Nuno Fonseca, a strength and conditioning coach who has taught at many Mississauga schools, such as Meadowvale and Streetsville Secondary, is passionate about teaching Jiu-Jitsu to youth. Fonseca’s primary goal is to keep kids off the streets in hopes they don’t follow the same path that he took in his youth.

Fonseca moved from Portugal to Toronto when he was one year old. His father worked construction in northern Ontario, so he was raised by his mother and sister. During his childhood, Fonseca faced bullying day in and day out. “The area where I lived in, man, the violence, the gangs, and drugs. These people would beat you up and steal anything—your shoes, your cell phone. I was bullied immensely. I was bullied at school every day. I was bullied to the point where I skipped class, and one time, I skipped like 15 days in one month.”

To counter the bullying, Fonseca needed to join a group of friends to feel a part of something. Unfortunately, he joined the wrong group. “It became a negative lifestyle when gangs and drugs ensued.”

Soon the drug intake gained a toll on him and his loved ones. “Nobody knew about it, not even my girlfriend, until one day I confessed it to her. She gave me an ultimatum. Quit coke and go to therapy, or get out.” So Fonesca got his act together and chose to go to therapy.

After two years of psychotherapy, Fonseca developed a mindset that allowed him to adopt healthy life choices. He found leadership and positivity through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai kickboxing at Xtreme Couture MMA gym. Since 2008, Fonseca has been making Jiu-Jitsu bigger than himself, and used it as a way to educate youth on the horrors that one can adopt by getting involved with the wrong crowd. “The school board is telling me that they love what I do, the teachers are telling me that I’m doing a good job, and my students tell me how much they love it.”

Fonseca continues to reach out and educate the youth. He doesn’t want to just enhance their athletic abilities; he wants to push them to have positive mindsets in order to help them in the future.