at Gracie Barra Belo Horizonte (BH). Araújo stood out from the get-go, conquering numerous important state tournaments with the help of his coaches and also Cássio Francis, one of the team’s top black belts.
In 2012 Pedro Araújo made use of the excellent network provided by Gracie Barra BH and travelled to Los Angeles to participate in a Romulo Barral training camp ahead of the IBJJF World Championships. Until then, Pedro had divided his time between training and a law degree at the University of Belo Horizonte, though the trip and his win at the World Championship that year, made him re-think his life-plans. He decided then to take jiu jitsu as his full time occupation, moving to the US where he could be closer to a professional environment.
While in the US, Pedro Araújo made of Gracie Barra Northridge his home, earning both of following belts (purple and brown) from the team’s leader, Romulo Barral, at the podium of the World Championships. It was also at GB Northridge That Pedro found his interest for coaching, making that a big part of his grappling evolution.
Although he had the full support of teammates such as Christian Bello in the US, on July 2015 unforeseen circumstances drove Pedro away from the sport. While on the verge of quitting jiu jitsu for good, Gracie Barra BH’s founder, Vinícius “Draculino” managed to convince Araújo to return to the sport, opening the doors of his academy in Texas to Araújo.
Pedro’s return to the US was also linked with a new start as a team leader himself at a new Gracie Barra affiliate academy, this time in Heights – Houston TX.
Gabriel Echavarry has trained in mixed martial arts since the young age of 4. He started off training in Tae kwon do under Jean Lopez and Joseph Ellis. At the age of 12 he had already competed in over 50 tournaments across the US. At the age of 14 he received his black belt and competed at the Junior Olympic where he placed 2nd and 1st the following year. Since the age of 16 he has trained kickboxing and Jui jitsu under Alex Cisne and Chris Mango.
Coach Skylar started training in 2009 to find a new Hobby and weight loss. After about a year and a half into training kickboxing he realized he wanted to fight and began training bjj. Coach Skylar has been competing and keep active during the years and has just got over a bad eye injury which has prevented him from competing in MMA competition and slowed him down a little. He’s about to make his debut and start his career December 2016. Skylar was bullied as a kid because of his weight so he chose martial arts to learn how to defend himself, but the lifestyle changes and confidence he gained made him fall in love with the sport and you can see it in his coaching.
Shannon Wellins is a certified 200-RYT yoga instructor with the Yoga Alliance and has practiced and studied yoga since 2005. In her teaching, Shannon is passionate about helping students transform their mobility, strength, vitality and mindset by focusing on muscle awareness and engagement, alignment and breath. With an additional certification in Stand-Up Paddle Board Yoga (SUP Yoga), you can find Shannon teaching on the water during the summer months. She currently teaches power vinyasa flow yoga classes at Big Power Yoga in Houston and has completed numerous Baptiste Yoga training programs including Level 1, Level 2 and Art of Assisting. Shannon is thrilled to be teaming up with Pedro and the Gracie Barra Heights team to bring yoga to this powerful community.