MAY 14, 2019, Most people remember Bruno Bastos as one of the best black belts ever produced by legendary instructor Wendel Alexander and the Nova União Academy. A former World NoGi, Pan (Gi and NoGi) and Brazilian Nationals (Gi and NoGi) champion, Bruno’s path led him to the southern region of North America, namely Midland – Texas.
Bastos quickly established himself as one of the top grappling coaches on The Lone Star State, with his students carrying the flag of the Bruno Bastos Association far and wide, an association he started in 2014. This, Bruno explained to BJJ Heroes, was the crux of his decision to found LEAD “I created the Team LEAD BJJ back in 2016 because I wanted something that wasn’t about my name. I had students of affiliates winning tournaments – especially from Alvarez BJJ [Danny Alvarez academy] traveling all over the World, and I was getting compliments on how good ‘my students’ were doing, when in fact I wasn’t their coach.”
After LEAD was inaugurated (which, as a side note, represents Live Everyday to Achieve your Dreams [L.E.A.D.]), the open-mindedness of Bastos paid off far more than he initially anticipated as “some like-minded people saw the opportunity of being a part of a growing team without being behind someone’s name. The first case of this was Dennis Jiu-Jitsu Club [of Edenilson Lima], who joined right at the beginning, and later the Pablo Silva BJJ team [Pablo Silva], who have a great group of competitors as well. It’s nice because each one can run their own business, being able to put their names on the market, and all representing LEAD BJJ.”
The team has gathered plenty of momentum, conquering consecutive team titles in their home turf, at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) Opens, while also earning 22 medals at this year’s Pan American tournament.
Following the LEAD mantra (Live Everyday to Achieve your Dreams), a phrase chosen by Bastos due to his belief that “life is a competition where you have to fight for everything you want“, the group has only gained strength with each passing year and quickly gathered affiliates across 4 of the 7 continents, namely in Brasil, USA, Bulgaria, Australia and Mexico.
With such a large network, you can expect a lot of talent will come forth for the World Championship camp, which is usually based at the team’s headquarters in Midland-TX, though that may have to change this year as with the recent “growth of the team, we’re planning on do 3 weekends rotational camp: Midland, Dallas & Houston.” said Bastos who is strong to point that this is “just the beginning, and I’m not in a hurry of a huge team. As I said above, it’s about like-minded people. So if you feel that your beliefs are similar to Team LEAD BJJ, you’ll be very welcome to talk about the possibility of joining us.”
Keep an eye out for these guys and girls at the Worlds later this month as they will be one of the rising teams in the sport.