Unleash Your Inner Warrior with CHECKMAT Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Founded in 2008 by the Vieira brothers – Leo, Ricardo, and Leandro – Checkmat Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has quickly established itself as one of the premier BJJ teams in the world. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Checkmat has franchises in 16 countries and is known for producing elite competitors at the highest levels of the sport. The name “Checkmat” cleverly combines the chess term “checkmate” with the word “mat,” nodding to the strategic and tactical nature of both chess and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Under the leadership of the Vieira brothers, Checkmat has cultivated a training environment that pushes athletes to their full potential. The team has developed countless world champions, including Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida, Michelle Nicolini, and Checkmat co-founder Leo Vieira himself. Buchecha, in particular, is Checkmat’s flagship athlete, having won a record 7 open weight World Championships. Checkmat’s roster of talent has led to tremendous success in team competitions like the IBJJF World Championships and the No-Gi Worlds.

While Checkmat is defined by its rigorous training and competition success, it is also firmly grounded in the philosophy of BJJ as a transformative lifestyle. The Vieiras built Checkmat to be a family of like-minded practitioners who support each other on and off the mats. Under their visionary leadership, Checkmat continues to grow globally while upholding its mission of empowering lives through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s lessons of discipline, determination, and community.

The Vieira Brothers: Pioneers of the Checkmat Method

To understand Checkmat’s meteoric rise, it is essential to look at its founders. Leo, Ricardo, and Leandro Vieira developed a shared vision for competitive excellence and international growth.

Leo Vieira is a legendary BJJ figure and champion in his own right. He honed his skills under the famous Carlson Gracie lineage. After winning worlds across gi and no-gi divisions, Leo sought to pass his knowledge to the next generation of competitors.

His brother Ricardo Vieira also reached the pinnacle of the sport with world titles in the lower belt divisions. He now serves as Checkmat’s general manager, overseeing business operations.

The youngest brother Leandro Vieira manages Checkmat’s online presence and marketing. He helps promote Checkmat’s global expansion while maintaining the academy’s modern image.

Together, the Vieiras devised the successful training methods and competitive philosophy that defines Checkmat Jiu-Jitsu today. Their unique approach has allowed Checkmat to dominate competition and expand worldwide.

Forging a Legacy in Competition

Checkmat is defined by its excellence in competition. Under the leadership of the Vieiras, Checkmat has become famous for producing elite BJJ athletes.

Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida is Checkmat’s most decorated champion, having won a record 13 World Championships across gi and no-gi divisions. His combination of size, athleticism and technique make him one of the greatest competitors ever. Buchecha’s success propelled the Checkmat team to global prominence.

Other Checkmat icons include multiple-time women’s world champions Michelle Nicolini and Bia Mesquita. Nicolini, in particular, helped demonstrate the effectiveness of Checkmat’s training methods for competitors of all sizes.

Co-founder Leo Vieira also came out of retirement in recent years to compete. His matches against legendary rivals like Rodrigo Comprido showcased the timeless technique of a true BJJ master.

In team events, Checkmat has showcased its immense depth and talent. They have won multiple World IBJJF Championships and dominated the No-Gi Worlds.

Checkmat has earned a reputation for cultivating world-class contenders. Emerging stars continually rise through its competition ranks.

The Checkmat Training Philosophy

Checkmat’s training philosophy emphasizes technical precision, strategic thinking, and intense conditioning. Classes typically begin with detailed technique instruction and drilling. This ensures students develop clean, effective Jiu-Jitsu.

Later, sparring sessions encourage students to apply techniques against fully resisting opponents. Checkmat believes this realism is essential to excel in competition.

Students also undergo demanding physical conditioning to build endurance, strength and athleticism. Technique alone is not enough – Checkmat athletes are trained to overwhelm opponents.

Every training session has a competitive focus. But the family atmosphere keeps the student experience positive.

This comprehensive approach allows Checkmat to consistently produce world-beating competitors in both gi and no-gi divisions.

The Checkmat Training Environment

So how has Checkmat become a hotbed for top athletic talent? Their training environment pushes students to strive for excellence.

Under the watch of Leo Vieira and other champion coaches, students are put through intense, demanding training. The focus is on strategic thinking and effective technique.

Checkmat’s main academy in California draws the team’s elite competitors. But franchises worldwide emulate the competitive culture. Checkmat locations are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to enable the most effective training.

Despite the intensity, Checkmat fosters a tight-knit team environment. Students support and motivate each other like family. This atmosphere empowers athletes to reach their full potential.

Checkmat also utilizes technology to enhance training. Students use video analysis software to study techniques and identify weaknesses. This innovative approach keeps Checkmat on the cutting edge.

Spreading the Checkmat Philosophy Globally

A key part of the Vieiras’ vision is to spread Jiu-Jitsu’s positive transformative power worldwide. Checkmat now has schools across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

The Vieiras carefully select franchise owners who embrace their competitive philosophy. But locations maintain their own identities by catering to local markets.

Wherever they open locations, the Vieiras aim to create communities united by the lifestyle and spirit of BJJ. Students range from kids to adults, beginners to professional competitors. But all focus on continuous self-improvement through training.

Checkmat also gives back to the larger Jiu-Jitsu community by hosting seminars and charity events. They aim to help BJJ continue growing into a global sport.

Checkmat’s Global Reach

Checkmat has expanded tremendously since its beginnings in California. Here are some of the key locations that have driven Checkmat’s worldwide growth:

  • San Diego, CA: Checkmat’s original academy and still the flagship location. Home to top competitors and coaches.
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Checkmat’s first international branch, opened in 2011. Helped establish their presence in BJJ’s birthplace.
  • Dubai, UAE: This Middle East branch focuses on fast-growing regional demand for BJJ. Part of Checkmat’s emerging market strategy.
  • Singapore: Checkmat Singapore specializes in children’s BJJ programs to develop the next generation of athletes.
  • London, UK: Checkmat London won the prestigious Europeans team event in 2022, showing the team’s strength in Europe.
  • Seoul, South Korea: Korea is considered an important growth market, especially for no-gi grappling forms.

This global footprint allows Checkmat to continually build its brand while spreading its philosophy.

Developing Black Belts and Instructors

Another way Checkmat expands its influence is by developing passionate instructors and black belts.

Earning a black belt under Leo Vieira represents an incredible achievement. Checkmat team members who reach black belt status become certified to teach the Checkmat curriculum and open schools.

Notable Checkmat black belts who now lead successful academies include BJJ stars Keenan Cornelius and Kaynan Duarte. They uphold Checkmat’s values while adding their own unique perspectives.

This cycle allows Checkmat’s approach to reach an ever-wider audience, even outside the core competition team.

The Next Generation of Jiu-Jitsu

As Checkmat expands, so does its influence on the BJJ landscape. The athletes emerging from its ranks set the standard in competition. Checkmat also contributes new techniques and strategies that shape the meta of Jiu-Jitsu.

But beyond competition, Checkmat also develops the next generation of Jiu-Jitsu instructors and school owners. Many Checkmat black belts have opened their own successful academies, spreading the team’s philosophy.

Top students like Danny Martinez now coach up-and-coming prospects, passing on the lessons they learned under Leo Vieira’s guidance.

Through its culture of excellence, Checkmat promotes positive values like discipline, respect, community and determination – on and off the mats.

The Future of Greatness

In just over a decade, the Vieira brothers have made Checkmat Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu an international force. They have built one of the most successful competition teams ever while spreading Jiu-Jitsu globally.

Checkmat shows no signs of slowing down. With its talent pool and global presence, the team is poised for continued dominance.

Leo Vieira envisions a future where BJJ impacts millions more lives worldwide. By inspiring excellence, he is bringing that vision closer to reality. Anyone passionate about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu would do well to learn from or join this modern powerhouse team.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did Checkmat get started?

Checkmat was founded in 2008 in San Diego, California by brothers Leo Vieira, Ricardo Vieira, and Leandro Vieira. The Vieiras wanted to create a new BJJ team focused on excellence in competition and expanding the sport globally.

What makes Checkmat’s training style unique?

Checkmat is known for its demanding, intense training methods. There is an emphasis on technical precision, conditioning, and hard sparring. The goal is to produce competitors ready for the pressures of major tournaments.

Where are Checkmat academies located?

Checkmat has over 160 locations across North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. Their headquarters is in California but they have schools globally.

How can I train at Checkmat if there isn’t a location near me?

Checkmat offers online training courses to provide access to its curriculum worldwide. You can also attend seminars and camps at different Checkmat locations.

What is Checkmat’s competition philosophy?

Checkmat focuses on strategically dominating opponents. Athletes are trained to be well-rounded fighters who can implement game plans and adapt as needed.

Who are some notable athletes who train at Checkmat?

Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida, Michelle Nicolini, Leo Vieira, Lucas Leite, Kaynan Duarte, and many other elite BJJ competitors have trained under Checkmat.

Can beginners or casual practitioners train at Checkmat?

Absolutely! While Checkmat is known for developing elite competitors, they welcome students of all experience levels. However, the training is intense.

How can I become a Checkmat black belt?

It takes consistent, dedicated training for many years. You must demonstrate technical mastery and also represent Checkmat’s philosophy positively. Very few reach black belt level.


The story of Checkmat’s monumental rise is one of vision, innovation, and determination. By combining a competitive philosophy with genuine care for students, the Vieiras have built something extraordinary.

At its core, Checkmat aims to share the immense benefits that training BJJ can bring. Through top-level instruction, they have helped countless students improve and transform their lives.

With franchises across the world, Checkmat has also played a major role in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s global expansion. The team’s future looks bright as they continue pursuing greatness.

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