Originally from Brazil’s capital city, Brasilia, Mestre Umoi de Souza has over 30 years of Capoeira experience. He founded Grupo União na Capoeira in 1983 and currently has academies in Brazil, Canada, Norway and Portugal. G.U.C. Canada was formed in January 2006 under the leadership of Professor Kmelo, and is comprised of members varying in age and cultural backgrounds.
G.U.C.’s mission is to utilize Capoeira to build strong communities, promote unity, fight poverty and marginalization.
G.U.C. has a history of successful social work in inner-city Brazil and Portugal. For the last 30 years, G.U.C. has undertaken collaborative initiatives with governments and non-profit organizations aimed at empowering underprivileged youth-at-risk areas and young offenders.
The resulting programs utilized Capoeira training as a means of developing leadership and teamwork skills, as well as social tools that promote discipline, positive living and healthy self-confidence.
G.U.C. continues to offer Capoeira as a positive alternative to violence, anti-social behaviour, addiction and crime. Professor Kmelo has taught a number of workshops across several schools in Toronto and directed a very successful after-school program at Ryerson Community School in downtown Toronto. He has also conducted a youth Capoeira camp in the Etobicoke-Lakeshore area and offered Capoeira classes at Scaddingcourt Community Centre in Toronto. He settled the group in Canada in Kensington Market and still teaches close to the the area, currently at Queen and Spadina.
Over the years, G.U.C. members participated in international performances and hosted dozens of Capoeira workshops and events. The group has released multimedia items, including a 20th anniversary CD and a DVD showcasing years of international Capoeira workshops. G.U.C. also received considerable print and broadcasting media coverage.