Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in New South WAles
Until the turn of the Century, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was not a competitive sport in New South Wales. While there were several gyms that offered BJJ, many of the instructors were focused on other forms of martial arts, such as judo, jiu-jitsu, and karate. At this stage, BJJ was a relatively unknown martial art with only a small group of followers. The highest belt in NSW pre 2000 was a purple belt. Over the past twenty years, things have changed, and BJJ is one of the fastest growing competitive sports for kids and adults in the State.
The First Black Belt in NSW
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu really started in New South Wales in 2000 with the arrival of our first Brazilian Black-Belt, Professor Paulo Guimaraes, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Paulo was on a surf trip to Bali, stopped in Australia to visit a friend, and never left. The story goes that Paulo was walking past a gym in Manly where some guys were training BJJ - the instructor was a blue belt. He asked if he could come back and roll with the guys. Walking in to the gym, he unravelled his black belt, and the rest is history. Paulo has been instrumental in starting BJJ as a competitive sport in NSW and Australia. As a World Champion Black Belt and a King of the Cage, he trained under Master Flavio Behring, who was a black belt under Helio Gracie. Paulo continued to train under Flavio's sons, Sylvio and Marcelo Behring. After Marcelo left Brazil, Paulo continued to train under Jorge Pereira, who was training under Marcelo Behring and Rickson Gracie. We are lucky in New South Wales to have such strong traditions and links back to the origins of BJJ in Brazil.