Jô Mello – a role model in the martial art of muay thai

07/11/2017 – Maria do Socorro de Mello, better known as Jô, is 29 years old and has been a member of the Fight for Peace Academy in Rio de Janeiro for five years.

“I am originally from the state of Ceará in the North-East of Brazil but I have been living in Rio for 12 years. I met my ex-husband in my home state and I came to Rio to Marry him and live with him as he was from here. We lived in Vila do Pinheiro, in Maré, but after two years we separated and I began living alone. It was at this point that a friend introduced me to Fight for Peace. My first class was boxing and after that I began trying other combat sports.

For a long time I did wrestling and muay thai and I took part in a number of championships. Following a knee problem I started just doing muay thai and at that time very few girls at Fight for Peace did it. Today lots of women and girls do muay thai at the Rio Academy and it makes me happy to think that I am partly responsible for this change. I was always there training, dedicating myself, persisting and taking part in championships. I think that in a way, seeing me do this was motivation for others, other girls could see themselves in me.

I now assist in the class, helping the coach Allan and when I see women in the class it makes me so happy! I always try to represent women in the best possible way and show them that I am there, ready to give support and strength, showing them that they are not alone and that thye can grow, develop and become champions!

I love being part of Fight for Peace, I feel at home, I feel so good. At the Academy I do what I love, supporting young people and I don’t think I would feel so good if I was in another gym without being able to help others.