José Leão Teixeira, also known by his nickname: “Zé Beleza”, is an important figure in Jiu Jitsu’s history as he was the founder of the Escola de Jiu-Jitsu Leão Teixeira a prime BJJ academy in Rio de Janeiro which is renowned for its work with children with several locations spread around Rio de Janeiro. Leão Teixeira was also closely connected with the creation of Jiu-Jitsu’s most established governing body. He is one of a few who holds the rank of black and red 7th-degree belt (coral belt) and he has dedicated his life to teach and empower people’s lives with the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Full Name: José Henrique Leao Teixeira Filho
Nickname: Zé Beleza, the nickname was given to Teixeira before he ever did jiu-jitsu. It started at the Arpoador beach, where José used to hang around as a kid; he had the habit of saying the expression “e aí, Beleza?” (Similar to “How’s it going?”, though it translates literally to “all beautiful?”), the phrase was cut to “Beleza” adding Zé which is short for José. As many of his childhood friends also trained jiu-jitsu the nickname was picked up on the mats also.
After the word spread about Teixeira’s great work with the children, an invitation was made to open jiu-jitsu classes in Gavea (a famous burg of Rio de Janeiro), thus starting the Gavea Jiu-Jitsu Academy (1992) with “Ze Beleza” coaching at the “Centro de Arte e Cultura”. The Gavea Jiu Jitsu gave a chance for Teixeira to open his jiu-jitsu school (Escola de Jiu-Jitsu Leão Teixeira). This BJJ school would become a reference for BJJ in Rio de Janeiro, especially amongst the youngsters.