Sergio “Bolao” Souza is a historical figure in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, famous for his formidable competition record and fierce guard game, a guard that gave him several trophies including the “Best Athlete of the Year Award” (Melhor Atleta do Ano – LINJI ) by the Media Association in 1985. He held victories over legendary fighters such as Jean Jacques Machado, Fabio Gurgel, Castello Branco and many others. A black belt under Master Carlson Gracie, Bolao was also the co-founder of Rio Jiu Jitsu Club, a successful BJJ academy that was created in the beginning of the century in partnership with Murilo Bustamante.
Sergio “Bolao” Souza in Detail
Nickname: Bolão means “big ball”, the name derived from his father who was already called by that name, though it remains unclear why his father was named Bolão.
- Copa Armazem do Esporte Champion / Rio de Janeiro State Champion (1989 Weight and Absolute)
- Copa Blue Marlin Champion (1988)
- Copa Company Champion / Rio de Janeiro State Champion (1988)
- Rio State Champion (1986)
- Copa Lightningbolt Champion / Rio State Champion (1984)
- “Best Athlete of the Year” (Melhor Atleta do Ano – LINJI – Associacao de Cronistas Desportivos do Estado do Rio de Janeiro e Niterói (1985)
- Brazilian National Team Champion (Coach – 1997)
Weight Category: Peso Médio – 82kg/181lbs
Team/Association: Carlson Gracie and Rio Jiu Jitsu Club
Sergio Bolao Souza Biography
Sergio Souza was born on the 23rd of July, 1964 in Manaus – Amazon, Brazil. Bolao started training with a friend (who was a purple belt at the time) when he was around 14 years of age, his intention was to learn a few self defence moves for protection. He enjoyed the sport and decided to enlist in an academy (called Academia Rodney) where he was coached by an instructor under the name of Walter.
He stayed at the Rodney Academy for a mere 7 months. He returned to the BJJ life when in Rio de Janeiro he befriended Carlson Gracie Junior (son of Master Carlson). Junior took Sergio Souza to his father’s academy where he had a chance to train with the rest of the class. Carlson saw potential in the youngster and decided to make an evaluation of the kid’s ability right there and then, he told Souza “Bolao, train with one of my featherweights, I want to see what you can do”, and straight away Sergio was put to spar with Clovis da Silva (another famous Carlson Gracie student), Clovis Tapped Bolao 4 times in a short roll, leaving him so surprised with the superior technique of Clovis that he decided to enrol the class.
Bolao climbed up the ladder of success rapidly and became on of the most feared fighters of his generation. He started coaching the junior team at the gym but soon became one of the main assistant coaches at the Carlson Gracie Academy in the 1980s.
In 1990 Sergio Souza received his black belt and left the coaching of the Carlson Gracie team (with his master’s consent) to start his own gym at the “Clube Israelita” in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro. Years later Sergio Souza was also the leading force behind a new team that would create a buzz in the BJJ circuit in the late 1990’s, the Rio Jiu Jitsu Club, an academy founded by Souza and Murilo Bustamante which had the intention of competing against the strongest teams in the country. They did amazingly well on their first Mundial winning 7 gold medals and placing second in the Brazilian National Team Championships (winning the brown/black belt mixed division).
Though Rio Jiu Jitsu Club shinned on their first competitions, Murilo Bustamante had different views on how to coach the athletes at the time and as a result the team ended dissolving and each coach went their own way. In 2002 Bolao decided to try his luck in the United States, he jumped to the northern hemisphere with one of his students and no assurances of success. They decided to head to Philadelphia as Miami and Los Angeles was already getting too populated with BJJ at the time. With the help of Rob Turner a local gym owner, Sergio Souza managed to deliver some of his Jiu Jitsu expertise to America. He stayed in Philly at the Power House Gym until 2005 after which he returned to Brazil.
When in the United States, Sergio Bolao took the time to further enhance his education. Already a licensee in Physical Education, Souza graduated in two post graduate degrees in Personal Training and Bodybuilding. He developed afterwards a conditioning system of his own authorship called Personal Fighting.
Today Sergio Bolao Souza divides his life between giving private classes at Academia Corpo 4 in Avenida Francisco Sá, Copacabana – Rio de Janeiro and taking care of his baby boy, Gabriel Souza.
List of Segio Bolao Souza’s Black Belts
Joao Pedro Santos
Luis Paes Lemme
Marcelo de Andrade
Marco António “Chuck” Buzios
Paulo “Brasilia” Bernardo
Sergio Bolao vs Fabio Gurgel
Sergio Bolao vs Castello Branco
Sergio Bolao vs John Machado