Life was very difficult for an immigrant who could not speak English, and forced by the circumstances Alex started working in catering. His first students were his work colleagues, waiters and kitchen staff. The classes would take place on the grass of Bournemouth gardens and on Bournemouth beach sands. As the the English weather was not an ally, his classes only took place in the summer months and were not regular.
Alex searched for a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu club in the area without success, Jiu-Jitsu seemed not to exist in England.
He then searched for a gym, again with no success in finding it, he was encouraged by his wife Katie to hire a venue and start teaching classes. This was the start of what is known today as De Souza Dojo.
The first club was called De Souza BJJ. Classes would take place every Tuesday night at a church hall, Alex had to hire the hall and the mats from another martial arts club. The hall itself was a dirty damp and cold place, the mats had to be put out and put back into storage at the end of the class.
The students were mainly the restaurant staff and a few others who came from a newspaper advert.
Every Saturday afternoon Alex would, by himself, set the mats out and invite the kick boxers to train, classes were very quiet, some days he would turn up to teach and nobody would show up, but he never gave up and continued to train by himself.
Now with a class of more than 10 people, Alex started to make contact with his friends from Brazil, and brought them to teach seminars.
The first person to come over was Carlson Gracie Jr, son of Grand Master Carlson Gracie, soon after his teenage hood friends Saulo and Xande Ribeiro. Saulo, at the time, was ADCC champion and IBJJF World champion, their visit brought more visibility to Alex’s work in Bournemouth.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & MMA Friends
From 2003, Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro visited the UK many times to teach seminars, and Alex visited Nova Uniao in Rio. Alex and his students started to learn directly from Shaolin. Alex started a partnership with Shaolin, travelling the UK teaching seminars and spreading Jiu-Jitsu.
Classes were now in Southampton, Weymouth, Bournemouth and New Milton.
The event only had one matted area, but had the support of many clubs from around the UK, and even international competitors.
This was the first Dorset & Hants Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy
The garage was a 49m2 matted area, and with the new space he could train himself and develop the Jiu-Jitsu of many others.
Alex and Katie masterminded the first Bournemouth Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open, held at the best leisure centre in Bournemouth, the Littledown Centre.
The event took place in 2010, bringing to Bournemouth the elite of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters from around the UK. Another landmark was set as this brought more awareness to Jiu-Jitsu not just to our club, but also to the town.
We now have two events running per year, our events attract fighters from all over the world, the events increase tourism to the town, bringing business to hotels, guest houses and restaurants, on our last event we had 600 plus competitors taking part.
People travel from afar to come to Bournemouth to get here, fight once in a knockout tournament, lose and not have the chance to fight again. With those people in mind, Alex and Katie wanted to give them more. Alex, as a competitor, who understands fighters mentality, added that having a fight before the main event would aid in warming up and ease nerves.
Their MAT5?! idea has been used by other events in the UK and was accepted with open arms by the UK Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy Lansdowne, Bournemouth
In 2014 we started to look around for a new venue for our club, and we found the perfect place!
After a lengthy wait caused by legal bureaucracy we finally moved into our brand new venue, a former dance school located in the heart of Bournemouth, a five minute walk to the beach in the Lansdowne area, next door to Bournemouth University, a few metres from Bournemouth College and opposite the temporary Parkfield School.
We could not have chosen a better venue, over three floors, we now had a shop on the ground floor selling all the equipment and apparel to cater for all our students needs, on the first floor a large refectory area making it very comfortable for parents, partners and friends to view the training session in progress.
On the same floor as the refectory we had our state of the art dojo. Our dojo was 150 square metres of pure white bliss, made from 50mm thick Olympic standard mats. They had been custom made and were non abrasive to the skin.
On the second floor we had a treatment room offering beauty treatments, massage, acupuncture and sports therapy.
Alex De Souza’s
- English Open 2010 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF Lisbon European 2010 – Bronze Medal
- IBJJF Lisbon European 2011 – Silver Medal
- English Open 2012 – Gold Medal
- British Open 2012 – Bronze Medal
- IBJJF New York International Open 2012 Absolute – Bronze Medal
- IBJJF New York International Open 2012 – Silver Medal
- IBJJF London International Open 2013 Absolute – Bronze Medal
- IBJJF London International Open 2013 – Bronze Medal
- IBJJF Zurich International Open 2014 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF Zurich International Open 2014 Absolute – Gold Medal
- IBJJF Lisbon European 2015 – Silver Medal
- IBJJF London Winter International Absolute 2015 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF London Winter International 2015 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF Munich Winter International Absolute 2015 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF Munich Winter International 2015 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF Munich International No Gi 2015 – Silver Medal
- IBJJF London Fall International 2015 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF Lisbon European 2016 – Bronze Medal
- IBJJF London Winter International Absolute 2016 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF London Winter International 2016 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF Rome Open 2016 Absolute – Silver Medal
- IBJJF Rome Open 2016 – Bronze Medal
- IBJJF Rome European No Gi 2016 Absolute – Bronze Medal
- IBJJF Rome European No GI 2016 – Silver Medal
- IBJJF Zurich Open Absolute 2016 – Bronze Medal
- IBJJF Zurich Open 2016 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF Spanish National Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2016 – Bronze Medal
- IBJJF Spanish National Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2016 Absolute – Silver Medal
- IBJJF British National Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2016 – Bronze Medal
- IBJJF London Fall International 2016 absolute – Gold Medal
- IBJJF London Fall International 2016 – Gold Medal
- Tuff Invitational 5 Circus Tavern 2016 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF Madrid Open 2016 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF London Winter International Absolute 2017 – Bronze Medal
- IBJJF London Winter International 2017 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF Master International Europe Absolute 2017 – Bronze Medal
- IBJJF Master International Europe 2017 – Silver Medal
- IBJJF Spanish National Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2017 – Silver Medal
- IBJJF British National Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2017 – Silver Medal
- IBJJF London Fall International 2017 No Gi – Gold Medal
- IBJJF London Fall International 2017 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF London Fall International Absolute 2017 – Silver Medal
- UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Grand Slam London 2018 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF British National Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2018 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF London Fall International 2018 – Gold Medal
- English Open Championships 2021 – Gold Medal
- UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Grand Slam London 2022 – Silver Medal
- IBJJF Rome European 2022 – Silver Medal
- IBJJF Master European 2022 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF London Fall International 2022 – Gold Medal
- IBJJF European Championship 2023 – Gold Medal