Helder Medeiros, commonly known as Bob Esponja (SpongeBob) or Bobby, is a jiu-jitsu black belt under Demian Maia, Leonardo Vieira and Ricardo Vieira, who is well known for both his athletic career and his success as a grappling coach, particularly his work with high-end athletes such as Alexander Tráns, Antônio “Cara de Sapato” Júnior and Tarcisio Jardim, the U18 and U21 United Arab Emirates National Squad among other important positions. As a competitor Medeiros conquered multiple International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) world titles in the colored belt divisions, while also earning medals as a black belt in important tournaments such as the South American, Brazilian Nationals and European Open.
Helder Medeiros Jiu-Jitsu
Full Name: Helder Medeiros da Silva
Nickname: Bob Esponja, which translates to SpongeBob Squarepants, the famous Nickelodeon character. The nickname (often shortened to “Bobby”) was awarded by Fernando Tererê back in 2003 when Medeiros trained under the legendary grappler. Helder was a new blue belt in the team, having arrived from the Northeast region of Brazil, and Tererê did not remember his name. Jokingly, he called Medeiros “Bob Esponja” and the name quickly became associated with the athlete, so much so that when Medeiros won the blue belt world title that year, he was listed on the champions list by his nickname.
Lineage 1: C. Gracie > H. Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Fabio Gurgel > Demian Maia > Helder Medeiros
Lineage 2: C. Gracie > H. Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Leo Vieira / Ricardo Vieira > Helder Medeiros
- 1st Place NNEBJJ North-Northeast Championship (2010)
- 1st Place IBJJF South American Championship (2007)
- 2nd Place IBJJF South American Championship (2008)
- 2nd Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals NoGi (2009)
- 3rd Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals NoGi (2010)
- 3rd Place IBJJF European Open (2010)
Main Achievements (Colored Belts):
- 1st Place IBJJF World Championship (2003 blue, 2005 purple, 2006 brown);
- 1st Place CBJJO World Cup (2003 blue, 2005 purple, 2006 brown);
- 3rd Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals (2005 purple, 2006 brown);
- 3rd Place CBJJO World Cup (2004 purple);
** Weight and Absolute
Favorite Position/Technique: N/A
Weight Division: Peso Leve (76,00 kg / 168.0 lbs)
Team/Association: Halavanca BJJ
Helder Medeiros Biography
Helder Medeiros – SpongeBob was born on May 23, 1982, in João Pessoa, a coastal city located in the State of Paraíba in eastern Brazil.
Growing up, Helder was very active playing community sports, though not particularly driven towards competition aside from a few school tournaments. That competitive side of Helder only arose with jiu-jitsu, a sport he started at the age of 16.
The reason for Medeiros’ interest in jiu-jitsu came by way of his older brother, Hermes Medeiros, someone Helder admired a great deal. His sibling started to grapple at a local school with coach João Ramalho during the late 1990s and would show a few techniques to the younger Helder who grew increasingly interested in trying a class, a desire that came to fruition on August 2, 1998.
Vagner Guimarães was Helder Medeiros’ first instructor and a great voice of encouragement for the young Paraíba native. After earning his blue belt from Guimarães, Medeiros decided to move to São Paulo – 2700km distance from João Pessoa, to train with the best coaches he possibly could, then joining Demian Maia‘s academy, while also working with Leonardo Vieira (Leozinho) at the team’s headquarters. The team was called Master at the time and would later split into Brasa, TT, and Checkmat.
Guided by Demian Maia, Medeiros conquered the sport’s biggest titles in the colored belt divisions, but as Maia started drifting away from BJJ and towards mixed martial arts (MMA) in 2005, SpongeBob was advised by both Maia and Leozinho to seek a more suited training environment, one that fit his competitive ambition. That environment was Leonardo’s own brother and leader of the team’s Rio de Janeiro branch, Ricardo Vieira (Rico).
While in Rio de Janeiro, Medeiros became a part of Ricardo’s VB Project, a non-profit jiu-jitsu NGO, famous for spawning many grappling athletes such as Alan Finfou, Jackson Sousa, Bruno Matias, Douglas Rufino and many more. After some time in Rio, Helder Medeiros would earn his black belt in a combined effort between Demian Maia, Leonardo, and Ricardo Vieira by the end of 2006.
While developing his skills as an athlete, Medeiros invested equal time in his evolution as a coach, leading his own school in Paraíba, starting the first Checkmat JJ team affiliate in the region. Medeiros’ work in Paraíba quickly became a big success with his coaching system being praised by many top-end athletes such as Alexander Tráns, Antonio “Cara de Sapato”, Tarcisio Jardim, Thiago Cavalcante, Jiddu Bastos, Marina Ribeiro, Felipe Miranda, João “Petch” Luiz, Rulio Areda, Carlos Zau Augusto, Ricardo Dutra.
In 2011 Medeiros went to Abu Dhabi to compete at the Jiu-Jitsu World Pro tournament. There he befriended one of the organizers for the local federation, Mr. Fabricio Moreira, who advised Helder to apply for a coaching vacancy in the country. Medeiros returned home after the event and decided to apply, being called to work in the United Arab Emirates in 2012.
While in the Middle East, Medeiros worked on a number of projects, from a school in Abdulla Bin Rawaha, to leading Abu Dhabi’s juvenile jiu-jitsu team. The continuous success of Medeiros presented him with other important coaching opportunities such as managing the UAE under 18 and under 21 national squads, who held world and Asian Games titles with the JJIF during his reign.
While working with the UAE federation, Helder Medeiros also developed a high-performance based workgroup called “A Liga” (The League), catered for the top black belts living in the United Emirates. During his time at the helm of A Liga, SpongeBob guided the elite of competitive jiu-jitsu. Names such as Jose Junior, Luanna Alzuguir, Marcio Andre, Alexander Trans, Pedro Peres, Jiddu Bastos, Thiago Cavalcanti, Oscar Junior, Samuel Canquerino, and many more.
Helder Medeiros’ work as a coach took different routes, including forming his own team – Halavanca Jiu-Jitsu and working as the head coach of the Baniyas Sports Club.
Helder Medeiros vs Thiago Barreto
Helder Medeiros vs Davi Lemes