The Checkmat Jiu Jitsu organization is one of the best yet also one of the youngest teams among the juggernauts of BJJ. The team appeared in 2008 after a break up between, the Vieira Brothers and the board of their previous team, Brasa. Though Checkmat is still in its embryonic stage, they have hit the ground running and quickly stacked up medals at some of the world’s most important tournaments, while consistently pouring to the Jiu Jitsu stream excellent quality black belts such as Marcus Almeida “Buchecha”, Antonio Carlos and Joao Assis (to name a few). The Checkmat organization has also spread fast throughout the world having already franchises in at least 16 different countries.
How Checkmat Started
The team was founded by two brothers, Leonardo Vieira and Ricardo Vieira. Both of whom belonged to an elite generation of BJJ competitors raised under the Alliance team camp in the late 1990’s. After a series of quarrels between the team and the main Alliance coach (Fabio Gurgel) many of the fighters who belonged to this famous formation were expelled from the group (in 2002), which propelled this gang of “Ronin” to form their own academy, “Brasa”, a team that had Ricardo and “Leo” on board also. The Brasa team command was divided among a few of these fighters and according to the Vieira brothers lacked serious leadership and direction, for those reasons they decided to break their bond with Brasa and launched their own endeavor, the Checkmat team which was founded in 2008.
Checkmat BJJ in Detail
|Team Lineage||Academia Gracie > Alliance Jiu Jitsu > Brasa > Checkmat|
|Founder(s)||Ricardo Vieira / Leonardo Vieira|
|Directors||Ricardo Vieira / Francisco Mendes / Sebastian Lalli / Leandro Vieira|
|First Black Belt(s)||n/a|
Main Academy (Rio de Janeiro):
Fight Zone – Rua Francisco Sa, 36 – Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Main Academy (Sao Paulo Capital):
Academia Bodytech – Rua Atílio Innocenti 870, Vila Olímpia, São Paulo
Main Academy (Sao Paulo Int):
Fight Rua sete de setembro, 10 – Botucatu
Most Important Team Medals:
- 1st Place Europeans Adult (2009);
- 1st Place Europeans Female (2011);
- 1st Place No-Gi World Champions (2008, 2009, 2011);
- 1st Place Europeans Master & Senior (2010, 2011);
- 2nd Place World Championship (2011)
- 3rd Place World Championship (2010, 2009)
The Name Checkmat
At the time the team was formed, Leo Vieira had taken an interest in Chess which led to the name. The essence of the name brings out what both games (Jiu Jitsu and Chess) have in common; an essential hierarchical order, from the pawn to the king (from white belt to black belt), a chess board which is much like a mat (square pieces put together), they are both strategic games and by definition of the name itself “Check Mat” means King (Check) and Mat, so logically King of the Mat.
Other Checkmat Information
Though it has not been confirmed, the Checkmat organization was launched on the second semester of 2008, possibly making either Marco Canha (late 2008) or Joao Assis (early 2009) as the first black belts under the team banner.
Checkmat/ Vieira Bros Social Project
Checkmat has had a strong and benevolent influence in the Rio de Janeiro slums of “Cantagalo” through Ricardo Vieira, who is the leader of the Projeto Cantagalo, a project linked with the VB Team (Vieira Brothers) that works with the communities of Cantagalo, Pavão and Pavãozinho. The objective of the project is to occupy kids and adolescents in their spare time, making them aware of sports and a healthy lifestyle while taking them off the predominant gang mentality that echoes in these neighborhoods. The Projeto do Cantagalo reaches hundreds of different youngsters every month and has produced talented competitors such as Bruno Matias, Alan do Nascimento, amongst many others.
Checkmat Team – Fight Zone, Rio de Janeiro
This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)