Prof. Paulo Guimaraes is the head teacher of ROOTS BJJ Australia and is also the instructor at our Sydney CBD dojo.
Paulo Guimaraes started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu when he was 15 years old, before that Paulo trained Judo for 7 years starting at the age of 6 years old.
In 1982 Paulo’s family moved from Ipanema to Barra (2 suburbs in Rio) and Paulo changed from training in Judo to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).
BJJ was a martial art that was spreading around the country quickly with local and state tournaments besides being famous because its efficiency in street fights, very common in Brazil at the time.
Paulo started training under the Behring family and Master Flavio Behring (now Red belt) who was a Black Belt under Grandmaster Helio Gracie.
During that time Paulo met Jorge Pereira who trained at the same gym and they became friends and training partners.
After some years Marcelo Behring and Jorge Pereira changed gyms by suggestion of Marcelo’s father, Flavio Behring and started training at the Gracie Academy under Rickson Gracie and teach all they learned there to Paulo and other Behring gym students.
At this time Paulo started his surfing career as well and divided his time between mats and waves competing in both frequently.
Due to sponsors deals and a busy surf comps calendar schedule Paulo slowed down training to concentrate in surfing and show results to sponsors becoming a professional surfer and training BJJ whenever he had a chance in Rio once in the 80’s BJJ still very small in Brazil concentrating in Rio and 2 or 3 other States.
After some years in professional surfing Paulo decided to slow down surf comps and the competition traveling life to stay in Rio and dedicate himself to finish University and train BJJ full time.
That was the beginning of the 90’s and Marcelo Behring went around the world for a challenge trip starting by Australia where he advertised in the main newspapers a challenge to any fighter independent of fighting style or weight category to a combat where the prize was US$50.000 to the winner. Becoming than the 1st time BJJ came to Australia using its most aggressive form, the "No Rules" fight.
After doing the challenge all around the world and sometimes actually having the fight and winning the prize $$$$$, Marcelo went back to Brazil and was murdered in the early 90’s.
Jorge took charge of the school and all Marcelo’s students followed him including Paulo.
In 1993 Paulo became a professional airplane pilot and got a good job to fly in the Amazon Jungle region at North Brazil.
Then he spoke to Jorge and started to teach BJJ at Belem do Para, the same city where everything started in the early 1900’s when Japanese Jiu Jitsu World Champion Matsuo Maeda (Count Koma) started teaching Carlos Gracie the 1st moves of the gentle art.
Now Paulo was a purple belt with various titles in BJJ competitions trough Brazil including 2 x North Brazilian champion and 2 x North/Northeast Brazilian Champion among other titles and teaching in the best school of Belem called APAM (Associacao Paraense de Artes Marciais) owned by the famous Japanese Sensei Yoshizo Machida father of UFC fighter and former champion Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida who started his 1st BJJ steps as Paulo’s student.
In 1994 Paulo started teaching his BJJ Unarmed Combat & Self Defence program to the 5th Guard Company – Amazon Jungle Division for the Brazilian Army. Showing soldiers and officials all the efficiency and superiority of BJJ in survival man to man combat. At that same time Paulo had his 1st Vale Tudo (No Rules) fight against the Army Boxing Champion choking the opponent and proving the superiority of his style.
In 1995 Paulo founded the Para State Federation together with Professor Alfredo “Verdugo” Marques, a top level Black Belt Champion under Master Oswaldo Alves, and affiliated the Para Federation under the Brazilian Confederation of BJJ – CBJJ and also received his Brown Belt and became the Para Federation President in the same year.
On the end of 1996 Paulo moved to south Brazil together with his good friend and loyal student Giovanni Reis (Paulo’s 1st ever Black Belt), more exactly to Porto Alegre city at Rio Grande do Sul State, border with Argentina.
There he opened the Extreme BJJ Academy which became one of the main BJJ schools in south Brazil having many champion students winning State and South Brazilian titles.
Paulo became Vice-President of the Rio Grande do Sul BJJ Federation running it together with Ze Mario Sperry and Walter Mattos.
In 1998 Paulo received his Black Belt from his instructor and old time friend Jorge Pereira after 16 years of sweat and blood.
But the journey didn’t finish there, actually it was just the beginning…
Paulo lived in Porto Alegre for 3 years where he helped developing BJJ and evolved his training and teaching skills. Over there Paulo also met his wife and in 2000 they decided to take a long surf holiday trip to New Zealand, Bali and Australia where he met Brad Paterson who invited him to teach some classes at his gym in Neutral Bay, Sydney.
Paulo became the 1st Brazilian BJJ Black Belt to teach and live in Australia and the 1st BJJ Black Belt teaching in Sydney. Fighters from all around Australia came to learn from him in group and private classes.
On the end of 2001 Paulo moved his classes to Bondi where he then started to build up his ROOTS Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Team of Champions.
Paulo and other 2 Brazilian Black Belts living in Sydney founded the NSW Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (NSWBJJF) under the Australian Brasilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (AFBJJ) and the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IFBJJ -based in Brazil) having the aim of develop and grow the sport of BJJ in Australia organizing competitions and a State ranking for BJJ athletes. In the same year of 2002 the NSWBJJF started the NSW State Circuit composed of 3 events and the one who scored more points overall would became the 1st NSW State Champion fighter and Academy respectively. ROOTS became the 1st ever NSW State BJJ Champion Team with 2 victories of possible 3 and repeated the result for the next 2 years winning 2002, 2003 and 2004 NSW BJJ Circuits in a row.
Paulo took his 3 top students, Andrew Gorton, David Obrien and Phillipa Katonivualiku for the 1st time to Brazil to compete in the world stage and fight at the BJJ World Cup and BJJ World Championship. What happened then was that Paulo and all 3 students got GOLD and became the 1st AUSTRALIANS BJJ WORLD CHAMPIONS!
ROOTS students were the 1st Australians to get a title at this level in BJJ stunning the International and Brazilian BJJ community being reported in the main martial arts magazines and websites as the “100% successful team”!
Phillipa won the Australian National Wrestling Championship in 2003 as well.
Paulo went to Los Angeles (USA) to compete in the Pan American Championships together with his old friend and instructor Jorge Pereira, team mate and also old friend Wander Braga and his Australian World Champ student Andrew Gorton.
As a result Paulo won Silver in the Absolute (open weight) division, Andrew got 3rd place in his weight division and Jorge got Gold in his weight division and Silver in the Absolute as well.
Still in 2004 4 of Paulo students went again to compete in the Worlds in Brazil and brought home 3 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze medal. The athletes were Andrew, David and Phillipa who won for the 2nd time in a row the BJJ World Cup and Phillipa got 3rd in the World Championship as well while Rob Toman brought a nice Silver medal.
ROOTS Team won the Australian National Submission Grappling Championship (No Gi tournament) repeating the victory in 2006 and becoming 2 x Champion Team in a row.
In July 2006 Paulo went to Brazil to compete in the Worlds but this time in one division above the usual for him. He did a hard work during 6 months and put on 6kg to go up one division from Middleweight (79kg) to Light-heavyweight (85kg).
The fights were hard and after 3 tuff combats he brought another medal home, this time Bronze.
But the year hadn’t finished yet and just to make it even more challenging Paulo accepted the invitation to fight MMA again at the King Of The Cage (KOTC) event in Sydney on Dec 1st, 2006.
3 months of hard work: BJJ, boxing, wrestling, fitness…Ready!
The fight lasted 29secs. Clinch, takedown, side control, mount, back, CHOKE!
And the year was over with another victory.
Another NSW BJJ State Title for ROOTS Team in May (the 4th one) and victories in MMA events during the whole year by some of Paulo’s students in Australian events as KOTC, X-AGON, Cage Fighting Championship (CFC) and Warriors Realm.
Paulo creates his own MMA cage event called X-AGON and promotes 4 shows.
Paulo didn’t compete during that year taking a break to concentrate in improving his techniques, build up the gym, lapidate students and teach seminars around Australasia at his affiliated ROOTS Academies -7 in NSW State, 2 in Western Australia State and 2 in South Korea – and other Gyms which invite him regularly to show BJJ skills for their students.
For 2008 the competition schedule was back with the target set to the Worlds in Brazil on July once again and other big comps as the Pan American Championship in California on April and the Asian Championship in Japan on November…
The Brazil and USA competitions had to be postponed but in the end of November 2008 Paulo won TWO gold medals at the Asian Championships for his weight class and absolute division in Tokyo becoming 2 x Asian BJJ Champion.
Paulo won the Australasian qualifier for the first World Professional Jiu Jitsu Cup in Abu Dhabi to set the pace for the year.
Paulo fought in the UAE at the 1st Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup in May 2009. He didn't win this time but coached ROOTS athlete Steffen Krieg victory to become the 1st and only Australian Professional BJJ Champion ever bringing home the US$, the big medal, and one more important title for ROOTS and Australia.
Also in 2009 Prof. Paulo taught his 1st European Seminars Series in Ireland and Italy followed by the USA Seminars Tour in Pensylvania, Delaware and Florida.
ROOTS BJJ opened 3 new gyms in Sydney - CBD, Broadway and Bondi Beach- and the 1st gym in the Queensland State at Townsville. This way now there are 11 ROOTS BJJ Academies in Australia under Prof. Paulo Guimaraes besides the 2 ROOTS South Korea Academies.
ROOTS again qualified 1 athlete to represent Australia in the 2nd World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup at Abu Dhabi 2010 held in April.
Prof. Paulo is set to teach seminars to the Australian Army as he used to do in the 1990's to the Brazilian Army aiming the improvement of man to man combat skills of the soldiers.
ROOTS BJJ won for the Australian National Submisssion Grappling Championship for the 3rd time.
In the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) scene Paulo has some great fighters under him including his BJJ Black Belt student Tony Bonello- King Of The Cage (KOTC) World Champion in the Middle, Light-heavy and Heavy weight divisions -, Andrew Gorton, Will Cunningham, Roy Pariente, Rawdon Lee, Marcelo Altieri, David "Big D" Milovic and many more upcoming champion fighters.
This year started with the opening of 3 new International ROOTS BJJ Academies. 1 in Miami - USA, 1 in Sao Paulo - Brazil and another 1 in Macedonia.
In the competition field Brian Falzon from ROOTS Australia became the 1st ever Australian Profesional BJJ Champion at the BJJ Professional Championship in Abu Dhabi and also got Silver in the Gi division in the same event.
Paulo's ROOTS MMA Team fighter Marcelo Altieri won his fight via submission in impressive 90 secs at the biggest MMA event in Australia - Cage Fighting Championship (CFC) - in Sydney.
And we are just in the middle of the year...!
"Come training with us at ROOTS BJJ. I guarantee you a big change in your life...and maybe even a World Title!"
- Professor Paulo Guimaraes.