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Azamat Hamzathanov

Azamat Hamzathanov s a highly regarded and upcoming BJJ instructor from the Netherlands with a huge social media following that helped thousands to elevate their game through his daily techniques and unique guidance. He is also a leg lock specialist, so prepare your legs.

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DANIEL DE GROOT

Daniël is an extremely talented black belt based out of the Netherlands and Santos, Brazil. Among his titles, he is a Brazilian and European No-Gi champion and has won the elite divisions of NAGA as a high level competitor. He is known for snagging guillotines from all angles, and for constantly hunting for leg attacks.

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Full Name: Leonardo Alcantara Vieira

Nickname: “Leozinho” which means little Leonardo, or just Leo.

Lineage: Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Leonardo Vieira

Main Achievements:

  • 1st Place ADCC (2003, 2005)
  • 1st Place IBJJF World Championship (1999)
  • 1st Place IBJJF Pan Championship (2002/2004)
  • 1st Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals (1998)
  • 2nd Place ADCC (2011/2007)
  • 2nd Place IBJJF World Championship (1997)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF World Championship (2000)

Main Achievements:

  • 1st Place IBJJF World Championship (1996 brown)

Weight Division: Peso Leve (76 kg / 167 lbs)

Favorite Position/Technique: Brabo Choke, Guard Passing.

Association/Team: Checkmat

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ROSE EL SHAROUNI

Rose-Marie El Sharouni is a Dutch grappler and a jiu-jitsu black belt under Leonardo Vieira, who represents Team Checkmat and the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy Amsterdam (Netherlands) in the sport’s international circuit. Despite spending many of her competitive years splitting her time between a medical career and the mats, El Sharouni still maintained a high rate of success in the sport, earning multiple medals in the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) and the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Pro (AJP) tours, while beating some of the top-ranked athletes on the light-featherweight division.

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Full Name: Rose-Marie el Sharouni

Nickname: N/A

Lineage: Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Leonardo Vieira > Rose-Marie El Sharouni

Main Achievements:

  • #1 AJP Ranked European Player (2022)
  • 2nd Place IBJJF Pan Championship (2023)
  • 2nd Place IBJJF European Open (2022)
  • 2nd Place AJP Abu Dhabi World Pro (2021)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF World Championship (2021 / 2022)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF European Open (2020 / 2023)

Main Achievements (Colored Belts):

  • 1st Place IBJJF European Open (2015 blue, 2019 brown)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF World Championship (2018 brown)

Favorite Position/Technique: Spider-Guard

Weight Division: Peso Peso Pluma (53.5kg / 118 lbs)

Team/Association: Checkmat

Rose El Sharouni Biography

Rose El Sharouni was born on September 28, 1991, in Heerlen, Netherlands, but soon moved to Utrecht (also in the Netherlands).

Martial arts entered Rose’s life early on, first by way of judo, which she started at the age of 6 and practiced all the way to 12 despite her dislike for the sport. During her pre-teens, El Sharouni found traditional jiu-jitsu, which she favored over judo. For this reason, she shifted her focus toward TJJ.

At 16 Rose joined a Brazilian jiu-jitsu workshop that was being held at her TJJ gym, attending the event out of curiosity. After the session, the young Dutch martial artist realized BJJ was more fun than she expected and decided to pursue more of this novel combat sport, which quickly became a big part of her extracurricular life as she went on to train under the guidance of Mathieu Peters, a camp she maintained all the way to purple belt.

Rose El Sharouni joined a medical school as a blue belt, spending her time between training and studying for the next few years. Later, going through an internship and residency at a hospital while training and competing regularly.

Rose’s hard work led to her black belt promotion from the hands of Leonardo Vieira on 14 July 2019.

Although it was Checkmat‘s team leader, Leo Vieira, who promoted El Sharouni, most of her sports progression was done researching and training with her teammates, Kiren Newadj and Remo Corstjens, who founded the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy Amsterdam in 2015 as blue belts.

In 2022 Rose El Sharouni decided to pause her medical career to pursue jiu-jitsu on a full-time schedule, coaching, training, and competing.

The cover photo was taken by Jan Lago.

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TARIK HOSTOCK

Tarik Hopstock is a Norwegian grappler and a black belt in jiu-jitsu under Eduardo Rios (Teta), who represents the Scandinavian team Frontline in the sport’s global circuit. Hopstock made a name for himself as one of the leading competitors of Europe during his colored belt career, a reputation earned after his numerous medals on the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) league, particularly the podium placements at the World, World No-Gi, and European Championships. Tarik Hopstock is also widely recognized as the creator of the Tarikoplata, a submission he introduced to the BJJ world as a blue belt.

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Full Name: Tarik Hopstock

Nickname: N/A

Lineage: Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Carlson GracieRicardo Libório > Eduardo Rios > Tarik Hopstock

Main Achievements:

  • 2nd Place Copa Podio 77KG Grand Prix (2019)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF European Open (2022)

Main Achievements (Colored Belts):

  • 1st Place IBJJF European Open (2014 / 2015 blue, 2017 purple, 2018 brown)
  • 1st Place IBJJF European Open (2015** blue, 2017** purple, 2018 brown
  • 2nd Place IBJJF World Championship NOGI (2015 / 2016* purple)
  • 2nd Place IBJJF European Open (2020* brown)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF European Open (2015* blue, 2016** purple, 2018* / 2019** / 2020* brown)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF World Championship (2016 / 2017** purple, 2018 / 2019 brown)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF World Championship NOGI (2016 purple)

Favorite Position / Technique: Straight ankle lock

Weight Division: Peso Médio (82,30 kg / 181.5 lbs)

Team/Association: Frontline

Tarik Hopstock Biography

Tarik Hopstock was born on May 10, 1996, in Oslo, Norway.

Tarik’s first attempt at martial arts came through judo, an activity he practiced during his tweens at a local club. Although the experience was highly positive, his gym only offered one (1) judo class per week, a scarce schedule that did not satiate Hopstock’s training needs. While looking for another workgroup that offered a busier timetable, Tarik was invited by a friend to come and visit the Frontline Academy, an offer accepted by the young Norwegian.

At the Frontline Academy, Tarik discovered jiu-jitsu and met the team’s leader, Eduardo Rios (Teta) – one of the most charismatic and knowledgeable coaches on the European Continent – whose relationship with Hopstock is often mentioned by Tarik as a deciding factor in his sporting success.

As a juvenile athlete, Tarik started showing signs of his potential in the local circuit. Noticing Hopstock’s qualities, coach Rios pushed his student to attend the adult classes, a decision that helped Tarik’s growth tremendously. It was also the added hardship of practicing with his adult teammates that helped Hopstock develop one of his most celebrated creations – the Tarikoplata – a modified shoulder lock (check more details about this position here).

In an interview given to BJJ Heroes back in September 2020, Tarik Hopstock said of the Tarikoplata‘s inception:

It started with how I struggled to pull people’s arms out from the top kimura position. This was around 2014. So, one day after class I was trying to solve the problem with some of my teammates. A lot of the times I would try to almost deadlift the arm out or just go back to the D’Arce choke. My thought was that there had to be some technical way to advance with attacking the arm. After some trial and error I ended up passing the leg over my partner’s hip line, but we were all skeptical about the move at the time. We thought it was too risky turning your back to the opponent. Later I started to recognize the position for the bottom and had successfully applied it to my game. We didn’t even call it Tarikoplata until I had gotten it numerous times in competitions.

The talent displayed during his juvenile grappling career only improved as Tarik moved on to the adult division. After numerous medals in the sport’s top events, and wins over many high-level competitors, Hopstock was promoted to black belt by his long-time instructor, Eduardo Rios, in a ceremony that took place on December 05, 2021.

ABOUT TARIK HOPSTOCK’S GRAPPLING RECORD

Although Tarik made his black belt debut on February 2022, at the European Open, the Norwegian grappler had competed in previous years, as a brown belt, in a few of the sport’s top pro-circuit events, namely in Polaris & Copa Pódio. Although BJJ Heroes traditionally only accounts for adult black belt matches (the main division in our sport), we believed these previous matches were landmarks in Hopstock’s career and worth including in his record.

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NADINE TAVARES

A citizen of the world, Trainer Nadine Tavares was born in São Paulo, Brazil, where her love of martial arts and combat sports first developed, influenced by her father, a former amateur boxer.

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A citizen of the world, Trainer Nadine Tavares was born in São Paulo, Brazil, where her love of martial arts and combat sports first developed, influenced by her father, a former amateur boxer.

From Brazil, Nadine and her family moved to Italy, where they spent the next decade. When she was in Italy, Tavares switched from boxing to muay thai. Although she greatly enjoyed these flashy arts, her move to London in 2012 would turn the young Brazilian into jiu-jitsu.

When he was on the mat, Tavares quickly realized that he had a natural ability to fight. This discovery, coupled with a strong work ethic and strong teaching from Professor Marco Canha, at FightZone London was a recipe for great sporting success.

Nadine is a multiple IBJJF and AJP medal winner, Nadine is part of the great FightZone London Competitors Team. Her solid understanding of Jiu-Jitsu has earned Tavares the rank of brown belt and her place as our gym’s trainer.

Nadine is a specialist in beginners, women and children. She speaks Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and English.

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ROSA WALSH

Rosa is a high-level competitor from Ireland who’s love for martial arts and grappling is what drove her to pursue the jiu jitsu lifestyle. ✈️

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Training out of Pedigo Submission Fighting, she has won ADCC Open, & Pan Ams, as well as placing at Europeans, AJP Tour, and various other competitions. ?
There is never a dull moment when Rosa Walsh is on the mat and she is undoubtedly, one of the most exciting grapplers in Europe

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EOGHAN O’FLANAGAN

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BART DUBBELDAM

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CHIOUTAKOS KON.

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GABRIELA FECHTER

Gabriela Fechter is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black under Ricardo Vieira, being one of the top competitors in the Checkmat team. Originally from São Paulo, Fechter moved to Rio de Janeiro as a purple belt, quickly becoming one of the most recognizable faces of the Fight Zone gym, an academy she would later lead as one of the head coaches, a position she pioneered at the time by becoming one of the first women to take charge of a major BJJ gym in Rio de Janeiro.

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Gabriela Fechter Jiu-Jitsu

Full Name: Gabriela Meireles Fechter

Nickname: “Gabi” which is short for Gabriela.

Lineage: Carlos Gracie > Hélio Gracie > Rolls Gracie > Romero Cavalcanti > Ricardo Vieira > Gabriela Fechter

Main Achievements:

1st Place IBJJF London Winter Open (2019 / 2020)
1st Place IBJJF Munich Winter Open (2020)
1st Place IBJJF Belo Horizonte Open (2019)
1st Place IBJJF San Diego Open (2019)
3rd Place IBJJF World Championship (2021)
3rd Place IBJJF European Open (2020)
Main Achievements (Colored Belts):

1st Place IBJJF World Championship (2018* brown, 2017 purple)
1st Place IBJJF Rio Winter Open (2016 purple)
1st Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals No-Gi (2015 purple)
2nd Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals (2016 purple)
2nd Place IBJJF Rio Winter Open (2016* purple)
3rd Place IBJJF World Championship (2018 brown, 2017* purple)
3rd Place IBJJF European Open (2018 brown)
3rd Place IBJJF São Paulo Open (2015 purple)
3rd Place IBJJF South American Championship (2015 purple)
3rd Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals (2015 purple)
Favorite Position/Technique: Well Rounded

Weight Division: Peso Pena (58,50 kg / 129.0 lbs)

Team/Association: Checkmat

Gabriela Fechter Biography

Gabriela Fechter was born on March 31, 1990, in São Paulo, Brazil, where she grew up.

Highly engaged with sports from an early age, Gabriela started practicing gymnastics as a child, a sport she competed in, and remained active all the way through to adulthood.

Fechter’s path crossed with that of jiu-jitsu at the age of 15, after watching a class that was taking place at her local gym. Although Gabi enjoyed grappling thoroughly, she prioritized her school, gymnastics and her work as an acrobat for a local circus company. This relegated jiu-jitsu practice to only a couple of sessions per week for a few years, a schedule that changed in 2013, when Fechter was already a purple belt.

Opting to channel more of her energy towards academia (PE degree) freed some time for BJJ, subsequentially, gymnastics was placed on the backburner. The extra mat time meant Gabi could compete more regularly in jiu-jitsu, and indeed she did. Fechter became quite involved in the local circuit. On one of these comps, Fechter met Ricardo “Rico” Vieira, head coach of the famous Fight Zone academy in Rio de Janeiro, and co-founder of the Checkmat team.

Seeing the level of athleticism and the potential of Fechter drove coach Vieira to invite her to come and train at Fight Zone, in Copacabana, where Rico had developed numerous high-level grapplers. The offer was accepted by Gabriela who transferred her school credits to a university in Rio to train with some of the best athletes in the world.

Under the guidance of coach Ricardo, Gabriela’s jiu-jitsu career truly took a turn for the best. with gold medals in CBJJ and IBJJF’s top tournaments. Gabriela was also able to learn how to coach from Vieira, one of the most praised BJJ instructors in the world. and it was at Fight Zone that Fechter started coaching BJJ herself. First in a kids class, after this a women’s only class was placed under her leadership, and later, as a brown belt, taking control of the advanced classroom.

The fact that Fechter was put in charge of one of the toughest teams in the country (a position shared with 2 of her peers), when her instructor, Ricardo Vieira. moved to Portugal (2017), meant Gabi was one of the very first women to take the lead of a high-level classroom in Rio de Janeiro. A landmark celebrated by BJJ Heroes in this article.

On August 25 coach Rico Vieira promoted Gabi Fechter to black belt.

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GABRIELLA RIPEPI

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LUCA CARACCIOLO

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LORENZ SADYCHOW

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