DOJO was founded by 5th degree black belt Master Leonardo Vieira, a pioneer JIU JITSU world champion as both a competitor and coach.

Our faculty has over FIFTY years of teaching experience.

Master Leonardo Vieira

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Master Leo Vieira

Jiu Jitsu Black Belt - 5th Degree - Awarded in 1996

2-Time ADCC Champion - 2005, 2003

IBJJF black belt World Champion - 1999 

IBJJF Pan American Champion - 2004, 2002

CBJJ Brazilian National Champion - 1998

ADCC 2nd Place - 2011, 2007

multiple-time ibjjf world championship medalist


Master Leo Vieira  is the Founder and Program Director of DOJO. He is the visionary behind DOJO’s guiding principles, teaching philosophy, and youth-specific Jiu Jitsu curriculum.  

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Master Leo’s curriculum for youth is based on the foundational values of martial arts: respect, humility, balance, social growth, loyalty, and self-defense. He believes the lessons learned on the mat, including goal-setting, hard work, and dedication, transfer directly to school, other sports, and life outside the academy. The confidence gained from training can be seen in improved public-speaking skills. Communication skills can result in new friendships. And the problem-solving so inherent in Jiu Jitsu can lead to better academic performance. “I enjoy working with the kids because they learn so fast and you can see the positive changes every single day,” he explained.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Master Leo studied Physical Therapy at UNIB - Universidade Ibirapuera and also played two years of professional soccer. He has trained Jiu Jitsu for over 30 years and held a black belt for over 20 of those years. He is now a 5th degree BJJ black belt and also holds a black belt in Judo. As a top-ranked Jiu Jitsu competitor for well over a decade he is recognized as one of the top 10 competitors in the history of the sport. As a coach, he founded Checkmat in 2008, one of the leading Jiu Jitsu competition teams in the world with affiliate schools in six continents. Master Leo sees both the art and science within Jiu Jitsu, emphasizing technical prowess and invention while also strongly believing in the dynamic expression and individuality of each practitioner. Because of his unique pedagogy, he is one of the most in-demand Jiu Jitsu teachers in the world and has taught seminars and workshops in countless countries all across the world.

Outside of Jiu Jitsu, Master Leo is an avid surfer and food enthusiast. On weekends, he can be found surfing and paddleboarding the jetty in Seal Beach or barbequing homemade picanha (a popular Brazilian steak) in his College Park backyard. Most of all, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.

Professor Patricia Fontes

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JIU JITSU BLACK BELT - 1st DEGREE - AWARDED IN 2015 from professor lucas leite

IBJJF WORLD NO gi CHAMPION - black belt - 2017, 2016, 2015

IBJJF WORLD CHAMPION - brown belt - 2015

Fight to Win - Women's No Gi Champion - 2018

Professor Patricia "Pati" Fontes is one of DOJO's primary instructors for youth and Adult Jiu Jitsu classes. In that role, she is responsible for developing, evolving, and teaching DOJO's innovative youth curriculum.

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Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Pati now lives in Huntington Beach. In Brazil, Pati studied Social Communication at Universidade Estácio de Sá and then taught at a Portuguese language school. She also practiced and taught at an advanced ballet academy.

Pati believes Jiu Jitsu helps to align the body and mind. For her, practicing the “gentle art” relieves stress, promotes a healthy lifestyle, encourages mindfulness, and develops a social community where people from all walks of life are equal on the mat. As a teacher, Pati knows that students learn by example and she knows that to be a good teacher “you have to be the best you and be a good role model.” Of all the benefits a child can gain from Jiu Jitsu, she thinks students especially learn how to set goals, work hard towards those goals, and deal with failure. When not at the academy, Pati enjoys snowboarding, going to the beach, and spending time with her husband, her dog, BONGO, and her students, affectionately known as the “Pati Cats.”



JIU JITSU BLACK BELT - AWARDED IN 2017 by Master leo vieira

Five Grappling California open Champion - black belt - 2018

IBJJF Las Vegas Open Champion - brown belt - 2016

multiple time medalist at ibjjf, Abu Dhabi world pro tournaments

Professor Richard “Richie” Alvarez, who was promoted to Black Belt by Master Leo Vieira in 2017, is a Lead Instructor at DOJO.  As Lead Instructor, he is at DOJO from Monday to Friday to instruct, guide, and lead students in his own enthusiastic style.  

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He is committed to and focused on developing the youth and adult programs at DOJO consistent with Leo Vieira’s vision.

Professor Richie has competed in and continues to compete in high-level Jiu Jitsu tournaments and events. These skills and experiences have influenced his teaching style. Richie utilizes the same cognitive approach to teaching that he uses in training and competition.

As he progresses through his jiu jitsu journey, Professor Richie is guided by his philosophy to always “Try to be better than you were yesterday.”



JIU JITSU BLACK BELT - AWARDED IN 2018 by Master leo vieira

IBJJF American National champion

multiple time medalist at ibjjf

Professor Andre is a lead instructor at DOJO Monday through Saturday.  He has competed in and continues to compete in high-level Jiu Jitsu tournaments.  

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Professor Andre Khabbazi Jr. literally grew up with Jiu Jitsu, since his father is a Jiu Jitsu Black Belt. Professor Andre began training in Jiu Jitsu with Kron Gracie around seven years old. Professor Andre’s passion led him to Rio De Janeiro, where he eventually became so immersed in Jiu Jitsu that he lived in his Jiu Jitsu gym so that he could train several times throughout the day. After Professor Andre returned from Brazil, he began training with Checkmat under Master Leo Vieira.

The skills and experiences that he has gained from competition influence his teaching style. Professor Andre is committed to and focused on developing the youth and adult programs at DOJO consistent with Leo Vieira’s vision, while also incorporating his own style of instruction, guidance, and leadership. Professor Andre utilizes the same cognitive approach to teaching that he uses in training and competition.

As he progresses through his Jiu Jitsu journey, Professor Andre is guided by his philosophy to always “Mind over matter.”