Keiser Girão is a jiu-jitsu black belt under Rigan Machado, who worked extensively with the rest of the Machado brothers, Ryan Gracie, Nogueira brothers, and Amaury Bitetti. Girão is known for his work as a grappling coach in Dallas, Texas, USA, where he developed one of the main jiu-jitsu schools in the world under the Checkmat Team banner (Mezger Martial Arts), being behind big names of the sport such as Matheus Gabriel and Sam Nagai.
Keiser Girão Jiu-Jitsu
Full Name: Keiser Antonio Esteves Girão
Lineage: Carlos Gracie Sr. > Helio Gracie > Carlos Gracie Junior > Rigan Machado > Keiser Girão
Main Achievements: N/A
Favorite Position/Technique: Guard Passing
Weight Division: N/A
Keiser Girão Biography
Keiser Girão was born on January 22, 1976, in São Paulo, Brazil.
Living a sporting lifestyle from an early age, Keiser practiced a number of activities, taking most interest in basketball, a sport he played competitively for the local Clube Pinheiros.
Although invested in traditional sports, Girão always kept a close connection with martial arts, a relationship guided by his love for Hollywood action films. This interest for combat sports led Keiser to judo when he was 8 years old, later training also shotokan karate, taekwondo, and finally settling in hapkido at the age of 17 – a martial art which Girão followed until the rank of red belt.
It was because of hapkido that Keiser, in 1995, decided to try jiu-jitsu for the first time, as a way to improve his ground-work for the South Korean martial art. There were not too many BJJ academies in São Paulo during the mid-90s, but, by chance, Girão came across a workshop led by 3 Alliance black belts Fábio Gurgel, Ricardo Franjinha, and Leandro Borgo. A class that took place inside a sporting complex where Girão played football (soccer).
Keiser joined the Alliance workgroup and trained with Franjinha for around 4 months. Coach Ricardo was, eventually, offered a job in the United States and moved to California. By then Keiser was already fully embedded in jiu-jitsu’s culture, finding in Ryan Gracie‘s academy his new grappling home.
Spending 3 years under Gracie’s supervision, Girão earned his blue belt. During this period, Keiser was accepted by an exchange student program that sent him to Los Angeles, California, for a few months. While in LA, Keiser trained with the Machado brothers, becoming good friends with Rigan Machado. In 1999 Girão returned to California where he stayed for a few months, earning his purple belt from Rigan then.
Upon his return from the US, Keiser’s life changed substantially as he found out about his girlfriend’s pregnancy and decided to focus all his time on preparing for his new family. Girão started working a full-time job and studying at a university, limiting his training to only a few times per month. This rhythm lasted until 2003, when Rigan Machado returned to Brazil, visiting São Paulo to compete in that year’s ADCC tournament. During his stay, Machado invited Girão to return to the US and teach his beginners and kids classes. An offer accepted by Keiser.
During his time coaching at Rigan Machado’s academy, Keiser was promoted to brown belt and later handed the lead of the advanced class, during a particularly busy period for instructor Rigan, a time when he was deeply involved with the movie industry, teaching privates to Hollywood celebrities and developing fight choreographies for films.
During his time at the Machado gym, Keiser had access to many of the sport’s top grapplers, who visited Rigan’s training facilities on a regular basis. This close contact with Rigan and these big jiu-jitsu players on a daily basis, allied with Girão’s own studies in physical education helped shape the Brazilian coach’s methodology.
In 2006 Keiser was promoted to black belt by coach Rigan in a ceremony that included other members of the Machado family such as Roger, Jean Jacques and Carlos Machado.
Seeing California as overly saturated with grappling gyms, Keiser decided to move to Dallas where he could help build the sport. Keiser first joined Carlos Machado‘s gym, where he worked for a couple of years before opening his own school.
At first, Keiser Girão’s school represented Team Nogueira (Octagon Team Nogueira Dallas) during the early days of the Nogueira’s affiliation, a time when the São Paulo native had the opportunity to work extensively with the Nogueira’s grappling coach, Amaury Bitetti.
With the passing of time, the Nogueira brothers started focusing more of their time in Brazil and their Brazilian affiliations. Feeling that he needed to be affiliated to a high-level competition team in order to grow his own knowledge and that of his students, Keiser decided to split from Team Nogueira, then joining Checkmat – a team where he had many friendships.
Keiser Girão is also known for his partnership with former UFC fighter Guy Mezger. The two merged forced with the concept of forming the best competition team possible in mind, an effort that had Keiser bringing a few young talented Brazilian players to the team. Athletes such as Matheus Gabriel and Samuel Nagai who, with the help of Girão, made a giant impact in the sport on an international scale.